Swan Lake and Brett Trestles
NE of Saanich Road, Saanich, British Columbia, V8X, Canada
Swan Lake and Brett Trestles
Swan Lake Trestle
CNR Railway Trestle
Links and documents
1915/01/01 to 1917/01/01
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The 140 metre long Swan Lake and Brett trestles are railway bridges, which span a flood plain and a creek that joins Blenkinsop and Swan Lakes. They are located in the Quadra area of Saanich.
The heritage value of Swan Lake and Brett trestles is associated with development within their neighbourhood context. Quadra, located directly north of the Victoria-Saanich border, is a large urban neighbourhood created from subdivisions of its early farms. Much of the south part of Quadra was originally W.F. Tolmie's Cloverdale Farm, just one of the large farms in the area cut from the forest by the 1850s. Tolmie was a prominent local surgeon, Hudson's Bay Company officer, politician and major early landowner in this area of Saanich. The Canadian Northern Pacific Railway ran a service from Victoria to Sidney through the area from 1915 to 1935; their spur line ran until 1990, and is now used as a regional trail.
Built between 1915 and 1917, the Swan Lake and Brett trestles are valued as two of the few remaining trestles on southern Vancouver Island, and the last in Saanich. As such, they represent a unique and significant part of Saanich's industrial heritage, and are physical reminders of the role that the Victoria and Sidney Railway, B.C. Electric Railway, and the Canadian Northern Pacific Railway had in establishing many of the communities throughout the Saanich Peninsula.
The modern use of the trestles as part of a recreational trail is significant as it reflects the decline of the railway. The importance of rail travel faded with the improvement of roads and better ground transport. By 1995 the tracks and trestles became part of the Greenway rails-to-trails project (Galloping Goose Trail) and continue the tradition of a regional transportation network from the core of Saanich to downtown Victoria.
Source: Heritage Planning Files, District of Saanich
Key elements that define the heritage character of the Swan Lake and Brett trestles include their:
- form, scale and massing
- location; within a nature sanctuary in a rural area of an urban centre
- construction materials such as heavy timbers, wooden pilings, beams, braces and ties, concrete pillars and steel girders
Local Governments (BC)
Local Government Act, s.967
Theme - Category and Type
- Developing Economies
- Communications and Transportation
- Peopling the Land
Function - Category and Type
- Bridge, Tunnel or Other Engineering Work
- Park Fixture
- Station or Other Rail Facility
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
Heritage Planning Files, District of Saanich
Cross-Reference to Collection