If you’re looking for a treasure trove of activities, West Shore Recreation Centre is the place to be in Greater Victoria. They boast as being the “largest single-site recreation centre in North America”. The list of things to do at this one location is so long, it is mind-boggling. Imagine this: golf, swimming, hiking trails, a library and a senior’s centre. We’re just getting started.
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I’m sure I missed something, but you get the point – the place is massive! And so much fun. There is something to do for every member of your family.
There are several reasons why this recreation centre has made my list of hidden gems and places you must go but the main reason is the walking trails. The trail is not completely flat but a nice little workout. I love my walking poles for hikes like this (heck I use them everywhere!) - they provide that little extra balance and support when going up and down hills. I highly recommend poles, I don't think I would have the confidence to explore as much of the city as I do without them.
You have three options when hiking the trails around the complex. The first is the Garry Oak Walkway - a fairly easy shaded 1 km loop with an elevation of up to 45 metres.
The second option is referred to as the inside loop and is a 2.4 km trail around the perimeter of the facility. This beautiful walk will take you around the golf course, behind the baseball diamonds – be sure to stop at the Rotary picnic shelter for a wonderful vantage point from which to view the property.
Then you’ll head into a shaded area nestled beside WildPlay (watch for zipliners overhead), past the BMX track, the velodrome and the Q Centre. From here the path dips down again then back up near the children’s playground. Follow that route if you still need a leg and butt workout or stay on higher ground and make your way towards the parking lot.
Options 3 is to combine the Garry Oak loop with the inside loop to complete the 3km full loop.
I love this trail for the diversity of scenery and a good balance of shady and sunny sections. It is also easy to find with good signage, has lots of parking and is well maintained.
Whether it is hiking like I enjoy or any number of the other activities located on the property, there is something for everyone. For directions, hours of operation and a full list of facilities and programs, visit West Shore Recreation.
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