Walk sheds light on Cedar Hill Park

Friends of Cedar Hill will lead a Saturday walk from 1 to 4 p.m.

Jean Newton

This Saturday a group of Cedar Hill Park stewards is holding a series of events to put the spotlight on the natural and human history on the lands around the popular Cedar Hill Golf Course, and not just the popular walking trail.

It’s called ‘Walk a Little, Learn a Lot,’ a free, family-oriented afternoon that is based out of the corner of Finlayson Street and Cedar Hill Road, and it will run from 1 to 4 p.m. There will be 14 different “locations” to visit throughout the grounds, including scheduled history tours and presentations.

“It’s the first time we’ve done this type of event,” said co-ordinator Barbara Latham of the Friends of Cedar Hill Park. “The whole purpose is to get people to know more about the park and think about it as a treasure and a gem, rather than just a chip trail and a dog walk park.”

Presentation topics include indigenous plants and how they reveal a changing human landscape, the history and current occupants of Kings Pond and the history of the McRae House and the George and Elizabeth McRae family history. Attendees will also have the opportunity to see a watershed model of Bowker Creek and to learn more about Saanich’s Pulling Together program within the park.

“It’s been expressly designed so people can visit whichever events they’d like to, and start in any direction,” Latham said. “There is no set starting point for the different presentations and tours.”

The arts centre will be providing an Arts to Go activity that will appeal to kids, and the community arts council is sponsoring a showing of Cedar Hill Park images in the Rec Centre’s Café Gallery. The Friends of Cedar Hill Park is also seeking name suggestions from Saturday visitors for the two unnamed bridges that cross Bowker Creek close to the recreation centre.

“They’re often known as the metal bridge and wood bridge and we’re hoping for names that reflect the natural or heritage history,” Latham said.

In the past year, the Friends of Cedar Hill have cleaned out the creek between the two bridges of invasive species, mostly blackberry, some broom and English ivy. It took four work parties with a total of 60 people.

Saanich Parks restored the sides of the creek with native plants with the Pulling Together stewardship.

“It’s been 10 years of the Pulling Together program and we have fields of camas thanks to them,” Latham said.

Most of Saturday’s presentations will be continuous throughout the afternoon except for Kings Pond, with Roy and Colleen Shepherd, at 1:30 and 2:30 p.m., the McRae family history with historian Sylvia Van Kirk, 1:15, 2 and 2:45 p.m. at the McRae House, and Indigenous Plants and their uses with Pamela Spalding, at 1:15, 2:15 and 3:15 p.m. in the northwest edge of the park.

Light refreshments will be served in the area north of McRae House. Visit Friendsofcedarhillpark.com for a map of the event and other information.


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