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Located at the southern tip of one of North America's most scenic islands, Langford Lake is a mere 13 miles west of Victoria on Canada's Vancouver Island. Langford Lake is found within the community of Langford, one of a series of bedroom communities stretching along the scenic coastline north and west of Victoria. View Royal, Highland, Langford, Colwood and Metchosin make up the "Greater Victoria's Western Communities," or "West Shore." The ideal location of Langford Lake places it within miles of old-growth forests, a network of waterways and easy access to spectacular gardens and historic sites of Victoria, British Columbia's beautiful capital city. With Langford's population rapidly exceeding 22,000, it is easy to see why the area's natural beauty and urban attractions draw residents and visitors to Langford Lake.
Found within the community of Langford, Langford Lake, Glen Lake and Florence Lake are three natural glacial kettles formed by glacial drift during the last ice age. Inflow to Langford Lake is provided through storm water ponds and weir located at the southeast shoreline. Langford Lake's outflow from is through a channel and large culvert into Langford Creek. Overseen by the city of Langford under guidelines from British Columbia's Ministry of Environment, the drainage system is set to maintain a constant level during the summer. With an average depth of 21 feet and maximum depth of 53 feet, Langford Lake reaches its highest water level during rainy winter months with levels dropping to its maintenance level during the summer.
The Coast Salish First Nations Group first settled the Langford Lake area where the climate is fairly mild and waterways were prized for their fisheries, just as they are today. Langford Lake and the community of Langford are named for Captain Edward Langford, a settler who arrived on Vancouver Island in 1851. Langford Lake was once a source of domestic water supply but today its three-mile shoreline is a source of recreation for lakeside property owners and area residents. Monitoring of 148-acre Langford Lake is a combined effort of the Langford Lake Area Protection Society and British Columbia's Lake Stewardship and Monitoring Program.
Langford Lake is a user-friendly lake for water enthusiasts. Several swimming areas may be found around Langford Lake including two public beaches. Boaters, canoers and kayakers will appreciate the small parking lot with boat launch found at the lake's southeast end. To help maintain Langford Lake's quiet and peaceful setting, outboard motors and personal water craft are not permitted. Three wheelchair accessible fishing floats are provided by the community of Langford.
Anglers should note that Langford Lake is considered one of the best bass fishing lakes in British Columbia. The lake is stocked annually with rainbow trout and cutthroat trout. Smallmouth bass, pumpkinseed and yellow perch add to the potential catch. Other top-rated bass fishing lakes within easy driving distance of Langford Lake are: Elk Lake, located eight miles north of Victoria; St. Mary's Lake on Saltspring Island, 22 miles plus a ferry ride north of Victoria; and Quennell Lake, located 55 miles northwest of Victoria. Before setting out on fishing expeditions, see the link below for British Columbia's fishing regulations and consumption advisories.
The community of Langford maintains over nine miles of hiking trails including the Ed Nixon Trail running along the southern half of Langford Lake. Elevated boardwalks are wheelchair accessible and protect marshlands found along the trail. Galloping Goose Trail also passes through Langford. This 62-mile trail connects the West Shore communities and is used for hiking, cycling, rollerblading and horseback riding.
As part of British Columbia's Vancouver Island Tourism Region and Canada's Mountains West Tourism Region, Langford Lake is ideally located for residents and visitors who feel the urge to get out and explore the countryside. Drive a few miles northwest of Langford Lake and you will find yourself walking among ancient forests, a towering waterfall and abundant wildlife in Goldstream Provincial Park. Wildlife watchers, hikers, cyclists, campers and picnickers are attracted to the seasonal changes of the park's diverse ecosystems. Naturalists will enjoy the wide variety of plant species including 600-year-old Douglas fir trees and western red cedar, western yew, hemlock, red alder, big leaf maple and black cottonwood, flowering dogwood and lodgepole pine. Of special importance is the arbutus, Canada's only broad-leafed evergreen found only on Vancouver Island and the southwest coast of British Columbia. Visitors don't have to stray far from civilization to observe black bears, cougars, deer, raccoons, minks, beavers and otters living within the park. Birdwatchers may spy hummingbirds, bald eagles, turkey vultures, ducks and gulls. The most popular attraction runs from October through December when chum, coho and Chinook salmon come from the Pacific Ocean to run the Goldstream River. Exhibits interpreting the park's ecosystems can be found in Freeman King Visitor's Center with nearby picnic areas, campsites and summer concessions adding to the park's amenities.
Take another short five-mile drive northeast of Langford Lake and you will be hiking the hills of Thetis Lake Regional Park, Canada's first nature sanctuary. Here you can swim, fish or canoe the peaceful waters of Upper or Lower Thetis Lake. Scenic nature trails connect Thetis Lake Regional Park to adjacent Francis/King Regional Park, where hikers can enjoy the quiet setting of woodlands and meadows. A raised boardwalk makes this park accessible to visitors with disabilities.
Two waterways and a ferryboat ride separate Langford Lake and Vancouver Island from dramatic changes in scenery. Cross the Georgia Strait to the east and you will find the city of Vancouver and the magnificent mountains surrounding Whistler, home of the 2010 Winter Olympics. Cross the Strait of Juan de Fuca and enter the world of rain forests, beaches and mountains of Olympic National Forest in Washington State.
Canada's natural wonders are prized among residents of Vancouver Island so it is not surprising that development around Langford Lake has met with controversy. Efforts to balance preservation and development have led to more than 50 percent of the shoreline being developed. Beautiful lakeside real estate properties and vacation rentals are concentrated along Langford Lake's southeast and northeast shorelines with a park-like setting along portions of the opposite shore. Additional developments can be found along the southwestern shore running from Langford Lake to neighboring Glen Lake. To live in close proximity of shopping, dining and museums found in Victoria and still have access to whale watching along the Pacific and winter skiing in Whistler is to know Canada at its best. Whether you come to Langford to stay on the lakeshore or reside within view of Langford Lake, you will open yourself to the spirit of adventure and the wonders of Vancouver Island.
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