Tai Chi means the ‘ultimate of ultimate’, often used to describe the vastness of the universe. Based on the ancient Chinese philosophy of Taoism, Tai Chi stresses the natural balance in all things and the need for living in spiritual and physical accord with the patterns of nature. This ancient practice combines slow, deliberate movements, meditation and breathing exercises.

How it works: Originally developed for self-defence, Tai Chi has evolved into a graceful, low-impact form of exercise that may be especially suitable, if you’re an older adult who otherwise may not exercise.

For over 15 years, I lived in the same neighbourhood as the HCP. In fact, I drove past the centre whenever I took Quayle Road over to West Saanich. Yet it wasn’t until I met Deborah Donahue, the GM for the gardens that I realized how much I had missed by not slowing down to experience everything on offer. This is a local gem, hiding in plain sight!

HCP inspires a natural learning environment to connect people—including children—with plants and nature. Their innovative education programs increase awareness of the importance and fragility of our natural environment and the importance of plants to a sustainable world. Youth Programs, college and community education classes are offered.