Vancouver Island is home to many talented artists as well as beautiful gardens that deserve to be admired. And during the seasons of Spring and Summer, Art & Garden Tours and Festivals are plenty. Here is a list of not to miss self-guided tours, shows and festivals that allow you to immerse yourself in the wonderful world of plants, flowers, and art!

Art & Garden Tours of Vancouver Island

Mindfulness in May

This first annual youth art exhibition in Qualicum Beach features pieces from young artists in grades 6 – 12. The theme is Nurturing Nature.

Behind this free event is Diane Moran, a visual artist and community activist, with MLA Adam Walker providing the venue at his community office. Along with sponsors Rotary, Vancouver Island University, the Qualicum school district, and the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Reserve, this should be a great event.

There will be a Sustainable Development Goals Workshop for students in Grades 6 – 12 on localizing global goals. This workshop is on May 3rd, 4:00 – 5:30 pm. Pre-registration is encouraged. There is also an opening Gala on May 6th from 1 to 3 pm

The Youth Arts Exhibition runs from May 1 – 13. Hours are Monday – Friday from 10:00 am – 1:00 pm; and again from 2:00 – 4:00. And on Saturday and Sunday, from 11:00 am – 3:00 pm.

Location: A – 184 Second Ave West, Qualicum Beach.

MARS – Mother’s Day Weekend Garden Tour

The annual MARS Mother’s Day Garden Tour is a chance for the public to peek into the finest gardens in Oceanside. With your ticket, this self-guided tour allows you to venture to several gardens in the areas of Qualicum Beach, Parksville and Nanoose Bay.

Many gardens will also feature artists, floral art creations, and Master Gardeners to answer your questions.

The tour runs from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM on Saturday and Sunday, May 13 & 14, 2023

Head to the MARS website to find out how to purchase tickets.

Hills to Shore Artists Studio Tour

Now in its 16th year, the Hills to Shore Artists Tour is a free, self-guided tour of artwork in artists’ studios across the Gordon Head, Mt. Tolmie and Cadboro Bay areas of Saanich. It is held over two days, and this year on Mother’s Day weekend. Bring mom for a Mother’s Day outing and shop original paintings, fabric art, sculpture, ceramics, jewelry, and garden art. Chat with the artists and watch them work. Many surprises are in store, including free draws.

Please visit their website for more information as well as a map of all the studios included.

Saturday and Sunday, May 13 and 14, from 11 AM to 4 PM.

Central Island Arts Guide & Studio Tour

A full directory of artists between Parksville and Campbell River can be found on the CV Arts website. And on the weekend of May 20 – 22, many of these locations will be opening their doors for an annual Art Tour. Due to the variety of makers and artists, there is something for every taste and budget.

The updated self-guided map has not been posted at the time of this publication, so keep checking their website for more info.

Kitty Coleman Art & Bloom Festival

This premiere event at the Woodland Gardens is set for the May long weekend and is a favourite attraction among locals. This annual festival brings together a spectacular 24-acre venue that already delights onlookers with its array of colourful spring blooms with dozens of talented artists. Walk among the 3,500 rhododendrons while admiring beautiful art.

May 20 -22; Saturday and Sunday, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm; and Monday, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm.

Location: Kitty Coleman Woodland Gardens (6183 Whitaker Road, Courtenay.

The Scattered Artists Art Tour

The Scattered Artists Art Tour is back with 30 artists at eight locations. This is a well-established and recognized art tour in Saanich. Enjoy a variety of art forms, including pottery, fine art, textiles, cards, jewelry and lots more. Come peek into the studios and explore the garden settings. The locations are all within a short distance from the Cedar Hill golf course. For more info and images of art, please visit their Facebook page.

This is a free event, and there will be door prizes!

The Art Tour runs on May 27-28 from 11:00 am – 4:00 pm.

Quadra Island Studio Tour

The talented artists on Quadra Island are ready to welcome you! This tour is a great way to explore Quadra and discover the artists who live there. Expect a variety of displays on this tour. And, of course, visitors are still invited to take a self-guided tour of many of the studios on the island after the June kick-off weekend. Maps can be found on the ferry and at various locations on the island.

The official kick-off Studio Tour is June 3rd & 4th, 2023!

Fernwood Art Stroll

Twenty-five artists are opening their studios, homes, and gardens in various locations in Fernwood and Oaklands to show a variety of arts and crafts. Stroll the leafy streets with the free downloadable map of the locations. Visit artist’s venues showing paintings, sculptures, watercolours drawings, crafts, fabric arts, woodwork, and more. There’s even a location for story-telling.

