Matheson Lake Regional Park

Matheson Lake Regional Park is partly within the District of Metchosin, a coastal community in the Capital Regional District of British Columbia.  Matheson Lake Regional Park is 1620 square km area that became a Capital Regional District park in 1993 when it was acquired from the province of British Columbia.  The lake is surrounded by trails with some excellent views over the lake and surrounding areas.  The Galloping Goose Trail –Metchosin passes by the lake shore on its north side; there is access to the parking lot and toilet facilities near the eastern end of the lake.

Matheson Lake Park is bordered by Roche Cove Regional Park on the west border and there is a pathway that follows the course of Wildwood Creek to the ocean. Wildwood Creek forms in the wetlands of the surrounding hills and enters Matheson Lake on its eastern end. Wildwood watershed covers about seven hundred and sixty nine hectares. with about three percent of the watershed covered by impervious surfaces.

The parkland is composed of young trees as most harvestable trees were removed in the early nineteen hundreds. That said, there are several large old trees to admire for their tenacity and resilience. Hemlock, cedar, Douglas fir compose more of the main slopes of the lake shore while big leaf maples and cottonwood fill in the new growth. The lake is a pleasant paddling destination for those seeking a serene, cloistered environment. There is a small island in the land to circumnavigate. It’s a short walk from the parking area to the beach, where hand-carried boats may be launched. Launch your canoe, kayak or paddle board to explore the small indentations and island that characterize the lake. The park has wonderful excellent swimming areas and hiking trails.

A trail from the park leads rough southward up to Caines Way. This is a very steep slope route that ascends about one hundred meters along its three kilometer course. This route connects through Roche Cove Regional Park and eventually leads to Mount Matheson. With an elevation of 267 meters, Mount Matheson is located outside the perimeter of Metchosin in the community of East Sooke.

Trails along the north side of the park connect with the Galloping Goose Trail from Metchosin and include La Bonne Trail, La Bonne-Matheson Lake Trail, Wayne’s Rock Trail, Wildwood Creek Trail, Bob Mountain Park.

Geographical location N48º 21’ 37” W123º 35’ 40”

Matheson Lake Regional Park 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 right onto Latoria Road and continue along to reach Happy Valley Road. Turn left onto Happy Valley Road then right onto Rocky Point Road. Matheson Lake Road will be on the right just past the sign that indicate a parking area for the Galloping Goose Trail – Metchosin.

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Price Road Green Space

Price Bay GS 3 Price Bay GS 7

The Town of View Royal, BC, has some unique waterfront beach accesses with views of forested areas, watery reefs and the Olympic Mountains of Washington State in the distance. This is one of those amazing places although the view changes considerable depending on the tide. Price Bay is a shallow bay that forms a shallow estuary for Millstream Creek. The bay is part of Esquimalt Harbour. The pathway includes two sets of ten concrete staircases that lead from the roadside leads to the muddy beach. The route passes a pump station. It would be possible to launch a kayak, paddle board or personal water craft when the tide is high. A stroll along the beach about fifty meters to the left leads to Price Bay Park. Duckrill Road Green Space and Waters Edge Walkway are nearby.

Geographical location N48° 27’ 30” W123° 27’ 19”

Price Road Green Space can be accessed from the Trans Canada Highway, Hwy1. Exit onto the Island Highway and stay to the left to merge with traffic going under the freeway and railway overpasses. Turn to the left onto Price Road, the very first left turn. If you miss that one take the next left onto Duckrill Road and double back. The green space is at the end of the road. There is limited roadside parking. City buses travel along the Island Highway.

Helmcken Centennial Park

Helmcken Centennial Park 7 Helmcken Centennial Park 10

Helmcken Park is known as the ball park for fastball and home to the View Royal Fastball teams. This is community athletic park as well as a wonderful family and toddler friendly park in View Royal, B.C. Helmcken Centennial Park has three fenced fastball diamonds, a basketball or multi-purpose court and a tennis court in its two and half hectares. There is also a batting cage and storage shed. The park borders on an indentation of Portage Inlet which is a migratory bird and wildlife area. This tidal area also has a ephemeral creek that drains from the surrounding area. Signage near the White Pine pathway describes the colonial activities on Portage Inlet and the Gorge Water front. This would be an okay site to launch a paddle board, kayak or canoe at high tide as the wetland area can be wide.  The playground has slides, swings, a long tube and climbing apparatus on a gravel base for children of all ages. This is good place for parkour. There is a seasonal concession, a meeting room and toilets in a building that is maintained by the ball team. Native plants along the shore of Portage Inlet include snow berries and rose plants as well as several different grasses to help maintain the integrity of the tidal wetlands. White Pine Road Green Space has a footpath into the park from Werra Road. The green spaces at Stillwater Road, Seabird Place, Thomas Park Drive, Polly Place, Crane Place and Tidewater Road are nearby.

