Victoria was voted number one by Con de Naste magazine as best city in the world for environmental ambiance and this can be discovered by following Victoria’s scenic marine drive. Bring your camera. You can hike it, bike it, drive it or hire someone to take you on a tour! We suggest that you read through this article before you start the tour and plan what you want to see and do.
We recommend that you start between 8 and 9 am at the Ogden Point Breakwater at 199 Dallas Road. You can grab a coffee and a snack or some breakfast at the
Breakwater Restaurant and Bistro. Before or after, take the 750 meter walk into Juan de Fuca Strait on the Ogden Point Breakwater. We suggest that you go out on the upper walkway and come back on the granite blocks. While on the upper part keep watching on the sides for sea life and the amazing variety of marine traffic.
As you travel down Dallas Road you will soon find Mile Zero on the Trans-Canada Highway. This is probably the most photographed spot on Vancouver Island. Right behind the Mile Zero sign is the statue of Terry Fox. Terry Fox is a Canadian hero as well as an athlete, humanitarian, and cancer research activist. Terry lost a leg to cancer and in 1980 he began a cross-Canada run to raise money and awareness for cancer research. His quest was ended by cancer after 143 days and 5,373 kilometres (3,339 mi). Since 1981 annual Terry Fox Runs have railed hundreds of millions of dollars for cancer research and have involved millions of people all over the world. A true her for sure!
At Clover Point you can drive down out into the ocean on a promontory of land and find some great views on Juan de Fuca Strait. On occasion whales pass right by as they follow salmon up the strait! You can’t count on it, but you never know. It is well worth a stop.
After Clover Point Ross Bay is on your right and to your left is the Ross Bay Cemetery. The Cemetery is a huge piece of Victoria’s History and you can walk through it or take a historic tour with Discover The Past Tours at another time. There is a walking/bike path below Dallas Road that travels across Ross Bay. If you are cycling or hiking, it will take you off the road.
As you travel up a short hill, stay to your right on Hollywood Crescent and when it turns into Crescent Road watch on your right for parking for Gonzales Beach.
Here you might want to go for a short and scenic beach walk or sit and have a cool drink in the shade of the big trees. It is truly beautiful here!
Just after Gonzales Bay, Crescent Road makes a sharp turn to the right and the road ahead is now called King George Terrace. If you take Crescent Road to the right it will take you to the Chinese Cemetery (Photo-Op) where many of the labour workers that forged our community are buried. Then return back on Crescent Road to King George Terrace and take King George Terrace to the right. At 200 King George Terrace take the turn off into the parking area at the scenic viewpoint at Trafalgar Park. It is one of the best scenic views in Victoria.
As you carry on, you soon get to Beach Drive. Turn left and follow our instructions to Walbran Park, another spectacular viewpoint. As you go up beach drive to your left, take the third turn on your left on Denniston and follow it to the top of the
hill. You will see limited parking alongside the road. Park and take the trail up the hill to the view point. This is one of the best view points in Victoria!
Head back the way you came on to Beach Drive and follow it along the ocean. You are how passing McNeill Bay. Watch for road side parking next to a small island just off shore. It is called Kitty Islet and is visible just past Transit Road. Walk out onto it and relax in one of the beach chairs and suck in the fantastic views of Trial Island and Juan de Fuca Strait.
Next you will pass the Victoria Golf Course. Stop and check out the seaside golf holes that would rival Pebble Beach in California. Whales, freighters and other marine traffic pass right by the golf course.
Next you will pass the Oak Bay Beach Hotel. Stop by and walk through the lobby and out on to the seaside deck overlooking the swimming pool and amazing views of local islands. There are two choices of lunch stops in this hotel. One is the
Snug Pub and the other is Kates Cafe, or move on to the Oak Bay Marina and have lunch at Marina Coffee House. The Marina is the best place in Victoria to feed seals. The Marina shop sells hering for $2.00 or you can watch someone else feed their money to these fat harbour seals. Don’t forget your camera as the seals will be up close and personal.
After you leave the Marina, for an interesting side trip, take Windsor, the second turn to your left. Go one block on Windsor and then turn right on Newport and follow it until it turns into Oak Bay Avenue. Follow it into Oak Bay Village. There are some great art galleries and studios in the Village. Oak Bay Village is one of the oldest and most interesting parts of Victoria with a true Village atmosphere in which customer service is still part of the culture. The Village is also home to one of the largest collections of Art & Crafts Galleries on Vancouver Island representing some of the finest Canadian art & crafts available. Winchester Galleries is our favourite.Also poke through the local shops and stores. Two of our favourites are Timeless Toys at 2213 on the Avenue, and Sweet Delights at 2187 just off the Avenue. Both are worth a visit!
