Durrance Lake is one of the best places to soak up sun, swim, fish, and enjoy a lake atmosphere in the Victoria area. Carry-in boats are welcome, a walking trail circles the lake, and plenty of opportunities for hiking and mountain biking are close by. Durrance Lake is the largest lake in Mount Work Regional Park and is an ideal place for people of all ages to spend a summer afternoon.
A variety of trees can be found along the lakeside trail, including arbutus, grand fir, Douglas fir, red alder, and cedar. If you are walking the lake trail in late March, watch for western white trillium, a white flower with three petals that turns pink or purple as it reaches the end of its lifespan in May. With the lack of wind in the area, these flowers rely on the hardworking ants below to find new homes for their seeds.
The lake and surrounding area has been known to provide homes for birds such as Steller’s jay, woodpeckers, and hummingbirds, feeding on insects and berries produced by the surrounding ecosystem.
Creeks & Watershed
Durrance Lake is part of the Tod Creek Watershed. Water leaves Durrance Lake via Durrance Creek, which then connects with Heal Creek before joining Tod Creek, and ultimately makes its way northwards, emptying into Tod Inlet.
The City of Victoria acquired the land around Durrance Lake in 1960 from BC Electric via a trade; the city received 204 acres around Durrance Lake in exchange for 105 acres directly north of Thetis Lake. BC Electric needed the land to build power lines into the city. This area is now known as the Pike Lake Substation.
If you have trouble spelling the word “Durrance” you’re not the only one – the name of this lake has a history of different spellings. Named after pioneering settlers in the area, the name was first recorded as “Durant” by the Geological Survey in 1911, followed by “Durants” on Hibben’s Map in 1929, “Durrant” by the BC Gazetteer in 1930, and finally as “Durrance” in 1934 by the Saanich Municipality.
Did you know?
Surprisingly, Durrance Lake is not in the District of Saanich as is often thought, nor in the neighbouring District of Highlands.
Rather, Durrance Lake is part of the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area (JdFEA), which stretches along the west side of Vancouver Island, from the community of Otter Point (just beyond Sooke) to Port Renfrew.
For trail maps, access information, and much more, get your copy of the Lakes of Victoria, BC guidebook.