Saanich, the largest community on Vancouver Island, is located in
the Capital Regional District (CRD) towards the southern end of
the Saanich Peninsula bordering the communities of Oak
Bay, Victoria, Esquimalt,
View Royal, Highlands
and Central Saanich.
There are a number of community neighbourhoods that are part of
Saanich, including the Tillicum Road corridor south of the Trans-Canada
Hwy 1, Marigold, Glanford, Lakehill, Cedar Hill, Gordon Head, Broadmead,
Royal Oak and around Interurban Road. All of the neighbourhoods
have a number of parks, green space, great recreational facilities
and shopping villages close by.
and Shopping Areas
The major business and shopping areas of Saanich are located around;
Tillicum Mall, Royal Oak and close-by Broadmead Shopping Centres.
Also, there is Saanich Centre at Quadra Street and McKenzie Avenue,
University Centre on Shelbourne Road at McKenzie Avenue and the
latest development in Saanich called Uptown Centre on Trans-Canada
Hwy 1. Two other large malls, the Mayfair Mall and Hillside Centre,
are situated in Victoria right near the Saanich border.
Saanich is also bordered by the ocean waterfront on the east and
west sides of the community. On the west side there is Portage Inlet
and 'The Gorge' waterway an inland passage that reaches in from
the inner harbour of Victoria and forms the border with View Royal
and Esquimalt. On the eastern shores there is Cadboro Bay, Ten Mile
Point, Gordon Head, Cormorant Point and Cordova Bay, all of which
offer views of Haro Strait and San Juan Island.
For one of the beast views of this ocean waterfront and the Saanich
Peninsula make sure you visit Mount Douglas Park. To get here travel
to the 4400 block of Shelbourne Street to find the entrance to Mount
Douglas Park on Churchill Drive. Once at the top of Churchill Drive
you'll find a parking lot and a short trail to a 360-degree panoramic
view which includes Saanich, Central Saanich, the Gulf and San Juan
Islands, Oak Bay, Victoria, Esquimalt, the Western Communities and
Mount Tolmie is another viewpoint that is a 'must' to see and doesn't
involve a trail. The Mount Tolmie parking lot is situated off of
either turning onto Mayfair Drive from either Richmond or at the
other end on Cedar Hill X Road.
Other viewpoints in Saanich include going up to see 'Centre of the
Universe' and visit the Dominion Observatory situated off West Saanich
Road. There is also a great view from Swan
Lake-Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary, a local favourite.
Lakes Regional Park
The largest and most popular park in Saanich can be found at Elk/Beaver
Lakes Regional Park. Made up two adjoining lakes, the park features
a number of outdoor recreational pursuits including boating, fishing,
swimming, equestrian trails, rowing, canoeing and a large field
for walking dogs. The park also has a 10 km (6 miles) jogging/walking
trail that encircles both Elk and Beaver Lakes. The park is accessed
off off Hwy 17 at either Elk Lake Road or off Sayward Road.
The community has also been a leader throughout the CRD in developing
bike lanes and regional trails through the City of Saanich's Commuter
Bicycle Network program. With the assistance of the Saanich Bicycle
Touring Route you can travel to all corners of the community without
the use of a vehicle by using the vast array trails and path networks.
A favourite all-purpose trail that takes you through an urban neighbourhood
containing vast wilderness is along Colquitz River. The Colquitz
River Trail can be entered at various points in Saanich and eventually
leads downstream to Tillicum Mall and joins into the trail systems
of Cuthbert Holmes Park where you'll find some birdwatching opportunities,
especially for Great Blue Herons near the river mouth at Portage
Goose and Lochside Regional Trails
If you like cycling, the Galloping Goose and Lochside Regional Trails
go right through Saanich and connects with downtown Victoria, through
the Western Communities to the Sooke
Potholes or to BC Ferries at Swartz Bay. These trails were combined
with the Centennial Trail Project of creating a gateway of trail
systems with a goal of enriching community spirit of recreation
and cultural diversity through human transportation.
Saanich has developed a proactive system for improving health of
its citizens throughout the community, providing a vast array of
indoor recreational facilities. For indoor recreation it is centred
on the modern facilities found at Peakes Arena, Commonwealth Place,
Gordon Head Recreational Centre and the Cedar Hill Recreational
Centre which is located next to the Cedar Hill public golf course.
Gardens and Woodland
For garden exhibits besides Butchart Gardens in Central Saanich
try and visit the Horticulture Centre of the Pacific in Saanich.
Found at the intersection of Quayle Road and Beaver Road near Interurban
and West Saanich Roads, the Horticulture Centre of the Pacific can
offer the visitor educational workshops, events, demonstrations
Bog Conservation Area
Another area for excellent birdwatching is also found in Broadmead
at Rithets Bog Conservation Area. Located on Chatterton Way, Rithets
Bog, once the property of the Guinness family of Britain, was donated
in 1994 to help preserve a bog ecosystem that contains a number
of rare plant species and a variety of songbirds that uses this
Secondary School Flea Market
If you enjoy flea markets try visiting Reynolds Secondary High School
parking lot in Saanich on Borden Street near McKenzie Avenue during
July and August. This event happens every Thursday during the kid's
school off time the flea market operates from 7 am to 2 pm at the
Reynolds Secondary High School parking lot.
For people who need accommodation there are a number of motels,
hotels and bed and breakfast outlets in Saanich. The nearest government
campground is found at Goldstream
Provincial Park. For private RV campgrounds try Beachcomber
RV in Central Saanich or Fort Victoria in View Royal.