Quarry Park, North Saanich

owl at Quarry  Park in April 2014forest at Quarry ParkExplore nature in this second growth forest that has been left relatively undisturbed since it was used as a granite rock quarry several years ago. The dense grove of young Western red cedar forest has a thick canopy that limits the understory plant growth.  This beautiful and peaceful two hectare neighborhood park has a trail, rocky outcrops, wildflowers and several picnic tables.  The circular Quarry Trail is a three hundred and fifty meter trail around and about the old granite quarry. Peaceful place. This park is close to Gulf View Picnic Grounds, Dominion Brook Park, Lowe Road Green Space and Fentress Road Green Space. John Dean Park is up the slopes of Mt Newton.

Geographic coordinates N48° 36′ 48″ W123° 24′ 57″

Quarry 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 to the left just before you reach to border with Central Saanich. There is limited roadside parking along East Saanich Road in front of the park. Alternatively, catch a city bus to this park from along East Saanich Road.

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Gulf View Picnic Grounds, North Saanich

Gulf View Picnic GroundsThis one hectare park has several picnic tables and a grassy area to enjoy a break from walking. The view is eastward toward the Bazan Bay and the Salish Sea with James and Sidney Islands. On a clear day the San Juan Islands and the Washington State Coastal Mountains with Mount Baker’s snowy peak are visible. This park contains a National Gravity Net Station, a benchmark disc #9041-1979 is used a way-point for geo-cashing yet it is for accurately measuring the curvature of the Earth’s surface. This heritage park in North Saanich as it has been a public park since nineteen thirty-six. This means that there are several Douglas fir and cedar trees that could be older than eighty years. This is amazing, since the majority of this area has been cleared for residential use and big trees are not often considered the “view.” Quarry Park and Dominion Brook Park close by to the south and north, respectively, along East Saanich Road. Several green spaces with trails are close to Gulf View Picnic Grounds including Fentress Road Green Space and Lowe Road Green Space. A larger grassy area is at Sansbury Elementary School Green Space.

Geographic coordinates N48° 37′ 3″ W123° 24′ 59″

Gulf View Picnic Grounds 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 continue past the Center for Plant Health. Look for the park sign across of Dean Park Road and look for the entrance to the small gravel parking area and a gated roadway. Alternatively, catch a city bus to this park from along East Saanich Road. There is bus stop right in front of the park.

 

Amity Drive Green Space

Amity Drive Green SpaceAmity Drive in North Saanich lies east to west across Saanich Peninsula. The green space extends from the shores of Bazan Bay westward toward the lower slopes of Mount Newton. The majority of this green space is a paved sidewalk along Amity Drive. This green space is included here since it contains the pedestrian bridge that connects the Sansbury neighborhood to the shoreline of Bazan Bay. The view of the waters of Bazan Bay, the Salish Sea and the neighborhood from over the Patricia Bay Highway is quite unique. Go see for yourself. The beach access from Amity Drive is lovely, despite the large pump facility that runs periodically. Nineteen steps down the concrete and rock staircase brings us to a rock and cobble beach. From here it is a short stroll to Wardle Road Green Space to the south. Cy Hampson Park is slightly further away to the north.Amity Drive Green Space is close to several other parks and green spaces including Fentress Road, Lowe Road, Dominion Brook Park, Gulf View Picnic Grounds and Quarry Park.

Geographic coordinates N48° 36′ 56″ W123° 24′ 3″ at Bazan Bay

Amity Drive Green Space can be reached from Pat Bay Highway. Leave the highway at Amity Drive. This section of Amity Drive leads to Lochside Drive and Lochside Trail. There is limited roadside parking along Amity or Lochside Road. Alternatively, walk down Lowe Road from the city bus that travels along East Saanich Road.

Sansbury Elementary School Green Space

The large grassy field behind the old Sansbury Elementary School forms a terrific place to toss a Frisbee or enjoy the sun. This is a unique site in this North Saanich neighborhood where there are few large sports fields. This residential neighborhood apparently was formed around with the idea that this sport field would always persist. The school building is now home to a performing arts company while a day care is based in the outside building. The green space is bordered by some large Douglas fir and western red cedar trees and is crucial for the Sansbury neighborhood. The property was considered surplus by the Saanich School District since the school closed yet the grass fields are a peaceful outdoor space for community use.

Geographic coordinates N48° 37′ 4″ W123° 24′ 38″ along Aldous Terrace

Sansbury School 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 Recreation Center on the right and continue past the Center for Plant Health. Turn left down Lowe Road and look for the school building as the road curves to become Emard Terrace. There is a paved parking area in front of the building and parking for this green space can be found along Aldous Terrace which can be reached off Amity Drive. Alternatively, walk down Lowe Road from the city bus that travels along East Saanich Road.