I am never quite sure what to expect when I am visiting a ‘botanical garden.’ I know about show gardens (Butchart’s in Victoria) and woodland gardens (Milner in Qualicum Beach and Kitty Coleman in Courtenay), but the term ‘botanical garden’ seems sometimes to be a catch-all for disparate collections of plant materials. There are almost always surprises, often of the most delightful kind, and the Tofino Botanical Gardens certainly don’t disappoint on that front.
Located on 12 acres just outside the tourist town of Tofino, the botanical gardens spare us the craziness that descends on its neighbouring village during the busy summer months. There is peace, plenty of room for visitors to walk and explore, and a measured pace to life both at the gardens and the affiliated eco-lodge and Darwin’s Cafe.
We arrived on a sunny Summer afternoon to take in the wonders of the Tofino Botanical Gardens and were delighted at the combination of peaceful pathways and boardwalks, pocket gardens, pretty views of Browning Passage and the Tofino mud flats and…a lot of whimsy that brought smiles to our faces at every turn.
During the 1 1/2 hours we spent exploring the botanical gardens (we easily could have squandered even more time than that) we meandered through a demonstration food garden, a medicinal herb garden, past a pretty frog pond enhanced by a magical Tolkien-like structure and a flock of pink flamingos (!). All-told, there were 24 points of interest on the map we received at the entrance. There is a tip of the hat to First Nations culture in the form of a stunning carved canoe, there is a spectacularly-designed story telling hut, and there are sculptures in various media in many nooks and crannies. The shoreline offers several well-constructed viewpoints, and whimsy abounds throughout the 12 acre site.
The Tofino Botanical Gardens are proof positive that a picture is worth a thousand words, so without further ado I am going to publish extra photos of this magical spot with this week’s post. Enjoy, and if you can possibly get there, do so – it’s an experience of a whole other kind that is well worth the time and the entrance fee. They do offer a seniors rate but don’t advertise it, so be sure to ask about that if you are over 65.
Further information on the Tofino Botanical Gardens can be found on their Facebook page.
Tofino Botanical Gardens is located at 1084 Pacific Rim Highway, Tofino
GPS co-ordinates are:
Lat.: 49.133149 Long.-125.890467
N 49 07.989 W 125 53.428