The City of Victoria
The City of Victoria, located on the Southern tip of Vancouver Island, is Western Canada’s oldest city and the capital of British Columbia. As such, it is home to the provincial legislature.
Victoria has the mildest climate in Canada and with greenery in evidence throughout the year there is little wonder that it’s called the City of Gardens! Victoria boasts a spectacular setting of ocean and mountain vistas and offers numerous economic, cultural and recreational opportunities.
The Inner Harbour is the heart of Victoria and for many boaters is the gateway to the City of Gardens. Bordering the harbour are the ivy-covered Fairmont Empress hotel, the world-renowned Royal British Columbia Museum and the magnificent BC Parliament Buildings.
Governments at all levels provide a major employment base in the City.
For more information, visit the website of the The City of Victoria.
The District of North Saanich
The overriding philosophy of North Saanich residents is to retain the rural qualities of the area with an acute awareness of the protection of the environment.
Agricultural, residential and institutional uses are the primary land uses in North Saanich with only minor commercial or industrial uses (with the exception of the Victoria International Airport). The dominant agricultural/residential uses result in the highly valued rural atmosphere of North Saanich living. Almost all the housing is classified as single detached homes.
The Panorama Leisure Centre provides indoor tennis, ice arena, pool and other facilities while the Glen Meadows Golf and Country Club and the Ardmore Golf Course serve golf enthusiasts.
Because of the community’s preference for retaining larger lot sizes and the rural nature of residential neighbourhoods, water supply is provided by wells or the municipal water system. North Saanich is under the jurisdiction of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Waste disposal is done on a private basis.
For more information, visit the website of The District of North Saanich.
The District of Central Saanich
Agriculture is the most extensive land use activity in Central Saanich, with pockets of housing ranging from hobby farms to townhouses dispersed throughout. The necessary services are provided through two core commercial areas in Brentwood Bay and Saanichton, supported nicely by the Keating X Road industrial/commercial area.
The overriding philosophy of the community is to retain the current rural character, agricultural land base and as much as possible provide for slow, long-term growth where it will have the least impact on the agricultural lands and the environment.
Central Saanich has its own police force and Fire Department. Garbage collection is done on a private basis.
For more information, visit the website of The District of Central Saanich.
The Town of Sidney
“Sidney by the Sea” as it is affectionately known, is located about 20 kilometres north of Victoria. It enjoys a temperate climate, natural amenities and friendly community character. Sidney is under the jurisdiction of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Sidney has extensive waterfront walkways, parks, restaurants and marinas. Sidney is very proud of the redeveloped Mary Winspear Community Centre, which includes the 315 seat Charlie White Theatre. Sidney’s popular Thursday evening street market runs through the summer and attracts visitors from around the region.
With its sister municipalities of North Saanich and Central Saanich, Sidney helps fund the nearby Panorama Leisure Centre, which provides indoor tennis, two indoor ice rinks, a large indoor pool and other facilities.
There is daily ferry service to Anacortes, Washington, U.S.A. Sidney is less than two kilometres away from the Victoria International Airport, just a few kilometres from the B.C. Ferry Terminal to Vancouver and only 25 minutes away from downtown Victoria.
For more information, visit the website of the Town of Sidney.
Mill Bay is an unincorporated village-style community of approximately 3,000 people. It includes three shopping malls, including Mill Bay Centre, which serves as a regional shopping centre for the south end of the Cowichan Regional District. As well as being a significant commercial centre, the area is noted for its spectacular ocean views and numerous recreational opportunities. It includes the Kerry Park Recreation Centre with an ice rink, and the Brentwood College Schoo
The Township of Esquimalt
Esquimalt is the municipality immediately to the west of Victoria. It offers a variety of interesting contrasts in lifestyles with an abundance of parks, foreshore vistas and a marina.
Esquimalt has a strong mix of high quality residential properties, some excellent waterfront properties and a very active business community including a light industrial district. It has a well-established community spirit and all of its services were well-developed many years ago. Some of Esquimalt’s most attractive residential areas are Saxe Point and Rockheights.
Esquimalt has a full range of recreational facilities including a curling rink, indoor swimming pool, recreation centre and the top-ranked Gorge Vale Golf Club.
Facing the western approaches from the sea, Esquimalt is a very pleasant and sun-filled location. It is home to the Department of National Defence and headquarters of Canada’s Pacific Naval Fleet. Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt employs around 4,000 military and 3,000 civilian personnel, making it a significant contributor to Victoria’s economy.
For more information, visit the website of The Township of Esquimalt.
The District of Saanich
Saanich East and Saanich West is a sprawling area composed of a number of distinct neighbourhoods.
