Fan palm leave in a Tofino garden

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Gardens in and around Tofino on Vancouver Island

Tofino Botanical Gardens

Culture, garden, nature. Five hectares of gardens, forest and shoreline.

Open to the public by admission: (Children 12 and under, free). Admission is for three days, so you can come back for more.

1084 Pacific Rim Hwy, Box 886  •  Tofino, BC

(250) 725-1220  •

More Gardens in the Tofino Area

Ken Gibson's Rhododendron Hill, Fourth Street at Gibson
As you pull up to the stop sign at Fourth Street, look west (away from the harbour) and up, way up. Perched on a hill overlooking Tofino, Ken Gibson has spent more than 30 years collecting and planting over 1000 varieties of rhododendrons. Ken has been called “Canada’s Recognized Rhodo Ambassador” by the American Rhododendron Society. The blooms start in early spring and peak in early summer. This iconic setting has been displayed on numerous post cards of Tofino. Private garden, but polite viewing from the edges is encouraged.

Stubbs Island Gardens, Stubbs Island
Long before Tofino existed, the original trading settlement in Clayoquot Sound was on Stubbs Island, about 1.5 km offshore from the First Street dock. Stubbs Island has extensive gardens, parts of which date back to fur-trading days, when the store, hotel, saloon and post office here were the hub of local activity. The island is now a private nature preserve, and talented caretakers lovingly maintain the many hectares of garden.

Enhanced and expanded over the years, the gardens on Stubbs Island are open to the public for one magical weekend every year, the Victoria Day weekend in late May. Boat transportation is generously provided for this event at no cost, and hundreds of people make the trip across the water to marvel at these gardens and to picnic on the island’s sandy beaches and manicured lawns.

Freedom Cove Floating Garden, Cypress Bay, Clayoquot Sound
This series of floating gardens and sculptures on docks attached to the owners’ float home has been featured in Canadian Geographic and "Weird Homes" TV Show. Freedom Cove is a remote location, only accessible by boat or float plane. The gardens are open to the public by tour. The departure times and length of the tour varies, depending on demand, weather and your group’s needs. There is a video online, showing the gardens: Phone Browning Pass Charters (250-725-3342, for more information.

Cougar Annie's Garden, Boat Basin, Clayoquot Sound
A remote heritage garden dating back to 1915. The five-acre garden was created out of the dense forest by Ada (Annie) Rae-Arthur who sold mail-order plants from her nursery garden and ran a small store and post office on her 117 acre homestead. She became renowned as a cougar hunter, killing over seventy in her lifetime. She stayed in her remote garden for nearly 70 years, rarely leaving. She bore eight of her eleven children there, outlived and outworked four husbands, and by the time she died in 1985 she was already a coastal legend.

Peter Buckland single-handedly resurrected the garden -- mostly with a chainsaw -- after it had been neglected for years. Peter subsequently created the Boat Basin Foundation for the property in order to “maintain and preserve Cougar Annie's garden for future generations, and to encourage education in temperate rainforest ecology.” Margaret Horsfield’s book Cougar Annie’s Garden tells the story of this compelling place.

Commercial fly-in tours of the garden are sometimes possible. Allow a full day for a trip here; it is 55 kilometres north of Tofino and very remote. Contact the Boat Basin Foundation for more information:

About the Tofino Botanical Gardens

The gardens opened in 1997 as a place to explore the relationship between culture and nature in Clayoquot Sound. A network of paths and boardwalks meander through the forest and down to Tofino’s otherwise inaccessible mudflats.Wander from the garden’s visitor centre past kitchen gardens, the Frog Pond and the Children’s Garden into the lush old growth rainforest.

The garden’s field guide is a must-read while you admire the impressive collection of native and non-native plants. The outdoor sculpture and interpretive art installations at the Tofino Botanical Gardens are whimsical and thought provoking. Well worth at least an afternoon and perhaps a return visit as your admission lasts for three days.