Sheltering in Parks

Victoria is a community that cares for its residents. Unfortunately, many residents in our community lack consistent housing, and as a result, as the weather warms each year there is an increase in people using City parks for overnight shelter.

It is important that the parks are safe and accessible for all users. City staff take a proactive and responsive approach to manage the safety of all park visitors.

The Parks Regulation Bylaw is in place to balance all uses within a park, ensure park activities are safe for everyone, and that the environment and amenities are protected from damage. The bylaw regulates matters such fires in parks, alcohol use, damage or nuisance, as well as the use of City parks as a place of overnight shelter for homeless persons.

Rules for Temporary Overnight Shelter for Parks in Victoria

People who are homeless may seek temporary overnight shelter in a City park. Victoria parks are not designed for recreational camping, and camping is not permitted.

Some general rules to follow when seeking overnight shelter in City park:

  • Overnight shelter must be temporary (for example tents or shelter constructed from a tarp, plastic or cardboard)

  • Overnight shelter can only be erected from 8 p.m. – 7 a.m. from March to October (and 7 p.m. – 7 a.m. from November to February).

  • Tents and property cannot be left behind after 7 a.m. Valuable items may be impounded for collection by the owner, and garbage may be disposed of. 

  • Open flame (e.g., lighter, camp fire, candle) and smoking are not permitted.


Areas where overnight sheltering is not permitted:

  • A temporary shelter is not permitted in paths, playgrounds, sports fields, flower beds, long grass, areas being used for an event, cemeteries, or anywhere that is considered environmentally sensitive.

  • Overnight sheltering is not permitted at any time in the following:
    Ross Bay Cemetery Arbutus Park Kings Park
    Pioneer Square Cridge Park Moss Rock Park
    Bastion Square Franklin Green Park Any median or boulevard
    Centennial Square Haegert Park  

Park Washrooms

Below are three Victoria parks with extended washroom hours:

Beacon Hill Park
The main washrooms located in the centre of the park off Arbutus Way are open Monday to Sunday from 6 a.m. - 2:30 a.m.

Topaz Park
The main washrooms next to the sport fields are open Monday to Sunday from 6 a.m. – 10 p.m. The two portable washrooms located near the tennis courts are open Monday to Sunday from 9:30 p.m. – 6 a.m.

Stadacona Park
One portable washroom adjacent to the tennis courts is open Monday to Sunday from 6 a.m. - 2:30 a.m.

Contacts

  • If you are concerned about an activity in a park please contact the City of Victoria Bylaw Office:
    • By email bylawservices@victoria.ca (7 days a week, 7 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.)
    • By phone 250.361.0215 (Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.)

  • Outside of the above hours, please contact the Victoria Police Department. VicPD's non-emergency line is 250.995.7654

  • To inquire about impounded items, please call the City of Victoria Bylaw Office at 250.361.0215 or visit 625 Pandora Avenue, Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.

  • To request maintenance or clean-up in a park, please contact the City of Victoria Parks Office at parks@victoria.ca or 250.361.0600

Resources

Learn more about the City's Housing Strategy to improve housing affordability over the next decade here.

Read the fact sheet [PDF - 42 KB] for a summary of the rules for temporary overnight shelter in City parks as well as a list of shelters and affordable housing contacts.