A Brief History
Friends of Beacon Hill Park Society is a non-profit organization
founded for the purpose of preserving and maintaining Beacon Hill
Park. The Society was founded in 1989 when the municipality of Victoria
planned to clear the naturally wooded area in the southeast corner
of the park. Ultimately, Friends of Beacon Hill Park succeeded in
preserving the southeast "woods," as it is known.
Through efforts to maintain and preserve the natural landscape,
Friends have worked hard to protect the native wildflowers and trees.
Working with parks staff;
- Mowing practices have been altered to allow flowers to produce
- Keeping events off the meadow to prevent thousands of people
from trampling the ground and compacting the soil.
- Charting wildflower species; recording native flowers that flourish,
are near extinction, and those no longer found in the Park.
- Restoration planting of native vegetation.
- Speaking on behalf of the Park Trust.
Why the Park Needs Protection
Captain George Vancouver described the island's native flora "as
enchantingly beautiful as the most elegantly finished pleasure ground
in Europe". Beacon Hill Park has always been enjoyed for its
natural splendor. The current 184 acres was known as The Park from
the time that Fort Victoria was first established in 1843 by the
Hudson's Bay Company. Unfortunately, when Vancouver Island was transferred
back to the Crown in 1859 a sizable portion of the park was sold
by the Company of Explorers. On February 21, 1882, Beacon Hill Park
was entrusted to the city of Victoria to be maintained and preserved
for the use recreation and enjoyment of the public. Friends want
to ensure that park management will maintain Beacon Hill Park in
the state it was entrusted.
Five City streets are built on Beacon Hill Park land. Covering 30 acres of Park land are Dallas Road, Douglas Street, Heywood Avenue, Park Boulevard and Southgate Street. The Park acreage remaining is only 154.47 acres. Internal Park roads, parking lots and hard surfaces cover another 16 acres.
While available Park acreage continues to shrink, the population continues to grow. There were 74,125 residents of Victoria in 2001 and 311,902 in the metropolitan area (Canada Census data). They share Beacon Hill Park with millions of tourists. Beacon Hill Park is a popular site to
view the Juan de Fuca Strait and the Olympic Mountain Range. The
Park also has a 19th century ornamental garden, playing fields,
picnic and children's area and a large example of our native Garry
Oak Ecosystem - a breath-taking site when the fields of Camas bloom.
We celebrate the natural beauty and our native landscape heritage
on Camas Day in late April or early May. Friends welcome those who wish to enjoy and
learn more on Beacon Hill Park when the fields are alive with wildflowers.