Colwood is 18 km west of downtown Victoria. This 13,000 resident town is one of BC’s newest municipalities, being incorporated in 1985. The town began as one of four large farms established outside Fort Victoria by the Puget’s Sound Agricultural Company, a subsidiary of the Hudson’s Bay Company. The town is named for the residence of EE Langford, who was the operator of the 243 hectare farm. There is a small Goldstream Regional Museum beside the town’s infocentre.
Colwood has two golf courses, Juan de Fuca and the Royal Colwood. The Juan de Fuca Recreational Centre has facilities for almost any sport, including swimming and skating. There is a velodrome beside it for bicycle racing. On the northern edge of the community is the Thetis Lake Park, with several lakes (for boating and swimming), hills, and hiking trails.
On the easter edge of the community, on the Esquimalt Harbour are the Fort Rodd Hill and Lisgard Lighthouse Historic sights, with great water views. You can also head south along Ocean Boulevard, with the Esquimalt Lagoon on one side and the Juan de Fuca Strait on the other. The Galloping Goose Regional Trail connects Colwood with Sooke going west, and also to Victoria, Esquimalt and Saanich to the east.
Metchosin is home to two golf courses, Olympic View and Matheson, both highly rated. There are several park areas, including Matheson Provincial, Devonian Regional, Witty’s Lagoon Regional and Albert head Lagoon Regional. These parks combine coastal terrain with rugged deep forest. There are also a couple of nice ocean beaches, at Weir Beach, Witty’s Lagoon and Albert Head.
Langford has a number of recreational opportunities. There are two golf courses in town, Royal Colwood (private), and the renowned Olympic View. Western Speedway, up Millstream Rd, is the Victoria area’s home for automobile racing.
There are four lakes in town, offering plenty of recreation, including swimming, boating and fishing. On the northwest of town is rugged Goldstream Provincial Park, to the north east are Thetis Lake Regional and Mill Hill Regional parks. The town is in the middle of the Galloping Goose Regional Trail, a rail-to-trail conversion, that links Langford to Sooke (and beyond) and extends east into Victoria and up into Saanich.
Albert Head Lagoon Park
Delgada Rd, Victoria, BC V9C 3W2
(Metchosin Rd right on Farhill, south on Duke)
This 7 hectare park is a wildlife sanctuary with a pebblestone beach for picnicking and sunbathing. The lagoon north of the beach is home to an abundant wildlife population, including some swans. The park has excellent views of Albert Head (which is used for a National Defence establishment), Strait of Juan de Fuca, and the Victoria skyline.
Devonian Regional Park
4749 Canada, 4705 William Head Rd, Victoria, BC V9C 3Y7
This 13 hectare shore park is 5 kilometres past Witty’s Lagoon. It is tucked between two farms, and has walking and riding trails. The park is great for picnics, beachcombing and birdwatching.
Fort Rodd Hill & Fisgard Lighthouse Historic Sites
603 Fort Rodd Hill Road (Colwood)
The Fort’s three gun batteries were built in the 1890s to protect the Royal navy base in Esquimalt, and kept operational until the 1950s, once coastal artillery became obsolete. The 18 hectare waterfront park has spectacular views, and has beaches, tidal pools and forest trails to explore (because of wildlife, no pets are allowed). The Fisgard Lighthouse was the first permanent lighthouse on the BC coast, built in 1860. Displays inside the lightkeeper’s house includes old maps, models, and photos of lighthouses, shipwrecks as well as light-making equipment through the years.
Galloping Goose Regional Trail
Along the route is the Galloping Goose Trail, which is Canada’s first rail to trail conversion. The trail along an abandoned Canadian National Railway Line runs for 58 kilometres, with more being added each year. The trail, named for the locomotive used to carry passengers to the now-abandoned mining town of Leechtown, begins just west of the Highway 1A underpass toward Colwood and is well marked with signage.
Metchosin Museum & Schoolhouse
4475 Happy Valley Rd, Victoria, BC V9C 3Z3
(Metchosin & Happy Valley Rds)
This is the first school in BC, after the province joined Confederation in 1871. The school was finally closed in 1949. It is now an area museum, open Saturday and Sunday afternoons from April to October.
Pearson College of the Pacific
650 Pearson College Dr, Victoria, BC V9C 4H7
Pearson College Drive (off William Head Road)
This campus is one of eight set up by the United World Colleges. It provides 200 students from around the world full scholarships to complete the equivalent of Grade 12 and first year university. The college also sponsors a summer arts program and a program for indigenous (native Indian) teenagers.
2005 Sooke Road (1/2 km west of Colwood Corners)
Victoria, BC, Canada V8S 3L5
(250) 391.2666 Fax (250) 391.2623 Toll-free 1-866-241-0674
Hatley Park is Canada’s largest and most diverse National Historic Site, centered around a magnificent castle built in 1908 by former British Columbia Premier and coal baron, James Dunsmuir. This 565 acre Edwardian estate is just 25 minutes from downtown Victoria. Open Year round, visitors will enjoy daily tours of Hatley Castle, a visit to the museum, or strolling through the Japanese, Italian and Rose Gardens. This ocean-front setting is available for weddings, meetings, retreats, conferences, corporate team building, motion picture filming, experiential travel programs and special events. Open May – October daily 10 am – 5 pm; Nov – April from: 10 am – 3 pm (Christmas Period open for private events only December 15 – January 13th). Admission charge.
Witty’s Lagoon Regional Park
Witty Beach Rd (7 km from Hwy 14 on the Metchosin Rd)
This 56 hectare park is a birdwatcher’s paradise with shorebirds like great blue herons (even seals) hanging out on the sandy beach. The park also has big stands of Douglas fir, some creeks and Sitting Lady Falls. The park has picnic grounds and 5 kilometres of marked trails through the forests and leading to a sandy spit into the sea. Witty’s Nature House is open year-round, with extended summer weekday hours.