Who owns a lake?

Smoke on the water

There have been many legal challenges to the question of who owns a particular lake, but in general lakes are considered public resources. While a person or a company can buy land that surrounds a lake, they usually do not own the lake itself or the things inside it.

In Canada, different levels of government regulate lakes. The federal government regulates what happens on a lake’s surface, such as boating, while the provincial government is responsible for the bottom of a lake and its water column (the water itself).

For lakes in public parks, such as Matheson Lake, a regional government such as the Capital Regional District regulates parkland, while a local government such as the District of Metchosin regulates lands outside the park that are part of the lake’s watershed. Decisions made hundreds of kilometers away from a lake can impact its health.

Learn more in the full Lakes of Victoria, BC guidebook.

Cover of Lakes of Victoria, BC.

In the full guidebook, discover where to:

  • Walk: enjoy lakeside strolls & boardwalks.
  • Hike: discover single-track trails & scenic views.
  • Swim: find the best beaches to soak up the sun.
  • Fish: learn about stocking trends and piers.
  • Paddle: explore shorelines, and hidden bays.
  • Bike: plan your next route and hit the trails.

Along the way you will meet the animals and plants that call these lakes and watersheds home, unearth forgotten place names, and learn stories of days past.

The book is full of useful maps, access information, and local trivia to get you started on your next family day or great adventure.

From locals to visitors, everyone will learn something new about the freshwater lakes that bring Victoria to life.