Saanich West is a diverse area, ranging from the busy suburban Gorge waterway to the rural areas of Elk Lake, West Saanich and Willis Point. Saanich West is part of the Municipality of Saanich, with the distinction of having more parks per capita than anywhere else in BC.
Where Is Saanich West?
Saanich West (also known as West Saanich) generally begins at Royal Oak Shopping Centre in the south and extends to Stelly’s Crossroad and Brentwood Bay in the north. The hills and forests of West Saanich have remained largely intact since Victoria was first settled by Europeans. The region was originally opened up thanks to the construction of an “Interurban Railway” linking Victoria’s Inner Harbour with steamship docks in Deep Cove and in Sidney at the top of the Saanich Peninsula. Interurban Road still serves as the major artery connecting the forests and farms of the Saanich Peninsula with West Saanich and downtown Victoria.
Living in West Saanich
The flat railbed has become West Saanich Road today, a pastoral artery that provides surprisingly quick and easy access from West Saanich to the heart of Victoria. There are many large properties in West Saanich, and residents are never far from the farmland of Oldfield Road and Central Saanich. Cycling, hiking, rowing, horseback riding and boating are all popular activities in West Saanich.
Schools in West Saanich
West Saanich belongs to Saanich School District (School District 63). Schools offer French Immersion and project-based learning. Claremont and Stellys are the two high schools that serve families living on this part of the Saanich Peninsula.
Claremont, just east of Royal Oak, offers and award-winning sports institute. Students train at Commonwealth athletic centre on Royal Oak Drive. Stellys High School, near Brentwood Bay, offers a renowned climbing academy. At Stellys, students train on one of the best climbing gyms on Vancouver Island.
Camosun College Interurban Campus is also located in West Saanich. The Interurban campus offers business, science and engineering programs that feed into the University of Victoria.
Parks and Recreation in Saanich West
Saanich West is located in the green belt that borders Victoria to the north and west. There are many hiking trails, as well as places to spend time on the water.
Elk Lake and Beaver Lake Regional Park
This park, made up of two freshwater lakes joined by a waterway, is one of Victoria’s most popular outdoor recreation spots. A 10km hiking trail rings the lakes, while Elk Lake is a popular spot for rowing, fishing, water-skiing and swimming.
Prospect Lake and Durrance Lake
These two lakes are popular swimming destinations in the summer, and also feature waterfront properties.
Saanich West is located close to one of the largest sports and recreation facilities in Victoria—Saanich Commonwealth Place. Besides providing facilities for competitive swimmers, divers and cyclists, Commonwealth Place features a large gym, an Olympic-size pool, an indoor wave pool and more. There is also a library here as well.
Layritz Park is 30 hectares of soccer and baseball fields right in the heart of West Saanich. This park is a community hub throughout the year.
C0mpared to the rest of Greater Victoria, West Saanich is also quite close to Costco and the other “big box” stores of Langford.
Getting to and from West Saanich
It takes about twenty minutes to reach either the airport or downtown on this road from West Saanich
West Saanich is also close to Hwy 17 (the Pat Bay Highway), offering quick access to other parts of Victoria or the Swartz Bay ferry terminal.