After 35 Years We’re Still Discovering Victoria’s Hidden Secrets

posted on Feb 20

Today we went for one of our regular walks and discovered a place that we knew existed, but had never visited before in all the 35 years we've lived in Victoria.  Summit Park is located in the Vista Heights area of Victoria, about a 10 minute drive from downtown.  The views from Vista Heights can be beautiful, depending upon where you are situated, but best of all is this gem of a park, where one of the largest and best preserved Gary Oak meadows that I've seen anywhere in Victoria is located. (Read more about Gary Oaks and Gary Oak meadows here)

This, being our first visit to Summit Park, opened up a wonderment of natural beauty. The ground was covered with purple and white crocuses that created a colourful pattern against the soft, green meadow grass. The rocky slopes provided a variety of view points, opening up vistas we'd never seen before and we were lucky enough to spot a pair of woodpeckers that flew up from the ground into the Oak trees that surrounded us, a somewhat rare sighting.  Today being a bright, sunny day simply added to our enjoyment.

Another interesting feature of Summit Park is the reservoir located in the centre of the park. In 1908, the city started building the reservoir on what was then known as Smith Hill. By the late 1940s, the reservoir was only used as backup for firefighting. Many years ago, it was disconnected from the system because the water quality was too poor for use. Also, a change in water pressure meant the reservoir water no longer flowed without the help of a pump. Today it acts as a home for a variety of water birds and could provide valuable water for fire-fighting purposes if needed.

So, if you visit Victoria, be sure to visit this "hidden gem" of a park, it will be a worthwhile exploration that I'm sure you will enjoy.

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