This is the fourth part of our Route in Review – exploring the GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon course, and enjoying the history and scenery as we run along. We are at McNeill Bay at the 16.5-kilometre mark. Continuing along Dallas Road we run through the Victoria Golf Club. Founded in 1893, it is one Canada’s premier golf course’s known for its challenging terrain and ocean views. We encounter a gradual hill, but once at the top there are views of San Juan and on a good day, Mt Baker. The Oaks Bay Marina is ahead (note to self: come back and dine in their fine restaurant) and the first of many historical plaques. One marks Turkey Head Walkway, named after the headland here. Further down in Queens Park by the Marina, is a plaque dedicated to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee in 2002 and also the Queen Mother who died the same year. A third plaque at Beach Drive and Windsor Road at 19-kilometres is a time capsule, to be opened July 2, 2056 to commemorate Oak Bay’s 150th Anniversary. I wonder if the Marathon will be running by here in 40 years’ time?
At Beach Drive and San Carlos Avenue is the junior school campus for Glenlyon Norfolk School, (the middle and senior school is on Bank Street) an independent day school known for its high educational standards and sporting prowess. Our journey through Oak Bay continues on Beach Drive until we reach Willows Beach at 20.5-kilometres. The tea room here – open from May to August – is a favourite for locals and tourists alike. It’s a great spot to watch the annual Bath Races which are part of the Oak Bay Tea Party held every June.
We now have a gradual ascent up into Uplands and just past the half way marathon point is one of the fine walking routes in Oak Bay, the Camas Trail. Uplands Park is ahead – a favourite for walkers, with or without dogs (note: canines are not allowed off-leash in the park during nesting season: April – June). The 75-acre lot was purchased by Oak Bay in 1946 for public park use and is home to many rare plant species.
At the headland in Uplands, is Cattle Point. A lovely spot to sit and watch the cruise ships go by, it was a landing point for cattle between 1860 and 1910. Cattle were pushed overboard from paddle steamers to swim ashore where cowboys would round them up. Opposite the entrance to Cattle Point is the War Memorial, remembering the fallen from World War I and 2, and the Korean War.
Heading up to the Marathon turnaround we look out over Cadboro Bay with its Yacht Club, and further down, the charming English-style village with coffee shops, pub and restaurants and gift shops. But we venture no further as we turn around at Exeter and return the way we came, reversing our route until we reach Beacon Hill Park again. See you next time for our final marathon journey.