By happy chance, I moved to Nanaimo in 2011. Looking to relocate to Vancouver Island, I landed a job working for the City as a member of the Current Planning team. Straight away, my family and I began to explore the city, looking for the local attractions and special places that we could enjoy together.
Meanwhile, during lunch breaks at work I began to run with my new colleagues. On one such lunch hour, we ran along the waterfront walkway. I remember running down a forested ravine trail that dumped us on a small pebble beach. Following my friends, I had no idea where I was, really. It usually takes several visits to a new place before I can return there again with confidence. That trail through the forested ravine struck me as a something special; however, as we ran on, the park was lost to my mind.
But one day not long after, my family and I rediscovered the trail while we walked around our neighbourhood. Ohh, Beach Estates Park! Right... Since then, Beach Estates Park has become without question, my favourite Park in the City. We go there for the journey, and we go there for the destination. And it’s a place that we take all of our visiting friends and family.
When I describe the park to my Nanaimo friends and colleagues, most long-time residents either recognize the name, vaguely; or they are not familiar with the place at all. Little known for whatever reason, I love this place and find the park a treasure and a peaceful escape in the midst of the busy city.
From the Newcastle + Brechin Neighbourhood Plan: Within the park there are a number of earthen and plank walkways, stairs and bridges that crisscross the deep, narrow ravine which forms one of the city’s most unusual parks. The creek flows along the bottom of the ravine and widens to a tidal estuary at Departure Bay.
The best of Beach Estates Park can be enjoyed after—or during—a heavy rain when the rushing stream spills over the (10 metre!) falls. A walk through the shaded trails, misty and cool, is not so shabby on a hot summers day either.
And I know at least one dog who likes the trail as much as I do. Enjoy.
Brian Zurek works as a planner for the City of Nanaimo. In his spare time he enjoys exploring the west coast with his friends and family.