Mile Zero West – Beacon Hill Park

Mile zero west - Victoria BC Mile zero Terry Fox Dreams

This well photographed site hosts the Canadian National Marker called Mile Zero that marks one of two western  points of the Trans Canada (TC) Trail and Highway. Just shy of a half a hectare in size, Mile Zero West is a beautiful landscaped triangular shaped lawn that is part of Beacon Hill Park. It is separated from the main parkland by Battery Street in Victoria, B.C. The TC Highway passes through the southern towns and cities of the provinces of Canada to St. John’s, Newfoundland, whose terminus is Mile Zero East. That’s an eight thousand and thirty kilometer distance. The Trans Canada Trail is multi-user trail that mostly parallels the highway. A statue of Terry Fox, a young Canadian man whose dream was to complete a foot race across Canada despite diagnoses with cancer, stands just behind the marker and looks south to the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Salish Sea. A plaque and monument acknowledging Stephen Fonyo’s marathon across Canada also lies in nearby. A couple of Garry oak, shore pine and horse chestnut trees provide limited shade of the lovely flower beds and benches in this green space.

Geographic coordinates N48° 24′ 33” W123° 22′ 8″

Mile Zero-Beacon Hill Park can be reached from Blanchard Street. Stay on Blanchard Street as it merges with Douglas Street near Southgate and Superior streets. This marks the northwestern corner of Beacon Hill Park. Continue along Douglas Road to Dallas Road and look for the markers near the junction of Douglas, Dallas and Battery Street. City buses travel to the Beacon Hill Park and in the James Bay area from downtown Victoria.

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Chapman Park

 

chapman park  6Chapman Park lies near the Cook Street Village neighborhood of the City of Victoria, B.C. This park is a 0.26 hectare grass covered area with a ship-shaped play structure. Located only about a block east of Cook Street Village, its playground is designed for those with a sea-imagination. A slide extends down from the platform that is reached by stairs and ladders from the wood chip covered ground. Garry oak, London plane, black locust and alder trees provide amply shade for the playground, picnic table and benches. There is just enough lawn to play a game of bocce ball or catch. This quiet parkland is bordered by a sidewalk along both Linden Avenue and Chapman Street. The northern corner perimeter is formed by the chain-link and wooden fences from the two bordering properties. This park, and perhaps the two blocks that make Chapman Street, may have been named, in the early nineteen hundreds, after either of the Victorian residents Howard J. Chapman, a photographer, or Dr. John Chapman Davie, a physician and surgeon. Cook Street Playground – Beacon Hill, Clover Point Park, Moss Rock Park and Sir James Douglas Elementary School Green Space are nearby.

Geographic coordinates N48° 24′ 46” W123° 21′ 10″

Chapman Park can be reached from Blanchard Street. Turn east onto Fairfield Road and follow along to Linden Street. Turn right onto Linden and look for the park located on at the junction with Chapman Street. There is limited roadside parking. City buses travel along Fairfield Road and Cook Street from downtown Victoria.

Clover Point Park

Clover Point Park is a very popular waterfront park that projects into the Strait of Juan de Fuca of the Salish Sea near Ross Bay. Named for the reddish-purple flowers of springbank clover (Trifolium wormskjoldii) in eighteen forty two, the point of land that forms Clover Point was the arrival point for Sir James Douglas. This four hectare park extends from Cook Street along the waterfront to Memorial Crescent within the City of Victoria, B.C. The shoreline is mostly rocky, even at low tides. A lower low tides, a small sand and cobble beach is exposed below the cliffs on the southwestern side of the park. Access to this beach is from the pathway on the western side of the point.

 

There are two main walkways along the shore within this park. The paved ridge pathway is very popular with hikers, walkers and dog walkers. It is always amazing to see the different breeds of dogs. The grass covered area between the pathway and Dallas Road is frequented by paragliders, kite flyers and, occasionally, elementary school children running their cross country races. The bluff has a split cedar fence to limit access the cliff. The bluff is composed of glacial sediments that erode easily. The rocky beach trail is best at low tides and is frequently used. The beach route continues to the staircase, designed using the WWII turret, up to the Dallas Road and Cook Street junction.

