The “other” Victoria gardens: Mattick’s farm

by admin on May 2, 2012

Victoria gardensVictoria gardens are probably what we’re most famous for, even on the Saanich Peninsula. Our status as the Canada’s southernmost point (actually, that would be Point Pelee, in Ontario, 41°54′23″N, but we’re pretty sure we’re a lot warmer in winter!) means that, more than anywhere else in Canada, even Vancouver, Victoria and the Saanich Peninsula are home to Canada’s greatest floral displays.

While Butchart Gardens on the tip the Saanich Peninsula are world famous, there’s another “garden destination” closer to Victoria that attracts tens of thousands of visitors every year: Mattick’s Farm.

The towering Douglas Fir and cedar trees shelter moss beds and collections of ferns, while the arcades of the complex feature vibrant hanging baskets. Fountains are home to dragonflies and even the occasional frog. It’s a tranquil corner of Victoria that is a destination in and of itself.

Not only a shopping destination (its 15 shops are all locally-owned and all feature unique gifts and collectibles available nowhere else in Victoria), Mattick’s Farm is also home to a farmer’s market selling local produce, often grown on farms just up the road on the Saanich Peninsula. Besides pottery, crafts, BC wines and other “hyperlocal” products, Mattick’s farm celebrates the equestrian heritage of the Saanich Peninsula with high quality accessories for your horse and for horseback riding.

Mattick’s Farm, set in a wooded grove, also is home to the biggest and best mini-golf course in Victoria, and is also co-located with Cordova Bay Golf Course, which offers an 18-hole course and a shorter 9-hole course on top of a hill with majestic views of Mount Baker and Haro Strait. The golf course’s Bill Mattick’s Restaurant is named after the original owner of the property, “a one handed farmer and a notorious gambler.”

According to the excellent Sayward Hill blog:

By trade, Bill was a one-handed farmer, but the tales of his life are far more exciting than that title implies… He was a consummate showman, and stories still abound about the notorious poker games that were held on the property. Talk to anyone who has been in Victoria for long enough and they will tell you all about Bill’s fresh made donuts, the talking myna bird and the miniature train that were the hallmarks of Mattick’s Farm.

Read more about Bill here.

Getting back to the modern-day incarnation of the farm, here’s a list of the shops you can visit there today:

Mattick’s Farm is located at 5325 Cordova Bay Road, about 3 minutes east of Sayward Junction on Highway 17. It’s great place to view Victoria gardens.