On October 17th, the Heritage Tours activity group was invited
to take a 1.5 hour tour of the historic – and beautiful – Gorge Waterway. The host and tour guide was Dennis Minaker who is known for his stories of the regattas, outdoor concerts, high diving events, the mansions that line the Gorge, and romantic moonlight cruises. The tour began at the Victoria Canoe and Kayak Club parking lot (355 Gorge Rd. West), then crossed the Tillicum bridge to the Esquimalt Gorge Park. The walk was no more than 1.5 km long, mostly on flat ground, but there was a short walk downhill to the public dock in Saanich Gorge Park, where the tour concluded.
Lia Woods, one of the participants, took a number of pictures and gave us her first-hand impressions of the tour:
"We spent a very interesting and enjoyable 1 1/2 hours with Dennis Minaker, our guide and author of “The Gorge of Summers Gone”. Walking along this Victoria waterway, we hardly noticed the light drizzle of rain, as
Dennis was in his element, regaling us with story after story of the many events and traditions that had taken place along these waters over the last century. He used no notes. The information was all hard-wired and effortless. He has interviewed and kept in touch with many of the near centenarians who have great memories of their time spent on these waters. Johnny Weissmuller, of Tarzan fame, used to compete in the annual 3 mile swim along this waterway.
The Japanese Gardens along the Gorge used to have a Tea House which was very popular in its day. These gardens were revitalized long ago and are well worth a visit. If you missed this tour, Dennis gives this tour for the public every May."