When you’re visiting Victoria, British Columbia, one of the must-visit attractions is Beacon Hill Park. Located in downtown Victoria, this incredible urban park spans over 200 acres and is filled with activities and attractions. Whether you’re traveling with kids, looking for historical attractions, or just want to spend time in nature, Beacon Hill Park has something for everyone!
Established in 1882, Beacon Hill Park was named after the two beacons used by the Hudson Bay Company that used to be located on top of the hill on land set aside for a city park by James Douglas, the governor of the Colony of Vancouver Island. Beacon Hill Park is located in the heart of downtown Victoria on Vancouver Island, British Columbia nearby the stunning Inner Harbour. It’s bordered by Douglas Street to the east, Cook Street to the west, Dallas Road to the south, and Circle Drive to the north. Today, thanks to the Friends of Beacon Hill Park, a non-profit organization who work hard to maintain the park and provide educational programs and organize events in the park, Beacon Hill is one of the largest public parks in Victoria where you can find historical attractions, peaceful natural spaces, playgrounds, walking paths and so much more!
Gardens in Beacon Hill Park
By far one of the greatest draws for visitors to the park are the gardens. Beacon Hill is home to several gardens, ranging from beautifully cultivated gardens like the rose garden and more wild, natural spaces like the camas meadow. The rose garden is located near Goodacre Lake and has over 1,000 roses in different varieties and colors. In the spring and summer, this garden is filled with incredible roses each with unique blooms and scents. The camas meadow is located in the southwestern corner of the park and is home to a stunning display of purple camas flowers in the spring. Beacon Hill is also home to many beautiful Garry Oak trees and visitors can go see these native trees up close in the Garry Oak grove near the children’s playground.
With a history that dates back to the 1880’s, it’s no wonder that Beacon Hill Park is rich in history! One of the most famous historical attractions is the totem pole, which stands at 127 feet tall and is the second tallest totem pole in the world. It was carved by Kwakwaka’wakw First Nations artist Mungo Martin and was raised in the park in 1956. Visitors can explore the Dallas Road gun battery, which was built in 1895 to protect Victoria and the Esquimalt Naval Base from naval attack and the Cameron Bandshell, built in 1898 located near the center of the park, is a popular venue for concerts and events. As you enter Beacon Hill you can’t miss Goodacre Lake Fountain built in 1885. While it has undergone several restorations over the years it serves as a symbol of the park’s rich history and enduring beauty, and it remains a popular attraction for visitors to the park today.
If you’re traveling with kids, there are plenty of activities and amenities in Beacon Hill Park to keep them entertained! One of the most popular attractions is the Beacon Hill Children’s Farm petting zoo, where kids can pet and feed a variety of animals, including goats, rabbits, and chickens! There are also several playgrounds throughout the park, including one near the petting zoo and one near the tennis courts. For nature kids, there are plenty of trees and rocks to climb and open spaces to run plus, kids will also love watching the peacocks, ducks and geese that roam freely throughout the park.
If you’re looking for recreation areas, there are plenty at Beacon Hill! Kick a ball around on one of the soccer fields, lawn bowl on the lawn bowling greens, get a few volleys in at the tennis courts or spend an afternoon on the putting green. Beacon Hill is a great place to jog and if you’re looking for a more leisurely activity, you can take a stroll around the park and enjoy the beautiful Garry oak and Arbutus trees. You may even spot some great blue herons near Fountain Lake!
Proximity to Downtown Victoria
One of the great things about Beacon Hill Park is its proximity to downtown Victoria. You can easily walk to the park from the Inner Harbour, and it’s just a short drive from Douglas Street and the Trans-Canada Highway if you’re coming into Victoria for a visit. If you’re staying in the city, Beacon Hill Park is a great place to escape from the hustle and bustle of downtown while still being close enough to enjoy all the attractions!
There’s no doubt that with so much natural beauty and historical significance, Beacon Hill Park is a must-visit when you’re staying in Southern Vancouver Island!