This is the second part of our Route in Review – exploring the GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon course, and enjoying the history and scenery as we run along. With five kilometres down we now look forward to some spectacular scenery and ocean views. But first we get intimate with Beacon Hill Park. From Heywood we turn left onto Southgate and then left again onto Arbutus and into the park. Officially established as a park in 1882, the 200 acres houses beautiful lawns, native trees and abundant wildlife including many different species of ducks, Bald Eagles and Great Blue Herons. Peacocks strut around the park as if they own it, and think they have the right of way on the road and meandering pathways. And why shouldn’t they? That is the charm of Beacon Hill Park.
Onto Bridge Way and then doing a counter clockwise loop of Circle Drive and Dallas Rd shows us some interesting landmarks. The Beacon Hill Children’s Farm is a favourite for families. Operated since 1985 by the Koenders family and the Beacon Hill Farm Society, it is not just a petting zoo, but a hands-on educational experience for kids and adults. Moving on a little and we see Robbie Burns honoured on our right. A statue erected in 1900 recognizes ‘Scotia’s Immortal Bard born 1759.’
Further up Circle Drive at around 6.4 k we see a huge watering can. Built in 2005, the Watering Garden was donated to the children of Victoria by the Harbourside Rotary Club of Victoria. Running around onto Douglas glance right and see the busy Beacon Hill Drive-in Restaurant, and further up, Amica residential home. On Marathon day the residents come out and give a hearty cheer to all the runners so be sure to wave back. As we turn onto Dallas Rd, we see Terry Fox in the distance looking at the ocean as he contemplates his Marathon of Hope. We will be back later on to visit Terry.
Running along Dallas and to the left is the 33 ½ metre flag pole marking the top of Beacon Hill that commands a spectacular view. Just past the 7k mark we turn left back into the park. Glance right and in the trees is the world’s fourth-tallest totem pole, a 38.8-metre work carved by Kwakwaka’wakw craftsman Mungo Martin, and erected in 1956. From Circle Drive we turn back onto Heywood but not before seeing a face staring through the bushes. On closer examination it is a bust of the Queen to commemorate the royal visit on July 17, 1959. Another plaque close by marks a subsequent visit to the Commonwealth Games on August 20, 1994.
Back on the course, we turn right at Park and right on Cook and run back up to Dallas Road. Taking a left on Dallas, the vista is quite spectacular on this clear day. Many Bed and Breakfasts are situated on this stretch and you can see why with the views that stretch for miles. Dog walkers and dogs are enjoying the off-leash area, and joggers are taking advantage of the mild fall weather.
Just ahead is Clover Point, a popular spot for kite flying, and for just sitting and enjoying the views of the Olympic Mountains in Washington and Mount Baker. This point is actually owned by the Department of Defence and leased to the City of Victoria. On windy days the shore is also frequented by wind surfers and para-sailers. Just at the point’s entrance is a large marble sculpture with ammonite embedded in it – called the Millennium Peace – erected on Earth Day April 22, 2000.
Continuing along Dallas we reach the 10k mark by Ross Bay Cemetery, the history of which we will learn about next time.