If I could, I’d have liked to thank Sir James Douglas, governor of Victoria in 1858 for first protecting the 183 acre parkland that evolved into Beacon Hill Park. Thank him for providing me and many others with unlimited and free access to a bounty of nature, both landscaped and wild, for my very active kids to explore (and burn themselves out and consequently pass out on the way home in the car; just as I had hoped!)
Beacon Hill Park Features in BC’s Troubled Colonial History
Unfortunately, the plans laid out in the 1880s were completely oblivious to the fact that the area was a Songhees tribal burial ground. When the park was first declared in 1882, the landscaping dug up and discarded many First Nations remains. Later on, in 1986, the jagged rocks sticking out of the ground were even callously dragged away. Protests alerted the authorities, and ultimately the mistake was acknowledged, and the rocks were replaced as they were. Today many of the rock cairns are still scattered around the park, hidden in the greenery.
It’s true the hill that overlooks Juan de Fuca Strait did have 2 beacons atop it, although they are long gone. The park’s native trees and meadow flowers are still growing abundantly. Garry oak, western red cedar, and the endangered arbutus, can all be seen – and some by now are quite massive. Not as massive as the 127 foot totem pole erected in 1956 though! The totem in Beacon Hill Park is the fourth tallest in the world.
Kids Love the Petting Zoo and other Park Animals
My kids loved feeding the ducks and swans in the ponds. One of them thought that the sighting of the resident peacock was comparable to seeing a unicorn. We still have that peacock feather as proof.
There are a couple of playgrounds there and a water park runs all summer long. And every spring, the Beacon Hill Petting Zoo opens up by donation for everyone to come and see the young (and not so young but still cute) creatures. Full on contact is in the goat pen and hilarious to watch both kinds of kids go at it.
You can Explore Beacon Hill Park at Your Own Pace
For the more active types, there are playing fields, a mini golf green, a cricket pitch and a lawn bowling green club. And if you just want to go for a walk or jog along Dallas Road, you will have access to an off leash area for dogs if you plan on bringing your furry friend.
If you really weren’t feeling up to walking around the park, carriage rides are popular. I can imagine that to be quite romantic and a real memory maker.
Ok, a trip to the Beacon Drive Inn isn’t essential as you probably packed a picnic, but who wouldn’t want to indulge a little in a homestyle burger and fries? And a milkshake or ice cream, for that matter.
For travel information on possible ways to get to Victoria click here
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