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article imagePhoto Essay: Travel, adventure and discovery in British Columbia Special

By Igor I. Solar     Aug 16, 2013 in Travel
Vancouver - The city of Vancouver and Vancouver Island in British Columbia with its many historical and natural attractions including mountains, waterways and wildlife invite travellers to discover the sights and wonders of one of Canada’s most scenic provinces.
The Butchart Gardens, more than just a sunken garden
The Butchart Gardens located in Brentwood Bay, British Columbia, near Victoria on Vancouver Island, have been under development since 1909 when the limestone quarry operating on the site was exhausted and Mrs. Jennie Butchart decided to turn the large hollow pit into a sunken garden, which was completed in 1921.
Now, in addition to the sunken garden, there are a Rose Garden, Mediterranean, Italian and Japanese gardens, plus several fountains, ponds, ornamental birds and statuary. The Butchart Gardens receive more than a million visitors each year. In 2007 the gardens were listed as a National Historic Site of Canada.
The Butchards Gardens. The gardens provide dramatic floral displays in various settings and styles a...
The Butchards Gardens. The gardens provide dramatic floral displays in various settings and styles amid mature trees, shrubs and fountains, linked by a network of serene paths.
The formal Italian Garden at the Butchart Gardens in  Brentwood Bay  Vancouver Island  BC.
The formal Italian Garden at the Butchart Gardens in Brentwood Bay, Vancouver Island, BC.
Horseshoe Bay Marina and BC Ferry terminal
Horseshoe Bay is a beautiful village located on the western tip of West Vancouver, at the entrance to Howe Sound. This is the western end on the British Columbia mainland of the 8,030 kilometres Trans-Canada Highway (Highway 1) and the terminal for B. C. Ferries to Vancouver Island, the Sunshine Coast (Egmont-Sechelt), and Bowen Island.
The waterfront of the picturesque village of Horseshoe Bay has several outstanding seafood restaurants. Sewell’s marina is also located here offering boat rentals for exploration of the beautiful coastline of West Vancouver and the southern part of Howe Sound.
Sewell s Marina and the BC Ferry terminal at Horseshoe Bay Village in West Vancouver.
Sewell's Marina and the BC Ferry terminal at Horseshoe Bay Village in West Vancouver.
Active Pass, home of the mermaids
Active Pass is a narrow, 5.5 km-long channel separating Mayne and Galiano Islands, two of the Gulf Islands in the Strait of Georgia, in southern British Columbia. Because it’s a tight passageway in a marine section of significant tidal variations, strong eddies and fast currents are always present in the pass, making it dangerous for smaller vessels. The name of the pass, however, derives from the “USS Active”, a 750-tons United States Navy survey vessel, said to having been the first steamer to navigate the pass in 1855.
Currently Active Pass is a busy stretch of water used by pleasure craft, fishing boats, freighters and the British Columbia Ferries in their transit to the Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal north of Victoria, on Vancouver Island. A variety of wildlife may be seen in the pass, including several species of seagulls, harbour seals and bald eagles. According to a book published by journalist Gary Bannerman, passengers travelling on a BC Ferry in 1967 claimed having seen a long-haired mermaid sitting on a rock and eating a salmon.
A British Columbia ferry travels along Active Pass en route between Horseshoe Bay and Swartz Bay Fer...
A British Columbia ferry travels along Active Pass en route between Horseshoe Bay and Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal on Vancouver Island.
Burrard Inlet and Vancouver skyline
One of the best views of the port and downtown Vancouver can be seen from the slopes of the North Shore Mountains across the Burrard Inlet. The North Shore is home to the City and District of North Vancouver and the city of West Vancouver. The Vancouver skyline is most striking along the section between the Lions Gate Bridge and the Second Narrows Bridge.
The section shown in the image below covers the route regularly travelled by the Seabus, the passenger ferry service connecting Waterfront Station, in downtown Vancouver, near Gastown, with the Lonsdale Quay Seabus terminal in North Vancouver.
Night-time view of Vancouver s skyline from the foot of Lonsdale Ave. in North Vancouver.
Night-time view of Vancouver's skyline from the foot of Lonsdale Ave. in North Vancouver.
Gastown, Vancouver’s birthplace
The settlement that grew in the south shore of the Burrard Inlet around the sawmill known as Hastings Mill came to be called Gastown because of its association with the rudimentary tavern established there by British-born "Gassy Jack” Deighton in 1867. By 1870, the budding town site was renamed "Granville" which in 1886, at the time the first local government was established, changed again its name to “Vancouver”.
The location where the city of Vancouver was born still exists as a historic landmark where the rough-and-rowdy off-work loggers and fishermen spent good part of their time and most of their money. Today, the cobblestone streets of Gastown hold a mix of fashion boutiques, tourist-oriented businesses, restaurants, nightclubs, art galleries, and music and art studios. And, of course, the steam-powered clock on the corner of Cambie and Water Street designed and built in 1977 by Canadian clockmaker Raymond Saunders.
Store front of  OK Boot Corral - BC s Western Boot Headquarters   a colourful shop in historic Gasto...
Store front of "OK Boot Corral - BC's Western Boot Headquarters", a colourful shop in historic Gastown, Vancouver, B.C.
The steam-powered clock on the corner of Cambie and Water Street in Vancouver s Gastown displays the...
The steam-powered clock on the corner of Cambie and Water Street in Vancouver's Gastown displays the time on four faces and announces the quarter hours with a whistle chime that plays the "Westminster Quarters".
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