 

Geographical location N48° 27’ 42” W123° 25’ 48”

 

Helmcken Centennial Park can be reached from the Trans Canada Highway Hwy1. Exit off Hwy1 onto the Helmcken Road and turn south. Victoria General Hospital is to the north along Helmcken Road. At the traffic circle, exit east toward Helmcken Park and Kingham Place. Stay on Kingham Place to reach the small parking lot beside the park. A second parking area is accessed from further along Helmcken Road closer to the buildings. City busses service the Helmcken Park and Ride parking area near Helmcken Road.

St. Giles Easement Green Space

St Gilles Easement  1

A long narrow grass covered area between two properties forms the green space of St Giles Street in View Royal, B.C. This four hundred square meter area borders along Portage Inlet and provides access to the water. It would be a good site to launch a kayak, paddle board or canoe to explore this wide inlet. There is a bench near the shoreline which is shaded by a large arbutus tree. The east side of the park is bordered by a wooden fence along the property line while the west side has a partial cedar tree hedge and various shrubs along its property line. This is a good place to get outdoors in your backyard.

Geographic location N48° 27’ 44” W123° 25’ 38”

St Giles Easement can be reached from the Trans Canada Highway, Way1. Take exit #8 onto Helmcken Avenue and head south. At the traffic circle continue around to exit near Helmcken Park and the Park and Ride parking lot. Continue onto Kingham Place then take the first left onto St. Giles Street South. The park is in the cul-de-sac turnabout on Chancellor Avenue. The road continues to Portage Inlet Linear Park which is at the end of St. Giles Street South. City buses stop at the Park and Ride near Helmcken Avenue.

 

Ross Bay Seawalk

Ross Bay eastern shore 3

Come to Ross Bay to enjoy a wonderful seaside walk along Dallas Road. This is also a spectacular place to see storm waves crash along the beach or, in May of each year, watch the sailing yachts start the Swiftsure Yacht Race. With the choice of strolling over cobble beach stones, beached logs or along a concrete sidewalk, this seawalk suits just about everyone’s mobility. Located between St Charles Street and Memorial Crescent, the six hundred and twenty meter seawalk is right along the shoreline of Ross Bay. The trail is part of the seawall that protects the shores of Fairfield and Ross Bay Cemetery. The wide concrete seawall, built by nineteen fifteen, was redesigned with the addition of the large cobble stones and three long granite boulder groyns to diminish the flow of water along the beach. These projections can be seen along the shoreline at low tides. About fifty years early, in the mid eighteen hundreds, both East Creek and South Fairfield Creek drained into the bay. These creeks would have added small sediment to the waters and replenished some of the beach area. Along the upper areas of the beach. look for beach lupine, a low sprawling pea plant, gum weed^, a yellow flowering aster, and beach grass; plants that help to stabilize the shoreline. The views across the Salish Sea and Strait of Juan de Fuca toward the Olympic Mountains of Washington State, USA, are wonderful. Named for Isabelle Mainville Ross, Ross Bay and part of the cemetery were once her farm land. Ross Bay Cemetery is an interesting place to extend your walk for both the gardenlike setting of the grounds as well as the unique grave stones and monuments. If the winds are light, this area can be used to launch a kayak or paddle board, although the tidal currents are worth paying attention too.

 

Geographic coordinates N48° 24′ 32” W123° 20′ 39″

Ross Bay Seawalk can be reached from Blanchard Street. Turn east onto Fairfield Road and follow along to Memorial Crescent. Turn right onto Memorial Crescent and then turn right at Dallas Road. There is limited roadside parking along Dallas Road near this intersection. The walkway is to the east and Clover Point Park is to the west. City buses travel along Fairfield Road from downtown Victoria.

^http://www.botanicalgarden.ubc.ca/potd/2009/01/grindelia_integrifolia.php (this plant looks like a dandelion)

Braemar Avenue Beach, North Saanich

This is a wonderful beach to view the sunset from the comfort of your car located. Braemar Avenue Beach is in the Ardmore neighborhood of North Saanich. Ardmore is a Gaelic term meaning to “large headland” which relates to “homes beside the sea” whereas braemar refers to the “upper part looking to the sea.”  Since the road stops within meters of the water this is also a great place to launch a kayak, paddle board or canoe. The curved staircase leads down a dozen or so steps to the lovely shale and sandy beach. This is popular site.

Geographic coordinates  N48° 38′ 2″ W123° 28′ 38″

You can get to Braemar Avenue Beach from Pat Bay Highway.  Leave the highway at Exit 26, the McTavish Interchange, an 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. Continue along McTavish Road through the East Saanich Intersection until  you reach West Saanich Road (BC 17A N). Turn right onto West Saanich Road then take the first left onto Ardmore Drive which is also at the golf course. Stay on Ardmore Drive as it curves past the golf course and turns to head northward along the waterfront homes. Braemar Avenue Beach is the second left. There is roadside parking.