Posted by: cherylyoung | September 3, 2012

OVERLOOKING THE CITY OF VICTORIA BC, YOU’LL BE HARD PRESSED TO FIND A BETTER VIEW ANYWHERE

Mount Douglas Park is located on Cordova Bay Road

 in Gordon Head, Victoria. From the park, visitors can

walk the shores of Cordova Bay, hike trails lush with

the abundance of ferns and wildflowers, towered by

Douglas Fir and Cedar trees overhead.

Trails lead you to the summit elevation of 213 metres.

 This 360 degree lookout is spectacular, with views of

rural Saanich, the city lights of Victoria, and further,

the Olympic and Cascade mountains in Washington

State.

Mount Douglas was first known as the “hill of cedars” to

the local Songhees people.

Later, after the Songhees harvested lengthy cedar

planks from its forests to construct palisades around

Fort Victoria, its title was formalized as “Cedar Hill”.

Still later, when Capt. G.H. Richards was syandardizing

the local geographic nomenclature, he called any rise

under one thousand feet a hill, and any above, a

mountain.

He made an exception for Mount Douglas, as he did not

wish to ‘lower’ the governor and, as he explained,

“Douglas Hill does not sound well..”

Several of the trails in Mount Douglas Park are named

after local pioneer families.

Peter Merriman, John Irvine and Sam Norn purchased

parcels of land between April 1857 and January 1858.

Nearby Cordova Bay was first known by its Saanich

name, meaning “white colour”, after the snowberry

bushes that thrive along its coastline.

In 1790, Sub-lieutenant Quimper of the Spanish naval

 sloop Princessa Real (the siezed British Princess

Royal) gave the name “Puerto de Cordova” (in honour

of the forty-sixth viceroy of New Spain) to what is

now Esquimalt Harbour.

Around 1842 the Hudson’s Bay company transferred

the name to this bay.

For many years British maps showed it as Cormorant

 Bay, but in 1905 the Geographic Board of Canada made

the name Cordova Bay official.

This parkland was originally set aside in 1858 by

Sir James Douglas as a Government Reserve (the

creek and hill ar both named after him), and has been

protected as crown trust since 1889.

In November 1992 it was transferred to Saanich

 Municipality.

The park is located 5 miles (8 km) northeast of

Victoria at the north end of Shelbourne Street.

Another 1.5 km up Churchill Drive brings you to the

summit parking lot, and to several very fine viewpoints.

We can credit early Victoria mayor, Bert Todd, with

the foresight to construct an “auto road” to the summit

as a tourist attraction.

 Recent parkland purchases have included “Little

Mount Doug” and increased the size of the park

beyond its original 175 hectares.

Excellent parking and picnicking facilities are provided

in the park.

Near the intersection of Ash Road and Cordova Bay

Road, is a large parking lot from where a trail leads

down to the beach.

Several trails are signposted from Cordova Bay Road

from which you can plan some good hiking, but note

that no parking is allowed along Cordova Bay Road.

The Irvine Trail leads up to a viewpoint over

Cordova Bay.

Near the old quarry on Cordova Bay Road, the

 Merriman Trail leads to the summit of Mount Doug –

well defined and easy hiking in the lower section, but

somewhat steeper with a little scrambling near the

summit.

The Norn Trail is well defined and provides easy

walking on fairly level ground.

It roughly parallels Cordova Bay Road passing through

 tall timber.

Access is provided along Blenkinsop Road, but there

is very little space for cars.

Between house numbers 4351 and 4411, find the

Mercer Trail (signed) and then pick up the Munson

Trail, which takes you to the old mine workings.

You can then climb up over a rocky ridge with Garry

Oak and low bush and in spring time will find lovely

flowers.

Or you can go north from the mine on the Whittaker

Trail and make side trips to excellent views.

No camping is permitted in the park.

In the picnic area no horses are permitted at any time;

 dogs are allowed here from September to April only.

Cycling is not permitted on any of the trails in

the park.

The Friends of Mount Douglas is a society formed to

preserve the park in a natural state and to preserve

the original park boundaries as set out by Sir James

Douglas in 1889.

CHERYL YOUNG, REALTOR

SAANICH PENINSULA REALTY

www.cherylyoung.

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