The City of Langford is a city of over 35,000 people (2016), and is the business hub of "Westshore", a group of municipalities to the west of Victoria. Visitors would primarily enjoy the lakes and trails which are less busy than similar offerings closer to Victoria downtown core.
Langford's history of European settlement dates to 1851, when Captain Edward Langford established one of the four Hudson's Bay Company farms in the Victoria area. In the early 1860s, the region of Langford experienced a short-lived gold rush in what is now Goldstream Provincial Park. The area was a favourite recreation destination for thousands of Victorians in the late 1800s: day-trippers travelled via railway to the popular country resort Goldstream House Hotel; hunters built their lodges on the shores of the lakes near the mountains; and a summer colony of the well-to-do city folk relaxed and socialized at Langford Lake.
The region has become the fastest growing little city on Vancouver Island, with big retail stores and new residential developments, and the expanding suburban town of Langford became a city in 2003.
Highway 1 (Trans-Canada Highway) passes through Langford on its way between Victoria and the other cities further north on Vancouver Island. Highway 14 connects with Highway 1 in Langford.
On weekdays, traffic congestion is considerable getting in/out during rush hour. This is an issue in all of Victoria's West shore communities.
Goldstream Ave from Colwood is the other main way into Langford.
The Galloping Goose Regional Trail passes through Langford and is a favourite of cyclists.
The train no longer runs on Vancouver Island.
Getting around on foot is fine for the downtown core but a bicycle or vehicle are better options for the outskirts including shopping at the big box stores.
The city has created marked bike trails [formerly dead link] along key roads allowing easy travel throughout the city. The Galloping Goose Trail, bike and pedestrian trails along the old railway tracks and along Goldstream Ave connect well the different sections of the city.
City Center Park has bicycle rentals.
The two main public transport hubs are Langford Exchange at Westshore Town Centre (formerly CanWest Mall), south of Langford's "downtown"; and Western Exchange at the Juan de Fuca Recreation Centre in Colwood. See BC Transit for information.
- Goldstream Village, the town centre, is on Goldstream Ave where local businesses, the library, the Veteran Memorial Park [formerly dead link], police station and City Hall are found. A traffic circle around a musical beautiful fountain, sidewalks and cafe's create for a pedestrian friendly environment.
- A secondary hub is forming around City Centre Park with nearby lakes and sports fields. The main shopping mall, WestShore, and cinemas are nearby also.
- Western Speedway, 2207 Millstream Road (north from Highway 1). Vancouver Island's largest racecoursehosts races every weekend. There is a motocross track on site.
- Watch high-caliber rugby matches at City Centre Park.
Local lakes and trails
- [formerly dead link] Glen lake. Has a kid playground and sandy beach. Fishing for bass off the pier is pleasant.
- [formerly dead link] Langford Lake. Good for swimming, boating, and fishing (nice boat launch, trout and bass).
- Ed Nixon Trail [formerly dead link] adjacent Langford Lake, The Galloping Trail adjacent Glen Lake and Mill Hill Regional Park(high view point, good hike with ocean views) are best for jogging or nature walks.
There is also Florence Lake for fishing and swimming.
The Galloping Goose Trail, the Langford section is mostly packed dirt and gravel, is great to commute toward downtown Victoria. Going west the trail is great with kids as it goes through active farms (horses, sheep, cows, chickens, ducks), there are also birds and deer wildlife in abundance. The trail is wide. The fall colours and the section near Hatley Memorial Gardens (cemetery) is especially nice; that section is great to grab blackberries in the Summer and the branches from mature trees on each side of the trail form a tunnel.
Good road options are going to Happy Valley Road, to Metchosin Road, (shortcut at Latoria Rd), further through to the Coburg Peninsula, then to Sooke Rd and back on Goldstream road (15-25 km).
There are four or more little independent bikes shops around town happy to help cyclists. The one by the Galloping Goose Trail at Sooke Rd comes in handy to trail travelers.
- There is a spectacular golf course at Bear Mountain designed by Jack Nicklaus.
- There is also the private Royal Colwood Golf Club is accessible on Goldstream Ave. Young deer are often seen there.
- The trails, lakes and parks offer plenty to the hobbyists and enthusiasts alike. Events at City Centre Park and Western Speedway offer live sporting options. The old rail vestiges have interesting views and they lead all the way to the trestle in Goldstream Provincial Park.
Memorial Park events
- In the summer there are regular concerts, markets and events. Check the city web site for info.
- Remembrance Day ceremonies (11 hour, 11 month (11:00, Nov 11)) are attended by thousands in the park.
- The fountain and Vimy Rigde partial replica statue give a solemn feeling to the park. The other end is playful with the bandstand and kid playground.
- City Centre Park has the only bowling alleys in greater Victoria. Book early it’s often full.
- Go-cart racing is available at Western Speedway.
Other ideas with young kids
- There is a water parks and playground at Centennial Park on Carlow St that is good for young children (free).
- There is a big water park (free for residents) at City Center Park.
- Memorial Park has a good kid playground.
- Glen Lake Park has a good playground and a sandy beach. It is quieter than most lakes shore areas.
- Mini Golf and Playzone at City Centre Park.
- City Centre Park. Offers water park, skating, bowling, mini golf, soccer/rugby fields. Westhills Stadium, located in the park, hosts many Rugby Canada events, most notably the country's stop on the World Rugby Women's Sevens Series for national rugby sevens teams. It is now also home to the local professional soccer team, Pacific FC (see below).
- Rugby Canada.
- Pacific FC, Westhills Stadium (City Centre Park). Soccer team that began play in the new Canadian Premier League in 2019.
