Hard to believe this gorgeous sunken garden was once a quarry where workers “macademanized” the lava rock used to build Vancouver’s first roads.
Just as remarkable, hidden under the parking lot is a water reservoir which is Vancouver’s main source of drinking water.
Nowadays, Queen E. (as locals call it) has as its main claim to fame the two sunken gardens and the views of the city. One hundred and fifty two meters above sea level, Queen Elizabeth Park is the highest point in Vancouver as well as the geographic center of the city, and has spectacular views of downtown Vancouver and the North Shore mountains.
Follow the path to a bridge that overlooks a waterfall. Beyond, a winding path leads you to the bottom of the sunken garden with its garden beds and pond.
Back at the top of the garden, the dome-shaped building is The Bloedel Conservatory, an indoor tropical garden with over 500 plant species, and dozens of tropical birds.
If you’d like to keep exploring, just behind Bloedel Conservatory is an open square with a fountain, a wedding chapel, and shaded boardwalks. Depending upon the time of day, you’ll see everything from artists to tai chi groups, from wedding parties to master gardeners.
While it is Butchart Garden that holds the title as one of B.C.’s most beautiful gardens, Queen Elizabeth Park can compete admirably with Butchart Garden in the category of sunken gardens, and it’s right in the heart of the city.