Pearson College Green Space

 

Pearson College Green Space is in the District of Metchosin, a coastal community in the Capital Regional District of British Columbia. This green space is on the property of the Lester Bowles Pearson College of the Pacific. It is named after a fourteenth Prime Minister of Canada (1963 to 1968).  L.B. Pearson was recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in organizing the United Nations Emergency Force.  The college, established in nineteen seventy four from property of the Department of Defense, is a United World College and admits an International Baccalaureate degree.  The facilities are off-limits to the public yet the trails are shared. Student use the trails for cross country running as well as research purposes.

 

This area was selectively logged in the early nineteen hundreds and has some unique flora. Cedar tree stumps, mostly with an approximate 1 meter diameter, are seen along the trails. Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla) and western red cedar (Thuja plicata) trees are found in this forest grove that has many rocky outcrops. Salal and ferns are the primary forest floor plants while mosses cover nearly every possible surface. Several ephemeral streams flow through the parkland while Cripple Creek forms the western perimeter.

There are two main access points to the green space. The primary pathways can be accessed from Pearson College Drive. Additional pathways are found between kilometers twenty eight and thirty of the Galloping Goose Trail – Metchosin. There are a maze of footpaths in this green space. The primary footpath that starts near the second sign that along the road into Pearson College.  This path can form a circular route that follows the perimeter of the College’s property. The route parallels the Galloping Goose Trail and provides an option to continue to the outdoor exercise and rope practice area.  Cripple Creek forms the western perimeter of the property with the locally named Pipeline Trail. This rough path skirts creek and Pedder Bay back to the College parking area.

The campus borders on Pedder Bay and glimpses of the marina can be seen as you stroll along Galloping Goose Trail – Metchosin from the Rocky Point Road site. The rough pathway into Pearson College is accessed from the Galloping Goose Trail near the 30 kilometer marker. This route lead down the slope to Cripple Creek and the Pipeline Trail.  A second trail to the green space is access from closer to the 29 kilometer maker of the GGT. This trail connects down the ravine of a small ephemeral creek and up the steep slope to the Barde Knockie or the Deep Woods Trail. A Metchosin Heritage sign marks the junction. The Deep Woods Trail was part of the original overland route from Victoria to Sooke used by early settlers. From the sign a turn to the left leads toward the Pearson College Drive while a turn to the right leads down toward Pedder Bay. Sandgate Green Space, Ron Weir Green Space, Matheson Lake Regional Park and the Galloping Goose Trail – Metchosin are nearby.

Geographical location             N48º 20’ 52” W123º 33’ 47”

Pearson College Green Space can be reached from Highway 1 when you exit at the Millstream /Veteran Memorial Parkway exit. Head south along the Veteran Memorial Parkway to reach Latoria Road. Turn left onto Latoria Road and continue along to reach Metchosin Road. Turn right onto Metchosin Road continue along as the road changes names to become William Head Road. Follow along the road to the junction with Pearson College Drive. Turn right onto Pearson College Drive and continue to the small parking area of Pearson College is at the end of Pearson College Drive. This is private property with a limited space for hikers to park their vehicles. All buildings are off limits and for continued usage of the trails in this area require respect from all users.

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Weaver Park

Weaver Park is in the Happy Valley neighborhood of Langford, B.C. This steep sloped park has a gradually curving paved pathway that leads the hill to Weaver Place. On the slope of this park are small groves of Douglas fir, cedar, arbutus and alder trees. In the spring time flowers bloom to add cover to the moss covered rocks that form the parkland. The view from the top of the hill is westward over Luxton Park and toward Mt Wells Regional Park.Weaver Green Space, Ernhill Park, Isabell Green Space, Sedgwick Park, Happy Valley Elementary School Green Space, Luxton Park, Fisher’s Pond Park and Glen Lake Park are nearby.

 

 

Geographic location N48° 25’48”  W123°31’41”

 

Weaver Park can be reached from the Trans Canada Highway also called Hwy1. Turn off Hwy1 at the Millstream and Veteran’s Memorial Parkway exit. Continue southward along VMP to reach Sooke Road. Turn right onto Sooke Road and continue to Happy Valley Road. Turn onto Happy Valley Road and continue along to reach Walfred Road. The trail into Weaver Park is a few meters further along Happy Valley Road just past home 3255. Alternatively continue along Walfred Road to reach Lodmell Road. Turn right onto Lodmell Road and then right onto Weaver Place. The park access is between homes 986 and 982 and looks like private property. There is limited roadside parking along Happy Valley Road. City buses travel along Happy Valley Road.

