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 Home > Travel BC > BC Cities and Towns > The Islands  > Saanich

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.

Community Neighbourhoods
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.

Business 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.

Ocean Waterfront
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.

Mount Douglas Park
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.

Mount Tolmie
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.

Saanich Viewpoints
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.

Elk/Beaver 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.

Bike Paths
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.

Colquitz River Trail
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 Inlet.

Galloping 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.

Recreational Facilities
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.

Glendale 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 and teachings.

Rithets 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 natural habitat.

Reynolds 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.

Information on Saanich



Map of Saanich
click map for larger image


Uptown Development
Uptown Development


Gorge Waterway
Gorge Waterway


Mount Douglas Park
Mount Douglas Park


Swan Lake
Swan Lake


Elk/Beaver Lakes 10 km (6 miles) Trail
Elk/Beaver Lakes 10 km (6 miles) Trail


Prospect Lake
Prospect Lake


Colquitz River Trail
Colquitz River Trail


Cedar Hill Golf Course
Cedar Hill Golf Course


Elk Lake
Elk Lake


'Centre of the Universe'
'Centre of the Universe'


Camosun College (Landsdowne Campus)
Camosun College (Landsdowne Campus)

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