A rural community of wide open spaces, pastoral countryside and bountiful farmland, Metchosin was first inhabited by Coast Salish peoples. Metchosin, or Smets-shosin as it is called in the Native Coast Salish language, was incorporated in 1984.
The heart of Metchosin is at the Village Centre, where Happy Valley Road and Metchosin Road intersect and a few stores, a restaurant and a school are located.
Metchosin is one of the West Shore municipalities of Langford, Colwood, View Royal 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.
Modern Metchosin is crisscrossed by winding rural roads leading past cultivated acreages, small forests, rocky headlands, small farms and secluded seaside homes. The municipality of Metchosin has imposed a minimum one and two acre lot size bylaw to preserve the area’s rural lifestyle.
This part of the world was opened for farming in the 1860s to provide fresh produce for the burgeoning population of gold miners and attendant settlers in the nearby Victoria region. As such, the natural ambience here is pastoral. Despite the absence of marshland, many of the migratory birds seen at Witty’s Lagoon Regional Park also use the other parks in Metchosin as a staging area, including sandpipers, turnstones, and surfbirds, all of whom work the cobble beach for all it’s worth.
A short stretch of Metchosin Road (which becomes William Head Road) provides access to three parks – Albert Head Lagoon, Witty’s Lagoon and Devonian Regional Park – offering intimate glimpses of wildlife in a coastal setting.
Visit the tiny St. Mary’s Heritage Church, built in 1873. A tour of the churchyard reveals the names of many of the early pioneer families in the Metchosin area. Monthly concerts are held at the church from September to May.
Stop in at the Metchosin School Museum, the first school in B.C. after the province joined the Confederation. It opened in 1872 and closed in 1949. The museum is located in the little one-room school house next door to the current Metchosin Elementary School.
Visit the Pioneer Museum on the municipal grounds and learn more about the early settlers and agriculture in the area.
Metchosin is home to the Lester B. Pearson College of the Pacific, a unique learning facility dedicated to providing a practical demonstration that international education works, and that it can build bridges of understanding between people.
Golf: Golf courses in Metchosin include the Metchosin Golf Course, and the nearby Olympic View Golf Club. The Victoria area boasts 8 championship golf courses in close proximity, including Cordova Bay 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.
There have been flocks of sheep grazing the Metchosin pastures and following the trails here since 1843. Today, Metchosin’s beautiful pastures are home to one of the largest commercial sheep flocks in British Columbia, the Parry Bay Sheep Farm flock. Sheepdog trials began with the Metchosin Trial in 1992, and the Metchosin Sheep Dog Trial and Clinic is now held annual in late July.
Horseback Riding: As the area is predominantly rural, there are a number of horseriding clubs in Metchosin.
If you’re visiting from May to October you won’t want to miss the Farmer’s Market, located on the Municipal grounds. Locally produced fresh fruit and vegetables and homemade delicacies await you.
Devonian Regional Park: A short distance west of Witty’s Lagoon on William Head Road is Devonian Regional Park, a small parcel of farmland that now acts as a wildlife sanctuary, tucked into the gently rolling landscape between Metchosin farms. This land was originally home to the Ka-Kyaaken tribe of the Coast Salish First Nations.
At Witty’s Lagoon Regional Park, a long swath of sandy beach curves gently along the Strait of Juan de Fuca, protecting a crucial marshland from the full force of waves and wind. Find a sturdy piece of driftwood and shelter from the constant breeze, which even in summer has a fresh edge to it. From this vantage point, you can look across the strait to the towering heights of the Olympic Mountains in Washington and its signature glaciated formation, Hurricane Ridge. The shallow beach makes for a pleasant warm-water swim after the tide rises over sun-heated rocks. There are several entrances to the park. For quick access to the beach, take Hwy 14 west of Victoria, then turn south on Metchosin Road. The well-marked trailhead at Sitting Woman Falls is located opposite the Metchosin Golf Course. Allow 10 to 15 minutes to walk from the parking lot to the beach.
If you approach the beach at Witty’s Lagoon from the Sitting Lady Falls entrance, you find an enjoyable 15-minute walk, with several places at which to pause, including a viewpoint of the falls that tumble through a cleft in the granite, thickly laden berry bushes in summer, and a vibrant marshland lined with gnarly Garry oak and arbutus trees. Witty’s Lagoon is wheelchair-accessible, with 5km of woodland trails, a salt marsh, meadows, and a tidal lagoon.