Galloping Goose Trail – Langford

GGT Langford 8

The Galloping Goose Regional Trail is a multi-use trail that connects Victoria to Sooke, approximately fifty five kilometers distance. This old rail bed was initially used during the nineteen twenties for a passenger train. Although it is never far from busy streets, walking, hiking and cycling, as well as sections that include use by equestrians, along the trail removes one from the bustling cars with glimpses of squirrels, flowers, trees and beautiful lookout points. The trail starts in the Victoria West neighborhood of Victoria, B.C., and continues onto Saanich, View Royal, Colwood, Langford, Metchosin and Sooke.

 

There are about four thousand and seventy seven meters to the Galloping Goose Trail in Langford, B.C. The trail enters the City of Langford near Country Terrace and parallels Atkins Road before it crosses over Mill Stream and continue into the Municipality of Colwood, B.C. This six hundred and fifty meter section is in a pastoral and rural area of the city as well as near the E&N Via railway track. Sections of the railway track are paralleled with a paved trail that is part of the Trans Canada Trail; this section is also proposed for trail development as the GGT heads westward while the railway track heads northwest (see Trans Canada Trail – Langford). Himalayan blackberry bushes, Nootka rose shrubs, oceanspray plants and snow berry bushes are seen along the route. There are several large big leaf maple trees, Douglas fir and arbutus trees that provide shade while walking and cycling. A picturesque wooden bridge crosses over the ravine formed by Mill Stream and several large pipes just before the trail continues into Colwood. Millstream Creek Park One is near this section of the GGT.

 

The second section of the GGT enters Langford from Colwood near the junction of Veteran’s Memorial Parkway (VMP) with Kelly Road. A discrete crossing over Colwood Creek can be spotted as the creek parallels the parkway’s east side from Kelly Road to Meaford Avenue. VMP Park lies on the east side of the roadway. A short foot path from the park connects onto the Goose near Kelly Road and VMP. Once across VMP, the Galloping Goose Trail is quite a wide gravel route. It continues past residential homes and landscaped properties as it passes near the West Shore Town Center shopping area. The skate board park and old buildings of the Belmont High School can be seen to the north before crossing over Jacklin Road. This portion is slightly shaded by popular trees and small shrubs. Colwood Creek Park lies to the south and can be reach using a gravel footpath. There are firs, oaks and willows that border portions of the trail.

 

West of Jacklin Road, navigated using an offset cross walk a few meters along Jacklin Road, the GGT touches on the shore of Glen Lake near Glen Lake Park. This is great spot to go for a swim in the lake. As trail continues westward it is bordered by blackberry bushes, Scotch broom and tall grasses. At the junction of the Galloping Goose Trail with Glen Lake Road there is a proposal to connect north to Shawnigan Lake which could complete a section of the Trans Canada Trail. It is unclear whether this is in addition to the trail that is proposed along the railway beside Atkins Road.

 

Once past the lake shore the Galloping Goose Trail heads south paralleling Happy Valley Road and passes by the Luxton Fair Grounds. This section of the trail is bordered by the fences of residential homes and popular trees. The GGT continues into Metchosin just after Winter Road.

 

Geographic location N48° 27’ 2” W123°28’11” along Atkins Road

 

Galloping Goose Trail Langford can be reached from several locations in Langford, B.C. Exit the Trans Canada Highway also called Hwy1. Turn at Millstream Road and turn south onto Veterans Memorial Parkway. Turn left onto Hoffman Avenue then right onto Winster Road and left onto Atkin Road. The trail is on the right side of Atkins Road near the railway crossing. There is limited parking along Atkins Road. Other options, in Langford, for accessing the Galloping Goose Trail are at Kelly Road and Veteran’s Memorial Parkway possibly leaving a vehicle at the West Shore Shopping Center parking lot; near the junction of Glen Lake Road with Sooke Road as well as at Winter Road and Happy Valley Road.

