VanDusen Botanical Garden

VanDusen Botanical Garden website
5251 Oak Street
Phone: 604-878-9274
Google Map
General Information:
click for larger images
Van Dusen Botanical Garden Maze
Van Dusen Botanical Garden Pond

For information on the Garden and its programs the public can call the 24-hour information line 604-878-9274 or during office hours (Mon - Fri. 9 - 4:30) you can call the Admin Reception Desk at 604-257-8666.

The garden is located in the heart of Vancouver at 5251 Oak Street at the corner of 37th Ave, between Oak & Granville Streets. Travel time by car or bus from downtown Vancouver or Vancouver International Airport is 10 minutes.

In 1910, this site was an isolated acreage of stumps and bush. It was owned by the Canadian Pacific Railway and was leased by the Shaughnessy Golf Club from 1911 until 1960 when the golf club moved to a new location. The railway proposed a subdivision, but was opposed by many citizens. In 1966, the VanDusen Botanical Garden Association was formed to assist the Vancouver Park Board with saving the site. This effort was successful and the land was purchased with shared funding from the City of Vancouver, the Government of British Columbia and the Vancouver Foundation with a donation by W. J. VanDusen, after whom the Garden was named.
Development started in 1971 and VanDusen Botanical Garden officially opened to the public on August 30, 1975.

Age Group: 

All age groups would like to explore flowers!

Hours of Operation: 

Open 7 days a week (except Christmas Day)

January & February 10am - 4pm
March 10am - 5pm
April 10am - 6pm
May 10am - 8pm
June, July & August 10am - 9pm
September 10am - 7pm
October 10am - 5pm
November & December 10am - 4pm
December - Festival of Lights (please see web site)


Coats vary on Season please see web site.

Children under 6 are free!


HSBC VanDusen Family Program
Explore the amazing world of nature in our beautiful 55-acre garden and come face-to-face with a huge variety of plants and animals! Discover the natural world through plenty of outdoor hands-on practical explorations, games and crafts. VanDusen Botanical Garden is transformed into a holiday wonderland with when thousands visit the Festival of Lights every Christmas, where young and old alike are dazzled with over one million sparkling lights. * Programs are designed for children ages 4-11yrs. Infants and toddlers under 4 years are welcome, but programs are not as suitable for them.* Check their web site to find out when the next one is (or check the Kids Vancouver Event Page)

What can children gain from visiting the garden?
School children leave the Garden with a greater respect for nature, an increased understanding of how all its components interrelate and, most importantly, their own role in stewarding the natural world. Children are encouraged to use all their senses to explore the world about them. Their joy at experiencing its wonders is profound. For instance, in Passionate Pollinators, students from grades two through four are guided through the complexities of plant pollination. 'Why do plants have flowers?' 'What is pollen?' '‘What do flowers turn into?' 'How do they do it?' '‘What do insects, such as bees and moths, have to do with it?' 'Why do plants need to create seeds?'

These are big questions. Do you know the answers? Any eight- to ten-year old who has been to a VanDusen school program will be able to tell you. When the children see, smell, feel, touch and sometimes even taste what pollination is all about, abstract concepts become real and meaningful. They learn the value of living things and come to see that it is all connected. For nearly 30 years, VanDusen Garden has been connecting kids to nature and, by extension, to conservation.

Children’s Garden:
They have an area just meant for children to see and enjoy! Plants of unusual or bizarre shapes are planted here such as the corkscrew hazel, Corylus avellana 'Contorta'; weeping walnut, Juglans regia 'Pendula', and the pendulous mulberry bush, Morus alba 'Pendula'. Topiary figures of legendary beasts such as Sasquatch, Bigfoot, Ogopogo, the Lake Okanagan monster and a dragon are featured.

The bench and seats are made of nephrite jade and the little boy with the dolphin in bronze is a replica of the Verrochio Putto in Florence. Near the espalier-trained apple trees on the cedar fence, is a small border which contains various food plants. In the summer, exotic fruits, pomegranates and bananas, are sometimes planted.

VanDusen houses a collection of several sculptures, including fountains, sited throughout the Garden. Eleven larger stone sculptures were created at the Vancouver International Stone Sculpture Symposium

The 55 different areas to see are:

1. Children's Garden
2. Rose Garden
3. Ground Cover Plants
4. Laburnums and Related Trees
5. Perennials
6. Oaks (Quercus)
7. Beeches (Fagus)
8. Hydrangeas
9. Rhododendron Walk
10. Camellias
11. Korean Pavilion
12. Canadian Heritage Garden
13. Meditation Garden
14. The Maze
15. Sino-Himalayan Garden
16. Fern Dell
17. Conifers
18. Maples (Acer)
19. Lindens (Tilias)
20. Japanese Maples
21. Giant Redwoods
22. Bamboos
23. Yews (Taxus)
24. Crabapples & Flowering
Cherries (Malus and Prunus)
25. Bald Cypress
26. Eastern North
27. Hollies
28. Viburnums
29. Gingkos
29. Magnolias
30. Mediterranean Garden
31. Southern Hemisphere Flora
32. Heather Garden
33. Rose Family (Rosaceae)
34. Rock Garden, Glass House & Penjing (Bonsai) House
35. Western North American Flora
36. Phyllis Bentall Garden
37. Horse Chestnuts & Buckeyes
38. Herb Garden
39. Alma VanDusen Garden
40. Stone Garden
41. Mountain Ashes (Sorbus)
42. Ashes (Fraxinus)
43. Meconopsis Dell
44. Tree Peonies & Lilies (Lilium)
45. Firs (Abies)
46. Grotto
47. Lath House
48. Scottish Shelter
49. Garden Pavilion
50. Heron Lake
51. Livingstone Lake
52. Heather Lake
53. Library
54. Shaughnessy

Special Events

Festival of Lights: (December) see web site for specific dates

Over a millionDancing Lights! A beautiful display of Christmas lights.

Visitors to the Festival of Light can stroll through beautifully lit pathways including the Gingerbread Walk and Candy Cane Lane. Enjoy watching the dancing Lights dance to the holiday music), enjoy hot chocolate and other snacks. Also make sure to visit Santa and his elves. Please see web site for tickets.

From April though the end of October, VanDusen Garden offers a variety of docent-led walking and cart tours of the Garden. Guided Walking Tours Daily at 2 p.m. plus Wednesday mornings at 10:30 a.m. Free for Members or with Garden admission. Meet at the Information Desk on the Deck. Group Walking Tours Available everyday for groups of 10 or more. Must be booked in advance by calling 604-257-8666.

Shaughnessy Restaurant at the renowned 55-acre VanDusen Botanical Garden. The garden restaurant provides a retreat like no other for those with discerning tastes - casual elegance, soothing ambiance, and picturesque garden vistas. Our seasonal, innovative contemporary West Coast menu focussing on fresh ingredients, many from the VanDusen Botanical Garden itself, is perfect for any meal of the day… a light lunch, weekend brunch, afternoon tea, or formal dinner.

Garden Shop:
Where you can buy books, plants, tools, home & garden accessories, gifts, stationery, seeds and even jewellery .

  1. Dress appropriate for the weather
  2. If interested in a program, call ahead and pre-register
  3. Dress in clothes that can get dirty especially if enrolling in Family adventurer program!
  4. Be sure to try out their family program classes!
  5. If you want a tour find out when the tours are to make it part of your day while you are there.
  6. Must see the FEstival of Lights in December, simply beautiful and fun for kids!