Saanich occupies the peninsula north of Victoria, and is about four times the area of the city. Saanich has 102,000 residents, and has its own police & fire departments. The University of Victoria is in the eastern portion of the community.
The close-in neighbourhoods with the shortest include: Portage Inlet, Gorge, Tillicum, Gateway, Swan lake, Quadra, Maplewood, Cedar Hill and Mount Tolmie. The better neighbourhoods in Saanich are just north of Mackenzie Ave, including Glanford., Broadmead (a controlled community of executive homes), Gordon Head (near UVIC), and around the village of Cardero Bay, close to the water. The northern part of the district, near Elk-Beaver Lake Regional Park is also desirable for its rural quietness, and quick access to recreation and off-Island transportation.
The area has lots of schools, with 14 public schools and 7 community high schools. On the eastern edge of the District are the Queen Alexandra and Ledger schools with their special programs, that are part of the Provincial Resource Programme (PRP). On the eastern edge ot the District is university of Victoria, the Island's premier post-secondary education institution. Camosun College also has a large campus on Interurban Rd.
The community is the shopping hub of Victoria with Tillicum in the west, Town & Country where Highway 1 (Island Highway) meets Highway 17 (Pat Bay Highway), Mayfair and Hillside along the southern boundary with Victoria and Saanich Centre and University along Mackenzie Ave toward UVIC.
The District is nestled between the Gorge in the southwest and the Haro Strait on the east, providing much opportunity for salt-water recreation. The Elk-Beaver Lake Regional Park in the northern part of the District offers much freshwater recreation including boating, fishing and swimming. It is also home to the Victoria Rowing Club and is site for National Team training. The community also has six great golf courses. There are a couple of splendid parks in the area, Mount Douglas offering rugged woods and seashore, Swan Lake and Tillicum offering urban quiet, and Cadboro Gyro offering great beaches. Off the tip of Ten Mile Point is Ecological Reserve 66, a provincially-protected underwater park.
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