Westhills Park

Westhills Park is in Westhills neighborhood of Langford, B.C. The park has a playground, benches and gazebo overlooking a partially fenced drainage pond. The playground has two sections designed with smaller children in mind. Young children can play on climbing areas that are lower. Both play areas have a rubber mat base. One playground has climbing apparatus that leads up to a couple of slides. There are monkey bars, small benches and a small climbing wall. A couple of swings designed for toddlers complete this area. The other play structure is a tall tower with two long curving slides that are enclosed. The tower can be reached by various climbing steps, walls, ladders and poles. A round swing seat, a plastic merry-go-round and a large rope structure complete the play area. There is limited shade in the park although several conifers and deciduous trees were re-planted. The walking trail continues to the far side of the pond where it connects with a boardwalk that has a covered section. Most of the pathway is asphalt although there are some gravel portions. A small grass covered area completes the parkland. The park is bordered by the West Shore Parkway and fences of neighborhood homes. A gravel five hundred meter walking trail follows the east side of the park. It leads around a wetlands area is near the park. There is a single privy near a small parking area to the northwest.  Irwin Park, Goudy Park, City Center Park, Belmont Secondary School Green Space, Galloping Goose Trail-Langford, Langford Lake Park, Leigh Beach Park, Mount Wells Regional Park and Glen Lake Park are nearby.

 

Geographic location N48° 26’32”  W123°32″6′

 

Westhills Park can be reached from the Trans Canada Highway also called Hwy1. Turn at Leigh Road exit and continue along to turn left onto Goldstream Avenue. Follow Goldstream to Jacklin Road and turn onto Jacklin Road to reach Langford Parkway. Continue along Langford Parkway past City Center Park, Goudy Park and up the hill to the traffic circle. Exit the traffic circle onto Westshore Parkway or Langford Lake Road. There might be construction along the Westshore Parkway but the road leads to a parking area with room for about six vehicles.  There is limited roadside parking along Langford Lake Road. City buses travel along Langford Parkway and Jenkins Avenue.

Galloping Goose Regional Trail – Victoria

20140507_085657A section of the Lochside Regional Trail leads into Victoria, BC, is called the Galloping Goose Regional Trail. Lochside Regional Trail, maintained by the Capital Region District, is a walking, biking, skating and riding trail that parallels the roads of North Saanich, Sidney, Central Saanich, Saanich and Victoria. Starting from the Swartz Bay BC Ferry Terminal, it is about thirty-three kilometers to Victoria. This journey takes an average cyclist about 2 hours to reach Swartz Bay from Victoria. At the junction with Douglas Street, the Lochside Trail changes its name to the Galloping Goose Trail which continues through Saanich, Esquimalt, View Royal, Colwood, Langford, Metchosin and onto Sooke. The entire route is over fifty-five kilometers one way and provides an excellent way to see these communities.

This three kilometer section of the Galloping Goose Regional Trail leads into downtown Victoria. The initial couple of hundred meters is refreshing as the trail parallels Cecelia Creek, a small creek with a watershed drainage of about three hundred and sixty hectares from mostly impermeable grounds. Fortunately this creek is seeing the light of day literally and aquatic life is returning to its waters. The trail passes under the Burnside Road East bridge with a mural designed by Frank Lewis, and enters into Cecelia Ravine Park. On the western ridge of the ravine is a playground and on the eastern side is a community center and strolling garden, a Garry oak meadow and a bike park as well as a paved and marked basketball and hockey court. There are several areas to stop for breaks and to enjoy the outdoor art works along the pathway. Another excellent art mural is under the Gorge Road East Bridge. Come out to see “Bridging” designed by Frank Lewis. Near here a discrete bridge crosses over the Cecelia Creek as it flows into the Gorge Waterway. The Galloping Goose Trail continues through Viaduct Park which borders on the estuary for Cecelia Creek. There are several shops and stores at the Selkirk Waterfront area which is to the east. Continuing along, the GGT connects to the trestle bridge across the Gorge Waterway. This weather fir and cedar bridge has a long gentle slope. See if you can stop the hinge section of the bridge. Its length is over three hundred meters and although this section of the trail can be busy, as many people use this trail as a commuter route, the bridge is wide enough.

