Swimmers jump off the dock at Banfield Park and into the the Gorge Waterway to help promote the upcoming Gorge Swim Fest.

Swim aims to cleanup Gorge’s reputation

Victoria's third annual Gorge Swim Fest set for Aug. 10

As the Gorge Swim Fest enters its third year, society director Jack Meredith hopes on taking the Gorge back to the turn of the 20th century, when thousands of Victorians spent the weekend soaking in the sun on the waterway.

The Gorge fell from favour in the 1940s, partly due to the appearance of swimming pools in Victoria, and as a result of becoming increasingly polluted.

It wasn’t until 1996 that the Gorge became a priority again, with a cleanup campaign led by John Roe.

Presently, the beaches on the Gorge hold some of the lowest fecal coliform levels in Greater Victoria, according to the Vancouver Island Health Authority. Still, its reputation hasn’t been so easy to clean up.

“The response from people is almost predictable,” Meredith said. “Yhey’re surprised people are swimming there. I’m often asked ‘isn’t it dirty? Isn’t it cold?’ The water was 26 degrees the other day, that’s almost too warm to swim in.”

Meredith said that a huge draw for swimmers is the Gorge’s proximity to town, and as it sees more and more use each summer, an expansion of infrastructure is due.

He cited a rejuvenation or removal of the seawall at Banfield Park, as well as an expansion of the dock at Esquimalt Gorge Park, as future possibilities.

“I went down to Banfield Park (last Wednesday) and there so many people on the dock that it was to the point of congestion,” Meredith said. “Its starting to get really exciting for us.”

The Gorge Swim Fest takes place Aug. 10, noon to 4 p.m. at Banfield and Esquimalt Gorge parks. Following a “picnic in the park” theme this year, the festival will feature live music and food trucks in addition to swimming.

 

 

Just Posted

Transportation Safety Board’s out-of-date data system makes it hard to track trends

An upgrade to the system will be coming in the next fiscal year

Canadian Armed Forces to change approach to sexual assault investigations

New program aimed at a more open and transparent process, will consult with civilians, health and law professionals

Oak Bay kicks off Christmas with 18th annual light up

The lights come on Nov. 25 at 5 p.m. after an audience rendition of The Twelve Days of Christmas

Unique technology gives children with special needs more independent play

UVic’s CanAssist refined seven prototypes aided by $1.5M government contribution

Elections BC keeps eye on Canada Post dispute, but no change in Nov. 30 deadline

Vote No spokesman say an extension of one or two weeks would ensure all ballots are counted

Langley school pulls Japanese ‘rising sun’ flag after student petition

School district promises consultation with students and parents, defends using flag for war history

Calgary bobsled death inquiry recommends infrared technology, safety audits

A judge found the deaths of 17-year-old twins Evan and Jordan Caldwell were accidental and caused by blunt-force head and neck trauma

First ski hill in B.C. opened this weekend

Sun Peaks, near Kamloops, was the first ski hill in the province to open for season

$50k fine and community service for Vancouver Island tax evader

David Gonyea was given a nine-month conditional sentence

Paved Pacific Rim National Park trail costs balloon to $51 million

Feds kick in an additional $17 million to complete trail running between Tofino and Ucluelet

Island connection to launch of new $10 bill

Great nephew of Viola Desmond says bill is a ‘step in the right direction’

B.C. fire chief learns from California fires

Chief Travis Whiting and Kelowna Fire Department learn from the devasting U.S. fires

Most Read