Gonzales Hill Observatory

The Gonzales Hill Observatory is one of the highlights of the Gonzales Hill Regional Park, the smallest of the CRD parks. There are a variety of ways to get to the observatory through the park, and Gonzales Hill itself is the highest point on the southern coast of Vancouver Island, with a couple view points along the way. The entire park offers incredible views of the ocean, as well as  Victoria, the Olympic Mountains and the Sooke Hills. Sunset is one of the top times to visit.

Photo By: Rob deLange

The Observatory was originally a weather station, built in 1914 as the Dominion Meteorological Services Pacific Coast headquarters. Designed by William Henderson and meteorologist Francis Napier Denison, the building maintained its weather station status for 75 years, recording weather, as well as seismic and astronomical readings. After Environment Canada abandoned the building, it stood empty until 1992, where, after many failed proposals, the CRD purchased the building and surrounding land. The 1.75 hectares was quickly turned into the popular park in Victoria today.

The Gonzales Hill Observatory was adopted into the University of Victoria’s School of Earth and Ocean Sciences (SEOS) and looks just as impressive on the hill as when it was constructed. The unmistakable white dome and white concrete walls contrast with the rugged rocky outcrop upon which it’s perched.

You can get to the observatory a number of ways, including the stairs from Barkley Terrace, or the parking lot and winding loop from Dennison Road.

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