The GGT continues along the western shoreline of the Selkirk Waterway past Halkett Island with several great spots to stop. The signs in a small green space at the southern end of the trestle is the TransCanad Parkette and a junction point for the trail. Its name at some point becomes synonymous with the Harbour Road Bicycle Trail which continues south. Continue under Point Ellice Bridge and along to the inner harbour of Victoria to the Johnson Street Bridge, which is the zero kilometer of the trail.

Geographic coordinate N48° 26’ 28” W123° 22’ 24” at Alpha and Beta streets

Galloping Goose Regional Trail can be reached from Blanchard Street. Turn west onto Finlayson Street and continue to Burnside Road East. Turn right onto Burnside Road East and then left three streets along onto Alpha Street. A trail access is slightly north of the intersection of Alpha and Beta streets. Alternatively park near Cecelia Ravine Park’s bike park which just across Burnside Road East and take one of these pathways down to the trail. There is limited roadside parking along these roads. A city bus travels along Burnside Road East from downtown.

 

North Saanich Parks, Playgrounds and Green Spaces

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The rural community that forms the District of North Saanich lies on the northern tip of the Saanich Peninsula, excluding the Town of Sidney, on the southern area of Vancouver Island, British Columbia. The parks, playgrounds and green spaces to explore are mostly multiuse trails that connect cul-de-sacs with other roads and provide access for pedestrians and, in a many places, horses and bicyclists.

North Saanich borders on the ocean to the north and west and has many beach access points. To the south is Central Saanich and to the east is Sidney-by-the-Sea. This rural yet urban community has an excellent variety of outdoor areas including playgrounds, trail through forest groves, hill top vistas and sandy beaches.

This blog describes the parks, playgrounds, and green spaces within North Saanich from north to south and east to west, mostly.  Its goal is to encourage you to explore your neighborhood by foot. There are stimulating walks and breathtaking sights in your backyard. Walking in established residential areas has the added bonus of frequent rest stops for young and old.  Each place can take less than an hour to explore.  A brief description of the nature of each park is provided with directions.

As all else, trails are altered and the conditions of the parks, playgrounds and green spaces that I describe in this blog change.  As I cannot be held responsible for errors or discrepancies in the text, I ask that you help to keep this blog current and useful. For the enjoyment of all parks, playgrounds and green spaces, please carry out any litter, respect adjacent property, keep dogs on a leash, and do not pick the wildflowers, mushrooms or other vegetation. And, of course, the geographical locations that are provided are dependent on the stability of network that forms the global positioning system.

 Exploration is footsteps away in your backyard.

Highlands

From watching soaring eagles, ravens, hawks, and turkey vultures to stumbling across a homestead amongst the wildflowers blooming in Garry Oak meadows walking in the Highlands is fascinating.  The District of Highlands is a beautiful rural district of lakes and parkland in the Capital Regional District on southern Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Bordering on the east shore of Saanich Inlet, the Highlands are part of the Victoria area West Shore municipalities. Walking in the Highlands just is like going to a park as the area has managed to maintain rural parkland with the growing residential areas. A stroll up to Stewart Mountain or Lone Tree Hill provides soothing sights of forest groves and the ocean waters. The Highlands have an immense wealth of parks, gardens, and green spaces.

This book describes the parks, gardens, and green spaces within the Highlands.  Its goal is to encourage you to explore your neighborhood by foot.  Each place takes less than an hour to explore or much longer, if you are inclined.

Bordered by Mount Work and Gowlland -Tod Provincial Park, the Highlands extend southwest to Thetis Lake Park.  East of this border is the District of Saanich and west is the Municipality of Langford. There are thousands of hectares committed to parks, gardens, and green spaces in Highlands.  A brief description of each park is provided with directions.

There are roadside hiking and horse trails throughout the Highlands. In the Hazlitt Creek and Old Mossy Road area the roadside trails along Dixon Road connect to Hazlitt Creek Park.  Trails along Highland Park Terrace, off Caleb Pike Road, connect to Lorimer Road and Rowntree Road.  These trails can extend your hike into the Gowlland – Tod Provincial Park.  Access into the upper end of Thetis Lake Park is from the end of Davis Road, off Munn Road.  The trail of Hannington Road provides a lovely stroll along Mill Stream Road.

The maze of mountain bike trails under the hydro towers may entice walkers as well as cyclists. These trails lead to the hills of Stewart Mountain to the east and toward Blacktail Road to the west. Please exercise caution in this area.