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.

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Stoneridge Wetland Park

Stoneridge Wetland Park, View Royal

Stoneridge Wetland Park has a small open waterway surrounded by cattails, sedges and aquatic grasses with the riparian vegetation of ash, hardhack, Nootka rose and other shrubs. This wetland is filled by precipitation and storm drain run-off from the Stoneridge residential area. The run-off is treated with a simple filtration system before entering the marsh. The park provides nesting sites for mallard ducks, Canada geese, northern pintail, hooded merganser and bufflehead as well as cedar waxwings, blue heron, owls, ravens and woodpeckers. A split cedar rail borders the one hundred and eighty meter long gravel pathway along the southern side of the wetlands. The pathway connects the bus stop along Watkiss Way to both Stoneridge Drive and Place. There are a couple of benches along the pathway. Aldersmith Park, Victoria General Hospital Green Space, Game Road Park, Eagle Pacific Park, Chancellor Park, the Galloping Goose Trail, Trans Canada Trail and Eagle View Elementary School Green Space are nearby.

 

Geographic location N48° 27’ 60” W123° 26’ 19”

 

Stoneridge Wetland Park can be reached from Hwy1, the Trans Canada Highway. Take the Helmcken Road exit (Exit 8) to the intersection of Watkiss Way and Chancellor Avenue and turn left onto Watkiss Way. Continue to Stoneridge Drive which turns right into the residential area. Stay right, again, onto Stoneridge Place. The park is at the end of the road where there is a small parking area. City buses travel to near this parkland along Watkiss Way.

Galloping Goose Trail – View Royal

The Galloping Goose Regional Trail is a multi-use trail that connects Victoria to Sooke and Leechtown and is approximately fifty five kilometers long. The trail passes through Victoria and continues onto Sannich, View Royal, Colwood, Langford and further. The three kilometer section that passes westward through the Town of View Royal parallels the Trans Canada Highway then diverges south toward the Old Island Highway. Despite the noise from vehicle traffic, this well traveled trail is frequented by hikers, walker and bicyclists. Access to the trail is from many sites in View Royal including through Welland Legacy Park, from the end of Eaton Avenue and along Camden Avenue. The GGT can also be accessed from Chancellor Avenue, near Victoria General Hospital, along Erskine Lane, Talcott Road and Atkins Avenue. The trail head in View Royal with parking is near Atkins Avenue. Himalayan blackberry bushes, Nootka rose shrubs, hawthorn and maple trees are seen in clusters along this rolling and curving section. Welland Legacy Park, which is along the eastern border of the Town of View Royal, has a chain-link fence with a discrete gate that allows access to the trail. There is a composting toilet at this parkland. The views of Portage Inlet, to the south, are terrific from between Eaton Avenue and Camden Avenue. Chancellor Park, with water fountain and small parking area, can be a good short term site for parking a vehicle and accessing the trail. After Chancellor Park, the GGT passes through a tunnel under Helmcken Road, from which a wide paved pathway branches up the slope toward the Victoria General Hospital. Once past Helmcken Road, the trail slopes downhill for a short stretch and is well shaded by alder, oak and maple trees. Craigflower Creek is at the bottom of the ravine on the south side of the trail. The vegetation along this section, which helps to muffle the traffic noise, is composed of black cotton, Douglas fir, red alder and trees. The trail then slopes upward slightly and continues beside Talcott Road. There is a four way stop at Burnside Road. The trail continue on westward and has more blackberry bushes as well as Scotch broom, and tall grasses. There are firs, oaks and willows as the creek is nearby.just south of Watkiss Way before passing under the freeway overpass bridge and railway bridge to reach Atkins Avenue near Brydon Road. There are washrooms, a water fountain and information sign at Atkins Avenue

 

Geographic location N48° 27’ 35.7” W123° 27’ 21” near Atkins Avenue

 

The Galloping Goose Trail can be reached from Hwy1. Turn off on Exit 10 for the Old Island Highway which heads toward Colwood. Continue under the freeway overpass and turn right onto Six Mile Road. Take the second right onto Atkins Avenue and continue to the end of the road. There is limited roadside parking. City buses travel along the Old Island Highway. The trail passes several other roads in View Royal including Eaton Avenue Camden Avenue, Chancellor Avenue, Talcott Road and Watkiss Way.

 

Trails BC and GGT websites as well as the 2004 Birder’s Guide: Lochside Regional and Galloping Goose Trail written by K. Taylor and published by Alabaster Publishing have further information about this section of the trail.