Institute of Ocean Science Green Space, North Saanich

ios pond 4The gardens bordering the entrance of the Institute of Ocean Science (IOS) are designed with relaxing and contemplation in mind.  The property was formerly one of the Spencer homes and had been landscaped with eastern white, incense and Atlas cedar trees. Norway spruce, Irish yew and a Spanish fir complete the collection of cedars. The large atrium entrance way has a welcoming pond and garden beds. The parking lot is also surrounded by grassy areas and flower shrubs. A series of Russian olive trees, Elaeaganus angustifolia, were planted here. There are few picnic tables and benches as this place is favored for watching the vessels used by the Canadian Coast Guard and used for oceanographic research as they navigate the waters of Patricia Bay and Saanich Inlet. This green space is close to the Lomond Ferry Green Space, Flight Path, Patricia Bay Beach Park and Scoter Trail.

Geographic coordinates  N48° 38′ 59″ W123° 26′ 52″

You can get to the IOS Green Space from Pat Bay Highway.  Exit 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 first exit onto Canora Road. Continue onto Willingdon Road and at the next roundabout, take the second exit to stay on Willingdon Road. Pass the airport entrance and continue to West Saanich Road. Turn left at the intersection and then right to access the parking lot of IOS. This parking lot has some visitor spaces.


Patricia Bay Beach Park

This wonderful waterfront park is a great stop for those who enjoy watching ships and float-planes in Patricia Bay and Saanich Inlet.  The park overlooks the seaplane docks and the Institute of Ocean Sciences and Coast Guard wharf.  An information sign shares habitat and animal descriptions for this unique marine shoreline.  A circular and nicely sloped asphalt trail along the shore of Pat Bay provides an area to stretch your legs and makes using wheeled chairs easy.  The park has toilets and picnic tables.  A small parking lot completes the park.

The shore area of the beach has a lot of large rocks with some sandy areas. Most of the seashore is a lovely mudflat, for those who enjoy them, with eel grass and marine algae.  At lower tides a multitude of small marine animals are visible.  TenTen Creek flows into the bay on the southern end of the park. The estuary of this urban creek provides habitat for a variety of fish and other organisms including coastal cutthroat trout. It is easy to extend a walk along the beach using Scoter Trail or around the airport using the Flight Path. Or if  you feel tempted go for a swim in the very refreshing shallow waters of Patricia Bay.

Geographic coordinates N48° 39′ 12″ W123° 26′ 44″

This park can be reached from Pat Bay Highway.  Turn left onto Beacon Avenue and follow the road as it turns to eventually become McDonald Park Road. At the intersection turn left onto Mills Road.  Continue on Mills Road to reach West Saanich Road. Turn left onto West Saanich Road and for the signage for Patricia Bay Beach Park and the small paved parking area near the toilets. There is limited roadside parking along West Saanich Road.

Holy Trinity Anglican Church Green Space

holy trinity churchLocated at the corner of Mills Road and West Saanich Road, the Holy Trinity Anglican Church and cemetery were completed by 1885. The church presents the architecture of that period in its Gothic Revival Style with high pitched roof lines and open beams. The gravestones composed of either granite, sandstone and marble are inscribed with a variety of styles and symbols. The church with its surrounding green space is a pleasant place to stroll while you learn about the history of settlers in this area of Saanich Peninsula. Both the church and cemetery are heritage sites. The Flight Path  passes right beside the church. This multiuse trail circles the Victoria International Airport and is a pleasant way to extend your walk in your backyard. Across West Saanich Road is Patricia Bay Beach Park and Scoter Trail.

Geographic coordinates N48° 39′ 19″ W123° 26′ 43″

This green space can be reached from Pat Bay Highway.  You turn left at Beacon Avenue and follow it as it turns to become McDonald Park Road. Turn left on the intersection with Mills Road.  Follow Mills Road until you see the church and a parking lot is just before the junction of Mills and West Saanich Road.

Tsaykum Road Green Spaces

A quiet narrow urban street, Tsaycum Road parallels West Saanich Road near the shores of Patricia Bay in North Saanich. The spelling seems to be both Tsaykum or Tsaycum. A gravel footpath provides the connection between the north and south end of the road. At the northern end of Tsaykum Road tall Douglas-fir and cedar trees shade the hundred and ten meter path that leads West Saanich Road. The beach at Patricia Bay is reached by crossing this busy road. Strolling south along Tsaykum Road leads to the footpath that connects to the south end. This gravel foot path is about fifteen meters long.   The northern end of Tsaykum Road is a paved gated section. Used for emergency  access from Mills Road, this grassy green space is shaded by several Garry oak trees. The green spaces are used by dog walker, hikers, cyclists and horse riders.

Geographic coordinates N48° 39′ 45″ W123° 26′ 57″

This green space can be reached from Pat Bay Highway.  Turn left at Beacon Avenue and follow the road as it curves to become McDonald Park Road. Turn left at the intersection with Mills Road.  Follow Mills Road to the junction of Mills and West Saanich roads. Turn right and continue to Munro Road. Turn right on Munro Road and take the first left onto Tsaykum Road. The trail is at the end of the road with limited roadside parking.

Flight Path, Victoria International Airport

flight pathWatch a military helicopter or a 737 land or take off along the Flight Path, a wonderful 9 300 meter paved walking and cycling trail that circles the entire Victoria International Airport property.  There are several excellent places to see the activities of the small flight school aircraft as well as private aircraft. Give yourself plenty of time as further distractions along the trail include the ocean views of Patricia Bay and Saanich Inlet, the historical building and lands around Holy Trinity Church and the rural agricultural lands of North Saanich. The Flight Path is an excellent trail to use to explore your backyard. This path pass by Rotary Park with its four excellent baseball diamonds and Phillip Brethour Park along Ocean Avenue in Sidney which has a baseball diamond. The trail also crosses over two urban creeks. Reay Creek drains eastward toward Bazen Bay from the land around the airport. This creek hosts a population of coho salmon.  TenTen Creek drains westward into Patricia Bay from the Glen Meadow Golf Course and airport areas. TenTen Creek contains coastal cutthroat trout.

Geographic coordinates  N48° 40′ 37″ W123° 28′ 48″ to Pat Bay Beach Park

You can get to the Flight Path from Pat Bay Highway. Follow the highway out to Sidney and turn left at Beacon Avenue and continue as the road curves to become McDonald Park Road. At the intersection turn left onto Mills Road. Continue along Mills Road to West Saanich Road where parking can be found near Patricia Bay Beach Park. Since the pathway parallels Beacon Avenue, Mills Road, West Saanich Road, Willingdon Road, Canora Road,  Ocean Avenue and Stirling Way there are many other options to use as starting point to explore the Flight Path. Such as parking in the gravel parking are near Rotary Park just off of Canora Road.