 

Trails BC and GGT websites as well as the 2004 Birder’s Guide: Lochside Regional and Galloping Goose Trail written by K. Taylor and published by Alabaster Publishing have further information about the trail.

Thetis Lake Regional Park

Thetis Lake Trail trees Thetis Lake Trail barrier Thetis Lake Trail view east 3

With a mountain, several hills, three lakes connected by a couple of creeks all united by several kilometers of trails, Thetis Lake Regional Park has amenities for those who enjoy exploring outdoors. Continued protection from development since the early eighteen hundreds makes about one hundred and sixty hectares of Thetis Lake Regional Park a unique area in View Royal, B.C. as well as in the Victoria area.

 

Thetis Lake was flooded, in the late eighteen hundreds, to form one of the water reservoirs that supplied water to Victoria and Esquimalt communities. Although the reservoir was a short term solution for the growing communities, it limited human activities in and around the lake. Further safeguards of this unique area came in the form of a nature sanctuary in the late nineteen fifties. When designation as parkland happened, in the early nineteen nineties, the parkland had increased by four hundred and twenty-four hectares. Presently, Thetis Lake Regional Park is a diverse eight hundred and thirty four hectares, although only about six hundred and thirty-five hectares remains as a second growth forest. The park is sectioned by several trails, roadways and hydro line corridors.

 

Four barriers were built to enlarge the original one hectare surface area of Thetis lake into the reservoir. The main swimming beach is a near the site of an earth dam. An ephemeral creek once drained from the southern end of the lake into Esquimalt Harbour near Mill Stream. A support reservoir on the south slope of Seymour Hill was built in the mid-eighteen hundred and eighty. Named Bladderwort Pond, it contains many wetland plants and amphibians. The other two barriers include a spillway and earth dams near the north end of both the lower and upper lake where the lake now drains into McKenzie Creek and toward Prior Lake. These waters eventually flow into Mckenzie Creek then Craigflower Creek and to the ocean waters of Portage Inlet. The bridge along the Trillium Trail was added when the barrier was removed to reconnect the upper and lower lake.

 

The terrain in Thetis Lake Park includes ancient lava beds, seen as fractured rock, granite with glacial striations and some large boulders. The step like effect on the hill on the east side and the wall on the west side of the lower lake were formed when moving ice broke away the rock in large sections. Stroll along the woodland trails through the groves of arbutus, Garry Oak and Douglas-fir trees. Visit Prior Lake or McKenzie Lake on the northwestern area or take in Stewart Mountain and Scafe Hill in the upper areas of Thetis Lake Regional Park. On the west side of the park trails connect with Thomas Francis Freeman King Regional Park in Saanich. On the southern side of the park trails connect to Mill Hill Regional Park in Langford.

 

 

There are two main lake areas and two smaller ones in this park, as well as numerous wetland areas and hills that rise to over a hundred meters. The fifty-five hectare surface area of Thetis Lake is distinct with upper and lower areas. There are many indentations along the shoreline of both areas of Thetis Lake which makes it a fun place to explore by on a paddle board, kayak or canoe. The sandy main beach along the south shore of the lower lake is the main attraction for summer visitors to Thetis Lake Regional Park. This area of Lower Thetis Lake has facilities which include change rooms, toilets, benches, picnic tables and a seasonal concession booth. This beach area is also a good site to launch kayaks, canoes or paddle boards as it is accessible from the roadway. A second beach area on the lower lake doubles a boat launch and site for dogs to access the water year round. Prior Lake and McKenzie Lake are also part of Thetis Lake Regional Park. They are written about in different posts.

 

The shallow waters of Upper Thetis Lake, which lies west of the lower section, can be reached from the rocky shoreline areas near the bridge along Trillium Trail. The average depth of the water is about two and half meters. There are also many small indentations which provide addition sites to reach the water; these are mainly used by animals. A narrow channel near the north end of the lower lake connects the two areas of Thetis Lake. The bridge which crosses over the channel is along of Trillium Trail; this trail is a wide pathway that is fire access road between Highland Road and Thetis Lake Parkway.

