Uplands Park

Uplands Park is in the seaside community of Oak Bay part of the Capital Regional District in British Columbia. At thirty and half hectares this is one of larger parks in Oak Bay. In 1912 the Uplands Park was laid out as part of the Garden Uplands Estates development plans.  In 1946, the land was given to the municipality of Oak Bay for the purpose of a public park in perpetuity.  The 75 acres include some fantastic views of the ocean and soothing strolls through rocky Garry Oak meadows and West Coast bramble. Plants that you might see are camas lilies, plantain buttercups, western buttercup, yellow montane violet, fawn lilies, lupine, red-oiser dogwood, shoot stars, nootka rose and numerous lichen and mosses. Numerous birds, butterflies and other insects are also found here. Be sure to wear your boots when you venture out during late autumn and winter months.  A cenotaph is found along the granite rocks on the eastern side of the park. This landscaped area is along Beach Drive.  The cenotaph features a woman gazing down on the names of residents of Oak Bay whom gave their lives during World War Two and recognizes Canadians who fell during World War One, Korea, United Nations Peace Keepers and Canadian Merchant Navy.  The monument was commissioned in nineteen forty seven by designer James Saull whose wife was the model for the nine-foot tall monument. The Victorienteers have produced a detailed map of the trails and parkland (scale 1:3,000). Beach Drive divides the park into the Uplands area and the Cattle Point area.

Cattle Point overlooks the waters of Oak Bay and the Salish Sea.  Discovery and Chatham islands dominate the view to the east lie in Haro Strait, while the Chain Islands and Mary Tod Island lie to the south which forms the area called Juan de Fuca Strait.  At low tides the rocks are exposed to display the barnacles and seaweeds.  Boats moored at the Oak Bay Marina fill the bay to southwest.  As part of the Scenic Drive through the Victoria area, a geographic marker provides eleven direction and distance indicators.  The Kiwanis International Club established the marker.

Geographical location N48º 26’ 21” W123º 17’ 54”

The best way to get to Uplands Park is from Beach Drive on the east shore of Oak Bay.  Parking is available at the Cattle Point viewing area.  Some street parking is available on Midland or Dorest roads that border the park. There is limited parking along Beach Drive.

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Thetis Lake Park – McKenzie Lake

 

The tear dropped shaped McKenzie Lake is about two hectares in size. The southern shore of McKenzie Lake extends into Thetis Lake Regional Park and can be reached from hiking along the McKenzie Creek Trail. This lake has several private properties along its northeastern end which are accessible from the end of Herbate Road via Barker Road via Highland Road. The McKenzie Creek Trail has many hills as well as wetland crossings. There a several places where tree-rounds and narrow wooden bridges have been used to limit damage to the mosses and tree roots along the trail. There are also a few deer and desire trails that will lead an unaware hiker off track in this area of Thetis Lake Park. Fortunately the sounds of vehicles from the Trans Canada Highway, Highland Road or the speedway track along Millstream Road help to keep one oriented in this lush rainforest of Douglas fir, big leaf maple and Garry oak trees. Several small wooden bridges provide access over McKenzie Creek and the seasonal creeks along this trail such as the “crying” bridge which is just past the junction of Seaborn Trail. Seaborn Trail connects Mckenzie Creek Trail to Upper Thetis Lake Trail. Wildflowers are seen amongst the mosses on the forest floor. Oceanspray, hardhack and salal cover other areas. The meandering McKenzie Creek Trail, after about a kilometer and a half, climbs a low ridge that overlooks McKenzie Lake. There are more rolling hill and creek crossing after this view point, and withina about a kilometer the trail branches north and south. This side of park is designated as multi-use for equestrians, cyclist and hikers. The north branch leads to Bellamy Trail and onward to Stewart Mountain while the south branch divides again within about a hundred meters to lead to the west to reach Bellamy Trail or continues south toward Upper Thetis Lake Trail. Bellamy Trail is a fire road from Bellamy Road in Langford. Thetis Lake Panhandle Trail and Prior Lake pathway, Highland Road Green Space, Westoby Road Green Space are nearby.

 

Geographic location N48° 27’47 W123°28’3”

 

Thetis Lake Park-McKenzie Creek Trail can be reached from the Trans Canada Highway or Hwy1. To reach the main parking area for the park turn at Six-Mile Road (exit #11) and continue to the main pay parking area. To reach a parking area close to McKenzie Creek Trail, take the exit #10 onto Burnside Road West. At the four way stop turn left onto Watkiss Way. Continue along Watkiss Way as the road curves right to become Highland Road. Once past the residential area the road enters the parkland and becomes narrower. The trail is found near to the bridge over McKenzie Creek. There is limited roadside parking along Highland Road. City buses travel along Watkiss Road to the junction with Highland Road.

