There are waterfront benches all along here-go from the clatter and bang along the working harbour to the bird songs in the Japanese Garden in Esquimalt Gorge Park-from the boating activity in front of the Selkirk waterfront to the restored Craigflower Creek.

Water flows into the Gorge from Craigflower Creek (with water from the Highlands and Thetis Lake), Hospital Creek, Colquitz River (including Elk and Beaver Lakes), Swan Creek, and Cecelia Creek.

The benches that I highlight are on both sides of the Gorge, accessed from different places in Vic West, Esquimalt, and Saanich.

This waterway is rich in history and legends. You will find a shell midden that dates back over 4,000 years under the Tillicum bridge beside the reversing falls. Here is where, according to legend, the girl Camossung was turned to stone. A sculpture of the transformation has been installed in the Gorge Waterway Park.

The Gorge was used by the Kosampson people to access Esquimalt Harbour during stormy weather on the Strait-carrying their boats across Portage Inlet. They called it Shtchaalth which means to “squeeze something through” or “drag over a narrow place.”

The Gorge was also a convenient way to transport food from Craigflower Farm to Fort Victoria during the early days of the fort when there were few roads.

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