 

Several kilometers of forested hiking trails bring hikers, runners and dog walkers to this park. Enjoy the shoreline plants like willows, alders, red-osier dogwood and hardhack trees. Further away from the riparian area of the lake are groves of Douglas fir, oak, arbutus, hemlock, cedar, lodge pole pine, grand fir, maple, yew, alder, big leaf maple and cottonwood trees. Since Thetis Lake Park has a range of high and low moisture soils the plant life is diverse.

 

The Lower Thetis Lake Trail is along the eastern side of the lower lake provides a terrific overview of the lake. This trail has long switchback hill to traverse before it connects to Trillium Trail. Trillium Trail connects with the Thetis Lake Parkway Trail on the western and southern side of the lake to complete the circuit around the lower lake shore. Much of the lake shore, while accessible by most dogs, is not used for swimming. This route is about two and a half kilometers long and can be completed in under an hour. The trail connects to the Upper Thetis Lake Trail near the junction with Trillium Trail. There are numerous desire trails throughout the park use with care so that damage to the plant and animal life is limited.

 

Upper Thetis Lake Trail is about three and half kilometers long and is relatively flat in comparison to the route around the lower lake as there are a few hills to negotiate. A stroll around both lakes is about five kilometers. Seaborn Trail, Bellamy Trail and Phelps Avenue Trail and Avery Court Connector Trail branch off of this pathway.

 

A pleasant walk is along the Trillium Trail. It lies east to west from the parking area at the dog beach to the bridge across the narrow channel connects the two halves of the lake system. This trail is wide and designed as a fire road. It is about a kilometer from the boat launch parking area to the bridge, one direction.

 

There are five other areas explore in Thetis Lake Park: Panhandle Trail, Seymour Hill, Craigflower Creek Trail, Bellamy Trail and Stewart Mountain Trail. The Panhandle Trail has its own section. Seymour Hill is the one hundred and forty one meter high rocky hill. The trail to the summit is about six hundred meters long and can be reached from either the east branch of the Lower Lake Trail, along the Old Entrance Road Trail, which connects with Watkiss Way, or from Lewis Clark Trail. Enjoy the springtime flowers such as white fawn lilies and shooting stars which can be seen along these foot paths and take in the vista of Thetis Lake from Seymour Hill. Along the trail find the plaque for Lewis Clark and the direction dial at the summit.

 

The trail along Craigflower Creek is accessed from Highland Road. This is a pleasant stroll along the riparian area of the creek for about one and a half kilometers. The north eastern section of the park connects with trails of Francis King Park by using the Panhandle Trail (see individual post).

 

Bellamy Trail is a fire road that connects into Thetis Lake Park on the west side of the park. The trail meanders northward toward Scafe Hill from Bellamy Road. Bellamy Trail connects with Upper Thetis Lake Trail should you head eastward from the first junction from Bellamy Road. Take the first trail on the left to bypass the swamp and look for signs that indicate Westoby Road Trailhead. Bellamy Trail crosses over an ephemeral creek to a junction that leads south toward the lake or north toward up Stewart Mountain. Continuing northward takes you past through Douglas fir forests and past the east side the quarry. The trail will lead it way back into the main trail that you started out on as well as onward to Phelps Road.

 

Stewart Mountain Trail is in the northwestern section of the park. This trail connect to small pathways that lead up to Scarf Hill, which is two hundred and thirty one meters high, and over Stewart Mountain, which is two hundred and seventy one meters high. This area can be accessed from Millstream Road turning onto Stewart Mountain Road or Davis Road, respectively.

Avery Court Connector Trail is a thirteen hundred meter long pathway that is beside the Trans Canada Highway yet within Thetis Lake Park. The trail is used by cyclist, dog walkers and hikers to access the dog beach parking area of the park.

