The Milner Gardens at Qualicum Beach

As I had mentioned on my previous post, our first two days of stay were generously sponsored by The Beach Club Resort. This excellent hotel is very well situated in downtown Parksville and thus lends itself very easily to allow you to explore in the vicinity of Parksville and Qualicum Beach. Since I didn’t bring a car, The Beach Club Resort very kindly shuttled Mom and I everywhere we needed (something that will have me forever in their debt). Our first stop in this whirlwind holiday was Milner Gardens and Woodland.

Milner Gardens at Qualicum Beach

From the literature I was given on the tour, I learned that Milner Gardens and Woodland has 70 acres of surface with an ancient coastal Douglas-fir forest. The actual garden has 10 acres with a collection of mature rhododendrons. I had a chance to take in some of the ocean views and they were simply amazing.

Music and art at Milner Gardens (Qualicum Beach)

I learned a little bit about the history of Milner Gardens from the Vancouver Island University website:

Horatio “Ray” Milner was born in Sackville, New Brunswick in 1889. The 28 hectare (70 acre) estate at Qualicum was Mr. Milner’s retreat from his busy business life in Alberta. He purchased the estate in 1937 and began to work on the garden with his first wife, Rina. Both loved the garden and forest. Sadly, however, Rina passed away in 1952. More extensive work on the 4 hectare (10 acre) garden portion of the estate was started in 1954 after Ray’s marriage to his second wife, Veronica. Mrs. Milner’s artist’s eye and horticultural expertise combined to shape the garden. She was an accomplished artist and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Art and Commerce. Her elegant pastel botanicals and rich oils cover the walls of the residence at Long Distance. The estate was acquired by Vancouver Island University in 1996. In May, 1996, the garden was dedicated as “The Milner Gardens” in recognition of Ray and Veronica Milner. VIU’s goal is to maintain the garden in perpetuity for education and the community’s benefit in Ray Milner’s memory.

Milner Gardens at Qualicum Beach

Milner Gardens at Qualicum Beach

While Mom’s mobility was slightly hampered, we were lucky that Milner Gardens has a number of golf carts that shuttle people around the forest. I walked around, snapped a gazillion photos and had a chance to talk with some of the volunteers. This operation is entirely volunteer-run and I can see why. The folks who are involved really get a lot out of it, particularly activity and enjoyment of the natural beauty of the Milner Garden, plus they are productive (mostly I found senior people to be the ones helping out). It really warmed my heart.

I would strongly recommend anyone who visits Parksville and Qualicum Beach to tour the Milner Gardens and Woodland. Moreover, I’ll be outlining my visit to the Milner House and Camellia Tea Room. Totally an experience in the field of high tea.


Disclosure: My and my Mom’s visit to Milner Gardens and Woodland was sponsored very generously through a media pass. I wasn’t paid to write this post, nor was I required to do so either. In anything I write or publish on my site, I retain editorial control at all times. Should you have any questions/concern feel free to contact me via e-mail through my contact form.

Related posts:

  1. Milner Christmas Magic at the Milner Gardens in Qualicum Beach
  2. Tanglebank Country Gardens (Abbottsford, BC: Circle Farm Tours)
  3. Swirl at the Beach Club Resort (Parksville Uncorked 2011)
  4. Qualicum Beach (Vancouver Island) in photos
  5. The Beach Club Resort in Parksville, BC

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