Oak Bay High School Green Space is in the seaside community of Oak Bay, one of thirteen areas of the Capital Regional District of British Columbia. This green space is has several pedestrian friendly pathways and large sports fields including an artificial turf field. This field is fenced with chain-linked wire fencing. There is a concrete seating area on the northside of the field. There several grass covered areas around the green space including the center of the oval running track. A large garry oak tree provides invaluable shade at the track. The school is part of the British Columbia School District 61 Victoria and the green space is accessible outside of school hours until dark. The school was rebuilt in 2016; the original buildings were from the late nineteen twenties. A large giant sequoia tree was planted in eighteen sixty two by Mr Alexis Casanave whose had property bordered along Bowker Creek. Several Garry oak trees are found on this green space. Bowker Creek Park borders on the south side while the Oak Bay Recreation Center lies to the southeast.
Geographic Location N48º 25’ 58” W123º 19’ 5”
Oak Bay High School Green Space can be reached from the Trans Canada Highway. Continue along the Hwy 1 into Victoria as it becomes Douglas Street. Turn off Douglas onto Hillside Avenue to head east. Stay on Hillside Avenue as it becomes Lansdowne Road. Continue along Lansdowne Road to reach Foul Bay Road. Turn onto Cadboro Bay Road to head east and look for the green space and parking area on the right. There are several parking areas and some street parking along Canmore Street. City buses travel along Cadboro Bay Road and Foul Bay Road.
The 174 hectare John Dean Park is managed by the Province of British Columbia with the assistance of the Friends of John Dean Park Society. The land was donated to the province in 1921 with additional donations by neighboring landowners. The parkland encompasses most of Mount Newton and lies in both North and Central Saanich. This place of refuge, or Lauwelnew, has an additional historical meaning as a safe haven from the flood for the local First Nations in the Saanich area. The trails through the forest and woodland meadows of John Dean Park are just beautiful for hiking and dog walking. There is even a bridle trail on the western slope. Give yourself at least an hour here or more. The six kilometers of interlinking trails have varied levels of difficulty. Following the service road as it winds through older second growth forest of Douglas-fir and cedar trees leads to a viewing platform at 333 meters, the summit of Mt Newton. The view is wonderful and takes in the pastoral Saanich Peninsula and across the Salish Sea to the Cascade Mountains of Washington State. A huge air traffic radar dome, built in 1989, is at the summit next to a historical survey point (WMHXM7) and a communications towers.An earth gravity place marker, a popular geocash site, and the water reservoir are also near the summit. Most of the trails are named after other land donors and include Barrett Montfort, Merrill Harrop, Woodward and Skipper’s trails. The trail that connects from the northern trail head is the Slektain Trail. Additional interlinking trails are the Surveyor’s and Thunderbird trails. Maps are available online as well as a several locations throughout the park. These trails allow exploration of second growth forests with season creeks, small ponds and wetland areas. Some of these areas were developed as the homestead of Mr. John Dean prior to donation of the land. There is a toilet at this park.
Geographic coordinates N48° 37′ 8″ W123° 26′ 9″
John Dean Park can be reached from Pat Bay Highway. Leave the highway at Exit 26, the McTavish Interchange, a unique and confusing series of roundabouts that make a multi-circle roadway overpass. Take the third exit onto McTavish Road then take the second exit to stay on McTavish Road. Follow McTavish Road to the East Saanich Road intersection. Turn left onto East Saanich Road past the Panorama Recreation Center on the right and look for the park sign at Dean Park Road. Dean Park Road winds through the Dean Park residential neighborhood to the park entrance. The gravel parking lot has room for several cars. This route is closed to cars during the winter months. Alternatively, the park can be reached from the west side using Alec Road off of West Saanich Road or from Thomson Place on the south side of the park. This trail leads through Haldon Park in Central Saanich. There is also a north entrance from Dunsmuir Lodge property with a pathway that leads to Slektain and Barrett Montfort trails.
See the provincial parks of British Columbia and Friends of John Dean Park websites for maps of the trails.
The view across Bazan Bay and the Salish Sea is terrific from the grasslands that form the footpath off of the eastern end of Lowe Road . The snowy peak of Mount Baker and the islands form a beautiful background for photographers. The four hundred and fifty meter path connects to the ends of Aldous, Ebor and Bourne terraces. The pathway is bordered by the chain-link fence of the federal Center for Plant Health, the former Dominion Experimental Farms. There are a few blackberry bushes along the fence line which would have berries ready by August. Both the Dominion Brook Park and Gulf View Picnic Site are near to Lowe Road Green Space. To reach the shore line of Bazan Bay stroll over to Amity Drive from either of the terraces and use the Amity Drive pedestrian overpass to safely cross Pat Bay Highway.
Geographic coordinates N48° 37′ 9″ W123° 24′ 50″
Lowe Road Green Space can be reached from Pat Bay Highway. Leave the highway at Exit 26, the McTavish Interchange, a unique and confusing series of roundabouts that make a multi-circle roadway overpass. Take the third exit onto McTavish Road then take the second exit to stay on McTavish Road. Follow McTavish Road to the East Saanich Road intersection. Turn left onto East Saanich Road past the Panorama Leisure Center on the right and continue past the Center for Plant Health. Turn left down Lowe Road and look for the hiking marker as the curves to become Emard Terrace. There is limited roadside parking along Emard or Lowe Road. Better parking for this green space can be found at the ends of either Aldous, Ebor or Bourne terraces which can be reached off Amity Drive. Alternatively, walk down Lowe Road from the city bus that travels along East Saanich Road.