View Royal was first settled in the 1850s when Dr. John Helmcken purchased 640 acres of farmland from the Hudson’s Bay Company. Incorporated in 1988, modern-day View Royal is a predominantly residential area.
At the foot of present-day Helmcken Road, a concrete marker and bronze plaque commemorate the days when crews from passing ships replenished their water supplies from a natural spring.
View Royal is one of the West Shore municipalities of Langford, Colwood, Metchosin, and the Highlands, located to the west of Victoria. This region is known as the Western Communities, or West Shore, and stretches from Esquimalt Harbour to Rocky Point, along the shoreline of Juan de Fuca Strait.
The Gorge in Victoria is a meandering waterway that leads from Victoria’s upper harbour through a landscaped urban environment, before finally widening into Portage Inlet in View Royal. A daily tidal surge occasionally creates near-whitewater conditions in the narrowest passages, a thrill that kayakers will particularly enjoy.
Location: View Royal is located about 6 km west of Victoria city centre via Highways 1 or 1A.
Craigflower Manor and Schoolhouse, was one of Vancouver Island’s first European farming communities, established in 1853 along Victoria’s Gorge Waterway. The Puget Sound Agricultural Company, owned by the Hudson’s Bay Company, established farms to reduce the need for importing goods from abroad, and to meet the Hudson’s Bay Company’s obligations to Britain to support colonization. Today, the original Georgian Manor house, partly built on the old post-and-beam design, still stands amid fields and gardens, and across the bridge, the oldest remaining schoolhouse in western Canada gives children re-enactment opportunities to experience Victorian attitudes about schooling!
View Royal overlooks Portage Inlet at the end of the Gorge Waterway, a meandering fjord popular with canoeists and kayakers.
Peaceful Portage Park was a traditional First Nations shortcut from Esquimalt Harbour to Portage Inlet and Victoria Harbour.
Weary travellers have been stopping at the Six Mile Pub for more than 135 years. Originally built in 1855 and said to be the oldest pub in B.C. and probably in western Canada.
Head out on the Galloping Goose Trail, a delight for hikers and bikers – named after a 1920’s passenger train and built along a former railbed, the Galloping Goose links communities from Victoria to Sooke!
Next to the fall salmon run at nearby Goldstream Provincial Park, the spring herring run in the Gorge waterway is one of the major events of the year in local waters, with the bonus that the fat, sardine-like fish are easier to catch.
Golf: Highland Pacific Golf Course is Victoria’s newest public golf course, located in View Royal between Victoria General Hospital and Thetis Lake Park. The course is routed through rolling hills with stunning viewpoints and punishing dropoffs, with some of the best vistas on Vancouver Island. The Victoria area boasts 8 championship golf courses in close proximity, including Cordova Bay Golf Club, Olympic View Golf Club, Gorge Vale Golf Club, Royal Colwood Golf Club, and Bear Mountain Golf and Country Club. Nearby Oak Bay has the Uplands Golf Course and Victoria Golf Club.Victoria Golf Vacations.
Vancouver Island Golf Vacations.
Canoeing & Kayaking: The best place for kayakers to launch to paddle up the Gorge, is the dock at Gorge Park near the intersection of Hwy 1A (Gorge Road) and Tillicum Road, just west of downtown Victoria. There’s more paddling here than you can explore in one day, which guarantees a return visit.
At Thetis Lake Regional Park in View Royal, sandy beaches front the park’s two heavily indented lakes, providing a great swimming beach and a family playground. Paddlers with hand-carried boats can launch from the main beach and explore the more remote beaches and many bays and islets that characterize Thetis Lake. A narrow channel connects the two halves of the lake system, just wide enough for a canoe or kayak. Several well-marked, forested hiking trails attract hikers to the park. Note that the beach is reached by following West Park Lane.
The Francis/King Regional Park offers 6 miles (11 km) of secluded trails where the forest buffers the hum from the nearby Island Highway. The park is the ideal recreational spot for anyone using a wheelchair, walker or cane – check out the gentle Elsie King Trail with its convenient and pleasant cedar boardwalk. Francis/King Regional Park is located on Munn Road in neighbouring Saanich. Follow Hwy 1 to Helmcken Road. Turn north on Helmcken, west on W Burnside, then north on Prospect Lake Road to Munn Road.
Enjoy a short walk to the summit at Mill Hill Regional Park for a panoramic view of Victoria, Esquimalt Harbour and the Sooke Hills. From April through July, the park is ablaze with delicate wildflowers, boasting showy displays of common camas, white fawn lilies, tiger lilies and calypso orchids. Mill Hill Park connects to the adjacent Thetis Lake Park.
Neighbouring View Royal to the north is the community of Highlands, a beautiful rural district of lakes and parkland bordering on the eastern shore of Finlayson Arm on Saanich Inlet.
West of View Royal is the progressive town of Langford, situated between Colwood and the Malahat, and incorporating the head of Finlayson Arm and Mount Finlayson. Langford offers an accessible diversity of beautiful parks and lakes and limitless recreational activities.