Less than 10 minutes from downtown Langford, Goldstream Provincial Park draws hundreds of thousands of visitors a year from all parts of the globe.
Close to 100 hectares of dedicated parkland are home to a wealth of wildlife, highlighted by the salmon that return to spawn each autumn and the hundreds of bald eagles that visit to feast on the salmon's remains during December and January. Tucked along one of the trails within the park, the Goldstream Nature House provides visitors and locals alike with interpretive programs and webcams that add an up close and personal, yet non-invasive look at bears, eagles, hummingbirds and an assortment of other creatures that dwell within the park's boundaries.
Langford is blessed with four lakes within easy walking or cycling distance of the downtown core. The natural beauty of the lakes has been carefully preserved, and links conveniently to Langford's award-winning trail network. Langford Lake and Lake Ida Anne are restocked with trout twice a year, and provide some of the best fresh water fishing in the region. Glen Lake and Florence Lake have viewing platforms that present spectacular views of the lakes and surrounding areas.
The addition of improved bike lanes, an eye-catching arch, fountain, lights and music in the roundabout at Bryn Maur Road and Goldstream Avenue in the centre of Goldstream Village has enhanced the tourist experience. More trees, colourful plantings and palm trees augment the existing features that earned Langford several Communities in Bloom awards in recent years. The addition of kiosks that include maps offer information on Langford's highlights and attractions.
The area is also home to the Goldstream Station Market from June to October, a popular gathering place that features local produce and an eclectic collection of crafters and vendors. The crowds that flock there on Saturdays emphatically underscores that Langford is well on its way to achieving its goal of making the downtown core a pedestrian- and cyclist-friendly community gathering place where people mingle with friends, neighbours and visitors.
"We will continue to upgrade and beautify our community with more trees, plantings and gardens as we move along," said Langford Mayor Stew Young. "The fact that we've been able to continue to add improvements underlines that council is dedicated to doing this in a cost-effective fashion. We've had the lowest combined taxes of any municipality in the region for the past 18 years. Despite the challenging economic climate of the past few years, council, staff and the community are working hard on a tax decrease this year while we continue to add more improvements."
Langford is forging ahead with new plans to augment existing attractions aimed at enhancing the tourist experience, while continuing to provide more benefits for the community. A new
ice arena and family bowling centre at City Centre Park is slated
for completion this summer. The new arena will feature an ice river — one of the first of its kind in North America — that connects to the outdoor family skating area. Another design innovation at the park converts the skating area to a splash park during the summer months.
"The new arena addresses the need for more ice for the youth in our growing community," Young noted. "When you consider the two all-weather artificial turf sports fields and the seating available at Bear Mountain and Goudy Field, it also positions Langford favourably to host tournaments and events that will bring more people to the area. Once they see the recreation, facilities, amenities, entertainment and healthy lifestyle Langford has to offer, it will draw more young families, especially when you consider the range of affordable housing that's available here."
Plans are also afoot to develop a system of cyclist and pedestrian loops that will connect Langford's neighbourhoods, providing a safer, more environmentally friendly way for residents and visitors to get around and take advantage of what Langford has to offer. Young was quick to recognize the importance of getting the word out to the region and beyond, implementing free wireless Internet in the downtown core and at City Centre Park in 2009. The Langford IT Department has also relaunched the City website in a new format that puts the best the city has to offer a click away. Information is now presented in a much more engaging, user-friendly fashion.
For more information go to www.cityoflangford.ca.