The Butchart Chronicles : January 11, 2017

2016: A Year in Review

There is never a dull moment at The Butchart Gardens. Read some of the highlights from 2016.

11 Highlights from The Butchart Gardens in 2016

Happy New Year from The Butchart Gardens!

As we welcomed visitors from around the world and celebrated the five seasons at The Gardens, a lot happened. Here are eleven highlights from 2016.

1. 100% Smoke Free Property

Effective January 7, 2016, The Butchart Gardens became a property-wide smoke-free environment. This policy ensures a healthy and clean environment for everyone to enjoy. Not only do fellow visitors appreciate it, the plants do too.

2. Never-Before-Seen Memorabilia Showcased in the Historical Display

As part of the 16th annual Historical Display, the family archives team brought out some special items from the Butchart Family history. This trend will continue in the 2017 display as more unique items will be introduced into the showcase. The Historical Display takes place annually from January 15th to March 15th.

3. New Tour Boat Introduced

In spring 2016, a fourth vessel was added to our fleet of electric tour boats. Visitors are now welcome aboard the Jennie B., R.P., as Robert Pim Butchart was known, the R.I. Ross and Mary C. Todd for history and nature tours of Butchart Cove and Tod Inlet. Boat tours operate annually from mid-May to mid-September. For more information on boat tours, visit our Experiences page.

4. Wharf Upgrade

With all the water traffic visiting The Gardens via Butchart Cove, it's important that the infrastructure can accommodate each visitor. A new wharf was completed in spring 2016 to accommodate traffic from seaplanes, whale watching boats and personal pleasure crafts, and The Gardens' fleet of electric boats.

5. Dragon Fountain Moved to Permanent Location

The Dragon Fountain was a gift from the People's Republic of China in 2015. In 2016 it was relocated to its permanent location, a beautifully designed setting near the dahlia border. During the Magic of Christmas, The Fountain and surrounding area were decorated for the season.

6. Renowned Musical Performers Take the Stage

2016's summer entertainment schedule was nothing short of amazing. Every performance drew in a captive audience on the Concert Lawn. Highlight performances included The Mavericks and Jesse Roper. Stay tuned for the 2017 summer entertainment schedule.

7. Extended Summer

With summer weather conditions lasting longer than expected, boat tours and the gelateria were able to stay open for visitors until the end of September.

8. Communities in Bloom

The Butchart Gardens is a proud supporter of Canada's Communities in Bloom program and for the past eight years have sponsored the 'Best Land Reclamation Award'. This award is a tribute to a community that has had the vision and spirit to reclaim and beautify a neglected and unatrractive site. The Gardens sponsors this award as our Sunken Garden is one of the most recognized reclamation sites in the world.

9. Greenhouse Tours Grow in Popularity

Greenhouse Tours offer an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at how the gardeners grow and maintain the health of many of the plants found throughout the gardens. Offered only on weekends in November, these tours are popular with horticulture groups and 12 month pass holders. 2016 tours sold out immediately. For more information on Greenhouse Tours, visit our Experiences page.

10. Enchanted Tree Brings Visitors Together

The Arts and Entertainment Department introduced the Enchanted Tree to the Magic of Christmas display in 2016. Singing, speaking or clapping in front of the tree make the lights on the branches change as voice and sound tone changes. Visitors came together to sing Christmas carols, bringing the tree to life.

11. Rare December Snowfall Creates a Stunning Winter Wonderland

December 9th marked the first snowfall in a long time at The Gardens. The photo above was taken before sunrise that day. Photographers, 12 month pass holders walking their dogs and visitors coming from the surrounding area enjoyed strolling through this winter wonderland. For more photos of snow at The Gardens, visit our Facebook page.

Here is a peek at what is new in 2017.

  • Effective January 2017, selfie sticks are not permitted at The Gardens for the safety and enjoyment of all visitors.

  • To celebrate Canada's 150th, a floral display will be set up showcasing the official 150th tulip.

See you in 2017.