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

Two people rescued after falling from lifeboat at Ogden Point

Crew members of the Explorer of the Seas cruise ship fell into the water Thursday night

Saanich pedestrian incidents reflect recent trends

76% of crashes involving pedestrians happen at intersections

Online blasting video helps ease Sooke residents concerns

Complaints of dust ongoing since 2017

Son of missing Oak Bay woman asks for continued public support

‘Because she is still out there, somewhere’

BCAM slated to get one of last remaining Lancaster bombers

Approval seems certain despite emotional Torontonian appeals

BC Games’ Athletes Corner: What’s your favourite pump up song?

Check out what’s playing in the earbuds of BC Summer Games athletes before they compete

Zone 6: Rugby star Maggie Banks carries family legacy to BC Games

Shawnigan Lake student and Coquitlam native following her parents to the national program

RCMP help to save goats from wildfire

The fast-approaching wildfire, sparked Thursday, forced the evacuation of five homes

VIDEO: Near drowning captured on popular B.C. river

Search and Rescue manager says the popular pastime of floating in the summer is inherently dangerous

Crosswalk vandalism leaves black mark for Cowichan as B.C. Games begin

Rainbow crosswalk defaced just days after being painted

Photo gallery: BC Games Day 1

A brief look at action from the 2018 BC Summer Games in the Cowichan Valley

UPDATED: Anti-pipeline campers digging in as eviction deadline expires

The City of Burnaby had ordered the Kinder Morgan pipeline protesters out for violating bylaws

Trump was taped talking of paying Playboy model: AP source

Source says former personal lawyer Michael Cohen secretly recorded discussion prior to 2016 election

BC toddler with ‘allergy’ to sun waiting for bone marrow transplant

Charlie Lock, 2, needs treatment for damage caused by rare disorder EPP

Most Read