‘The plane, the plane!” a youngster shouts, gazing skyward and sounding like Tattoo, Herve Villechaize’s character on Fantasy Island. His exclamation stops a jogger in her tracks long enough to offer her own take on that retro TV series.
“We’re living on fantasy island!” she yells, dashing off as a shiny Harbour Air seaplane lands in the harbour.
It’s just another moment on Westsong Walkway, where no two days are alike. It’s part of the reason this scenic 2.3-kilometre walkway along Victoria’s waterfront from the Songhees totems west of the Blue Bridge to the nautical charms of Esquimalt’s West Bay, with stunning views of the Olympic Mountains and Strait of Juan de Fuca en route, remains so alluring.
Whether by daylight on the sun-dappled promenade, when the spectacle of small harbour ferries, yellow H2O water taxis, float planes, kayaks, the Victoria Clipper and the Coho ferry consistently captivates, or a misty evening when our tourist mecca’s twinkling lights are offset by the fragrant aroma of California lilacs, it’s an ever-changing sensory feast.
“I love the nature scenes, the otters, the phenomenal beauty everywhere you look,” says John Ferguson, 53, braking his motorized scooter near a striking dragon mural on a rock wall. His scooter is accessorized with a B.C. flag, another bearing a skull and crossbones, and an onboard digital music device playing his favourite tunes.
“When I travel along the walkway, there’s a lot of curves, so people can hear me coming before they see me.”
Once you get to know the nooks and crannies of this seaside gem, you’ll discover there’s more to the walkway than its waterfowl, wildlife, picnic tables and gazebos. Eagle-eyed wanderers will discover hidden beaches, like the two just past a sign extolling the treasures of the Matson Lands, a fragile Garry oak ecosystem just beyond West Bay bridge near Barnard Park.
“It’s just so uplifting to the spirits to walk by the water every morning,” says Joy Woodhams, savouring the aroma of wildflowers and salty brine while her large black poodle Toonza and pal Chevy, a Jack Russell cross, sniff other things.
If she had continued east, she would eventually have passed Victoria Pacifica fountain, which, with its playful nymphs and dolphins in front of Royal Quays condominiums, signals a more urban seafront flavour, including rows of fashionable townhomes.
Among Westsong Walkway’s most eye-catching highlights is Rich Rico’s whimsical beachfront oasis.
“Sit and enjoy the moment,” wrote the folk artist on his striking public art, a beached boat-like structure. His colourful collage of creatures, from whales to Cadborosaurus, with accoutrements including a British flag, scream photo opportunity.
If you prefer food and libations at your rest stop, Spinnakers Brew Pub is the place to be.
“My boyfriend and I go running around here,” said Kristen Turcotte, enjoying the view over lunch on the Spinnakers patio with her mother Shirley. “It’s a nice motivation with the planes coming in. Sometimes you can race them.”
The historic pub is a stone’s throw from Lime Bay, where stunned onlookers recently got an unexpected bonus — the spectacle of a large deer galloping across the grassy slopes, then plunging into the water for a swim.
Just another Westsong moment.