 

Geographic location N48° 27’47” W123°28’3” for main parking lot

 

Thetis Lake Park can be reached from the Trans Canada Highway also called Hwy1. Turn at Six-Mile Road and continue to the main pay parking area. Thetis Lake Parkway, a tapered road, passes by this parking area and continues about a hundred meters further into a turnabout with parking for visitors with limited mobility. A further seven hundred meters along the narrow road leads to a small parking area, also payment required, with washrooms and boat ramp. Locally known as the dog beach this area is heavily used by dogs and less frequently by horses and as a boat launch site.   The park can also be reached from Highland Road from Watkiss Way. To reach the trailhead located at the very end of Bellamy Road, take Millstream Road exit and turn right on Treanor Avenue. Then turn left on Bellamy Road and continue to the turnabout where there is limited parking. There are several other streets in Langford, B.C., that border on the park and have access trails including Gourman Place, Haley Rae Place, along Phelps Avenue and Avery Court, Millstream Road and Hordon Road at Western Speedway provide access to Thetis Lake Park. City buses travel along Six Mile Road to the main entrance of the park.

 

For a map of the hiking trails in Thetis Lake Regional Park, see the CRD Parks brochure.

 

There are numerous books and reports written about this park as well as few maps.

Chancellor Park

Chancellor Park tree Chancellor Park swings

Chancellor Park is a neighborhood park in View Royal, B.C., with a playground, picnic table, and water fountain. The playground equipment is on a coarse sand base. The slide is a tall and stands next to the four swings, two for toddlers and two for children. A climbing tunnel is also fun to play on. There are benches along the pathway through the park. The Galloping Goose Trail passes along the north side of the parkland. This trail also forms a section of Trans Canada Trail.  There is access to the park from Cheltenham Street. The shrubs and trees in this approximately half a hectare parkland provide shade over some of the benches and grass covered areas. Hospital Creek lies on the western edge of the parkland. This creek flows into Portage Inlet and drains about a two hundred and forty hectare area. This park provides a welcome respite during a bike ride or after a visit to the hospital as the concrete wood-like fence provides a noise barrier from the traffic on the freeway. Conrad Street Green Space, Knockan Hill Park, Tawny Park and Welland Legacy Park are nearby as is the Victoria General Hospital Green Space and Eagle Pacific Park.

 

Geographic location N48° 27’ 53.3” W123° 25’ 39.3”

 

You can get to Chancellor Park from the Trans Canada Highway (Hwy1). Take the Helmcken Road exit (Exit 8) off Hwy1. Then turn right at the intersection of Watkiss Way and Chancellor Avenue; that is away from the hospital seen to the left. The park is at the junction with Quincy Avenue where there is a small parking area. City buses travel along Helmcken Road toward the hospital.

Tawny Park

Tawny  Park trees

Cedar and spruce trees provide ample shade over the grass areas and small clusters of snowberry bushes in Tawny Park. This small neighborhood nature park is along Stancil Lane in View Royal, B.C. The semi circular shaped park is bordered by Stancil Lane and Tawny Lane. There is a wood fence along its south side. Welland Legacy Park is at the eastern end of Stancil Lane and is worth a visit. The Galloping Goose Trail, Knockan Hill Park and Chancellor Park are nearby.

 

Geographic location N48° 27’ 55.9” W123° 25’ 20.6”

 

Tawny Park can be reached from Hwy1. Turn off on Exit 8, Helmcken Road, and head northward toward the Victoria General Hospital. Continue on Helmcken Road to Burnside Road West. Turn right onto Burnside Road. Take the second right onto Eaton Avenue and left onto Stancil Lane. The park is at 1257 Stancil Lane at the junction with Tawny Place. There is limited roadside parking. City buses travel along Burnside Road.

Burnside Tawny Green Space

This seventy-five meter long pathway connects Burnside Road W with Tawny Lane and Stancil Lane. Burnside Tawny Green Space has grass lining both sides of the asphalt pathway and a black chain-link fence along the property lines. Garry oak trees provide shade to the lower section of the trail where there are also a hedge row of cedar trees. This trail makes a great way to extend a walk from Welland Legacy Park up to Knockan Hill Park or west toward Chancellor Park. The Galloping Goose Trail is nearby.

 

Geographic location N48° 27’ 59” W123° 25’ 19”

 

Burnside Tawny Green Space can be reached from Hwy1. Turn off on Exit 8, Helmcken Road, and head northward toward the Victoria General Hospital. Continue on Helmcken Road to Burnside Road West. Turn right onto Burnside Road West. Take the second right onto Eaton Avenue and left onto Stancil Lane. The trail is near Tawny Park which is at the junction with Tawny Place. There is limited roadside parking. City buses travel along Burnside Road West.