Some artists offer art activities for families with children. Visitors can stroll in the neighbourhoods, enjoy drinks and food in Fernwood’s cafes and bistros and see and purchase artwork, cards and prints. 

Bring the whole family to this two-day culture and creative event.

The 15th annual Fernwood Art Stroll takes place the weekend of June 10th and 11th and runs from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. Please check their website for more information.

Summer Arts & Music Festival

St. Andrew’s Lodge Historical and Cultural Society is putting on an art and music festival. It will be a full day of fun activities in a gorgeous waterfront setting. There will be an art and craft show and sale; nature walks conducted by Arrowsmith Naturalists; children’s entertainment; live music; and great food! A twilight concert with Arrowsmith Big Band is also set happen. Free admission.

Saturday, June 17, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm (day festivities) and the twilight concert from 7:00 – 9:00 pm.

Location: Saahtlam Park (3319 Island Hwy West, Qualicum Beach)

Nanoose Art in the Garden

This three-day event is a popular summer Nanoose Bay attraction. Walk through the garden, listen to live music, and enjoy great food while admiring and shopping from the talented Vancouver Island artisans.

The entrance fee is $10 per person, with children 12 years and under are free.  

Partial entrance fee proceeds go to the Nanoose Community Services, which helps local families and seniors in the community.
There will be FREE parking and Shuttle BUS Service from NBES school and Community Centre (2875 NW Bay Rd). The shuttle brings you right into the Art in the Garden property and leaves every 20min.

July 7th, Noon – 6:00 pm; July 8th, 10:00 am- 4:00 pm; July 9th, 10:00 am- 4:00 pm 

Location: 2525 Northwest Bay Road, Nanoose Bay

Art in the Park

This two-day arts and crafts market takes place in the beautiful gardens of Parksville Community Park. A variety of artisans will be there to show off their wares. Paintings, sculptures, jewelry, pottery, photography, art cards, children’s clothing, art glass, and much more will be available to purchase.

While in the area during this time, make sure to check out the Sand Sculpture Festival (July 17 – August 20).

Art in the Park: July 22 – 10:00 am – 6:00 pm; and July 23, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Sooke Fine Art Show

The Sooke Fine Arts Show provides the opportunity for the finest artists from Vancouver Island and BC’s coastal islands to showcase and sell their work.

July 29 – August 7, 2023

Show Hours: The show opens at 10:00 am daily and closes daily at 7:00 pm, except:
– August 3 – open until 9 pm for M-ART-ket night
– August 4 – closes at 5 pm for a special event
– August 7 – closes at 5 pm – last day of the show

Location: SEAPARC Leisure Complex (2168 Phillips Rd, Sooke)

Filberg Festival

This Art & Music Festival is set among the beautiful gardens and grounds of Filberg Heritage Lodge and Park. Attendees enjoy incredible art, music and nature. This year’s festival features a curated selection of over 100 talented artisans and makers of fine art in a variety of media ranging from metalwork, pottery, toys, woodcrafts, jewelry, paintings, glass, textiles and specialty foods. And, as always, will include its long-standing tradition of featuring exceptional Canadian talent in entertainment.

Filberg Festival also features a site-wide license showcasing Vancouver Island’s best beer, wine, and cider. Guests can enjoy a refreshing beverage while taking in all the festival’s crafts, sights and sounds.

Friday, August 4: 10 am – 8 pm
Saturday, August 5: 10 am – 8 pm
Sunday, August 6: 10 am – 6 pm

Arts on the Avenue

Wander First Avenue in Ladysmith to be immersed in various forms of art. From original paintings, jewelry, fabric art, carving, Indigenous-made art and more, you will not be disappointed.  The air is filled with music, and the streets are lined with art. There is even an art space for kids where young artists can create their own one-of-a-kind work to take home.

Art Jam (formerly known as Light Up the Night) takes place on August 26th from 6:00 PM-9:30 PM and is designed as a fun family evening event. There will even be a street dance!

The next day (August 27), head back to the same location for the Arts on the Avenue Market from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm.

Vancouver Island North Art Tour

Experience the north end of the island at your own pace through the many talented artists who reside there. This self-guided art tour includes over 15 unique stops at art studios and galleries across North Vancouver Island. Each location features a variety of work, from sculptures to paintings and carvings to stained glass.  Most studios, galleries and shops are open year-round but with limited hours during the off-season.

You can download the Art Tour Map here.

If you know of any other Art & Garden tours happening this spring and summer, please let me know, and I will add them to this list.

If you are looking for more gardens, don’t forget about this article: Spring Blooms on Vancouver Island.

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