Beacon Hill Park
The crown jewel in Victoria's park system, Beacon Hill Park is an oasis of both natural and landscaped beauty. The park is a spectacular, publicly owned 183-acre property. Wildlife abounds in Beacon Hill Park. More than a hundred bird species occur here, along with a number of mammals such as river otters, raccoons, and squirrels. Sunfish, painted turtles, and crayfish make their homes in the waterways. The park is a perfect blend of natural and recreational features.
Beacon Hill Park is a gathering place for residents and visitors alike. Kite enthusiasts, paragliders, sailboarders, and radio-controlled airplane buffs all have room to take advantage of the distinctive landscape here. Sports fields, a miniature golfing green, a children’s petting zoo, playgrounds, a cricket pitch, and a lawn bowling club provide free recreational opportunities for all ages. Free concert programming is held during the summer at Cameron Bandshell, also known as Stage in the Square.
Unparalleled views mark every season in Beacon Hill Park: from wildflowers blanketing the slopes in spring, to oceanside bluffs veiled in autumn mist and spectacular, lashing waves on stormy days.
The interior of the park, with its Victorian landscape of manicured flowerbeds, graceful trees, lakes, and bridged streams, has a life all its own.
It features an open vista across the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Beacon Hill Park is probably best known for its beautiful natural features. Remnants of the fragile, native Garry Oak ecosystem occur in the park, providing spectacular spring shows of blue flowering camas and native wildflowers.
The City of Victoria Parks Division has been an able and devoted caretaker of this public space. The park has many community groups that have also taken a keen interest, including the Friends of Beacon Hill Park.
Beacon Hill Park has an important status as the western terminus, the Mile "0" of the 8,000-kilometre Trans-Canada Highway.
The history and character of Victoria are very closely intertwined with Beacon Hill Park – every childhood likely includes a memory about some aspect of the park. It is considered the jewel of Victoria's parks, and has been fiercely and proudly guarded in the last century and a half of Victoria's history.
In 1859, Beacon Hill Park was established as a public park and granted to the City of Victoria in trust in 1882. In the early years, the park had many uses, including a horseracing track, rock quarry and gravel pit, and cutting trees for firewood. Since that time parks planners have acted as able stewards of the space, creating transportation pathways, water features, playgrounds, recreation features, open air entertainment spaces, and more.