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We recently stumbled across a couple of great city escapes for garden and nature lovers.

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The UBC Botanical Garden contains its own version of Cliffwalk and the Capilano Suspension Bridge: Greenheart Canopy Walkway. You’ll be walking 17.5 metres above the lush forest floor along a series of eight hand-railed, narrow metal suspension bridges.

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Billed as an eco-adventure, the walkway has been built to have minimal impact on the surrounding nature. According to the website, canopy walkways are a growing global trend in sustainable, non-evasive eco-tourism.

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It’s not however for the faint of heart. I’ve been to Lynn Canyon’s suspension bridge, as well as to Cliffwalk and Capilano, but this one was very shaky and quite scary compared to the others!

There’s signage at the entrance gate containing a lot of responsibility waivers and risk factors. I now understand why. There are fully guided tours available lasting about 45 minutes and offered every hour on the hour.

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Access the canopy by a 10 minute walk along Upper Asian Way (the main road from the shop and admission area) and look for the entrance door to the left of the canopy exit.

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After the canopy adventure, I walked the gardens and took in the fragrant trees along the many paths that comprise the botanical garden.

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The Fingerleaf Rodgersias are in full bloom and the gardens smell terrific this time of year!

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UBC Botanical Garden is located at 6804 SW Marine Drive in Vancouver. Opening hours are weekdays 9 am – 5 pm and weekends 9:30 am – 5 pm. The Greenheart Canopy Walkway is open daily from 10 am – 4 pm.

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A more serene experience can be found at Nitobe Memorial Garden, down the road from the botanical garden. The garden is a tribute to Inazō Nitobe (1862-1933) and was created from two and a half acres of pristine forest.

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Dr. Nitobe was a Japanese scholar, educator, and diplomat. This garden realizes his lifelong dream of “becoming a bridge across the Pacific” for fostering understanding between all cultures.

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The garden is meant to be enjoyed year-round, with cherry blossoms in spring, irises in summer, and maples in autumn.

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Some of the maple and cherry trees along with most of the azaleas and irises were brought over from Japan. In addition, native BC western red cedars and hemlocks are pruned Tokyo style in order to accentuate the delicate structures of their trunks and branches.

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The Nitobe is a meticulously designed gem down to each last stone. It’s considered one of the best traditional Japanese gardens in North America and ranks among the top five outside Japan. As this post is going live while we’re travelling through Oregon, we’ll hopefully have visited the Portland Japanese Garden and write about our experience there.

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by comparison, Portland’s garden claims to hold the title of most authentic Japanese garden outside of Japan with 5.5 acres of beauty.

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Nitobe Memorial Garden is located at 1895 Lower Mall in Vancouver. Opening hours are weekdays 9 am to 5 pm and weekends 9:30 am to 5 pm.

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Admission to the Botanical Garden, Greenheart Canopy Walkway and Nitobe Memorial Garden is offered as a $24 bundled ticket for adults, $12 for children, and $50 for a family (max. two adults, four children).

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