Pearson College Green Space is in the District of Metchosin, a coastal community in the Capital Regional District of British Columbia. This green space is on the property of the Lester Bowles Pearson College of the Pacific. It is named after a fourteenth Prime Minister of Canada (1963 to 1968). L.B. Pearson was recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in organizing the United Nations Emergency Force. The college, established in nineteen seventy four from property of the Department of Defense, is a United World College and admits an International Baccalaureate degree. The facilities are off-limits to the public yet the trails are shared. Student use the trails for cross country running as well as research purposes.
This area was selectively logged in the early nineteen hundreds and has some unique flora. Cedar tree stumps, mostly with an approximate 1 meter diameter, are seen along the trails. Douglas fir (Pseudotsugamenziesii), western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla) and western red cedar (Thuja plicata) trees are found in this forest grove that has many rocky outcrops. Salal and ferns are the primary forest floor plants while mosses cover nearly every possible surface. Several ephemeral streams flow through the parkland while Cripple Creek forms the western perimeter.
There are two main access points to the green space. The primary pathways can be accessed from Pearson College Drive. Additional pathways are found between kilometers twenty eight and thirty of the Galloping Goose Trail – Metchosin. There are a maze of footpaths in this green space. The primary footpath that starts near the second sign that along the road into Pearson College. This path can form a circular route that follows the perimeter of the College’s property. The route parallels the Galloping Goose Trail and provides an option to continue to the outdoor exercise and rope practice area. Cripple Creek forms the western perimeter of the property with the locally named Pipeline Trail. This rough path skirts creek and Pedder Bay back to the College parking area.
The campus borders on Pedder Bay and glimpses of the marina can be seen as you stroll along Galloping Goose Trail – Metchosin from the Rocky Point Road site. The rough pathway into Pearson College is accessed from the Galloping Goose Trail near the 30 kilometer marker. This route lead down the slope to Cripple Creek and the Pipeline Trail. A second trail to the green space is access from closer to the 29 kilometer maker of the GGT. This trail connects down the ravine of a small ephemeral creek and up the steep slope to the Barde Knockie or the Deep Woods Trail. A Metchosin Heritage sign marks the junction. The Deep Woods Trail was part of the original overland route from Victoria to Sooke used by early settlers. From the sign a turn to the left leads toward the Pearson College Drive while a turn to the right leads down toward Pedder Bay. Sandgate Green Space, Ron Weir Green Space, Matheson Lake Regional Park and the Galloping Goose Trail – Metchosin are nearby.
Geographical location N48º 20’ 52” W123º 33’ 47”
Pearson College Green Space can be reached from Highway 1 when you exit at the Millstream /Veteran Memorial Parkway exit. Head south along the Veteran Memorial Parkway to reach Latoria Road. Turn left onto Latoria Road and continue along to reach Metchosin Road. Turn right onto Metchosin Road continue along as the road changes names to become William Head Road. Follow along the road to the junction with Pearson College Drive. Turn right onto Pearson College Drive and continue to the small parking area of Pearson College is at the end of Pearson College Drive. This is private property with a limited space for hikers to park their vehicles. All buildings are off limits and for continued usage of the trails in this area require respect from all users.
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.
The Dunsmuir Lodge and its surroundings lands form a unique coastal Douglas-fir forest on the north slope of Mount Newton border on John Dean Provincial Park. This forty hectare area was gifted, in 1985, to the University of Victoria, a public institution, by the late George Poole, a Canadian construction entrepreneur. The lodge, a former treatment center called Gillian Manor, was refit as a educational conference center fortunately only portions of the property have been selectively logged. Thus the second and old growth forests on the property are unique to explore. A trail from the road up to the lodge leads into John Dean Park. This trail is called the Barret Montfont Trail West and it connects with the Slektain Trail in John Dean Park. An easy area to visit since it is very close to Sidney and the Victoria International Airport, the green space is frequented by hikers, dog walkers and running groups. Apparently the lodge and lands are also available for purchase pending change of the deed on the property.
Geographic coordinates N48° 37′ 48″ W123° 27′ 57″
You can get to Dunsmuir Lodge Green Space from Pat Bay Highway. Turn 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 second exit to stay on McTavish Road. Continue through intersection with East Saanich Road and look for the access road at 1515 McTavish, just past the fire hall and Cresswell Road, on the left. The access road is guarded by a gate and concrete pillars. There is parking along this access road and in the parking lot near the top of the road, to the left. The lodge is to the right.
Skirting along the shoreline and waterfront homes of Towner Bay, the Towner Road Trail connects Towner Road to Derrick Road and to Towner Park Road. A lovely trail through second growth Douglas fir forest while surrounded by residential homes, the trail can be reached from the southern end of Derrick Road as well as from the west end of Towner Park Road. The pathway is gravel along some sections and in other the trail is padded with wood chips. Either way this route is lovely along its one hundred and seventy meter length from Derrick Road as there is only a slight slope. The trail from the end of Towner Road to Towner Park Road is more rolling and curving over its two hundred and fifty meter length. This part of the trail meanders along the ridge of small creek that drains into Towner Bay, passes by a garden with some large rhododendrons. This pathway is a great spot to walk your dog, include in a cycling tour of Deep Cove as well as just relax and meander along.
Geographic coordinates N48° 40′ 17″ W123° 28′ 18″
You can get to Towner Road Trail 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. Continue on Wain Road past West Saanich Road until you reach Derrick Road. Turn left and continue along Derrick Road until you reach the junction with Norris Road. Look for the hiking trail marker across the intersection. There is roadside parking.
A Capital Regional District park since 1966, Horth Hill Park provides the opportunity to stroll through western red cedar, Douglas fir, sword ferns and into a Garry Oak meadow land near the summit. Broad leaf maple trees are seen along the edges of the parkland since the dense canopy formed by the boughs of the cedar and fir trees blocks light to the forest floor in many areas. The climb to 136 meters is made easier with the long sweeping switchback trails leading panoramic views of Saanich Peninsula, Salish Sea and Gulf Islands. This forest area has some great trails which are shared with runner, walkers, dogs and horses. There are toilets near the parking lot. The signs and direction markers help with navigating the trails in this thirty-one hectare parkland. A lovely and popular park.
Geographic coordinates N48° 40′ 58″ W123° 26′ 13″
You can get to Horth Hill from Pat Bay Highway. Before you reach near the ferry terminal in Swartz Bay, turn onto McDonald Park Road and circle up to the highway overpass. This takes you the junction with Wain Road. Turn left on Wain Road to reach Tatlow Road. Turn right onto Tatlow Road until you reach Willow Road. Turn right as indicated by the signage for the park and look for the paved parking area on the right.
Alternatively this park can be reached from many trails in North Saanich. Littlewood Road via Wain Road provides access to the eastern end of the parkland. Hedgerow Drive via Lands End Road provides access to the northern side of this park. And Eagle Way has a trail that leads into Horth Hill. Bus 70 or 72 will take you only to the overpass from there it is about a 30 minute walk to the park.
For the trail map of the Horth Hill Park, see the CRD brochure.