The eastern side of Saanich is dominated by the University of Victoria which is very much a part of the local life of the community. Saanich West is a multifaceted community stretching from the established suburban neighbourhoods of the Gorge area north to the rural farmland around Elk Lake and Prospect Lake.
The landscape of Saanich is unique for its ecological diversity and leisure potential. There are 170 municipal parks, three regional parks and a cycling network route to see and explore. Saanich has more parks per capita than any other municipality in B.C. There are several excellent golf courses in Saanich: Blenkinsop Valley, Cedar Hill, Cordova Bay and Prospect Lake golf courses.
Saanich’s distinct neighbourhoods include the following:
- GORDON HEAD is a solidly upper middle class family area with several shopping malls, restaurants and movie theatres within a short driving distance.
- HIGH QUADRA overlooking Blenkinsop Valley.
- BROADMEAD with imaginative West Coast architecture.
- CORDOVA BAY is perched along the seaside and includes a mixture of cottages, small farms, sizable family homes and new subdivisions.
- THE GORGE waterway on the west side of Saanich is a beautiful setting and a popular area for young families who prefer to live close to town. The Tillicum mall, Town and Country shopping centre and the Silver City movie theatre are all conveniently located.
- The Victoria General Hospital is little farther West and North among the family-oriented neighbourhoods of Strawberry Vale, West Burnside and Glanford Area. Interurban campus of Camosun College lies in the middle of this growing area, which is also host to many new subdivisions of single family residential development.
- PROSPECT LAKE is slightly further North, a well established area featuring a 9 hole golf course and a “lakeside retreat” ambience. Decidedly rural, the Elk Lake/Beaver Lake and the Old West Saanich Road areas include many horse farms and small acreages.
For more information, visit the website of The District of Saanich.
Malahat Proper is a rugged region containing mature forests and steep cliffs. Winding north from Victoria, the Malahat Drive offers spectacular views of the Saanich Peninsula and Gulf Islands.
To the north is the community of Shawnigan Lake, an area noted for its pristine lake views and water-based recreational opportunities. The community of Mill Bay, with its quiet waterfront streets, is found at the north end of the Malahat Drive. Beyond Mill Bay is the farming village of Cobble Hill, located on the southern end of the famed Cowichan Valley.
The District of Oak Bay
Oak Bay is a distinct municipality located to the east of Victoria. Oak Bay was incorporated in 1906.
From its kilometres of scenic coastline with breathtaking foreshore vistas to its luxury apartments and stately mansions, Oak Bay is one of the most desirable residential areas in Greater Victoria. Architecture ranges from the late 19th century style of such pre-eminent architects as Francis Rattenbury and Samuel McLure to the contemporary West Coast style of today’s fine architects.
Property owners take pride in maintaining their impeccably manicured lawns and fine landscaping. Canopies of trees enhance the attractiveness of the area and are passionately protected.
Oak Bay is home to two world-class golf courses, the Uplands Golf Club and Victoria Golf Club, as well as the Oak Bay Marina and the prestigious Royal Victoria Yacht Club. There are three recreation centres in the municipality and its main shopping areas, Oak Bay Avenue and Estevan, maintain a village-like atmosphere.
Oak Bay shares the University of Victoria and Camosun College with the neighbouring municipality of Saanich.
For more information, visit the website of The District of Oak Bay.
The City of Colwood
Incorporated in 1985, the City of Colwood is divided into residential pockets such as Triangle Mountain, Colwood Creek, Colwood Lake Estates, Wishart and Lagoon areas. There are business centres at Colwood Corners and Hatley Park.
The area offers a variety of recreational pursuits. The Juan de Fuca Recreation Centre is considered to be one of the most complete sport complexes in Juan de Fuca course. The area offers a nature reserve as well as a beach for sun tanning, swimming, wind-surfing, sailing or just walking. Views of downtown and views of the American coast over the Strait of Juan de Fuca are also enjoyed. In addition, there are a number of smaller parks. Colwood is also home to Royal Roads University.
Garbage collection is done on a private basis and the area is policed by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The Fire Department is a mix of regular and volunteer members. The area is well served by public transit. There is a private medical clinic available in Colwood Corners for emergency assistance, but most medical problems are taken care of at the Victoria General Hospital located on Helmcken Road which is very close by.
For more information, visit the website of the City of Colwood.
The Langford area is large, extending from West Saanich to View Royal, along Colwood, Metchosin, Sooke and northwards including portions of the Malahat Drive. Incorporated in 1992, the City of Langford is divided into distinct areas such as Glen Lake, Happy Valley, Florence Lake, Langford Proper, Thetis Heights and the Goldstream Area. There is a business and commercial area running from the Goldstream/Millstream intersection to Jacklin Road and extending to Westshore Town Centre on Kelly Road.
