Things to Do in Esquimalt "Place of Shoaling Waters" -
Posted by Tom Westley on
Located on the southernmost point of Vancouver Island, the picturesque township of Esquimalt may be small in size, but it carries a rich history and plenty of sights and activities to take in. We thought it would be a good idea to take closer look our beautiful corner of the Island.
The name Esquimalt is taken from the original indigenous name of “es-whoy-malth”, meaning “the place of shoaling waters” and that should give you some idea of the kind of coastal beauty to expect!
A peninsula overlooking the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Gorge Inlet, Esquimalt offers scenic water views from its beaches, harbour, and walkways, opening out into lush green spaces as you move further inland with acres of parkland accompanied by heritage buildings, cultural sites, as well as all the modern-day recreational facilities a traveller could ask for in the form of shops, restaurants, and golf courses.
Esquimalt is home to an array of scenic parks, including this 17.1-acre area traversing rocky knolls and natural meadows. Also known to some as Cairn park, it’s the highest point in Esquimalt. Meaning that from the summit of the cairn, you can take in a breathtaking panoramic view that captures the beauty of Esquipamlt and Vancouver Island beyond it.
A Spot Of Golf
For avid golfers, Esquimalt offers a number of ideal opportunities to get in a round or two while you’re on your travels, including:
- A challenging 9 hole offering with wide fairways and a picturesque backdrop
- This course, that once hosted an amateur Tiger Woods, is one of the most spectacular in all of Canada. With tranquil backgrounds, and challenging layouts that will put any golfer through their paces.
- As one of the few golf courses in the world with the royal designation, this over 100-year-old parklands style course is steeped in history and tradition. A must-visit for any golf aficionado.
The Gorge Waterway Nature House
Through the Gorge Nature House, you have the chance to explore the diverse ecology of Esquimalt, with exhibits that include an aquarium teeming with aquatic life and an interactive touch-tank.
This popular waterfront park offers wonderful gardens and woods for you to stroll through, taking in sheltered beaches or the many walking trails. Afterwards, you can sit down for an afternoon lunch at picnic tables offering spectacular views of the Juan de Fuca Strait in the foreground, and in the distance the magnificent Olympic Mountains.
Accessible from Fleming beach, this 18-acre park is popular with dog walkers and birdwatchers as well as history fanatics enamoured with it’s abandoned military ramparts, bunkers, lookouts and defensive berms.
Esquimalt Gorge Park
Located along the Gorge waterway, this gorge-ous park is home to an array of native flora and fauna, including the towering 100-year old umbrella pines! With an ample scattering of picnic tables throughout the various lawn area, as well as a playground and recreational facilities, Gorge Park is the ideal place for an active family day out.
West Bay Walkway
A gentle walk along this path will all you to take in the beauty of the Esquimalt shoreline as well as Victoria Harbour, the Inner Harbour, and the Olympic Mountains. This walking path and boardwalk also makes for an ideal connecting point for your day, linking Esquimalt to downtown Victoria at the Johnson Street bridge.
The Galloping Goose Trail and Walking Routes
Esquimalt is home to five beautiful and scenic walking routes along the oceanfront and through the surrounding parks and neighbourhoods. Esquimalt is also home to the Galloping Goose Trail, a 55-kilometre trail that winds through urban, rural, and wilderness landscapes, connecting Esquimalt to Sooke, Metchosin, Colwood, View Royal, Saanich, and Victoria.
The trail is multifunctional, with the option to walk, run, cycle, or even ride a horse through some sections!
Esquimalt Recreation Centre
Some want to relax on their travels, and others want to kick it up a notch! Those looking to keep active will find the facilities on offer at the Esquimalt Recreation Centre perfect for their needs. This multi-purpose sports centre offers a number of amenities, including a six-lane, 25-metre heated indoor pool.
The CFB Esquimalt Naval and Military Museum
Take a journey into the past, with this enthralling look at Canada's military history. This museum chronicles the birth of the navy on Canada's West Coast and the lives of the soldiers who served it. Exhibits include spotlights on the Canadian Women's Army Corps, the Royal Canadian Navy on the West Coast, and the West Coast Defences.
So, if you fancy a vacation that's a little off the beaten track, Esquimalt is the ideal destination for you. Ideally situated, with staggering natural beauty and more to do than you would expect from a small township, Esquimalt is a chance to get away from it all before getting back on the road.
After all, what could be better than watching pods of orcas off the coast or being on the waterfront to watch the sunset over the Olympic Mountains? If this sounds like the perfect vacation for you, we welcome you with open arms.