Friday, July 06, 2012

Gorge Swim Fest - August 12th

This is my kids last summer
After advocating for swimming in the Gorge for the last couple of years, it is very nice to see the four community associations along the Gorge come together and host the first annual Gorge Swim Fest.

On August 12th from noon until 4 pm there will be events going on at Kinsman Gorge Park in Esquimalt, at Curtis Point in Gorge Park and at Banfield Park.  The event will be low key for a first time event, but there will be swimming related events at all three locations and

I know the Gorge-Tillicum Community Association is getting a 200 foot long dock to anchor below the Tillicum bridg, somewhere around Curtis Point.

The event is being hosted by:

It is also being supported by the Gorge Waterway Initiative, among others.

Last year it felt like that my family had the Gorge to ourselves for swimming.   The dock below Tillicum was almost always empty which seemed such a shame.  

My plan for the Swim Fest is to try and float/swim the full length of the Gorge, about a 2 km distance.    I should be able to go there and back in four hours.
This is the media release on the event:

Gorge Swim Fest
Date: August 12, 2012
Time: Noon to 4 pm
Where: Three locations: Vic West Banfield Park, Esquimalt Gorge Park, Saanich Gorge Park at Curtis Point

What's the best thing about Victoria's Gorge Waterway? It's warm, it's clean and it's great for swimming. Bet you weren't expecting to hear that. If you want to give us a chance to prove it, join us August 12 for the 1st annual Gorge Swim Fest.

There will be music, barbeques, prizes and, oh yes, swimming. Come to one of our three venues – Esquimalt Gorge Park, Gorge Park and Banfield Park. Bring your friends, neighbours, children, chairs and your appetite. Swim with us and you can enter draws for some great prizes. All locations are easily accessible by BC Transit and we encourage you to use alternative transportation as some locations have limited parking.

Gorge Swim Fest

Nervous about swimming the Gorge? Well, we can't help you choose a flattering swimsuit but we can give you some reassuring facts. The Gorge is warm. Typical August temperatures are about 24 degrees which compares favourably to your favourite local lake. The Gorge is clean. While local lakes occasionally have closures, there has not been a beach closure on the Gorge this century and frequent water sampling indicates contaminant levels are well below allowable levels.

The Gorge has many fun places to swim. There are sandy beaches, pebble beaches, rocks and swim floats. In places, it is narrow enough that even newer swimmers can make it "all the way across". If you prefer to go the distance, you can travel with or against the current in one direction for kilometres without seeing the same scenery.

Historically, the Gorge was the favoured summer retreat for all of Victoria. Esquimalt Gorge Park was the site of dances and parties, gardens and boating. The Gorge was the site of Victoria's first swimming school. Swimming races, high-diving, canoeing, the Gorge offered it all. And we offer it to you again... except the high-diving!

This inaugural event is being hosted by four of the community associations that border the Gorge – Burnside Gorge Community Association, Esquimalt Residents Association, Gorge Tillicum Community Association and Victoria West Community Association. We are also supported by the the Gorge Waterway Initiative, the Friends of the Gorge and the World Fisheries Trust.

More details will be available as we get closer to the date. Watch for these here and on the Facebook event page.

Media enquiries to Jack Meredith at 250 -588-2525 or

My son Stephen last summer jumping from the dock at Tillicum Bridge

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