Have you ever been to Esquimalt Lagoon? If you have, it’s probably one of your favourite spots. If you haven’t, you are missing one of many gems in this city and you simply must add it to your list for summer fun.
Esquimalt Lagoon is the perfect spot for a beautiful walk along the ocean, a picnic lunch, some off-leash fun for your fur friend or a day at the beach. Head down Ocean Boulevard for a short beautiful drive under the canopy of the trees, past historic Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Sites and suddenly the gorgeous sea views will expand before your eyes.
As you cross the bridge, the tranquil Esquimalt Migratory Bird Sanctuary is on your right. Depending on the tide and the time of year, an assortment of wildlife can be seen in this lagoon. And because of this, this side of Ocean Boulevard is on-leash. Your fur friends are permitted off-leash on the open ocean side.
It is tempting to jump out of the car as soon as you see the water but I encourage you to resist – especially if you are travelling with small children. You will thank me if someone needs to use the washroom and you discover it is nearly 2 km away at the far end of the lagoon. Update: In the fall of 2019 additional washroom facilities (port-a-potties) were installed about mid-way down the beach stretch.
Unless the City of Colwood is hosting a special waterfront activity such as Eats & Beats, there is always loads of parking along this stretch of Ocean Boulevard. The beach is a few short steps from the vehicle parking so you can load up on lawn chairs and coolers and won’t be exhausted by the time you get to the shoreline.
Keep in mind this is a West Coast beach. If you have conjured up images of soft white sand between your toes, you will be disappointed. It is not as rocky as some of the more rustic beaches along our coastline but does come with its share of stones, driftwood and sea debris. Having said that, there are plenty of places to set up a chair or lounger or throw a towel down in order to enjoy your time there.
The Lagoon has long been one of my favourite spots in all of Victoria to relax on a log and watch the beauty that surrounds us. I especially enjoy watching the marine traffic such as Canada’s military vessels and the cruise ships heading to and from Ogden Point - but now I have a new reason to visit this area more often – beach art!
As I was admiring and photographing the Bark Birds that have been popping up along the lagoon, I met the local artist behind them all - Paul Lewis. Paul is so passionate about what he is doing and tells me he has many ideas for more projects – which is another reason to keep coming back to see what’s new.
One of the things I love most about his creations is how accessible they are. I understand how difficult it can be for people with limited mobility to get out to a beach, but these beautiful creations are perched high above the tide line in perfect view from the vehicle parking area. Even if you are not able to walk on the sand, you can still enjoy the art.
Next time you are ready to get out and explore Victoria, remember to check out Esquimalt Lagoon!
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