Discover Botanical Treasures Itinerary

On the West Coast and situated in the embrace of mountains and forest, Vancouver’s abundant natural wonders set it apart from anywhere else in the world. Within the city, visitors can experience the area’s unique parks and wilderness, from wandering amongst old growth trees to exploring extensive gardens. From trail to table, it’s only natural that the biodiversity of the region is also celebrated in the local cuisine, with plant-forward and sustainable restaurants throughout the city. Get wild this weekend and discover Vancouver’s botanical treasures.

Day One

FORAGING AND FOREST BATHING 

Kick off the weekend by strolling through the quiet winding trails of Stanley Park. Alongside the beaches of downtown Vancouver and just steps away from the bustling seawall, at 1,000 acres Stanley Park is considered one of the greatest urban parks in the world. Serene trails will lead you on a leisurely tour of magnificent trees, public gardens in bloom, and Beaver Lake, a wetland oasis where birds come to play.

Grow your plant knowledge and learn to identify wild edibles, like fiddleheads, elderflowers, oyster mushrooms and wild camomile by booking a private foraging tour with Swallowtail Culinary Adventures, or skip the tutorial and get right to the feast with brunch or dinner at Forage. Located in downtown Vancouver, they source their ingredients from local fishers, farmers and foragers, and feature cocktails and drinks from BC distilleries, wineries and breweries.

A couple are walking in the forest in Stanley Park in Vancouver.

CULTURE AND CUISINE

Hop on the SkyTrain to the edge of Vancouver’s historic Chinatown and stop for a bowl of delicious and health-conscious signature noodle soups, simmering in a rich homemade broth at Harvest Community Foods. A neighbourhood gem with a focus on sustainable foods, the Harvest menu emphasizes local ingredients and vegetarian and vegan options.

Make your way into the heart of Chinatown to visit Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, and enjoy the tranquility of the jade green pond, koi fish, and an impressive collection of 150-year old miniature trees. The garden offers guided tours, tea and a range of activities.

Day Two

IN THE GARDEN

Canada’s oldest university botanical garden will introduce you to a world of wild-collected plants. The UBC Botanical Garden and Greenheart TreeWalk is a collection of impressive gardens bursting with plants, flowers and trees. Start with the 14 hectare David C. Lam Asian Garden, which features over 400 different species of rhododendrons. From there, roam through the Alpine Garden, The Rainforest Garden, The Carolinian Forest Garden, and the traditional physic garden full of herbs (to name a few.)

Tower over 100-year-old Douglas firs, cedars and grand firs on the Greenheart TreeWalk, located in the centre of the UBC Botanical Garden. See Vancouver’s magnificent coastal temperate rainforest from the suspended walkways and tree platforms rising nearly 20 metres above the forest floor. Descend from the canopy and wind down in Nitobe Memorial Garden, a traditional Japanese Tea and Stroll garden with a rare authentic ceremonial Tea House.

UBC Botanical Gardens Canopy Walkway

ALL NATURAL

Nourish your mind and body. Start by visiting the Beaty Biodiversity Museum, and learn about natural history. You can even stare through the jaws of the largest creature ever to live on Earth, the blue whale. Then, finish your day with Indigenous culinary delights using fresh seasonal ingredients, certified organic game and wild fish at Salmon n’ Bannock Bistro on West Broadway.

If you’re in the mood for vegetarian/vegan Vietnamese food with a modern casual twist instead, make your way downtown to Do Chay, located just steps away from the Canada Line in Yaletown.

Day Three

BIRDS OF A FEATHER  

The Bloedel Conservatory, in Queen Elizabeth Park houses more than 100 different exotic birds, swooping, flying and singing amongst over 500 kinds of tropical plants. Once you say farewell to your new feathered friends, visitors are free to explore the magnificent fountains, gardens and sculptures around Queen Elizabeth Park. You’re likely to see a wedding photo or two as you explore.

A WALK IN THE PARK

An incredible 55 acre botanical garden with over 7,500 plant species and varieties and an Elizabethan hedge maze, VanDusen Botanical Gardens is a plant-lovers paradise. Lose yourself in the magic of the rose bushes (but don’t lose yourself in the maze–check the map before you enter!) If you’re feeling peckish, VanDusen’s Garden Cafe serves up light refreshment and warm beverages.

VanDusen Botanical Garden

Treat yourself to a meal you can feel good about with dinner at The Acorn, an award-winning vegetarian restaurant and bar on Main Street, with dishes crafted from local ingredients designed for vegans and gluten-free diners. In the same area, Burdock n’ Co. features an inventive menu based on seasonal organic ingredients from local growers, farmers and foragers with dishes that allow raw materials to shine.

INSIDER TIPS 

  • Rent a bike from Cycle City to pedal around Stanley Park and downtown Vancouver without increasing your carbon footprint.
  • Stanley Park Trails are all available on Google Maps, so if you lose your sense of direction, your phone can guide you out of the woods.
  • The Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden is wheelchair accessible, and their walkways and pavilions are covered if you find yourself visiting on a rainy day.

 

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