Vancouver to Victoria Ferry

Apr 13th, 2003, 10:50 PM
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Vancouver to Victoria Ferry

We are going to be in Vancouver at the end of June and are staying downtown. We want to take the ferry to see Butchart Gardens and Victoria. Can we go there and back in one day? Are we better going out of Horseshoe Bay or Twassen from downtown? How do we book a place on the ferry? Thanks in advance. Also, should we go to Victoria or just plan on seeing the Gardens?
bonlou30 is offline  
Apr 14th, 2003, 12:29 AM
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I would take the Tsawwassen - Swartz Bay route since Swartz Bay is not far from Butchart Gardens.

You can reserve online at: or there is a list of phone numbers at:

Yes, you can do it in one day. Ferries run every one or two hours from 7:00 am to 9:00 pm. If I went to the trouble of taking a car to the island I would at least pop in to Victoria's Inner Harbour. If you can squeeze in a visit to the museum there, so much the better.
April is offline  
Apr 14th, 2003, 06:52 AM
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Since it sounds like you enjoy gardens and are willing to drive a little bit, the famous Minter Gardens (near Chilliwack, 90 minutes east of Vancouver) are terrfic as well.

In many ways, I preferred the Minter Gardens to Butchart (though Victoria has much else to offer). Enjoy your stay, Vancouver is a wonderful city, and a great place for garden lovers.

LordBalfor is offline  
Apr 14th, 2003, 10:07 AM
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Queen Elizabeth Park in Vancouver isn't bad either and reminds me a bit of Butchart's.
April is offline  
Apr 14th, 2003, 12:57 PM
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Why would you want to leave from Horseshoe Bay? That ferry goes to Nanaimo which is much farther away from Butchart Gardens, something like 140K.
There is a new road, that should cut the driving time, but you still have about an 85 mile drive.
bob_brown is offline  
Apr 16th, 2003, 07:27 PM
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I agree with Bob that Swartz Bay is closer for you. And while you can do the trip in one day, if possible, book a room at a hotel or B& B and stay the night. You'll not feel so rushed. Since it's summer the boats tend to be crowded and advance reservations are a must for a specific date and time of departure. The point is that if you miss your reservation time on the return trip, not only do you lose the $15.00 booking fee but you take the chance that the boats may be full and you'll have to wait a few hours to get onboard another one. But if you are restricted to same day, book an early departure going and a late departure returning, and do it as far in advance as possible. Butchart Gardens are gorgeous and worth the visit. Have fun!!
waltd is offline  
Apr 16th, 2003, 08:25 PM
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I agree with Walt. I am not a garden person, but Butchart is very special.
I have seen perhaps 3 gardens I thought were worth the effort: Longworth Gardens in Pennsylvania, the rose test gardens in Washington Park in Portland, Oregon, and Butchart Gardens near Victoria.
Perhaps Kew Gardens in England and the Gardens at Versailles and Vaux le Vicomte in France.

And yes, I visited the gardens at Giverny. They were nice, but because of Monet I think there was a definite Halo Effect enhancing their appearance.

At any rate, Butchart Gardens is/are special; they are world class.
bob_brown is offline  
Apr 16th, 2003, 09:17 PM
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A day trip to Victoria from Vancouver on the ferry is possible, but very rushed.The trip is 90 minutes each way with about 30 minutes driving time from the ferry terminals to downtown in both cities. Why not spend a day or two in Victoria. I have travelled all of Canada, and Victoria is definately one of my favorite places. Actually I like it better than Vancouver.
jimmoi is offline  
Apr 20th, 2003, 05:17 PM
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Thank you to all who replied. We are limited to one day as we are in Vancouver for a wedding and there is only Sunday to sightsee out of town.
bonlou30 is offline  
Apr 20th, 2003, 08:25 PM
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I suggest if you are pressed for time, why not take a bus tour from Vancouver to Victoria. I live in/near Victoria and see "Landsea Tour" buses all the time on the ferry and scooting about Victoria. They have small tour buses- 24 passengers, will pick you up at your hotel in Vancouver or Richmond, and for $122 Canadian, they will give you a 13 hour (approx) tour of Victoria and Butchart Gardens. Tour includes pickup at your hotel, ferry, free time in downtown Victoria, admission to the Maritime Museum or the Royal B.C. Museum, (I highly recommend the Royal B.C. Museum), and admission to Butchart Gardens. Why not let someone else worry about ferries, directions, admissions etc. Any time I have spoken to the bus drivers on the ferries they seem VERY nice. Check it out as an option. Their website:, and have a great visit to Vancouver and Victoria.
amygirl is offline  

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