Tofino Botanical Gardens

Chilean Guava
Chilean Guava in Chile pocket garden

Welcome to the wettest, wildest, and most western garden in North America.

This is not your typical botanical garden, but a garden to experience. Your visit is an opportunity to learn about the local biosphere and culture of the Tofino area.

The gardens are a 12-acre celebration of cultivated plant beds, charming courtyards, bold sculpture, buzzing culture, the Tofino Mudflats, old-growth temperate rainforest, our farm animals, and a lot of personality. Gravel paths, rainforest trails, and raised boardwalk guide guests through the many stunning sections of the Garden.

To explore the Earth is to explore ourselves, thank you for this place where I found a piece of me – Susan W, Washington.

Remarkable Botany

Rhododendron Flowers and Bumblebee
Pollinators visiting our Rhododendron

Our open courtyard contains seasonal displays and splashes of colour. During spring guests are welcomed by joyous blooms including camellias, daffodils, wood anemones, and tulips. During summer we are graced by the rare Giant Himalayan Lily (Cardiocrinum giganteum) which towers above visitors!

On the West Coast, fall and winter colours differ from inland areas. An abundance of evergreens and warm winter temperatures distinguish Zone 9 and keep the forest green, making it possible for subtropical plants to flourish. Though heavy rainfall presents some challenges such as depleted and acidic soil, it is the perfect climate for some plants.

Nestled in between natives of the temperate rainforest you can find charming pocket gardens of plants from areas with similar climates including Chile and Japan.

Most species are labelled with taxonomy signs. For those who wish to dig deeper, we have plenty of resources to share including our garden map, hefty field guide, and walking tours by request with the Garden Director or garden volunteers.

Complex Culture

Storytelling Hut by Jan Janzten

Our garden is a social space, designed to evoke discussion and thought.

Curious artwork and sculpture adorns the gardens. Collections are continuously evolving – reflecting the eccentric mind of a life-long scholar and the influence of current staff, locals, visitors, volunteers, and artists.

Long standing sculptures in the garden include those of Michael Dennis, acclaimed Tofino Native Jan Janzen, and our tsunami memorial by Pete Clarkson, constructed of Japanese artifacts that washed ashore during the aftermath of the 2011 Tōhoku tsunami.

Guests that enjoy perusing literature are invited to wander the bookshelves of Darwin’s Café and the Ecolodge.

Love the walk, even on a rainy day. Love finding the sculptures, hidden and otherwise. I have a feeling we would find even more if we went through again – Ron and Kirsti Nutt, London Ontario

Precious Nature

A giant Western Red Cedar along the old-growth rainforest boardwalk

Tofino Botanical Gardens is dedicated to the protection of the coastal temperate rainforest, and to research and education that benefits Clayoquot Sound, a recognized UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The property borders the Tofino Mudflats which is a protected Wildlife Management Area. The Mudflats is also designated as an Important Birding and Biodiversity Area by IBA Canada.

Take a walk on our boardwalk through some of the last virgin coastal temperate rainforest. Our trails showcase a history of a conflict and formation of culture. We firmly believe in the preservation of the last remaining old-growth forests of Clayoquot Sound. Many of the trees on this property are 600 – 800 years old.

This is one of my favourite places in the world. Next time someone tells me to go to my ‘happy place’ in my mind, I will go here. Thank you so much. – A.W., Quebec