It all began with one woman’s vision and passion
With a former limestone quarry for her backyard, Jennie Butchart envisioned landscaping a sunken garden in its place, transforming the property for her family—and visitors—for generations to come.
Where it all began
Coming from Ontario, husband and wife, Robert and Jennie Butchart moved to Vancouver Island to build a cement plant on a rich limestone deposit at Tod Inlet.
A passion project
As cement production exhausted the limestone deposits, Jennie envisioned a grand garden in its place and began transferring top soil by horse and cart. Little by little, the quarry blossomed into today’s Sunken Garden.
The Gardens grow
Between 1906 and 1929, the Butcharts expanded The Gardens, designing the Japanese Garden on the seaside, the Italian Garden on their former tennis court and the fragrant, overflowing Rose Garden.
A destination in the making
Gifted The Gardens on his 21st birthday, grandson Ian Ross transformed them into the world-renowned attraction we know today, adding outdoor concerts and night lighting in the summers, and the Magic of Christmas in the winters.
A family legacy
Beginning in 1977, great-grandson Christopher began producing a choreographed firework show every year. In 2009, his sister, and current owner of The Gardens, Robin added the Children’s Pavilion and Menagerie Carousel.
100th Anniversary and Acknowledgement
Two Totem Poles were carved in Classic Coast Salish style by Master Carvers Charles Elliot of the Tsartlip Nation and Doug La Fortune of Tsawout Band, and dedicated on September 9th, 2004 not only to celebrate the 100th anniversary of The Butchart Gardens but also in recognition of the rich cultural heritage provided by Indigenous People.
A modern masterpiece
Today, The Butchart Gardens is a National Historic Site of Canada. You’ll find remnants of the original cement plant and millions of bedding plants in over 900 varieties awaiting you as you wander The Gardens.
The Gardens await
Ready to plan your visit to The Gardens? Buy your tickets? Start your journey here.