Pacific Northwest: Victoria and Butchart Gardens (May 15-17)

We got in late Tuesday from Ozette, so used Wednesday as a rest and planning day for Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. The ferry schedule just changed for the season and an early evening departure from Canada had been added. We would not need a reservation or to arrive 1.5 hours early, as would passengers taking their car.

Thursday morning we walked the mile or so to the ferry terminal with plenty of time to spare. We booked one night in Victoria at the travel bureau near the dock and planned to buy tour bus tickets in Canada.

The fog was heavy so we got no views on the 90 minute passage.

Mike on the ferry MV Coho, leaving foggy Port Angeles

We spent the day touring Victoria by foot and by bus. We visited the shopping district, Chinatown, the BC museum, and the inner harbor area on foot and the bus tour got us a little further out to Beacon Hill Park and the pretty Oak Bay Esplanade. Since we were running early, our driver had time for us to stop in at the Christ Church Cathedral and also to see some sea lions being fed at the Oak Bay Marina.

The grand Empress Hotel overlooking Victoria Harbor

Picturesque streets of Victoria


Our Gray Line tour bus

Christ Church Cathedral in Victoria

Totem poles in the Royal BC Museum

Oak Bay Marina

Tourists feeding sea lions at the marina

BC Legislative building

We especially enjoyed the parliament buildings where we dined at the legislative lunch room and later took the guided tour.

The rotunda in the BC Legislative Building

After dinner at the trendy brewpub Canoe, we walked through Chinatown and the entire inner harbor area again at dusk on a beautiful evening.

We had a very nice meal at Canoe

Chinatown at night

BC Legislative Building with Victoria Harbor

Victoria Harbor at dusk

The Empress Hotel reflected in Victoria Harbor

Fountain in front of the legislative building

Friday we took the CVS Express Shuttle to Butchart Gardens. We preferred this bus line over our Gray Line tour yesterday because the driver narrated what we were seeing.

Butchart Gardens was one of the top things I wanted to do on our entire trip, and I was not disappointed. Even in the rain it was spectacular and we stayed the entire day.

Umbrellas were provided at the gardens

Sunken Garden in a former quarry

Lots of umbrellas in use

Japanese Garden

Himalayan Blue Poppy

Former Butchart residence, now a dining room

Click here to see a larger album of photos from Butchart Gardens.

Too soon it was time to board our ferry again. It was Victoria Day weekend and we noticed the first cruise ships of the season in the harbor. The clouds gave way to a beautiful sunset with colors peaking just before we docked.

Cruise ships docked near Victoria

On our way back to Port Angeles

A rainbow saluted our trip back
Sunset on our way back

Back at Port Angeles


  1. Omgosh just beautiful I really enjoyed your photo's Mike, my faves were the totem polls.

    Looks like you had a great time!

  2. I was trying to find out what the garden looks like in May. Glad I found your post. I wasn't sure there would be flowers.