A spectacular scenic little jewel off Brentwood Bay; Tod Inlet is found in Gowland Tod Provincial Park. You meander down a gentle gradual downhill grade, through lush forests with the melodious sounds of Tod Creek in the background. On the way, there a many beautiful flowers, plants, and bushes. You might even get to spy the many little inhabitants and wildlife that call this their home. In fact, there are over 150 different types of animals and plants to be found here.
We thank our First Nations brothers and sisters for the use of SNID₵EL (pronounced sngeet-kwith), meaning “place of the Blue Grouse\”. Many riches of the area are still used by the WSÁNEĆ (Saanich) First Nation for medicinal, ceremonial, and spiritual values.
You can enjoy over 25 kilometres of trails, ranging from easy to medium in difficulty. Not to mention you will enjoy the measured change from a rare, dry coastal Douglas fir habitat to a protected wetlands and riparian areas. Todd Inlet was originally established on July 22, 1995 as a Provincial Park under the Commonwealth Heritage Legacy Program to commemorate the XV Commonwealth Games held in Victoria in 1994.
It was named after Jon Tod who was a chief trader for the Hudson Bay Company. Tod was known as a “diamond in the rough”, a man of excellent principle, but vulgar manners, well read, musically gifted on the flute and fiddle, and loved nature. He came to Victoria in 1850 and retired to Tod House in Oak Bay in 1852.
Back in the day, Tod Inlet was used by the Portland Cement Company to ship its cement from Victoria to San Francisco. For over nine years, from 1904 to 1913, Robert Pim Butchart mined the limestone deposits and when the limestone ran out his intrepid wife Jennie had a vision to turn the abandoned quarry into a garden of Eden. There was also an early copper mine in the area.
Scattered about you will find a few of the last vestiges of the operation; old buildings, train tracks, pillars and other detritus. A quiet testimony to its industrial past, but vastly overshadowing this is the rustic beauty of the park and the incredible exquisiteness of gardens found next door thanks to Jennie Butchart's vision of the now world famous Butchart Gardens.
Once you arrive in the inlet you enjoy the tranquil scene of a quiet little inlet surrounded by towering Gowland Range (430 meters over Finlayson Arm) and majestic Douglas Fir and other assorted trees. In the water, you will see pleasure craft of all types and sizes, gently bobbing, relaxing, soaking in the zen vibes of the oasis.
There are many groups, chief among them is Seachange Marine Conservation Society and the Friends of Tod Creek, who are working diligently to restore, preserve, and maintain the richness and beauty of Tod Inlet.