Beacon Hill Park
With roughly 740,000 square metres of parkland, Beacon Hill Park is the crowning jewel in Victoria's park system. There are natural areas, manicured flower beds, footpaths and many sports and play features for the whole family to enjoy.
Routes in Beacon Hill Park
A change was made in 2020 to the road network in the park which expanded opportunities for pedestrians, including those using mobility aids, and cyclists. Arbutus Way, Chestnut Row and Bridge Way are now pedestrian routes.
Beacon Hill Park has more than 330 parking stalls for those travelling by vehicle. Parking lots remain open at Heywood Way, Circle Drive and Nursery Road. Street parking remains available along Douglas Street, Cook Street and Dallas Road. There are also designated accessible parking areas.
Beacon Hill Park has an abundance of natural features and sensitive ecology throughout roughly 740,000 square metres of parkland. A number of environmentally sensitive areas have been identified within the park and are protected through local, provincial and federal law to preserve these threatened and endangered species and ecosystems. In addition to the Garry oak ecosystem, an example of a threatened species is the Yellow Montane Violet, Viola praemorsa.
Meandering footpaths offer long strolls among manicured and natural areas and features for the whole family to enjoy. Kite enthusiasts, paragliders and sailboarders can also take advantage of the open vista across the Strait of Juan De Fuca. Beacon Hill Park has an important status as Mile "0", the western terminus of the 8,000 kilometre Trans-Canada Highway.
Garry Oak Ecosystem
The most notable feature in Beacon Hill Park is the Garry oak ecosystem, which is among Canada’s most rare and endangered.
Unsurpassed beauty and rich biological diversity are hallmarks of Garry oak ecosystems. Intense blue camas blossoms, stunning pink shooting stars, and blazing yellow western buttercups appear in spring. Golden grasses wave in summer breezes. In fall, Garry oak trees shed their leathery leaves, revealing intricately gnarled branches cloaked with lichens, liverworts and mosses.
Interspersed among the Garry oak ecosystem in the park are other ecosystems that support many of the same plant and animal species. These include grasslands and rocky habitats such as coastal bluffs. Together, these ecosystems are home to more plant species than any other terrestrial ecosystem in coastal British Columbia, and many of these species occur nowhere else in Canada.
The Garry oak ecosystem is one of the most endangered ecosystems in Canada, with less than five per cent of the original habitat remaining and less than two per cent of this historic ecosystem remaining within the boundaries of the City of Victoria. Beacon Hill Park is a very special place, home to prominent examples of this ecosystem.
For thousands of years, Beacon Hill has also been a place of historical, cultural and sacred significance to the Lekwungen People, now known as Esquimalt Nation and Songhees Nation. The Lekwungen People's activities of cultivating camas and other native plants for food helped shape the landscape of this area. Beacon Hill Park is considered to be archaeologically significant because of this rich First Nations history and contains several known and potential sites, such as an existing ancient First Nations burial ground on the southeast slope of Beacon Hill which is of profound importance.
Beacon Hill Park was formalized in 1882 when the Province of British Columbia granted 75 hectares to the City of Victoria to be held in trust. Beacon Hill Park defines the very essence of Victoria and was designated a municipal heritage site in 2009.
The Moss Lady
The Moss Lady is 11 metres long and 1.7 metres high and is located behind the bandshell on the west side of the park, near Douglas Street.
City staff brought the Moss Lady to life in 2015 using a stainless steel frame, cement, boulders, metal pipe, vinyl-coated chicken wire and a clay-based soil suitable for moss. The cattail and club moss were harvested from Vancouver Island and the hair is made of flowering crocosmia plants.
The Moss Lady was inspired by the Mud Maiden found in the Lost Gardens of Heligan in England. She has another mud-based cousin, Lily, who resides in the Waterfall Cottage Gardens in Australia.
- 2 playgrounds
- 2 spray parks (open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily)
- Cameron Bandshell stage
- 3 public washrooms
- Golf putting green
- Baseball diamond
- Tennis courts
- Cricket pitch
- 2 sports fields
- Lawn bowling
- Picnic shelter
- Garry oak meadows
- Flower beds
- Rose garden
- Story Pole, erected in 1956
- Petting zoo (currently closed due to COVID-19)
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