Beautiful sights and sounds fill the gardens

Horticultural Centre of the Pacific adds free parking shuttle from VI Tech Park for festival

Artist Natalie Shumka talks about her painting to Marian McCoy at the Horticultural Centre of the Pacific during a previous Arts and Music in the Gardens. The event is the primary fundraiser for the gardens and features the works of 40 artists.

It doesn’t take much to get Dana Gage excited about the little things at the Horticultural Centre of the Pacific.

Gage came to HCP earlier this year and is now in charge of one of Saanich’s biggest annual festivals, this weekend’s Arts & Music in the Gardens, Saturday and Sunday.

“We’re expecting 2,000 people. This is an ideal exemplification of the community that exists here at HCP,” she said.

While some might consider it subtle, Gage is over the moon about the addition of a free shuttle service running to HCP for both days of the festival from the Vancouver Island Technology Park’s east parking lot.

“It’s free, the parking is free, and it’s such a great solution to minimize the impact we bring on our neighbours,” Gage said.

Parking will once again be offered on the field of HCP’s neighbouring Quayle Road farm. But the less impact they can make on the neighbourhood the better.

Which is why they’re also offering a $1 discount on tickets to all cyclists.

“We’re assembling a bike rack area at the immediate front, we really hope more people can bike here this year.”

As the festival hits its 20-something birthday, it has gradually returned to the centre of the gardens from the lower field, bringing it out of the fields and making it more accessible for festival goers, Gage said.

The communal ‘Gathering Place’ will feature the majority of the fun while the lower field  will have some of the 40 artists and the beverage tent. Five food trucks are also coming in, Grilled to the Mac, Wannawaffel, the Gelato Bar, Taco Revolution, Coast Lunch Box, Red Wagon Espresson, and of course, the popular on-site Nourish restaurant will be open too.

Drinks in the beverage tent, by the way, will be local.

“De Vine Vineyards from Saanich and Sea Cider from Central Saanich, we love it, they have so much to offer,” Gage said.

“I think people really appreciate the effort we made to bring in 20 new artists, we are trying to offer the whole spectrum of painted work with metal, pottery and fabric.”

Music will go all day on three different stages.

Gage wants to remind visitors to bring a reusable water bottle as the CRD water cart will be on hand.

Arts & Music in the Gardens will have demonstrations by the Vancouver Island Bonsai Society and Victoria Flower Arrangers Guild.

Tickets are $11 for adults and $8 for students/seniors in advance, online at or on site. Tickets at the door are $12 and $9, respectively.


For more information call 250-479-6162 or visit The festival is Aug. 15 and 16, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The free shuttle from VI Tech Park begins at 10:30 a.m.



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