Select Traveler

NOV-DEC 2016

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selecttraveler.com 29 N O V E M B E R / D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 6 THE CAPITAL CITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA almost couldn't help itself. With its Mediterranean climate — dry summers and warm winters — Victoria is "a great place to grow things, so garden- ers fl ock here," said Karen Elgersma, manager of media relations for Tourism Victoria. Victoria is called the City of Gardens and received the award for International Garden Destination of the Year in 2015. e city show- cases its gardens and shows off its gardening culture at every turn, but several gardens are must-see sites. Butchart Gardens had an unlikely beginning as a limestone quar- ry. But when the quarry was spent, Jennie Butchart fi lled it with soil and transformed it into gardens. Today, it is a year-round destination with fl owers and fi reworks in the summer, harvest and foliage in the fall, the 12 Days of Christmas in winter — think holiday-themed sculptures made out of plants — and cherry blossoms, daff odils and tulips in spring. "Every month and every season has its own personality," Elgers- ma said. e Gardens at Horticulture Centre of the Pacifi c (HCP) are "a gar- dener's garden," she said. e center has a host of gardens, including Japanese, Mediterranean and bonsai gardens but is famous for the Doris Page Winter Garden. Groups can take guided tours, workshops and hands-on classes, or enjoy produce from HCP's farm and veggie gardens during a meal at Charlotte and e Quail cafe. W W W . T O U R I S M V I C T O R I A . C O M NEARLY THREE CENTURIES AGO, Savannah's squares were utilitarian centers of daily life: Residents collected water, kept livestock and baked bread in communal ovens. Today, Savannah's 22 historic squares are lush green spaces shaded by Spanish- moss-draped live oaks and dotted with fountains, sculptures and monuments — and still bustling with people reading on benches, strumming on guitars and painting en plein air. "We basically consider them the heart and soul of the city," said Mindy Shea, director of tour, travel and international sales for Visit Savannah. When founder James Oglethorpe laid out Savannah in 1733, he followed a Roman Grid pattern with a central plaza every few blocks. Of the original 24 squares, 22 remain, one of which was reclaimed when the parking garage that covered it was demol- ished. Ellis Square reopened in 2010 and works well for groups because it's the most modern, Shea said, with plenty of places to sit, a splash fountain for kids, bike rentals and a life-size chess set. Wright Square is home to the Tomochichi monument and was the city's "hanging square" — be on the lookout for the ghost of Alice Riley. Chippewa Square may look familiar because it was where Tom Hanks sat on a bench throughout "Forrest Gump." Trolley and carriage tours give groups an overview of the squares; walking or Segway tours feature fewer squares but delve into more detail. W W W . V I S I T S A V A N N A H . C O M SAVANNAH, GEORGIA VICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA Courtesy Visit Savannah Courtesy The Butchart Gardens M E R C E R H O U S E B U T C H A R T G A R D E N S I N T H E F A L L B Y R A C H E L C A R T E R

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