McNeill (Shoal) Bay Park

McNeill Park east

McNeill (Shoal) Bay Park is in the seaside community of Oak Bay, one of the thirteen communities in the Capital Regional District of British Columbia. This park is a long park that follows the shore line of the bay. Named after Captain W.H. McNeill in 1838, who pleased to find after months of exploring forest-clogged coast, a great sweep of golden grassland interspersed with stands of Garry Oak.  The bay provides views of the lighthouse on Trial Island, Kitty Islet, Anderson Hill Park and Walbran Park.  The Olympic Mountains form a panoramic backdrop.  From the southwestern end of the beach, there is a trail that leads to Walbran Park.  Close to Blueberry (Anderson) Hill, McNeill Bay is a cobble and rocky beach that is open to the south winds yet is a great starting point for a walk to either park. The shoreline is lined with a concrete barrier that is terranced an curved to limit erosion by the Salish Sea.

Geographic Location N48º 24’ 45”  W123º 18’ 53”

McNeil Bay Park can be reached from the Trans-Canada Highway. Continue along the Hwy 1 into Victoria as it becomes Douglas Street. Turn off Douglas onto Hillside Avenue to head east. Stay on Hillside Avenue as it becomes Lansdowne Road. Continue along Lansdowne Road to reach Foul Bay Road. Continue along Foul Bay Road to reach Fairfield Road. Turn left onto Fairfield Road and continue along to Beach Drive. Turn left onto Beach Drive and continue along the shore McNeill Bay. Parking is limited on Beach Drive City busses provide access off of Transit Road.

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Cromar Road Green Space

Stroll along the thirty meter trail in the green space of Cromar Road, down a couple of dozen solid stairs to reach a  concrete landing overlooking a lovely cobble and sand beach. The landing has a bench made for contemplation and meditation during the quiet times. Interestingly the landing has the numbers 1951 stamped on the lowest staircase. Despite being closed in by the residential homes, the beach off of Cromar Road is excellent at lower tides.  The view is across the waters of Saanich Inlet toward Cherry Point on Vancouver Island. This green space along the Salish Sea could be included in a walk around the neighborhood of Deep Cove in North Saanich.

Geographic coordinates  N48° 40′ 31″ W123° 28′ 55″

You can get to Cromar Road Green Space from Pat Bay Highway.  Before you reach ferry terminal follow the signs that lead to McDonald Park – Wain Road.  Stay to the right as you exit the highway and curve up to cross over the overpass. At the intersection turn left onto Wain Road and continue until you pass across West Saanich Road and reach Madrona Drive. Turn left onto Madrona Drive and look for the intersection with Cromar Road. The beach access is to the right while Cromar Road is the left. There is limited roadside parking.