 

Clover Point promontory has a paved half a kilometer circle drive bordered by a parking area that surrounds a large grass covered field. This site hosts a pancake breakfast during the start of the Swiftsure Yacht Race in May. An outdoor sculpture, Millennium Peace by sculpturist Maarten Schaddlee, is found near the junction of the park access and Dallas Road. Curved into Vancouver Island Marble is was placed in the year two thousand on Earth Day.

 

Despite the sewage pumping station building on its eastern side, this park is a great place to fly kites, walk your dog, walk with friends or just enjoy the panoramic view of the Strait of Juan de Fuca of the Salish Sea with the background of the Olympic Mountains in Washington State, USA. On windy days wind surfers take to the waves in Ross Bay and Finalyson Point. Beacon Hill Park borders on clover point to the west and Ross Bay Walkway extends to the west.

Geographic coordinates N48° 24′ 20” W123° 20′ 60″

Clover Point Park can be reached from Blanchard Street. Stay on Blanchard until you reach Dallas Road. Turn left and follow along until the promontory of Clover Point can be accessed. City buses travel along Fairfield Road and other streets in the Fairfield area near this park.

Ross Bay Cemetery Green Space

RBC trees 2 RBC pine trees 2 RBC Chilean pine

Eleven hectares along the water front of Ross Bay, Salish Sea, form the Ross Bay Cemetery, and its green space, in the Fairfield community of Victoria, B.C. This cemetery is like a large neighborhood park that has a unique arboretum, amazing sculptures and monuments as well as plenty of benches and pathways. There is even a restroom located near the southwestern corner, off Memorial Crescent. It is a remarkable site to visit as a hiker, history buff as well as a naturalist.Two creeks, East Creek and South Fairfield Stream, once flowed through these lands forming deep ravines that have been diverted into culverts. The ravines were filled during development in this area which now hosts space for over thirty five thousand interments. These consist mostly of double-depth plots. The tombstones vary from ornately elaborate gabled Gothic tablets, obelisk and bi-columnar monuments to simple granite tablets and screens. Thus allowing remembrance of the various historical figures of Victoria, B.C. Numerous trees and shrubs were planted in eighteen seventy two during development and are considered heritage trees for this area. Due to its proximity to the seashore, salt spray tolerant trees and plants form the windbreak and border along Dallas Road and Ross Bay Walkway. These include white pine, Wheatley’s and cork bark elm and tamarisk, a salt cedar, trees. Within the park are several Garry oak trees, black locust and big leaf maple trees. A large Camperdown elm, Ulmus glabra, a form of Scotch elm tree; and atlas cedar tree can also be found along the pathways. The trees that form the length of Memorial Crescent are a mixture of conifer trees including a temple juniper, Austrian pine, Chilean pine, Japanese red pine, and Himalayan white pine. The hedge plants form the park border along Memorial Crescent, Fairfield Road and the alleyway of St. Charles Street include ash, boxwood, English hawthorn, holly, laurel and yew. There are several books and many brochures like those provided by the Victoria Heritage Foundation and the Old Cemeteries Society with burial information in this cemetery. Clover Point Park, Ross Bay Walkway, Little Ross Bay Park, Hollywood Park, Porter Park and Moss Rock Park are nearby.

Geographic coordinates N48° 24′ 39” W123° 20′ 39″

Ross Bay Cemetery can be reached from Blanchard Street. Turn east onto Fairfield Road. Look for the cemetery at 1495 Fairfield Road between Memorial Crescent, St Charles Street and Dallas Road. There is limited roadside parking and numerous access trails to the grounds. City buses travel along Fairfield Road from downtown Victoria.

Bushby Park

Bushby Park Bushby Park 5 Bushby Park 6

Shaded by some large London plane and Garry oak trees, Bushby Park has a toddler friendly playground on a sand base. This green triangular oasis is like a kids’ backyard garden in this busy Fairfield neighborhood of Victoria, B.C. This park gets nicknamed Ross Bay Park since it only a block inland, along Eberts Street, from Ross Bay Seawalk and Clover Point Park. The paired toddler swings and big kids swings, a long tall slide, teeter totter are complemented by a roundabout from the playground equipment. A large grassy area covers the rest of the 0.2 hectare parkland and has just enough open space for a tossing a Frisbee or playing bocce ball. Moss Rock Park (Fairfield Hill Park) is the large hill further north along Eberts Street where there is a discrete trail that leads up the rocky slope to this park.  Bushby Park have been named to honor Arthur Thomas Bushby who in eighteen fifty eight became the private secretary for Judge Matthew Baille Begbie. Memorial Crescent Green Space, Ross Bay Cemetery and Clover Point Park are nearby.

