Vancouver Daily World

The Vancouver Daily World was a major daily newspaper in Vancouver, British Columbia. It was more popularly known as The Vancouver World or The World.

In August 1917, the Vancouver World ran the first major newspaper story on the Butchart Gardens. That story appears in Chapter 5 of our Butchart Gardens History.

Here is an excerpt from Chapter 5 of our Butchart Gardens History:

“…….the Butchart’s Gardens did not receive any attention from the media until August 1917, when an unnamed writer for the now defunct Vancouver World newspaper visited the Butcharts. In a short article of eleven paragraphs, the Vancouver World’s reporter wrote that,

“I have seen many beautiful gardens both in reality and in dreams – but never anything to surpass for sheer loveliness and thrilling surprises the dreamlie (sic) quality of the Butchart gardens at Brentwood Bay.

            You ground your canoe at the Butchart private landing [then, as it still is today, in Tod Inlet, just offshore from the Japanese Garden] , which presents no hint of the surprises in store, walk along a narrow path for some distance….,when lo! you are in another world, and from now on “life is filled and our senses thrilled,” anew at every fresh turn.

 I do not believe there is such a lovely garden in all the world as this one of fourteen acres; it is heralded by no haughty gateway, but melts on the view of the beholder at the turn of an innocent path; it is fourteen miles from Victoria, or twenty minutes row from the Brentwood Bay Hotel.”

The same writer also commented on the gardens’ maintenance.

“There is a small army of Chinese gardeners busy under the capable direction of a Yorkshireman, [probably the Butcharts’ head gardener, William Westby] yet no trace of the litter of work is to be seen, although several pagodas are in the making, all is quiet, well ordered, peaceful, making the place a paradise indeed……The water lilies float in unsullied purity, for no trace of slime is permitted to pass the eyes of the vigilant warden of the ponds, and the lake runs crystal clear.”

The writer then turned to Jennie’s new Sunken Garden.

Bye and bye you wander on to the greatest surprise of all, then one can only feel, and utterly fail to express sensation, so moving is the delight, this surprise, eleven months ago, was a desolate disused stone quarry, and is now termed “the glory hole,” the bottom level and smooth as a gigantic billiard table (made so by forty feet of soil) every jutting point of rock is clothed with a luxuriant robe of flowers draped with the art with conceals art, with here and there a lily pond and one broad lake, while rising sheerly perpendicular from somewhere near the centre is a veritable Gibraltar in miniature, on whose top again is another garden with its lake, to be reached by a flight of steps cleverly cut from the rocks.”

This paragraph contains some interesting historical information, such as the Sunken Garden being referred to as “the glory hole”, rather than as “the Sunken Garden.” It also contains an apparent mistake; according to the Butchart gardens’ official history, the floor of the Sunken Garden was not made “level and smooth….by forty feet of soil”, but by lining the bottom of the old quarry with between one to three feet (about 0.3  to 1 metre) of loam and topsoil.

One particularly interesting item is the writer’s comment that the Sunken Garden had still been “a desolate disused stone quarry” in September 1916, a mere eleven months before the reporter’s visit to Tod Inlet. Although other sources suggest that the work of covering the floor of the former quarry with soil had begun by 1912 and that William Westby had started installing the Sunken Garden in 1914, it is significant that the first journalist known to have visited Benvenuto clearly reported that the Sunken Garden was still “a desolate disused stone quarry” in September 1916…….”

The Vancouver Daily World has left one very significant Vancouver landmark. The Sun Tower at 126 West Pender Street in downtown Vancouver was originally built in 1912 by architect William Tuff Whiteway for the Vancouver Daily World and was called the World Tower. The Sun Tower is on the Canadian Register of Historic Places.

Here is a map showing the location of the Sun Tower:

Here are some websites with more information about the Vancouver Daily World:

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