Esquimalt’s name comes from a native Indian expression “Es-whoy-malth” which means a shoaling place. Esquimalt is the home of Canada’s navy on the West Coast. The natural harbour was used by ships of the Royal Navy as early as 1837, with the Naval Base formally authorized on June 29, 1865. The base was transferred to the Royal Canadian Navy in 1910. The municipality was incorporated in 1912, and today has 17,000 residents. Esquimalt has several heritage buildings and great beaches with Victoria views.
Esquimalt is surrounded by water on all sides, with the Gorge to the north, the Victoria harbour to the East, and the Esquimalt Harbour to the west, so water sports are a big part of the recreational opportunities here. Kinsmen Gorge Park gives great views of the long and narrow Gorge connecting the Portage Inlet with Victoria’s harbour. Saxe Point Park combines rugged beaches and views with quiet family picnic spots, while Macauley Point park offers magnificent views of Victoria’s skyline, along with a boat ramp on it west side in Fleming Bay.
Recreation in the area is varied, with the Gorge Park to the south (and the Gorge Rowing Club boathouse on Jutland) offering saltwater recreation. Tillicum Park & Cuthbert Homes Park with the GR Pearkes Arena offering more urban pursuits in the northwest, and Swan Lake and the Swan Lake-Christmas Hill nature Sanctuary offering freshwater recreation and wildlife to the northeast. The Galloping Goose Regional Trail traces along the northern and eastern edge of the community, linking it with Colwood (through to Sooke) to the West and downtown Victoria and the Saanich Peninsula to the east.
View Royal is home to the large Juan de Fuca Recreation Centre, with fitness facilities for all sports, including swimming, skating, racquet sports, and bicycle racing. There are two golf courses bordering the community: Juan de Fuca to the west and Gorge Vale to the east. Other recreational activities are centred around Portage inlet, with park land on Christie Point in the middle of Portage Inlet and the Portage Regional Park beside the town hall. View Royal is also home to the recently opened Great Canadian Casino.
Esquimalt, View Royal Attractions
English Country Gardens (formerly “Anne Hathaway’s Cottage”)
429 Lampson St, at the Olde English Inn, V9A 5Y9
This attractions has replica’s of William Shakespeare’s birthplace, the Harvard House, and the Olde Curiosity Shoppe. Old weapons (including armour, flintlocks, crossbows), and 16th and 17th century furniture are on exhibit. Tours are offered daily 9 am – 8 pm June to September, 10 am – 4 pm the rest of the year
(Craigflower @ Admirals, in View Royal)
The farmhouse was built for Kenneth McKenzie in the 1850s, who was the bailiff of a 360 hectare farm established by a subsidiary of the Hudson’s Bay Company, which in return for its trading franchise was required to colonize the area. The farm shows “living history” with period costumed interpreters showing the house and farm. The heavy wooden doors with steel hinges show the dual purpose of home and fortress. There is also the Colonial Schoolhouse, the oldest in western Canada, and beautiful views of the Gorge waterway. Open daily 11 am to 5 pm mid-May to mid-October; noon – 4 pm furing the off-season. Admission is $4 for adults, and $10 for a family.
Esquimalt Naval & Military Museum
western end of Esquimalt Rd
This museum showcases much of Esquimalt’s military and naval history, going back to its early days as a base for the Royal Navy in 1865.
Casino View Royal
1708 Old Island Highway
State of the art casino features hundreds of slot machines and all of your favourite table games, for both the seasoned players and beginners. For great dining, enjoy the Weinlager and Amici Caffe licensed restaurants. 25 minutes from downtown Victoria with a free Shuttle Service.
Saxe Point Park
Fraser Street (off Esquimalt Rd (Esquimalt)
This waterfront park has a great view over the Strait of Juan de Fuca to Washington’s Olympic Mountains. Its combination of forest and grassy fields makes it a great place for picnics or a nature hike. Beachcombers and scuba divers enjoy this park for its rustic nature.