The beautiful rolling landscape of the Saanich Peninsula is dotted with farms, communities, parks, forests, lakes, and ocean inlets. This area was first inhabited by the Wsanec First Nations people, who now live in four communities on the Saanich Peninsula: Tsarslip, Tsawout, Pauquachin, and Tseycum. The Saanich Peninsula today is a bountiful countryside where rural and urban lifestyles blend together.
Saanichton is located on Vancouver Island 13 km (8 mi) south of the Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal west off Pat Bay Highway 17, at the junction of Mount Newton Cross Road and East Saanich Road. It is 6 km (4 mi) south of Victoria International Airport and 20 km (12 mi) north of Victoria.
The Saanich Historical Artifacts Society is dedicated to collecting, restoring, housing, and demonstrating artifacts from Saanich's rural past. It has one of Western Canada's largest collections of working steam engines, tractors, agricultural machinery, and household and industrial artifacts.
Butchart Gardens is located 6 km (4 mi) southwest of Saanichton on Saanich Inlet and has been designated a National Historic Site. Comprised of 22 ha (55 acres) of floral displays, you will find spectacular views as you stroll along meandering paths and expansive lawns.
The Centre of the Universe is an interpretive centre at the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory. Treat yourself to spectacular views of the cosmos. Featuring family-friendly interactive exhibits, telescopes, observatory tours, a planetarium, special events, and more.
Colourful aquarium habitats teem with marine life from the Salish Sea in the nearby Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre in Sidney. Guests of all ages have the opportunity to shake hands with sea urchins & tickle sea stars in the touch pools. Hundreds of fish, invertebrates and marine plants recreate the ocean environment and give an underwater view that most people never experience.
Victoria Butterfly Gardens, offers a rare opportunity to experience a true tropical jungle in the best part of Canada. Victoria Butterfly Gardens is home to over 6000 exotic butterflies, tropical ducks, stunning flamingos, rare tropical birds, Chameleons, Geckos, Poison Dart Frogs, Tree Frogs, Sulcata and Red Footed Tortoises and Giant Koi swimming in the stream and pond. Located just 5 minutes from the famed Butchart Gardens, Victoria Butterfly Gardens is warm and aromatic. The Gardens' features stunning blooms and thousands of tropical plants, including foods of the world and carnivorous plant displays.
Situated on top of Mount Newton on southern Vancouver Island, John Dean Provincial Park overlooks the pastoral Saanich Peninsula, the Gulf Islands, and the Cascade Mountains. A number of hiking trails, varying in degrees of difficulty, wind through the inspiring forest across the south and east face of Mount Newton at this day-use park. Adventurous hikers can climb to the summit of Mount Newton. In the spring the park comes alive with a vivid display of wildflowers native to British Columbia, including drifts of blue camas lilies, which carpet the understorey, as well as common red paintbrush, sea blush and shooting stars. Wildlife flocks to this lush forest and from the top of Mount Newton you can watch as ravens, red-tailed hawks, bald eagles, and turkey vultures put on a display of soaring techniques. The summit of Mount Newton is also regarded as an excellent location to watch some of the best sunsets on Vancouver Island.
The northern trailhead of the Galloping Goose Trail is on the Sidney waterfront and runs 55 km (34 mi) to Victoria and on to Sooke. It is a relatively flat, vehicle-free route, used by cyclists and hikers. Built on a former rail bed, this linear park is accessible at numerous points. The north leg of the trail connects with the Lochside Regional Trail, a 29 km (18 mi) route that winds its way from Victoria through the Saanich Peninsula to Sidney and Swartz Bay.
When you hike the trails in John Dean Provincial Park, you are following some of oldest in the provincial park system. There is great hiking here for those who admire old-growth forests. Explore here in spring to see a vivid display of wildflowers native to British Columbia, including drifts of blue camas lilies, which carpet the understorey, as well as red Indian paintbrush and white erythroniums. Wildlife flock to the food-rich forest, and from the top of Mount Newton, you can watch as ravens, red-tailed hawks, bald eagles, and turkey vultures put on a colourful display of soaring techniques. The summit of Mount Newton is renowned as the place to watch some of the best sunsets in British Columbia.
Glen Meadows Golf and Country Club in Sidney is a challenging 18-hole championship golf course. Nearby golf courses include Sunshine Hills Golf Course (9 hole - Par 3) on Central Saanich Road in Saanichton and the challenging 9-hole Prospect Lake Golf Course on Prospect Lake Road in Central Saanich. The Victoria area boasts 8 championship golf courses in close proximity, including Cordova Bay Golf Club, Olympic View Golf Club, Gorge Vale Golf Club, Royal Colwood Golf Club, and Bear Mountain Golf and Country Club. Nearby Oak Bay has the Victoria Golf Club and Uplands Golf Course.
Divers can explore the wrecks of the G.B. Church and the HMCS Mackenzie. Graham's Wall, Tozier Rock, The White Lady, Burial Islet, Octopus Point, and other hot spots off the peninsula's coast are accessible from Sidney, either as day charters or liveaboards.
Symphony Vineyard is known for its Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, and Leon Millot. There is a tasting room and picnic area which was opened to the public in June 2012. All of Symphony's wines are produced from their own vineyard, and they offer tastings and wine sales during summer and fall weekends. They also sell jams, chutneys, and wine jellies, all made at Symphony from farm fruit.
Background Photo Credit: Destination British Columbia