Monday, August 16, 2010

Beating the heat in this city

I am constantly amazed at how quickly people in Victoria wilt in the heat, anything more than the 30C and people whine about it being hot.   It is not like it is that warm here in the Capital Regional District and where I live there have been very few days over the low 30s in the last six years - the data is at the UVic School-based Weather Network.  In fact, this last weekend were the only two days where the temperature rose about 30C in August in my neighbourhood in the last five years.

That said, what I find even more interesting is how few people avail themselves of the options for cooling off in the region.   I grew up in Tsawwassen and all summer in the sunny weather the beaches are packed with people.   Tsawwassen only has 25,000 people but this is enough to keep the four to five kilometres of beach to filled with people.   When we look over here we do not see the same crowds.  It is rare to find the 1.5 km of Islandview beach packed with people.

There are beaches along the shore of Beacon Hill park through to Clowerpoint and then again in Oak Bay.   The crowds do not seem to find them.  These beaches are close to a lot of people, but I have rarely seen much more than a scattering of people on these beaches.

Over on the Westshore there are some nice beaches, the Coburg peninsula is a wonderful almost two kilometre long beach with all that inviting water right at hand.   Witty's Lagoon has a nice sand beach as well.

What will it take to build up a beach culture in this city to rival the sort of that exists in Vancouver?  It is not just the beaches that are empty here, it is everywhere else as well.

The Gorge runs through the heart of the city and still the small cove at the Tillicum bridge rarely has more than a handful of people even in the hottest weather.  the Gorge has the advantage that the water is warm and it is such an inviting narrow channel to swim across.   The beach at the Esquimalt Gorge park is very underused.   In fact there is nothing in the Esquimalt description of the park includes any mention of the beach and decent swimming access to the Gorge.

Goldstream park has this wonderful waterfall and it is not hard to get into the water there, it is rare to have to share it with anyone.  It is one of many creeks and streams that lie to the west of the city that offer some wonderful cooling in hot weather.

We have almost no public water play areas for kids, there is one in Beacon Hill park, but that is really about it.

It is a shame that people in this area are not making use of the resources we have to keep cool.
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