Macaulay Point Park
Hidden beauty spot and historical link to Victoria's past.
Time to Explore: 1-2 hours.
Macaulay Point Park is one of those hidden gems that are well known by the locals and almost taken for granted. Situated outside of the usual Victorian tourist areas and squirreled away in Esquimalt, this park draws mainly dog walkers along it's spidery network of paths along the seaside.
On arrival, you'd be forgiven for thinking that the park is nothing more than a commercial boat launch with a nondescript parking lot dedicated to boat trailers. The small parking area for other vehicles is marginalized and almost hidden at the top of the lot.
Walking toward the water presents a landed old-fashioned buoy from some bygone era, decorated with scenes of the sea and a functional if dreary office that you could easily imagine dispenses fishing and boating licenses.
A few steps on and you'll be pleasantly surprised to find the area opens up in an arresting view of the sea bordered by some picturesque houses with their own private jetties one side. To the left, a path takes you along a tarmacked path curving around the bay past a well laid-out picnic area. Beyond that, a path with an old metal banister leads up and around the curving bay.
This is where the park starts properly. If you're familiar with Dallas Road around Cattle Point will find the surroundings familiar. The scrubby grass is intersected by a network of paths that wend their way throughout the rocky, hilly park.
As an amateur historian, I personally loved discovering the history behind the fort. Originally designed during the early twentieth century to protect the inlets into Victoria, the fort housed three 'disappearing' guns. These guns gave complete coverage of the sea from potential invaders.
Originally a farm, Fort Macaulay was built on the land in 1895. The position was garrisoned by the military during both World Wars but thankfully, there was never a reason to fire its guns in combat. The design is star-shaped and according to the literature produced by the Township of Esquimalt resembles the Citadel in Halifax and Quebec City, a feature which is only really visible from the air.
One fun legacy of the fortifications is the access tunnels which are well maintained and safe to explore for visitors.