Goldstream Provincial Park
Goldstream Provincial Park is a provincial park with old growth forests, salmon streams, eagles, picnic areas, nature house and spectacular hiking trails.
Drive north along Highway 1 until you see the park entrance on your right to access the more popular locations within the park. Parking is free along the highway. Or you can help pay for the park and use the park pay parking nearby.
Between October and December the Goldstream River within the park has people flock to the creekside to witness the annual salmon run.
A popular and slightly challenging hike is Mount Finlayson, Greater Victoria's tallest mountain. The views on top are spectacular. Depending on your level of fitness going up is 50-90 minutes. There are precipices and for those scared of heights or with young children you may want to pass.
There are also two waterfalls located within the park: Goldstream River takes a small plunge over Goldstream Falls in the southwest corner of the park; and Greater Victoria's very own Niagara Falls are a very tall and thin chute on Niagara creek.
Although not apart of Goldstream Provincial Park, the Niagara rail trestle is another popular attraction, accessed by Goldstream Park trails. Crossing the highway is best done using a tunnel underneath.
The nature house is great for kids. It has an eagle cam, various bones and animals on display. A gift shop well stocked with books on the local nature, coffee and lights snacks are also available.
Langford is the host of the big box chains in Victoria. There is little in terms of unique whimsical boutiques where to find souvenirs.
- Goldstream Village. This is the downtown core area. There are cafes and smaller shops. Visitors can also find an affordable movie theatre.
- Farmer's Market. Mid-May to late Oct: Sa 10AM-2PM.
- Millstream Village. An outlet-style strip mall area. Home Depot, Costco and others are also nearby.
- Westshore Town Centre. A blend of free-standing large stores and mid-sized traditional shopping mall. Nearby visitors can also find Walmart, The Brick, Canadian Tire.
- The Red Barn Market, Latoria Walk. Locally sourced vegetables and meat.
- The Market on Millstream. Locally sourced vegetables and meat.
- Glen Woods Meats, 1245 Parkdale Dr, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. W-Sa 9AM-6PM, Su 11AM-5PM. An old-fashioned bustling local butcher shop, off the beaten path with great staff and great meats.
- 900 Degrees, 101 2401-B Millstream Road (Millstream Village), ☏ . M-Th noon-8PM, F Sa noon-9PM. An independent wood-fired pizzeria offering a selection of wood-fired pizzas, appetizers, fresh salads, and artisan charcuterie. Pizzas $15-23.
- Floyd's Diner, 721 Station Ave, ☏ . M-Th 7:30AM-3PM; F 7:30AM-3PM; Sa Su 8AM-4PM. Breakfasts, sandwiches, burgers, salads. Lunches $10-16.
- Sabhai Thai, 2800 Jacklin Rd, ☏ . Daily 11:30AM–2PM; and M-Th 5-9PM, F Sa 4:30-9PM. Thai recipes and ingredients including meat, vegetarian, and vegan meals.
- Fountain Diner, 2800 Bryn Maur Road (in the heart of Langford), ☏ . Daily 7AM-3PM. Breakfasts, sandwiches, burgers, salads.
- Buckys Taphouse, 2668 Sooke Rd, ☏ . Su M 11AM-10PM, Tu-Sa 11AM-11PM. Neighbourhood pub.
- [dead link] Cycle-Inn, 3158 Anders Rd. Between the 17 & 18 markers on the Galloping Goose trail from Victoria to Sooke. From $128.
- Camping sites are available at Goldstream Provincial Park.
- Four Points by Sheraton, 829 McCallum Rd, ☏ . From $297.
- The Westin Bear Mountain Victoria Golf Resort & Spa, 1999 Country Club Way,, ☏ . On-site Italian restaurant & a tapas bar, 2 golf courses & a posh spa. From $170.
Free Wi-Fi is available in key parts of the city (Goldstream Village, City Centre).
The city provides a good map of Langford.
In Metchosin you will find:
- The expansive Witty's Lagoon Beach (great for skimboarding!), Matheson Lake, a drive up Lombard Drive, and a visit to My Chosen Cafe (on the corner of Metchosin Road and Happy Valley Road). Metchosin is connected to Sooke Road in Westshore by Happy Valley Road (in Langford) and Metchosin Road (in Colwood). It is also connected to Sooke by Rocky Point Road.
In Colwood you will find:
- Fisgard Lighthouse is a long-time running historic lighthouse at the head of Esquimalt Harbour. It can be reached by footpath from Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Park.
- Explore the underground magazines of Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site. This popular attraction features an exciting array of historical gun batteries and bunkers. The site is filled with informative panels and there is an entrance fee. +1 250-478-5849.
- Hatley Castle on the grounds of Royal Roads University is a gorgeous piece of architecture. Featured in many films, it is most famous as Professor Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters in the X-men movie series. There is an admission fee of $8 to enter the university grounds, but once you do there are many paths through gorgeous gardens to wander.
In View Royal you will find:
- Swimming at Thetis Lake Park in the small town of View Royal between Langford and Saanich (though it is part of Westshore). Kayaking, beaches and trails are all available here. This popular lake is accessible by Six Mile Road and by Greater Victoria public transit (catch #50 to Langford from downtown, get off at Six Mile Road, then hitch a ride to the park... everyone on Six Mile Road seems to be heading to the lake and it is probably one of the easiest places in Greater Victoria to hitchhike).
|Routes through Langford|
|Nanaimo ← Duncan ←||N S||→ Victoria → END|
|Port Renfrew ← Sooke ←||W E||→ END|