Victoria, BC is a walking paradise. There are so many great walks and so many interesting things to see, but here are my 5 picks for downtown Victoria. There are many more – see the posts under ‘Hiking/Biking/Walking Trails’.
West Song/West Bay Walkway.
By FAR my favorite walk in all of downtown Victoria. This seaside walkway runs from the bridge on Johnson St. all the way to the West Bay Marina – about a 45 – 55 minute walk one-way. It’s wheelchair accessable, completely paved and flat; it has numerous benches along the way to stop and look at our beautiful harbour. About 1/2 way along you pass by Spinnakers Gastro Brewhouse – a perfect spot to have a sip or a munchie.
Dallas Road Runs from Erie St. (which is just across from Fisherman’s Wharf) and runs along the waterfront to Hollywood Crescent in Fairfield. It’s a fairly long walk, but there is angled parking all along the road for you to stop and stroll whatever part you wish. It will take you past Beacon Hill Park, past Clover Point (a popular kite-flying spot) and eventually past the Ross Bay Cemetery. Views are to the Olympic Peninsula to the south where you’ll see (usually) the snow-capped mountains just behind Port Angeles, WA. Lots of people walk their dogs there as well … so lots of doggy watching – if you’re into that kind of thing!)
Beacon Hill Park
This park is right in downtown Victoria. It’s 62 acres of beautiful flowers, ponds, trails, a petting zoo (so great for young AND old!), picnic areas and sports fields. Be sure to be on the lookout for the many peacocks in the park … ducks, turtles … and sometimes you’ll even see nesting Great Blue Herons! A lovely stroll in any season! Parking is on the street although there is some parking inside the park – but not much in the summer months. Parking might be best on Dallas Road, then walk into the park from there.
Fisherman’s Wharf/David Foster Harbour Path
This walk runs from Erie Street and into Fisherman’s wharf, then follows the harbour around in front of the Empress Hotel either on Government Street or below on the causeway. The causeway is always fun as (in the warmer months) there are artists, crafts, and entertainment by buskers everywhere.
Past the causeway, continue left along Ship Point where you’ll see some marvelous yachts moored. You’ll then be at the bottom of a parking lot … but still lots to see … the harbour plane terminals and a wonderful restaurant called ‘The Flying Otter’ … great food and beer! Carry on till you reach the end that leads back up to Government street … check out the great whale mural on the side of the building!
The Breakwater at Ogden Point
A short walk but VERY cool … walk from Dallas Rd. out onto the Ogden Point breakwater. You walk right out into the harbour – the views are amazing!
The Ogden Point Breakwater is open to public access, and is an awesome walk. Skateboards and roller blading is not allowed. It is only closed during high wind days due to safety. Keep an eye peeled for whales, herons, seals and otters. As of 2013 a railing is installed, this will allow those who have been unable to walk the breakwater. This will make it safer.
The Breakwater has recently been decorated with an enormous Land and Sea Mural that faces the cruise ship terminal.
In July 2009 an interactive analemmatic sundial was installed on the pathway between Dallas Road and the breakwater at Ogden Point adjacent to the Victoria Pilot Station ((211 Dallas Road, V8V 1A1 – 48° 24.91N 123° 23.05W)). The 18-foot-wide sundial has one unique feature. It does not have a fixed gnomon as most sundials do, but uses the viewer as the gnomon. It also has brass Roman numerals and instructions to show users where to stand at various times of the year to ensure their shadow (it does need to be sunny) correctly indicates the time of day.