Heritage Acres in Saanich, BC is operated by the Saanich Historical Artifact Society.
Like me, you may have seen the sign for Heritage Acres as you’re driving along the Pat Bay Hwy. And like me, you may have thought the site contained a few old tractors and some farm equipment along with a little train.
Yes, there are tractors … but so much more!
What a great surprise! We stopped in the other day and spent a wonderful and most enjoyable couple of hours just wandering around the site which includes an amazing museum, many heritage buildings, lovely walking trails and yes … the train!
First, the museum.
It’s a large, 2-storey building with the main floor arranged into what looks like an old village with storefronts that lead into recreations of old-time businesses. There are also many displays of antique items such as games, medical equipment, printing and typesetting machines, sewing & knitting machines, food and food preparation items and yes, farm equipment! The upper floor is an amazing collection of all types of antique items and oddities … it will either bring back memories for the older folks among us or make the younger ones marvel at how we got along with such ‘primitive’ equipment! LOTS to see!
Once you’re done with the museum, you’re free to wander the grounds – there is 29 acres with lots of trails – and look around at the many old buildings scattered about. There is an old schoolhouse, a chapel, a completely furnished log cabin, tool sheds, machine sheds, a streetcar barn … and more! Most buildings are furnished and open to the public.
This is one of the best historical sites/museums I’ve been to in a long time!
And oh yes … the train! While it wasn’t running when we were there (check the schedule below) we wandered the tracks … and folks, this isn’t your little ’round the circle’ kind of train. The trains are run by the Vancouver Island Model Engineers and what a ride it is! The tracks are extensive and wind through some beautiful country. There are trestles, tunnels … you’ll pass a large pond complete with a windmill … not your average ‘kiddie train’. One of the comments heard was “You actually feel like you’ve gone somewhere!” (See Below for Photos of Trains)
In addition to the museum, historical buildings and train … there are many beautiful picnic settings for you to enjoy both in the open and covered. There are many scheduled events throughout the year or you can book the chapel, schoolroom or picnic areas with bbq facilities for your own special events.
There is even a general store with some of the many artifacts for sale from the inventory of the park!
Location: 7321 Lochside Dr., Saanich, BC (turn onto Island View Rd., – you’ll see Michell’s Farm market there – then immediate left onto Lochside)
Winter hours are 9:00AM to noon daily, October to May
Summer hours are 9:00AM to 4:00PM daily, June 19 to September 17
Listed below are the days that VIME is operating trains for public riders this year. You can see the date, time trains will run, and what the event is. Some of the events may have a gate charge, and these are specially noted with a red asterisk (*) next to the date. ALL VIME train rides are by DONATION, whether or not there is a gate charge.
VIME also offers a limited number of days when trains may be hired for a private event such as a birthday party. For more information see our request page here.