Here are the most popular "must-see" attractions in the Victoria area:
[ Victoria | North to Saanich | West to Sooke ]
Highway 14, also known as the Sooke Road, heads west from Victoria and takes you to some rugged Pacific shoreline along the southwest coast of Vancouver Island. The paved road continues to Port Renfrew which is 107 kilometres from Victoria. The attractions here are listed from east to west.
Sooke Image Gallery
Galloping Goose Regional Trail
Along the route is the Galloping Goose Trail, which is Canadaís 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.
Fort Rodd Hill & Fisgard Lighthouse Historic Sites
603 Fort Rodd Hill Road (Colwood)
The Fortís 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 lightkeeperís house includes old maps, models, and photos of lighthouses, shipwrecks as well as light-making equipment through the years.
This community is 18 km west of downtown Victoria. This 13,000 resident town is one of BCís newest municipalities being incorporated in 1985. The town began as one of four large farms established outside Fort Victoria by the Pugetís Sound Agricultural Company, a subsidiary of the Hudsonís 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 townís infocentre.
Royal Roads University/Hatley Castle
2000 Sooke Road (1/2 km west of Colwood Corners)
This former military college occupies the 262 hectare grounds that used be known as Hatley Park, and estate built in 1908 for Robert Dunsmuir the Victoria coal baron and millionaire, who also built Craigdarroch castle in Victoria. The centrepiece is Hatley Castle, with Italian, Japanese and rose gardens. The cost was about $1 million dollars, about what the BC Legislature cost at the time. The military college once got court-martialed by the Federal Government for its floral displays. The gardens are open to the public daily from dawn until dusk.
Pearson College of the Pacific
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.
This 9,000 inhabitant village sits on the pretty Sooke Harbour, and lies about 25 kilometres west of Colwood. The town is named after the local Indian tribe TíSoke. This is western Canadaís southernmost harbour, protected from the ocean seas by narrow Whiffin Spit. In 1864, miners were dropped off here to work the gold mines on the Sooke and Leech rivers, about 16 kilometres upstream from the sea. The gold rush lasted a year with $100,000 in gold extracted from the area. Sooke continued to grow as a logging and fishing community, and hosts the All Sooke Day (third Saturday in July) which trumpets its logging heritage. The Sooke harbour is about 5 kilometres long, before the waters widen into the larger Sooke Basin. The harbour is excellent for paddling. Often fishermen sell their catches fresh from their boats.