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.
This park is a gem. Four and a half hectares of parkland developed, in nineteen twelve on the lower eastern slopes of Mount Newton, using imported and native plants. Curiously, hundreds of plants collected worldwide over the last one hundred years are for us to explore, right in our backyards. Originally a public display garden associated with the Dominion Experimental Farms, this park was granted the name through connection with the Dominion Parks Branch, now Parks Canada. In its early years it had several famous visitors and continues to welcome many more, maybe that is you. This parkland was designed and landscaped to take advantage of the rolling and rocky terrain as well as the creek that flows through a series of small ponds. There are rock walls and several rock and concrete stairs that lead to the flowing waters of Dominion Brook. The large ornamental garden with exhibition arboretum is maintained by the Friends of Dominion Brook Park, a for-purpose association working to maintain the plants and parkland. As it is located next to the Center of Plant Health, the old Dominion Experimental Farm, a federal funded quarantine center for Canada, there is a chain link fence lining the southern and eastern sides of the park. There is also a chain link fence barrier around much the ravine for the creek and ponds. Enjoy the view of the ocean waters of Bazan Bay and the islands in the Salish Sea including James, Sidney, Forest and Gooch islands. On clear days the San Juan Islands of the United States and the snowy peak of Mount Baker make a beautiful backdrop for photographs in this park. There are plenty of benches, viewpoints and picnic sites to enjoy on your exploration. This park can be accessed from pathways off Marshall Road yet the best access is off of East Saanich Road. The old experimental farm park is popular and is frequented by hikers, dog walkers, and gardeners.
Geographic coordinates N48° 37′ 20″ W123° 25′ 4″
Dominion Brook 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 and continue past the Panorama Recreation Center on the right. Dominion Brook Park is indicated by the large sign to the left. There is roadside parking along East Saanich Road in front of the park along the split-cedar rail fence. Alternatively, catch a city bus to this park from along East Saanich Road.
Tumbo Place Green Space is a workout! Seventy-seven steps up the concrete staircase to a terrific view of North Saanich from Park Pacific Terrace. The views are to the north at the Victoria International Airport and Salt Spring Island. If the day is clear it is possible to see the mountains in West and North Vancouver too. Good distractions as you climb the stairs. The neighborhood is also beautiful as the pathway connects to John Dean Park, Texada Terrace and Dunsmuir Lodge green spaces. The pathway is shaded by Douglas-fir trees and bordered by a cedar hedge.
Geographic coordinates N48° 37′ 39″ W123° 27′ 37″
We can get to Tumbo Place Green Space 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 then right onto Forest Park Drive. Panorama Leisure Center is on the right and the elementary school yard is the left. Continue up Forest Park Drive and turn right onto Cresswell Road. As we near the end of Cresswell Road turn left onto Tumbo Place. The steep staircase is on the right of the cul-du-sac. Alternatively, catch a city bus to this green space from along East Saanich Road and walk up the roads.