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Art and gardens combine in Esquimalt

Urban Arts Tour is back for its 5th year and it keeps getting better 
Combining art and nature is a natural fit for the Urban Arts Tour.

Great American artist, Elizabeth Murray, once said that gardening was simply art that used flowers and plants as paint and the soil and sky as canvas. 

That being the case, the Esquimalt Urban Arts Tour is the perfect opportunity for people to combine their outdoor walking and cycling experiences with a feast for their artistic senses.  

The 5th annual self-guided art tour takes place on Saturday, July 6 between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., and provides folks with the opportunity to take in some of the City’s loveliest gardens while appreciating the works of some of Greater Victoria’s most talented artists. 

“We pair arts with gardeners throughout Esquimalt. The artists bring their work to the gardens for display (and sale) and people can simply come by and take it all in,” said Luca Jesse Apel, the executive director of the art tour. “What’s so amazing is how the gardeners and the artists have bonded over time and become close friends. We now have artists and gardeners asking to be paired with each other for future shows.” 

Gardener Maria Hendrikx (left) and artist Karen Guilbault (right).  Luca Jesse Apel

Art lovers who take part in the tour are provided with a map but are encouraged to design their own routes based on their own preferences – what they want to see and how far they want to travel. 

The garden pairing concept may, at least in part, have contributed to the success of the event which originally was devised as a work-around to crowded art markets amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. In its first year, only 13 artists participated but the event has grown. 

“This year we have about 45 artists (and gardens) participating, so there’s a quite large selection,” said Apel. “It’s been amazing to watch the event grow over the years. People love seeing the gardens and the artwork is amazing. There’s so much to see.” 

That art work, incidentally, is all generally available for sale to art lovers taking part in the tour. 

And, although the event first began with paintings as the primary art form, it now boasts artists who create, not only paintings, but also pottery, glasswork, fiber art, and more, all creatively displayed in stunning neighbourhood gardens. 

The event is an accessible, low-sensory, family-friendly event, with many stops welcoming strollers and cyclists, without the crowds of a traditional art market. 

To find event information, an interactive tour map, and list of participating gardeners and artists, visit  

One of the artworks on display on the Urban Arts Tour. Luca Jesse Apel