What’s in the book?

In the book you’ll find information 31 lakes, including beaches & swimming, hikes & walks, fishing, paddling & boats, cycling, accessibility, parking, washrooms, dogs, creeks & watersheds, and local history. 

The book starts with recommendations for specific outdoor pursuits, an overview map and quick reference table, and an engaging Lakes 101 section.  A 3-page index (hyperlinked in the digital version) is found at the end of the book.

A quick flip-through of the book showing maps, photographs, and illustrations.

Stunning colour photographs

Engaging photographs from local photographers including Doug Clement, Ernie Dickey, Neil Dickie, Mike J. Munroe, Murray Sharratt, Adam Ungstad, and Monty Wiseman bring the book to life.

Detailed topographical trail maps

Topographical trail maps ensure you know where to go, how to get there, and what to expect when you arrive. 

From boat launches to beaches, playgrounds to parking lots, trail intersections, creeks, and washrooms, you’ll find what you’re looking for.

Plants, animals, and watersheds

Interspersed throughout are local indigenous and invasive aquatic animals, plants, and natural phenomena with striking illustrations by Leechtown Design

Each lake has detailed information on its watershed – from the creeks that are inflows and outflows, and where the water eventually drains into the Pacific ocean.

Local history and fascinating facts

If you’ve ever wondered how a lake got it’s name, changed it’s shape, or what life was like at these lakes long before Victoria became what it is now, this book is a hidden gem.

Many local historians have contributed facts, photographs and insight to bring unknown stories to some of Victoria BC’s most loved places.

What lakes are in the book? 

Of the 31 lakes featured in the book, 29 have access via public parks.  Lakes that currently have no public access have not been included to discourage trespassing.

How was the book written? 

Over 80 local organizations, governments, advocates, academics, and landowners contributed to the development of Lakes of Victoria, BC, by giving feedback on early drafts, supplying photographs, and offering other forms of support. 

The involvement of these stakeholders ensures that the book is accurate, and its contents reflect the values of the people and communities who are stewards for these lakes.

The Lakes of Victoria, BC guidebook (2021) is the successor to Adam Ungstad’s Secret Lakes of Southern Vancouver Island (2012). 

Why should we encourage people to visit lakes?

People protect what they know and love, and everyone deserves access to nature.  To raise future generations that care for and are stewards of freshwater ecosystems, we need to provide opportunities for people to experience them directly. 

The 31 lakes featured in Lakes of Victoria, BC are a tiny slice of the millions of lakes in Canada (let alone the hundreds on Vancouver Island, many of which are behind locked gates and under threat of logging).  Most of the featured lakes are in urban or semi-urban areas, and are accessible by public transit in an afternoon.

The impact of recreation is not negligible, but it is small compared to those of climate change, invasive species, and other global trends.  It is essential that people experience nature directly, as they will not act to protect it otherwise.

Is the book independently published? 

Lakes of Victoria, BC is 100% independently published, meaning it did not receive government grants as most books produced by mainstream publishers do. 

Unlike many books produced by mainstream publishers, the paperback version of Lakes of Victoria, BC was printed on FSC certified paper in Canada.

Why was this book written?

From its’ inception the Lakes of Victoria, BC guidebook was written to facilitate understanding about, and appreciation for, freshwater ecosystems. 

Information abounds in today’s world through social media, apps, and other services, yet i context is often lost.  Today’s guidebooks and apps often provide little more than suggestions on where to go, neglecting an incredible opportunity to put these places in their broader context.

Many people will read this book to learn where to swim, hike, paddle, fish, or soak up sun, and so they should.  It is the author’s hope that they’ll also learn something new about how freshwater ecosystems work, and develop a passion for protecting freshwater across Canada. 

How do I contact the author? 

Email Adam Ungstad at info@secretlakes.ca.

Adam Ungstad.

About the author

Adam Ungstad is a Canadian writer, naturalist, and information architect. He is legally blind, and passionate about access to the outdoors. He has been researching and exploring Vancouver Island’s lakes, nature, and local history for over 15 years.

Adam Ungstad currently works as an editor and writer for the World Health Organization, and splits his time between Geneva, Switzerland and Canada’s west coast, calling Piers Island home.