Abkhazi Garden, Oak Bay

Abkhazi Garden is in the seaside community of Oak Bay, one of thirteen communities that form the Capital Regional District of British Columbia. This spectacular rock garden was acquired by The Land Conservancy of British Columbia in the year two thousand. The property and garden were initially landscaped by the Marjorie Abkhazi, who was born in Shanghi, China, and her husband, Prince Nicholas, a Georgian noble, in nineteen forty-six. The TLC website describes their history and the landscape development of the garden. The rocky garden shows glacial striations in its granodiorite bedrock of Wrangellia Terrane. The garden is landscaped into distinctive garden rooms that include a rhododendron woodland, the south lawn, a Yangtze River, supported by three ponds, the summerhouse, the east path and the house terrace. There are many notable plantings in this garden such as the Spanish fir tree (Abius pinsapo), wood anemone, winter aconite and fawn lilies. The original family home hosts a Tea House with unique pastries and artwork. There is admission cost to enter this garden. Gonzales Hill Regional Park, Gonzales Beach Park, and Margaret Jenkins Elementary School Green Space, in Victoria, are nearby. The Branch Coffee Shop and Demitasse Café and Garden Center are also nearby.

Geographic Location N48º 24’ 56”  W123º 19’ 33”

Abkhazi Garden 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 right onto Foul Bay Road and continue along Foul Bay Road to Fairfield Road. Turn left onto Fairfield Road and look for the garden is on the left at 1964. It is nestled between the residential homes.  There is limited street parking in this residential neighborhood.  City buses travel close to this park.

Gonzales Hill Regional Park – Oak Bay

 

Gonzales Hilll Regional Park is a park of the Capital Regional District of British Columbia. Acquired in 1992 by both Victoria and Oak Bay Municipalities and the CRD, the distinctive rounded roof of the Gonzales Observatory Weather Station overlooks Victoria, Oak Bay and the Strait of Juan de Fuca.  This park hosts the heritage building, which was built in nineteen fourteen. The site was used by meteorological scientists for gathering data on atmospheric gases until the late nineteen eighties.  The view from the summit of Gonzales Park, at 200 feet above sea level, is to the southwest over the City of Victoria and the western communities of Esquimalt, Colwood and Metchosin. The rocky outcrops are mostly granodiorite with glacial striations. The rocks are covered with unique wildflowers, various mosses and lichens. Small shrubs and trees cling to the slopes of the park.  A walking pathway leads from the parking area past the observatory and toward Barkley Terrace, a road that connects to King George Terrace. This pathway is really for those who are venturesome as the route eventually leads to Gonzales Bay.  Garry oak and arbutus trees are found in this parkland as well as broom and snowberry shrubs. At Gonzales Bay, in the Municipality of Victoria, picnic tables, toilets and benches overlook the sand and pebble beach.

Geographic Location N48º 24’ 48”  W123º 19’ 28”

Gonzales Hill Regional Park 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. Continue along Foul Bay Road to reach Fairfield Road. Turn left onto Fairfield Road and continue along to Denison Road. Turn right onto Denison Road and continue up the hill to the reach the parking area on the right. Access to the park is available from several areas.  Parking off Barkley is limited.  Alternatively, start at the sandy beach of Gonzales Bay, climb stairs at the eastern end of the beach onto Crescent Road, keep straight ahead on King George Terrace, turn lead onto Barkley Terrace, climb stairs to observatory.  City buses travel close to this park.