 

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

Thetis Lake Park –Prior Lake

Prior Lake dock 4Prior Lake is an oval shaped lake about one hectare in size. It is in the Thetis Lake Regional Park. A small creek connects Thetis Lake to Prior Lake which is home to cutthroat and rainbow trout, minnows, sunfish and many insects. While relatively shallow it is a good place for a swim after hiking the trails of Thetis Lake Park. The McKenzie Creek Trail passes along a ridge on the north shore of the lake and continues toward McKenzie Lake and Stewart Mountain or Seaborn Trail, which connects to Upper Thetis Lake Trail. There is a wharf and dock on Prior Lake that is designated for clothing optional swimming on the south side of the lake; dogs are not permitted during summer months. Since the nineteen nineties this area of the lake was taken over by nude bathers although mostly during the summer months. The lake is a short walk from Highland Road in View Royal, B.C. Thetis Lake Panhandle Trail and McKenzie Creek Trail, Highland Road Green Space, Westoby Road Green Space are nearby.

 

Geographic location N48° 27’47 W123°28’3”

 

Thetis Lake Park – Prior Lake can be reached from the Trans Canada Highway or Hwy1. Turn off Hwy1 using exit #10 to reach Burnside Road West. At the four way stop turn left onto Watkiss Way. Continue along Watkiss Way as the road curves right to become Highland Road. Once past the residential area the road enters the parkland and becomes narrower. The trail is found in a small pull-out that is just before the bridge over McKenzie Creek. There is limited roadside parking along Highland Road.

 

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

Game Nature Park

Game Nature Park 5

Enjoy a peaceful stroll through in a Garry oak meadow along the footpaths in Game Nature Park located in View Royal, B.C. At just over half a hectare, this parkland has rocky granite knolls with Garry oak trees and grassy meadows with views through the trees of residential areas. The trail, about two hundred meters in length, can be access from the end of Game Road and along Watkiss Way. Stoneridge Wetlands Park, Brunside Watkiss Park, Eagle View Elementary School Green Space, Aldersmith Park, Galloping Goose Trail-View Royal and the Trans Canada Trail-View Royal are nearby.

 

Geographic location N48° 27’ 53” W123° 26’ 22”

 

Game Nature Park can be reached from the Trans Canada Highway also known as Hwy1. Take the Helmcken Road exit (#8) to the intersection of Watkiss Way and Chancellor Avenue and turn left onto Watkiss Way. Continue to Game Road and turn left into the residential street. The park is at the end of the road where there is limited roadside parking. City buses travel to along Watkiss Way.

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.

Cook Street Playground – Beacon Hill Park

Two sets of play structures both with slides, platforms with various means to climb up form the nucleus of the Cook Street Playground. Yet it is the dinosaur with its nest of eggs that attracts many children. Located on the eastern border of Beacon Hill Park, this park is just steps away from the Cook Street Village and Clover Point Park seashore. The well designed play area is just under a hectare within a chain linked fence. In addition to the play structures there are four swings, a cable ride, cable nets to climb and natural play areas composed of logs. This area is often very busy as there is also an outdoor fitness circuit has nine aerobic and strength training sites including elliptical machines and stationary bicycles. Garry oak and Douglas fir trees shade the play area, benches and picnic tables. Wander through the area to enjoy some beautiful garden beds. Across Nursery Road, which leads to the plant nursery for the City of Victoria Park, are three tennis courts and a double set of private lawn bowling greens. These greens were once segregated by gender but now form grounds of Victoria Lawn Bowling Club that was established in nineteen o-nine. Take a few minutes to explore this park’s one hundred and twenty meters of paved trails that lead toward the woodchip and gravel pathways of Beacon Hill Park. Public toilets are found across Nursery Road and near the junction of Dallas Road and Cook Street. Clover Point Park, Moss Rock Park and Chapman Park are nearby.

Geographic coordinates N48° 24′ 42” W123° 21′ 29″

Cook Street Playground can be reached from Blanchard Street. Turn east onto Dallas Road and follow along to Cook Street. Turn right onto Cook Street and look for the park located on left near Park Boulevard. There is limited roadside parking along Cook Street but there is small parking lot off Nursery road off of Park Boulevard. City buses travel along Fairfield Road and Cook Street from downtown Victoria.

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.