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Beacon Hill Park a wondrous place for a stroll

Beacon Hill Park is a wonderful place to take a stroll. Climb to the top of its tallest hill and gaze out to the snowcapped mountains across the sea. Walk through a multitude of ancient and giant trees where peacocks rest, and through grassland, rose gardens and ponds. Pause for a moment on a stone bridge built in 1869 to watch a raft of ducks swim away.

The park, close to Victoria’s Inner Harbour, is 200 acres  extending along the shores of Juan de Fuca strait.  It is a lush green place where herons and eagles nest, and where you’ll find a rare eco- system of ancient, gnarly trees including western Canada’s only native oak species, the Gary oak.  In spring, when Vancouver Island comes  alive with thousands of wildflowers and blossoms, you will want to be in Beacon Hill Park under the shade of a 300-year-old Gary oak, surrounded by purple camas.

The landscape of this park was modified for thousands of years by the Indigenous Coast Salish Lekwungen People who lived here and cultivated the camas for its nutritious bulbs. Each spring the purple camas cover great parts of Beacon Hill.  Rare and fascinating trees live in this park including a huge sequoia planted in 1923, western red cedar, elm, maple, and very tall Douglas firs.

A path in a field of camas takes you to an impressive totem pole measuring 127 feet.  It is carved out of a single cedar tree.  The Coast Salish people have a profound cultural connection to cedar, for its many material, medicinal and ceremonial uses. Look up at the carvings of the totem pole against the sky, see the purple camas at your feet, and hear the soft soothing sounds of the sea. You truly know you’ve come to a wondrous place to take a stroll.

 

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