Surrounded by Douglas fir and cedar trees, Pease Lake is a quiet, little-known beauty found in the District of Highlands, in the fringes of Mount Work Regional Park. While most of Pease Lake is within park boundaries, the lake has been left largely undeveloped – indeed, there are no facilities, or even parking, at the single public access point.
Located on the southeast corner of the lake, the access point doesn’t get much sun, so it’s best to count on being on or in the water for this one. Bring a float-tube if you are fishing or an air mattress if you are swimming.
While you are there, listen for Pacific chorus frogs, also known as Pacific treefrogs. These indigenous frogs are loud considering their small size of 2–5 centimetres. In recent years the invasive American bullfrog has posed a significant threat to Pacific chorus frogs and many other species in the highlands.
Creeks & Watershed
Pease Lake has its own watershed, meaning it is not connected to other lakes in the area by streams or creeks. Pease Creek flows into Pease Lake at the southern end, and then carries water into the Saanich Inlet’s McKenzie Bight. The McKenzie Bight Trail follows the northern portion of Pease Creek, and ends where the creek meets the ocean.
Pease Lake takes its name from early settlers Algernon (Algy) Henry Pease and his wife, Letty. They once had a residence on Elk Lake and owned land around McKenzie Bay before it became part of Gowlland Tod Provincial Park. Their daughter Rosalind has written about selling pinball machines up island and homemade plum wine during the time of prohibition. Before acquiring its current name, Pease Lake was known as Fourth Lake.
Early residents of Pease Lake were the Ross family. The son of immigrants from Scotland, Duncan Ross moved from Ontario to the Victoria area in 1890 and subsequently bought 160 acres of land around Pease Lake.
Mr. Ross left Victoria shortly afterwards to start a newspaper in the interior of BC. There he married his wife, Birdie Thomson, and together they moved to Ottawa after he was elected as a member of parliament. Following several other pursuits, the Ross family returned to Victoria in 1910 to build a home on Rockland Avenue.
By 1913 the family had built several extensions to the original log cabin at Pease Lake and proceeded to open Ross Ranch. At the time the only route to the ranch was a dirt road leading from Langford, which ended at their front door.
For trail maps, access information, and much more, get your copy of the Lakes of Victoria, BC guidebook.