Soak up the spring scenery on a visit to Vancouver’s gardens. One of the best ways to see five gardens in one day is to follow this 14-kilometre-long self-guided bike tour.
Biking Note: This route uses quiet streets, bike lanes, and separated bike paths where possible, but it does involve a little bit of riding on busy streets. Walk your bike on the sidewalk if you aren’t comfortable. If you don’t have a bike, you can rent one at several downtown Vancouver bike shops.
First Stop: Stanley Park Rose Garden
Your biking tour of Vancouver’s gardens starts at the Stanley Park Rose Garden. To get there from downtown Vancouver, follow the Cardero or Hornby bike routes north to the Coal Harbour Seawall bike path. Then, go west (left) on the seawall into Stanley Park. The Rose Garden is near the entrance to the park next to the intersection of Stanley Park Drive and Pipeline Road.
The first roses were planted here in 1920, and today there are over 3,500 rose bushes. The arbour covered in clematis is also spectacular.
Second Stop: Ted and Mary Greig Rhododendron Garden
To get to the next stop, follow the bike path through the Georgia Street underpass and head towards Lost Lagoon. The Ted and Mary Greig Rhododendron Garden is located on the left side of the path about 800 m after the underpass.
Take some time to wander through the bushes which are spread out between Lost Lagoon and the Stanley Park Pitch and Putt Golf Course. The garden was first planted in the late 1960s and includes over 4,500 plants. Try to time your visit for early May, which is peak bloom.
Third Stop: Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden
The ride to your third stop follows the Coal Harbour Seawall, then cuts through downtown for a total distance of about 5 km. Start by retracing your route through the underpass. Then, turn right and follow the Coal Harbour Seawall all the way to the Vancouver Convention Centre. Connect to the Hornby Street bike path for a few blocks, then turn left to take the Dunsmuir bike lane. Turn left onto Beaty Street, then right on Pender, then right again on Carrall Street. The garden is on your left half a block later.
The Dr. Sun Yat-Sun Classical Chinese Garden is a garden, a museum, and a cultural event centre all rolled into one. Designed in the Ming Dynasty style, the garden provides a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of the city just outside its walls. Buy admission tickets online in advance.
Fourth Stop: Quarry Gardens at Queen Elizabeth Park
The 5.5 km route to your next stop is mostly along the quiet Ontario Street bike route. Turn left from Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden and follow the Carrall Street bike lane to the False Creek Seawall. Turn left and stay on the seawall past Science World. Just before the False Creek Community Centre, turn left onto the Ontario Street bike route and follow it uphill. Turn right onto 37th Avenue, then turn right again a few blocks later into the park. Follow the park road past the Rose Garden to an access path to the Quarry Gardens near the Bloedel Conservatory.
These spectacular Quarry Gardens were built inside the excavated remains of a former stone quarry. Wander through the paths to experience many different species of flowers. The aerial view from the walkway outside the Bloedel Conservatory is spectacular. Be sure to visit the smaller North Quarry Garden below the Seasons in the Park restaurant – many people miss it.
Fifth Stop: VanDusen Botanical Garden
Your final stop is an easy 1 km bike ride away. Leave Queen Elizabeth Park heading west on 33rd Avenue. Turn left onto Heather Street, then right onto 37th Avenue. Immediately after crossing Oak Street, turn right into VanDusen Botanical Garden.
The sprawling VanDusen Botanical Garden includes 55 acres of plants from around the world. In spring, wander the paths to see blooms around every corner. Don’t miss the hanging yellow blooms on the Laburnum Walk. Buy tickets at the gate.