Tofino Botanical Garden Explores Nature, Culture & Science

Updated on December 4, 2023 by Meg

Tofino Botanical Garden Founder George Patterson on Themes of Moderation and Believing in Your Vision

Tofino Botanical Garden on the west coast of Vancouver Island was founded by and is directed by George Patterson. Located in the northeastern Pacific Ocean, the island is part of Canada's province of British Columbia. George founded Tofino Botanical Gardens in 1997 and its twelve acres of gardens, old growth forest, and shoreline explore the relationship between culture and nature. He visualized a garden with three components: an idea, a place, and an action. The Gardens follow strict sustainability initiatives by never using chemicals on their plants, composting kitchen waste for public education programs, and allowing guests to use the herbs and greens in the kitchen.

George was a co-founder in 1991 of the Clayoquot Biosphere Project and has been involved in efforts to encourage research and educational activities in the area for more than twenty years. He served as a director of the Clayoquot Biosphere Trust for the first five years of the CBT’s existence.

George is a native of New Jersey and discovered a passion for plants through a bit of serendipity while studying Latin American history and literature at Harvard University. After stints with Bartlett's Tree Service and Arnold Arboreteum, George owned an Interior and urban landscape design company in Boston for 17 years.  He came to Tofino 22 years ago by way of Costa Rica, where he established an arboroteum.

I know you’ll find enjoyable and inspiring George’s take on the relationship between culture, nature and science; the ‘War in the Woods’ that occurred in the Tofino area in the 1990s between the logging industry and activists; themes of moderation and believing in your vision; and the role of a garden as place to set the heart free.

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Meg Pier

Meg Pier

Publisher and editor of People Are Culture (PAC). This article was created by original reporting that sourced expert commentary from local cultural standard-bearers. Those quoted provide cultural and historical context that is unique to their role in the community and to this article.


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