Area of interest

View over Esquimalt LagoonEsquimalt Lagoon is located in Colwood, BC on the southern part of Vancouver Island near the city of Victoria. The lagoon is a natural tidal water body semi-enclosed by a sand and gravel barrier spit. The lagoon itself and the surrounding lands are popular recreational areas directly adjacent to a rapidly growing residential area. Esquimalt Lagoon is regionally significant due to its unique ecology, its designation as a federal Migratory Bird Sanctuary and its importance to First Nations as a place where they exercise their special and ancient relationship to the land, water and natural resources.

Esquimalt Lagoon Migratory Bird Sanctuary

The lagoon and surrounding 100m of land were designated as a Migratory Bird Sanctuary in 1931, in an attempt to rein in the market hunting of birds for their meat and feathers. Today the lagoon provides sheltered habitat for thousands of waterfowl and shorebirds to rest and feed on their northern migration in the spring and southern migration in fall. Many species spend the winter here, and from October to May this is one of the birding hot spots in the region.

Did you know?

Esquimalt Lagoon is an important stopover for birds migrating on the Pacific Flyway, a “bird highway” between North and South America.

First Nations people have used the lagoon for thousands of years for food gathering, habitation and spiritual purposes.

Early charts indicate that Coburg Peninsula was an island, with a second outlet at the southeast end of the spit.