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10 Best Things to Do in Saanich (Brits-Columbia, Canada)

Saanich is the largest and most populated city or town on Vancouver Island. It is a suburb of Victoria. The Patricia Bay Highway splits the large suburb into two parts: Saanich East and Saanich West.

Both Saanich East and Saanich West are full of shops, restaurants, parks, and other things to do. You can relax on a beach or go on a tour of the area’s history.

North Saanich
North Saanich

There are a lot of things to see and do in Saanich and in the areas around it, which makes it a great place to go on vacation.

Let’s look at the best things to do in Saanich:

1. Go to the beach for a day

Cadboro Bay Beach might be Saanich’s most popular beach, and it’s easy to see why. Cadboro Bay Village, which is built in an English style, is also on the sandy beach.

Spend the day relaxing at the beach, and bring a picnic lunch to eat in one of the areas set up for that. There is even a playground for kids with an octopus slide, swings, a zip line, and more.

There are also great views of the Juan de Fuca Strait and Olympic Peninsula from Cadboro Bay Beach. Even a boat launch is there.

2. Go for a walk by the water

When you walk along the shores of Cordova Bay, you can see rural Saanich and even the Cascade Mountains in Washington State. The beach at Mount Douglas Park, which is the biggest park in the area, has a lot of trails.

Walk through beautiful trees, flowers, and ferns while taking in the fresh air from the water. At the end of the trail, there is a 213-meter-high summit with great views of the area and further away.

After your walk, you can cool off on its sandy beach or take the kids to the playground. There are also places to eat and use the bathroom at Mount Douglas Park Beach.

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3. Put yourself in the middle of nature

Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary is a great place for people who love nature. There is a lake, marshy lowlands, and a nature center in this nature reserve.

In the nature reserve, there are almost 4 km of walking paths around the lake and in the area around it. You can walk across the lake by using one of the wooden bridges or the boardwalk at one end.

Learn about the plants and animals in the area by going to the nature center. Don’t forget to look around the garden, which has 70 types of native plants and flowers from Southern Vancouver Island.

4. Stop and smell the roses

When it comes to gardens, you can’t go to Saanich without spending some time at Butchart Gardens. The beautiful gardens are in Central Saanich, just north of the town of Saanich.

The first part of the garden was made by a Japanese garden designer named Isaburo Kishida in 1907. Over the years, many more gardens have been added, and each year, nearly a million people walk through the large gardens.

Butchart Gardens has ponds and fountains, as well as a Japanese Garden and an Italian Garden. There is even a pavilion for kids with 30 animals and a carousel.

5. Go golfing for a round

There are some great places in Saanich to play a round of golf. If you play golf, don’t forget to bring your clubs with you!

The most popular and closest to the city center is the Cedar Hill Golf Club. The city runs this friendly golf club, which has three sections for men, women, and kids.

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The family-run Mount Douglas Golf Course is tucked away in the Blenkinsop Valley. It is also a public course. It is a beautiful 9-hole course surrounded by farms and woods.

6. Take in the sights

At Gorge Waterway Park, you can take in the sights along the Gorge waterway. The park is a nice place to spend an afternoon because it is next to the river.

The park has a boat launch, places to have a picnic, a playground, and a show about gardening. It also has paths with signs that explain what they are and lookout points.

The park is on both sides of the waterway. Tillicum Road connects the two sides. A nature house that serves as a hands-on learning center is on the west side of the waterway.

7. Go on a walk through history

Saanich is made up of towns and villages that have been around for hundreds of years. So, of course, you can go on a heritage walk in a number of places.

None of the five heritage walks is very long, but they are all impressive. On the Gorge Road West Area walk, you can see the historic Craigflower Schoolhouse, the Craigflower Bridge Store, the Haughton Residence, and the Casey Residence.

You can see some beautiful old homes if you walk around Gordon Head and Tattersall. The Prospect Lake walking tour takes you to Whitehead Park, the Prospect Lake General Store, and the Stevens Halfway House Hotel. The Royal Oak Heritage Tour takes you to the Royal Oak Station, the Royal Oak Hotel, and the Royal Oak Schoolhouse.

8. Check out art

There isn’t really an art gallery in Saanich, but you can look at art in a few places. Both of them are free.

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The first place to go is the Arts Centre at Cedar Hill, which has two galleries with works that are only there for a short time. The second place to see great art is the Saanich Municipal Hall, which has galleries on both the first and second floors.

If you’d rather make your own art, you can paint, sculpt, or draw at drop-in studios. At the Cedar Hill Recreation Centre, there are studios that anyone can use.

9. Walk around the school

The oldest university in British Columbia, the University of Victoria, is right on the eastern edge of Saanich. The campus is beautiful, and you should walk around it.

The campus is 163 hectares in size, with the academic part inside a Ring Road and all the other facilities outside it. On campus, there are residence halls, sports facilities, a theater, and a lot of beautiful green space.

The historic Army Huts, the new Engineering/Computer Science building (ECS), and the McPherson Library and William C. Mearns Centre for Learning are all buildings that you shouldn’t miss. Don’t forget to look around the University Centre and have a drink in its pub.

10. Go to a castle and get lost

Craigdarroch Castle is a well-known landmark that is worth going to Victoria to see, even though it is not in Saanich. The 39 rooms in the 2300 square meter castle make it easy to get lost.

This National Historic Site of Canada is a Scottish Baronial mansion from the Victorian era. It was built for Robert Dunsmuir, a wealthy coal baron. The grand furniture from the 1890s is still in the four-story castle.

The stained-glass windows are one of the most beautiful parts of the house. The woodwork on it is also a sight to see.

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