This post is updated here.
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.
Originally created for collection of peat moss and farming of blueberries in the nineteen fifties by the Gardner family, this private pond is now home to a diverse number of migratory and resident birds as well as other wildlife. The ponds forms part of the watershed of Chalet Creek which drains into the waters of Deep Cove. The nearly four hundred meter trail provides views of the shallow murky waters from the western side of the pond. Alder and cottonwood trees grow at the pond’s edge . This trail can be wet as it skirts between pond and private residences. Gardner Pond is a peaceful area to stroll or watch the birds. There is a bench near the water’s edge too.
Geographic coordinates to Mulberry Place N48° 41′ W123° 26′ 51″
You can get here from Pat Bay Highway. Exit the highway onto McDonald Park-Wain Road and use the overpass to circle around and over to reach Wain Road. Turn left onto Wain Road and travel along until Tatlow Road, which exits to the right. Take the first left off of Tatlow Road onto Alder Road. As you go up the hill look for the hiking trail maker on the right. There is limited road side parking along Alder Road. Continue to the junction with Maple Road where you will see another hiking marker; this trail leads to the junctions with either Clayton, Tatlow or Wain roads. To reach Gardner Pond continue on Maple Road to turn right onto Mulberry Place. There is limited parking beside the trailhead at the end of the cul-de-sac.
Named and built by Captain J.D. Prentice, a distinguished captain of the Royal Navy and the Royal Canadian Navy, Prentice Pond Park has a shoreline trail along the edge of the fresh water pond. This is a peaceful small pond surrounded by Douglas-fir, western red cedars, alders and black cottonwood trees. It lies the low wetslands of this North Sannich’s Swartz Head neighborhood. The area also has a few blackberries mixed among the ferns and salal. If you are quiet enough you’ll see the ducks and other birds that make use of the shallow muddy waters. The trail connects with Boas Road and Dunne Road to the east and to Tryon Place to the north.
Geographic location N48° 40’ 44” W123° 24’ 28”
You can get to Prentice Pond Park from Pat Bay Highway. Before you reach ferry terminal follow the signs that lead to Lands End Road. Turn east on Kitti Wake Place the south toward West Port Marina to follow the curves and hills of Tryon Road to Prentice Place. Alternatively turn off at Tryon Place from Tryon Road and look for the trail near the end of the street. Or access Dunne and Boas roads from Kitti Wake Place by turning left onto Curteis Road. Continue on Curteis Road to Dunne Road terminus for the trail. Continue past Dunne Road onto Kedge Anchor Road onto Inwood Road. Boas Road branches off near the junction of those roads. The trail is at a green space part way up the slight hill. There is limited roadside parking at all locations.