Greater Victoria – Colwood

Located 10 km west of downtown Victoria is the city of Colwood, established in the late 1840s as a farm to supply Fort Victoria, then a Hudson Bay Company outpost.This community on the western shores of Greater Victoria claims a population of 14,687 (2009).
In 1860 the Fisgard Lighthouse was constructed to guide mariners safely into Esquimalt Harbour. It was one of the first lighthouses constructed on the west coast and remains in operation today.
Near the turn of the century Fort Rodd Hill, an artillery fort was built to protect Victoria and the Naval Yards at Esquimalt. This historic site is open to the public and you can explore gun batteries and underground magazines built a century ago, as well as searchlight emplacements, command posts, and more. Signs, audio and video stations, and friendly, knowledgeable staff are on hand to pass on the stories of this national historic site.
In 1906 the former premier of British Columbia (1900-1902) James Dunsmuir purchased a 565 acre property on Esquimalt Lagoon called Hatley Park and commissioned Samuel Maclure to design a home which he named Hatley Castle. In 1940 the federal government purchased the property from the Dunsmuir estate and converted Hatley Castle and the grounds into a naval training academy which eventually became Royal Roads. In 1995 the province leased the property from the federal government to establish Royal Roads University, which now provides academic programs focusing on professional and applied fields.
The City of Colwood takes its name from the farm run by Captain Edward E. Langford who named it after his home in Sussex, England. For many years Colwood remained a rural district, influenced by the naval base and military academy, but eventually population growth in the Greater Victoria area changed Colwood into a largely residential community. Population density is reasonably high in Colwood, because of the high percentage of residential neighborhoods. The municipality is bounded by the other western shore municipalities of Esquimalt, View Royal, Langford and Metchosin. Some of these (Langford in particular) have very close ties with Colwood, providing much of the retail businesses patronised by Colwood residents.
Residential neighborhoods such as Triangle Mountain, Colwood Creek, Colwood Lake Estates, Wishart and Lagoon are served by business centres at Colwood Corners and Hatley Park. There is excellent public transit service and much effort has been put into improving the transportation corridors in recent years.
Policing is provided by the RCMP and Colwood has its own Fire Dept comprised of both volunteer and career firefighters. Garbage pickup is provided by private companies and curbside recycling by the Capital Regional District (CRD), see their website for schedules and allowable items. Water is also supplied by the CRD water service.
Residents of Colwood are able to enjoy the great outdoors thanks to many fine parks and recreation areas including:
Hatley Park One of Canadas most storied historic sites, at the centre of which is the stately Hatley Castle. Once the home of James Dunsmuir, the castle has been carefully preserved and today is open for guided tours. The grounds are also available for the public to tour and contain Heritage Gardens; a Japanese Garden, an Italian Garden, and the Rose Gardens.
The Galloping Goose Trail A popular venue for a stroll, hike, bike, inline skate or even a horseback ride. This 60km long trail winds its way through several municipalities and is even used as a commuter route for those who bike to work!
The Juan de Fuca Recreation Centre Which hosted many of the 1994 Commonwealth Games events, is 98 acres of facilities largely devoted to sport. You can play a round of golf; go skating or swimming, curling or lawn bowling. You can play tennis, lacrosse, baseball, soccer, or beach volleyball. Theres even a velodrome, bmx track and jogging trails!
Esquimalt Lagoon Migratory Bird Sanctuary A saltwater lagoon located at the base of the Royal Roads property, next to the Fort Rodd Hill / Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Sites and a view across Esquimalt Harbour at Dockyard. The park is a popular destination for birdwatchers, and above the lagoon are some of the largest Douglas Firs to be found in BC. One of these trees, known as the Magna Carta Tree, dates back to the era of Runnymede and was already several hundred years old when an enormous earthquake hit Vancouver Island in 1700. Three hundred years later, you can see where the very top of the tree snapped off but the tree continues to thrive and now measures almost two metres in diameter.
From humble beginnings as a breadbasket to Fort Victoria, Colwood has grown into a thriving city. Steeped in history, of which it is rightfully proud, Colwood maintains a forward view and aims to continue improving. Situated as it is on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, with one of the best climates in Canada, the city is poised to succeed.