The Victoria Waterways Loop is a regional paddling route through the Capital Region. It covers a distance of 15.5 kms (8.4 nautical miles) with one 950 m (1000 yards) portage. There the loop is broken into four unique sections, each with its own features and concerns.  Multiple launch points allow you to start in any section. Your adventure could be to navigate the complete loop in a day, or just leisurely explore a section. Windscurrents, and your paddling ability strongly influence how long it will take to paddle the complete loop.

Victoria Harbour

This harbour is one of Canada's busiest; there are large commercial and industrial vessels, recreational boats, seaplanes, and paddle craft all using this waterway. Transport Canada has published an extensive guide to the harbour, called the Victoria Harbour Traffic Scheme, TP13410-E which documents what you need to know before paddling in this area. Please read and follow all the requirements listed for non-power driven vessels to ensure that you safely enjoy this section of the loop.

Gorge Waterway

The most tranquil and sheltered part of the loop is unmatched in its natural beauty. However, there are considerations to paddling this section as it contains sensitive wildlife habitat and the tidal rapids at Tillicum bridge , known as Tillicum Narrows. If you are not experienced in paddling in changing tidal currents and significant rapids, avoid this specific area. The long term vision for the loop includes building a set of docks and a portage linking the upper and lower Gorge enabling passage. 

Esquimalt Harbour

While not as busy as Victoria's harbour, it is the home to the pacific fleet of the Canadian Navy. Before entering this area, you need to contact the Queen’s Harbour Master (QHM) Operations on VHF Channel 10 or by telephone at 250-363-2160 and follow these procedures.  

Esquimalt Oceanfront

This waterway is the most open section to the elements and has fewer places to safely land, so advanced paddling experience is recommended before venturing on this section. 

Download the loop brochure which includes a map and helpful hints on planning your paddling voyage.


Be Prepared! 

Paddlesmart is a program of AdventureSmart which can help you "get informed and go outdoors." LeaveNoTrace is an organization dedicated to promoting and inspiring responsible outdoor recreation. Both organizations can help you paddle the loop responsibly.


Information on reporting an issue while on the loop here.