We wanted to make a day trip to Vancouver Island (pics) in order to visit The Butchart Gardens and the city of Victoria, BC. In order to do so, we drove about 20 miles south of Richmond, BC to the Tsawwassen terminal for BC Ferries. These ferries transport passengers and vehicles to the Swartz Bay terminal on Vancouver Island. The trip was about 1 hour and 40 minutes.
Once on Vancouver Island, we needed to catch a city bus in order to reach Butchart Gardens. This 55 acre garden began in the very early 1900’s as an effort by Jennie Butchart to beautify the worked-out limestone quarry which had supplied her husband Robert Butchart’s nearby Portland cement plant. That former quarry is the portion of the garden called Sunken Garden. The other gardens, Rose, Japanese, Italian and Mediterranean Gardens, developed over time as the Butcharts collected rare and exotic shrubs, trees and flowers during their extensive world travels. The gardens are still owned and operated by the Butchart family and attracts almost one million visitors each year.
From The Butchart Gardens we caught another bus in order to reach the city of Victoria, BC. Victoria serves as the Provincial Capital city for the province of British Columbia. It is a very nice moderately sized city with a beautiful inner harbor area where the Provincial Legislative Building is located. With its location on the southern tip of Vancouver Island you can reach Victoria with a short ferry ride from Port Angeles on Washington State’s Olympic Peninsula.
A final bus ride took us from Victoria back to the Swartz Bay terminal to catch the 7:00pm ferry back to Tsawwassen on the mainland. Near the end of our trip back we were treated to a close pass by the USS Nimitz, one of the largest of the United States’ nuclear powered aircraft carriers. It had just spent the prior few days in Victoria on a public relations stop.
Just before reaching the ferry terminal Valerie got some photos of what we think were Orca whales. They were quite a good distance from the boat so we couldn’t get very good pictures but there are quite a lot of Orcas in these waters during this time of year.