Geographic coordinates N48° 24′ 33” W123° 20′ 47″

Bushby Park can be reached from Blanchard Street. Turn east onto Dallas Road and follow along past Clover Point to Eberts Street. Turn left off of Dallas Road onto Eberts Street. The park is at the junction of Bushby Street and Eberts Street. There is limited roadside parking in this compact neighborhood of Fairfield in Victoria, B.C. City buses travel along Fairfield Road from downtown Victoria.

Moss Rock Park

Moss Rock Park view Moss Rock Park rocks

Also called Fairfield Hill Park, Moss Rock Park has a great view over Clover Point Park and across the Strait of Juan de Fuca toward the Olympic Mountains of Washington State, USA. Take a turn at one of the two benches with views of the City of Victoria and the Salish Sea in this two hectare parkland. This is a splendid natural rocky area to have a picnic and to scrabble over rocks to the summit at about 41 meters. In the spring, the wildflowers like camas, nootka rose and honeysuckle are spectacular. Garry oak and arbutus trees manage to grow in a few of the few level areas in the park. There is a steep rock route from May Street to the lower bench near the hill top. The park borders along private property, Masters Road and May Street. From May Street, via a rough trail near 204 Memorial Crescent, the eastern side of the park can be accessed where the summit is about 39 meters. The view from this part of the parkland is over Ross Bay Cemetery. Bushby Park, Sir James Douglas Elementary School Green Space, Porter Park and Clover Point Park are nearby.

Geographic coordinates N48° 24′ 45” W123° 20′ 465″

Moss Rock Park can be reached from Blanchard Street. Turn east onto Fairfield Road and follow along to Masters Street. Turn right onto Masters Street and drive up the street to near the end where there is a trail to the park. There is very limited roadside parking on Masters Street but parking might be available along May Street. City buses travel along Fairfield Road from downtown Victoria.

 

Ross Bay Seawalk

Ross Bay eastern shore 3

Come to Ross Bay to enjoy a wonderful seaside walk along Dallas Road. This is also a spectacular place to see storm waves crash along the beach or, in May of each year, watch the sailing yachts start the Swiftsure Yacht Race. With the choice of strolling over cobble beach stones, beached logs or along a concrete sidewalk, this seawalk suits just about everyone’s mobility. Located between St Charles Street and Memorial Crescent, the six hundred and twenty meter seawalk is right along the shoreline of Ross Bay. The trail is part of the seawall that protects the shores of Fairfield and Ross Bay Cemetery. The wide concrete seawall, built by nineteen fifteen, was redesigned with the addition of the large cobble stones and three long granite boulder groyns to diminish the flow of water along the beach. These projections can be seen along the shoreline at low tides. About fifty years early, in the mid eighteen hundreds, both East Creek and South Fairfield Creek drained into the bay. These creeks would have added small sediment to the waters and replenished some of the beach area. Along the upper areas of the beach. look for beach lupine, a low sprawling pea plant, gum weed^, a yellow flowering aster, and beach grass; plants that help to stabilize the shoreline. The views across the Salish Sea and Strait of Juan de Fuca toward the Olympic Mountains of Washington State, USA, are wonderful. Named for Isabelle Mainville Ross, Ross Bay and part of the cemetery were once her farm land. Ross Bay Cemetery is an interesting place to extend your walk for both the gardenlike setting of the grounds as well as the unique grave stones and monuments. If the winds are light, this area can be used to launch a kayak or paddle board, although the tidal currents are worth paying attention too.

 

Geographic coordinates N48° 24′ 32” W123° 20′ 39″

Ross Bay Seawalk can be reached from Blanchard Street. Turn east onto Fairfield Road and follow along to Memorial Crescent. Turn right onto Memorial Crescent and then turn right at Dallas Road. There is limited roadside parking along Dallas Road near this intersection. The walkway is to the east and Clover Point Park is to the west. City buses travel along Fairfield Road from downtown Victoria.

^http://www.botanicalgarden.ubc.ca/potd/2009/01/grindelia_integrifolia.php (this plant looks like a dandelion)