The area has a large number of lakes and parks, offering a variety of recreational pursuits. The larger lakes include Thetis Lake, Langford Lake, Glen Lake and Florence Lake. The ever-popular Goldstream Park also has a provincial campground and is famous for its annual salmon spawn.
Langford also includes the Olympic View and Bear Mountain developments featuring golf courses, a hotel and spa along with residential housing.
Most of the community is served by a municipal water system however there are large parts that are serviced by private wells. Septic tanks and septic fields are the norm though some areas are served by private sewage systems. Garbage pickup is done on a private basis. There is bus service throughout the area. Langford is policed by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
For more information, visit the website of The City of Langford.
The Town of View Royal
The town of View Royal was incorporated in 1988 and encompasses 1,007 hectares (2,488 acres) of land and 253 hectares (626 acres) of foreshore and land covered by water.
View Royal lies at the doorstep of Greater Victoria’s urban core and adjacent to the established municipalities of Esquimalt and Saanich.
View Royal is served by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Waste disposal is done on a private basis and areas within the township are protected by a tree-cutting bylaw.
View Royal has been divided into seven distinct Precincts based on such factors as topography, major transportation corridors, natural environment and the age of housing stock. They are Craigflower, Harbour, Helmcken, Hospital, Burnside, Atkins and Wilfert. Each Precinct can also be described and identified according to its population, the number of dwelling units by type and ownership, the amount of land available for new development and the presence of commercial and retail land uses.
For more information, visit the website of The Town of View Royal.
The District of Metchosin
Metchosin is mainly a rural community with large parcels of land. It includes areas such as Albert Head, William Head, Rocky Point, Happy Valley and the Kangaroo Road areas.
Horseback riding, nature trails and parks are common in the district, which also offers a number of golf courses. Matheson Lake is popular for swimming and hiking. Witty’s Lagoon is an oceanfront area for a variety of sports and for relaxation. Pedder Bay is well known for its fishing and Metchosin is the setting for Pearson College, which attracts students from all over the world. As the area is mainly rural, there are a variety of farm-related organizations and horse and riding clubs.
Parts of the community are served by a community water system however there are large parts that are serviced by private wells. Septic tanks and septic fields are the norm. There are also some private sewage systems. Garbage collection is done on a private basis. There is limited bus service throughout the area, both for public transport and for schools. Metchosin falls under the jurisdiction of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and has a volunteer Fire Department.
For more information, visit the website of The District of Metchosin.
The District of Highlands
Many people choose to live in the Highlands because of its rural character and natural beauty. Residents are encouraged to build their homes with the least environmental impact by minimizing vegetation removal, using materials that blend in with the landscape and positioning homes so that they are not highly visible from the road or viewpoints.
Mount Work Regional Park boasts swimming holes, fishing spots and hilly terrain as well as the highest peak on the Saanich Peninsula. Lone Tree Regional Park has a two kilometre trail that winds uphill, leading hikers to fabulous views of the Highlands, Victoria and the Olympic Mountains.
During a normal winter, the Highlands experiences cooler temperatures and more rainfall than Victoria, which is needed to recharge well water resources and maintain ecosystems during dryer conditions that occur during the summer and fall months.
The Highlands is home to many interesting plants and ecosystems such as wetlands, woodlands, wildflowers and old growth trees. The roads are scenic, narrow and winding.
For more information, visit the website of The District of Highlands.
The District of Sooke
Located west of Victoria, Sooke became incorporated in 1999. Sooke is divided into distinct areas known as Sooke Village, East Sooke, Broomhill, Saseenos, Sooke River, Whiffin Spit and “the West Coast Road”. There is a growing business section in the downtown core, good schools, sports facilities and an excellent museum.
Sooke offers a variety of recreational activities reflecting its natural surroundings. Excellent fishing, boating, hunting, hiking and horseback riding are available. The area contains an abundance of lakes, parks and nature trails including the Galloping Goose linear park, East Sooke Park, Sooke Pot Holes, the well-known Sooke Harbour, the world-renowned West Coast and Juan de Fuca Trails as well as Botanical Beach at Port Renfrew. Sooke also offers great surfing and whale watching.
Sooke is a popular tourist area boasting the world famous Sooke Harbor House and a large number of private bed and breakfast facilities and country lodges tucked away in the woods and usually on the waterfront. It also has a local government wharf and private marinas.
Sooke falls under the jurisdiction of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The community has a volunteer fire department. Parts of the community are served by a municipal water system however there are large areas that are served by private wells and community water systems. Garbage collection is done on a private basis.
For more information, visit the website of The District of Sooke.