Around Victoria, you are never far from the waterfront. People flock to it with their dogs and kites, breathing in the sea air, watching the shipping traffic and the float planes. But higher up, away from the water, tucked away in neighbourhood parks or elaborate gardens, are places that are often missed by people exploring Victoria.

Do you want to find a bench surrounded by large rhododendrons? Try Government House, the Finnerty Gardens, or Playfair Park. Or do you prefer something a little wilder? Explore the area around Swan Lake. The Lokier Gardens and the Royal Jubilee Heritage Park are manicured and more formal. And Bowker Creek is just off the street with large trees and a table along an exposed section of the creek.

The central area, for the purposes of this book, includes the Victoria neighbourhoods of Rockland, Jubilee, Oaklands, and part of Saanich and Oak Bay. It is bounded on the north by McKenzie Avenue and by Patricia Bay Highway on the west.

There are many places here that I didn’t mention: the benches around the Cedar Hill Golf Course, the Abhakazi Gardens, Mt. Tolmie . . .

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