Getting Lost Inside The Elizabethan Hedge Labyrinth Out At VanDusen Gardens

Inside-the-maze

Lauded as one of Vancouver’s most popular tourist attractions, the VanDusen Gardens is a beautiful spot catering to families and flora fanatics. Opened to the public in 1975, the expansive gardens sit on Shaughnessy land that once belonged to the CPR Railway and previously operated as the Shaughnessy Golf Course. The grounds were named for lumber industrialist Whitford Julian VanDusen , a founding member of the Vancouver Foundation and a major funder of the site. The intricate gardens also include one very special feature: an Elizabethan hedge maze.

The maze is said to be one of only six of its kind in North America, and although some might say it’s best enjoyed by children, I’d have to politely disagree (I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve gotten lost in there before). Justice, Webb & Vincent Landscape Architects, the garden’s design team, featured original members of the first Vancouver firm to specialize in landscape architecture. Their multicursal labyrinth is modelled after the great English designs of the late 16th century and is comprised of 3,000 pyramidal cedars (Thuja occidentalis ‘Fastigiata’) that were planted in 1981. Bonus: an annual Easter egg hunt is held inside the maze each year.

  • Whitford Julian Van Dusen circa 1911
    Whitford Julian Van Dusen circa 1911
  • Viewpoint
    Viewpoint
  • View across the top
    View across the top
  • The Van Dusen Maze - 1992
    The Van Dusen Maze - 1992
  • The Maze with views of homes behind it - 1985
    The Maze with views of homes behind it - 1985
  • The completed maze circa 1981
    The completed maze circa 1981
  • Pre-Maze VanDusen Gardens circa 1980
    Pre-Maze VanDusen Gardens circa 1980
  • Open area behind the maze - 1982
    Open area behind the maze - 1982
  • Monkey tree at the center of the maze
    Monkey tree at the center of the maze
  • Laying Out The Maze Design Before Planting - 1981
    Laying Out The Maze Design Before Planting - 1981
  • Landscape Model of VanDusen Gardens - 1969
    Landscape Model of VanDusen Gardens - 1969
  • Inside the maze
    Inside the maze
  • Fall at VanDusen
    Fall at VanDusen
  • Exterior
    Exterior
  • Concept Drawing - 1984
    Concept Drawing - 1984
  • Buddleja Globosa (archival photo)
    Buddleja Globosa (archival photo)

There are 0 comments

You Should Know

Vancouver’s Cruel and Ridiculous Lack of Public Toilets: A History

Despite its world class pretensions, this city has always made it hard for its citizens to find relief on the go.

How Chinatown’s ‘Ding-Ho’ Once Ruled Vancouver’s Take-Out and Delivery Game

Christine Hagemoen shares how a trailblazing Canadian-Chinese fast food restaurant indelibly changed our food scene.

How Mt. Pleasant Narrowly Escaped Having a Massive Cop Shop and Jail

In early the early 1950s, the City of Vancouver had big plans to build a new police station where Kingsgate Mall is today.

The Origins of Vancouver’s Fitness Fetish

We trace the story of the government-sponsored program that once had Vancouverites sweating en masse.