You may wish to have lunch at one of our recommended restaurants which are all on your right as your drive up the “Avenue” and through the village. If you are looking for a lighter fare, try Ottavio’s deli and Italian Bakery at 2272 Oak Bay Avenue. Make sure you taste their incredible gelato while there. The Penny Farthing neighbourhood pub at 2228 Oak Bay Avenue has great pub food and a good atmosphere. Blighty’s Bistro at 2006 Oak Bay Avenue also serves up delicious food.hn Waller. Enjoy a drink or food at the Penny Farthing Pub. Another option would be to take some food to one of the parks next on your route.
Make your way back to Beach Drive by following Oak Bay Avenue and turn left on Beresford and then left again on Beach Drive. Immediately on your right is scenic Haynes Park which
could be a nice place to lunch or you can continue on to Dalhousie where a right turn will take you into the Willows Beach parking lot. It is the most popular beach for Victoria area residents and is very busy on hot summer days. The views are spectacular and the sand if fine, however the water is chilly. Don’t tell the children. They just don’t know. There is a tea room on the beach that sells a variety of snacks.
After Willows beach, continuing on Beach Drive you will enter the Uplands community where you will find the homes of Victoria’s Rich and Famous. Follow Beach Drive to the end where it turns into Cadboro Bay Road.
Next, watch for the Cattle Point turn off sign and take the loop through this parking area, boat launch, and rest stop. Here there are great views of Haro Strait and Discovery and Chatham Islands. This is a popular stop for tour buses. Spectacular views of beautiful Mount Baker can be seen from Cattle Point.
After Cattle Point are some of the most expensive houses in greater Victoria. As you pass Rutland you will be passing the most expensive homes in the area. When you locate Humber turn right and follow the street to the end. The house on the right at the end is one of our favourites.
When you come out of the Uplands, the first stop will be Cadboro Bay and Gyro Park. Here there is a beautiful and scenic beach and a great playground. Your kids will love the it and Cadborosaurus, Victoria’s version of the Loch Ness Monster! To get to the beach turn right at Sinclair.
After the beach, you are close to two other great stops you may choose to visit. If you then go up the hill on Sinclair Road you will get to the University of
Victoria. Ask directions to UVic’s Finnerty Gardens. It is off the “circle road” around UVic and right behind the Interfaith Chapel. It is especially amazing in the spring when the rhodos are in full bloom.
From UVic, locate Cedar Hill Cross Road at the south exit to Uvic and follow it t the right and turn left on Mayfair Drive (first turn after the lights on Gordon Head Road) and proceed up the hill to the top of Mount Tolmie for exceptional City Views.
Return back on to Cadboro Bay Road and then turn right on Tudor. You are entering the exclusive Ten Mile Point area. Follow Tudor to the end and then turn left on Phyllis, you will see another upscale neighborhood. At the end of Phyllis there is a barricade. On your right there is a trail to the beach. The views here are wonderful and it is a great place to have a picnic away from crowds. On your way back on Tudor, turn left on Sea View for a scenic return to Cadboro Bay Road.
Continue north on Cadboro Bay Road then turn left on Arbutus Road. Turn right on Gordon Head Road, then turn left on Ferndale which soon turns into Grandview and then into Ash Road. Ash Road ends at Cordova Bay Road as you pass
through Mount Douglas Park. This is another great park to visit. It has wonderful views of Mount Baker and the San Juan Islands across Harrow Strait. To get to the lookout in Mount Doug Park, you have to turn left where Ash ends in the Park. The lookout entrance is just a short distance from Ash as you come out of the tree canopy. The Road to the top is Churchill and once you get t the parking lot, you have a short hike up to the summit.
The picnic area of the park is located to the right when Ash ends (turn right and follow the signs into the park). Again, if you have children, there are lots of fairly tame rabbits running through this park. There are lots of picnic tables here and it is just a short walk down to the beach.
From Mt. Douglas park follow Cordova Bay Road until you get to traffic lights. Cordova Bay Road makes a sharp right turn here. Follow Cordova Bay Road to Matticks Farm. There is a mini golf here as well as a garden nursery, a restaurant,
bakery, wine shop, ice cream, a Red Barn Market, a beautiful golf course, and a several interesting shops.
Cordova Bay Road makes a sharp left at Lochside and continues to the traffic lights at Pat Bay Highway (Hwy 17). If you cross the highway between the Shell Service Station and the Petro Can Service Station (Sayward Road), go one block up and take the road to the left, you will come to Elk Lake. This is a popular swimming/sun-tanning beach for locals.
From here you take the Pat Bay Highway (17) back into Victoria.