Albert Head Lagoon Wildlife Sanctuary is a designated wildlife sanctuary that attracts a variety of birds journeying along the Pacific Flyway, including larger birds such as swans, herons, and turkey vultures. A short waterside trail leads down to a cobble beach where you can you train your binoculars on the coastline and the views across the Juan de Fuca Strait. This is an exposed headland, so dress accordingly. From Hwy 14, take Metchosin Road west to Far Hill Road. Turn south at the park sign and west on Lower Park Drive.
Galloping Goose TrailWhether you enjoy hiking, cycling, roller blading, horseback riding or just going for a stroll, the Galloping Goose Trail is the place to be. The 100km multi-use trail links the communities of View Royal, Colwood, Langford, Metchosin, and Sooke. One of the most interesting rural sections of the Galloping Goose Trail runs for about 12 miles (20 km) from Roche Cove Regional Park in Metchosin to Sooke Potholes Provincial Park and Leechtown. You can pick up the trail south of Roche Point on Rocky Point Road, just east of a donkey farm. Watch for a parking area just west of Rocky Point’s intersection with Malloch Road. Trail markers indicate that this is the ‘Km-29’ (Mile-18) point west of the Johnson Street Bridge. Such markers occur at regular intervals to acquaint you with your progress. Trails to Matheson Lake lead down the steep hillside above the lake. Note: No bikes are permitted on the Matheson Lake trails.
Although the trail is mostly a level grade, it covers bumpy but solid ground with the exception of stretches of gravel near several bridges. The parking area beside Roche Point Regional Park occurs at ‘Km 35’ on the east side of Sooke Basin. From here views begin to open up to the west, and the temptation is to pause beside the clear blue-green ocean water to enjoy the view. Along this stretch, a number of rough picnic spots can be reached by a short scramble downhill. The forested environment features broadleaf maple that burn gold and red in autumn. Snowbrush scents the air and its white clusters of flowers provide a rich contrast to the evergreens. You’ll encounter light traffic wherever you go along this portion of the trail, where butterflies often outnumber bikers.
Matheson Lake Regional Park in Metchosin is set in a steep-sided, heavily forested environment at the foot of Mount Matheson. The park is a paddling destination for those seeking a serene, cloistered environment. From Hwy 17, follow the well-marked entrance off Rocky Point Road to reach the lake. It’s a short walk from the parking area to the beach, where hand-carried boats may be launched. Launch your canoe and explore the many bays and small islands that characterize the lake. The park also offers excellent hiking and swimming.
Roche Cove Regional Park lies adjacent to Matheson Lake Park, and features a secluded cove off the Sooke Basin, forested trails, numerous beaches and beautiful vistas. Whether you’re out for a casual stroll or an invigorating hike, the extensive network of walking and hiking trails in the park will provide hours of enjoyment and exercise. There is no boating access or launch facility at the cove or park.
East Sooke Regional Park: A favourite among novice and experienced hikers, neighbouring East Sooke Regional Park is one of the most spectacular parks in the region – a wilderness setting along a protected coastal landscape. The 10-km (6-hour) Coast Trail is considered to be one of the premier day hikes in Canada, taking energetic hikers through lush rain forest, along windswept bluffs and down to the ocean’s edge.
Wildlife: Witty’s Lagoon is a natural resting place for migrating birds such as osprey before they attempt the 13-mile (21-km) crossing of the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the Olympic Peninsula. Other birds, such as the belted kingfisher, orange-crowned warbler, and dark-eyed junco overwinter in the shelter of the lagoon. In spring, the open meadows above the lagoon contain a brilliant array of wildflowers including camas lilies, saxifrage, and nodding onions. Displays of natural history can be found at the park’s information centre on Metchosin Road. There are several entrances to the park, including Tower Point. Turn south off Metchosin Road on Duke Road, then west on Olympic View Drive to reach the trailhead.
A short trail leads to a small beach at Tower Point where the ocean has hollowed tide pools in the granite outcropping. A rich variety of marine life shelter in the pools and stand revealed at low tide. Bring your rubber boots. You’ll also be rewarded with good views from here of aptly named Haystock Islands, where long, thick strands of grass grow in the shape of old stooks. Farther out in the strait are the Race Rocks, Canada’s most southerly point on the west coast. Hurricane Ridge predominates on the distant southern horizon. At low tide you can wade across from the point to the long stretch of beach that fronts the lagoon; otherwise, approach the beach from the Sitting Woman Falls entrance on the road just south of Tower Point. A short walk past the falls brings you to an intertidal backwater, where the waters of Metchosin Creek mingle with the Pacific, and then to the beach cluttered with driftwood, excellent for building shelters from the cold wind while you bird-watch. The quiet backwater lagoon surrounded by Garry oak and arbutus is popular with seals, too.
For more information on Metchosin visit Metchosin Community House, a non profit resource centre for the Metchosin Community.