Day Eight (Friday) – Ferries, Flower Gardens, and Oceans

Today was Vancouver Island day, which meant taking a ferry from Vancouver to the island. Before the trip, we checked the schedules for both ferries and found that the ferry from Vancouver to Victoria left every hour on the hour, while the ferry from Victoria to Port Angeles had a more limited schedule – 6:10 and 10:30am. We decided to not pre-book the ferries, figuring there wasn’t going to be much demand for a 6:10am Saturday morning ferry, and with the hourly departures from Vancouver, we wouldn’t have much of a problem with getting on the ferry.


When we were in Hinton, Alberta, we noticed that the 10:30am ferry to Port Angeles was on standby, so we decided to book the 6:10 ferry. We still held out on not pre-booking from Vancouver to Victoria.

We arrived at the Tsawwassen ferry terminal at 9:30am and were greeted by a sign telling us there was a 3 hour wait for the ferry. We read, checked our devices, and played word finds. Finally, we got on the ferry early – at 1:00pm.

This ferry wove its way through an island chain off the coast of Vancouver Island. Many of these islands have homes on them, which would be a fantastic lifestyle!

After a 90-minute ferry ride, we arrived on Vancouver Island at Sidney. We headed to Butchart Gardens. Living in Minnesota, we were familiar with Clemens and Munsinger Gardens in St. Cloud. However, Butchart Gardens is much more beautiful. Although I love to write, I’ll let our pictures do the talking for us. Words alone simply are inadequate to describe this wonder.


When our two-hour tour of Butchart Gardens was complete, we drove about 30 minutes to our hotel just outside downtown Victoria. After checking in, we drove to downtown to check the route the next morning to the ferry terminal to Port Angeles. Along the way, we saw our second Chinatown (our first was in Montreal). Victoria’s Chinatown is the oldest one in Canada and is only younger than San Francisco’s Chinatown.

chinatown victoria bc

After checking the path to tomorrow’s ferry, we went down to the coast. Given our time constraints, we figured this would be the only opportunity to walk along the ocean (actually the Salish Sea). It was Ava’s first time seeing the ocean!

Read on to Day 9: A Second Ferry Ride, and a Day of Disappointment