Royal British Columbia Museum Sunken Garden

RBCM sunken garden

The sunken garden below the Royal British Columbia Museum is a great place to explore a unique area in the City of Victoria, B.C. Particularly since this garden, developed in nineteen sixty eight, could disappear under the foot print with the improvements of the museum building and grounds. The opportunity to explore nature and the outdoors in your backyard of downtown Victoria, B.C., is changing. Accessible from stairs on either side of the garden, a shallow pond and native plant garden, recessed below the roads on the corner of Government and Belleville streets, are like a secret refuge. In the Native Plant Garden of the Royal BC Museum, wild lilacs grow near the stairs that descend to the lower plaza. The Garry oak and shore pine trees are seen amongst several other native plants such as saskatoons, Oregan grape, red alder and another estimated three hundred other species. The sunken garden contains a pond with “Spirit” an abstract sculpture by Elza Meyhew which can be viewed from one of the benches along the concrete walkway. From the garden, there is an interesting view of the base and plaque for the carillon or singing tower. Constructed for the centennial and used since nineteen sixty eight, as well, the Netherland Centennial Carillon houses sixty three bells that ring periodically throughout the day. The bells are rung using a clavier, a keyboard of sorts, that is connected by a wire to each clapper. This singing tower is about twenty seven meters tall and is considered a musical instrument that is played by a carillonneur. Also on the grounds of RBCM is a cascading water fountain and a time capsule sealed in nineteen seventy-one. See if you can find them too. There are other places to explore near the sunken garden. Thunderbird Park, Elliot Square, Empress Hotel Garden, Parliament Building Gardens, Harbour Walkway, Cridge Park, St Ann’s Academy Gardens and Beacon Hill Park are nearby.

Geographic coordinates N48° 22′ 13” W123° 25′ 6″

Royal British Columbia Museum Sunken Garden can be reached from Blanchard Street. Stay on Blanchard as it curves to become Belleville Street. Follow Belleville Street to Government Street. The sunken garden is not easily seen but it is near the corner of Belleville Street and Douglas Street and across the road from the Empress Hotel rose garden. There is limited roadside parking in downtown Victoria and several parking areas such as a waterfront site accessible from Wharf Street. City buses travel along Douglas Street.

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