The body of water known simply as “The Gorge” to Victoria locals is a narrow tidal inlet that connects Victoria Harbour to Portage Inlet. The Gorge Waterway is defined as the inlet between Craigflower Bridge and the Selkirk trestle. The Gorge has a rich history as an important spiritual place and food-gathering area for First Nations, and as a recreation area for early Victoria residents and visitors. Recreational boating is still popular on the Gorge today, and most of the waterfront properties in this area are residential. Many decades of pollution entering the Gorge from sewage and industrial wastes degraded the water quality seriously by the 1940s. Clean-up efforts since the early 1990s have reversed this trend, and the water quality has improved significantly. This is important for the health of valuable fish and wildlife habitat that still exists in the Gorge, as well as for aesthetic and recreational values.

Did You Know?

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  • Victoria’s first swimming school was built on the Gorge in 1900, and consisted of a log enclosure at the north end of Pleasant Street.
  • Young salmon live in the Gorge, especially among the eelgrass, until they are ready to head to the open ocean.
  • Fort Victoria was first called Fort Camosun, from the Songhees Camossung, the name of a girl who is said to have been turned to stone in the Narrows.
  • The Gorge Narrows was formerly a reversing tidal waterfall, and tourists flocked by the boatload to see this beautiful sight. In 1960 a large rock was blasted from the narrows and after that the falls were greatly reduced.

About the Gorge Waterway

Gorge Waterway Watersheds

  • Gorge Creek

Gorge Waterway Initiative

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Emergency Contacts

Emergency Management of BC 1.800.663.3456
Report a Spill