The Butchart Chronicles : May 31, 2014

Boat Tours 2014

Our delightfully serene boat tours are back for another fun season!  Once you've taken all the photos of our bloom filled gardens and perhaps had lunch or afternoon tea, why not drop by our wharf and hop on a 45 minute tour of Tod Inlet and the Brentwood Bay waterfront?  Remember to leave some room on your camera for the unique views from the "Jennie B" and the "R.P.", our twin tour boats.

The Jennie B and the R.P. tour boats.
Boat tours have commenced for the summer, exploring Brentwood Bay and the Tod Inlet, and continue to September 15, 2014. Tours started six years ago and give visitors a fun experience, a taste of what The Gardens' founders, Jennie and Robert might have felt on their return home after an afternoon on the waters entertaining Duke's and Duchesses on their yacht, the Nooya.

Our two 12-passenger, electric-powered boats disembark from the dock at Butchart Landing (just beyond the Japanese Garden) and explore the water's edges of Gowlland Tod Provincial Park, the remains of the cement plant wharf and even motor over to Brentwood Bay to view beautiful waterfront homes and too many boats to count, at the marina.  Attentive and fully trained skippers narrate the scenes; you might see a river otter or seal playing in the sparkling waters of the inlet.

Electric tour boat out on the water.
Tours start at 11:00 am and the last tour of the day starts at 4:00 pm until mid-June when our final tour begins at 5:00 pm.  Tickets can be purchased and reserved in the Visitors Centre and at the Wharf.  Please be at the wharf 25 minute prior to departure time.

Enjoy, and if you get a chance, drop us a note and tell us what you thought or tag your Facebook, Instagram or Twitter photos with #ButchartBoats and we'll be sure to take a look!

For more information check out our Boat Tours page, or download our Boat Tours brochure or view our map.  (Download multi-language printable versions)

Boat Tour Wharf

itting in the Jennie B. — named after Jennie Butchart, the wife of Robert Pim Butchart and the leading force in turning the former limestone quarry into the garden it is today — you’re able to gain a new perspective on the garden and realize the size and history of not only the attraction, but the surrounding area.

A second boat, named R.P. after Robert, was added two years after the tours began, to help ease the passenger load.

John Myers has worked as a captain on the boat tours for just two weeks but has fallen in love with the job.

“My favourite time of day down here is 6:30, when the winds are changing, the water is perfectly still and it’s just pristine marine. I love it,” the former member of the Royal Canadian Air Force said.

As they travel in the electric boat up Tod Inlet, passengers are able to see some of the ruins of the old limestone quarry and cement plant that made the Butcharts their fortune after the quarry was developed in 1904.

A smokestack hidden behind some trees and the decaying remains of what was the old loading dock in the early 20th century are all that hint of the quarry’s past existence as a source for cement in growing markets from Victoria to San Francisco.

The rugged beauty of Gowlland Tod Provincial park on one side, and the historical remains of the quarry dock on the other, instils a sense of peacefulness in passengers.

“I liked learning the history of the gardens,” said Ed Armstrong of Canmore, Alta., who was enjoying the tour with Dolores Janzen.

The second half of the tour saw the boat go around Brentwood Bay, with passengers admiring the large boats moored in the bay as well as the multimillion-dollar homes.

Tours run every day from mid-May until Sept. 15.

Tours start at 11 a.m. and leave every half hour until 5 p.m.

On Saturdays, the boat runs from 11:30 a.m. till 7:30 p.m.

- See more at: http://www.timescolonist.com/life/two-dozen-things/two-dozen-things-we-love-about-this-place-butchart-by-boat-is-breathtaking-16-1.604995#sthash.D9aKvqC7.dpuf