The top of Walbran Park provides 360-degree views of Oak Bay.

My Oak Bay: Heritage view: Oak Bay’s Walbran Park

Often referred to by locals as Gonzales Hill, Oak Bay’s Walbran Park is a must-see local destination

Often referred to by locals as Gonzales Hill, Oak Bay’s Walbran Park is a must-see local destination known for its spectacular views of Oak Bay and the waterfront.

Located near Gonzales Hill Regional Park and accessible from Denison Road, the undeveloped, natural park stands at just under two hectares.

The rewards of traversing several minor trails – not wheelchair or stroller accessible – include breathtaking views from a Second World War lookout and historical cairn. A short trail ends in steps to the marker, but otherwise the area is rugged and unsuitable for hiking, says Oak Bay Parks, Recreation and Culture.

Discover “magnificent views of ocean, mountain and the surrounding urban and waterfront landscape, as well as opportunity to learn of the historical and conservation significance of the area via historical plaques provided by the Federal Government,” says Oak Bay’s website.

The district’s heritage pages note “the Observation Post commands one of the most dramatic views in the city, overlooking the Straits and the Gulf Islands.”

Built in 1942, the fortress observation post was one of four in the fortress system network, joining others at Mt. Tolmie, Mary Hill (William Head) and Church Hill (Smythe Head), with only Gonzales and Mt. Tolmie remaining.

“The post features a Barr-Stroud Range Finder, which was trained on the Juan de Fuca Strait and on houses below the building. Significant information was transmitted to Fort Rodd Hill Plotting room. The Gonzales Post was the link to the easternmost anchor gun battery and protected the naval base and the shipping lines. The post was operational until the early ‘50s.”

Today, what remains of the post is the concrete bunker, originally disguised as a residence, with peaked roof and awning-covered windows, which housed the range finder. This was the foundation of the “house “ constructed as a blind.

The park has no dog restrictions, but from a natural history perspective, it includes some imperiled ecosystems that are under threat from invasive species in the park.

With limited roadside parking available, carpooling or walking would be ideal.

 

Learn more at oakbay.ca.

 

 

Just Posted

Greater Victoria teachers experienced more than 30 incidents of violence from students in one month

Shuttered behavioural programs, lack of resources creates challenges for local schools

Island playoffs underway at Oak Bay High

Home team vies for fifth straight Island title

Esquimalt High robotics team heads to international competition

The Esquimalt Atom Smashers will participate in the FIRST Robotics Canada competition

Canadian alcohol policy gets failing grade from UVic researchers

Canadian provinces and territories collectively achieved less than half of their potential to reduce alcohol related harm

Sell regulated heroin to curb B.C.’s overdose problem: report

B.C. Centre on Substance Use points to organized crime and money-laundering as contributing factors

POLL: Will you be wearing pink to take a stand against bullying

Schools and workplaces across Greater Victoria and around the province will be… Continue reading

Galchenyuk scores in OT as Coyotes edge Canucks 3-2

Vancouver manages single point as NHL playoff chase continues

B.C. legislature moving suspended staff controversy to outside review

Whale watching, Seattle Mariners trips billed as emergency preparedness, Speaker Darryl Plecas says

More people signing up for compulsory vaccines

Maple Ridge mom says public tired of hearing about measles

UPDATE: Man charged in stabbing of woman, off-duty cop outside B.C. elementary school

Manoj George, 49, is facing two counts of aggravated assault and two counts of assault with a weapon after the incident on Wednesday, Feb. 20.

Federal fisheries minister calls for precautionary approach to fish farming

Government still reviewing Federal Court’s decision on PRV – Wilkinson

Why do zebras have stripes? Perhaps to dazzle away flies

Researchers from University of Bristol look into why zebras have stripes

Poll: More voters believe Canada doing worse under Trudeau government

22 per cent believed the country is doing better and 27 per cent said things are the same

Most Read