On our recent trip, earlier this month, we seemed to be the only guest boat at almost every marina we went to. Butchart Gardens was no exception.
Butchart Gardens is world famous, with close to one million visitors every year to their spectacular 55 acres of gardens. The Gardens are now over 100 years old, and look good at any time of year. During the summer there's a fireworks display every Saturday night. It's said to be spectacular. I'm not sure how visible it would be from a boat, but certainly would be worth a visit to see. Perhaps someone else can give some input on that?
Our visit, in early May, allowed us to see it at a very bright time, with tens of thousands of tulips in bloom.
The tiny bay just to the north of Butchart Gardens has 4 dedicated mooring buoys, and 4 marked stern tie rings on shore. The mooring buoys have no posted size limit, though they're fairly close to shore, and we were told by B.G. staff that they are usually full, with rafted boats, and other boats anchored in between, also stern tied. Stern tie is required, as the bay is so narrow, and a channel to the dinghy float needs to be kept open for floatplanes to come and go. There is NO CHARGE for using these buoys, and no requirement to visit the Gardens. I'd be shocked to find an empty buoy in the summer.
On our visit we were the only boat in the bay! We took the dinghy ashore, and at the top of the ramp there's a locked gate, intercom, credit card reader and video camera. Entry was $27 CDN. Worth it!
Just 5 minutes north is the Brentwood Bay Marina, which has guest moorage. We checked it out by dinghy and moorage would have been close to $70/night for our AT-34.
Around the corner to the south is Tod Inlet, less than 5 minutes by dinghy, which is very well sheltered and has room to anchor at least 50-100 boats I'd say.
Looking out the bay. The boats to either side of us are at private moorages. The dinghy dock is in the foreground, with the bay side reserved for float planes.
There are 3 restaurants and cafes on the property. Plan to spend about 2 hours to walk around the area.
The sunken gardens. This was a limestone quarry, partially filled in to make the gardens.
Another quarry, with a very active fountain, always in motion.