by Sheila Molloy –
Beautiful and sheltered, Tod Inlet is a great kayak route for beginners, families with children, and anyone who wants a leisurely paddle.
Tod Inlet lies within the Gowlland Tod Provincial Park and is historically significant as a traditional place used by the W̱SÁNEĆ (Saanich) First Nation. It was called SṈIDȻEȽ, (pronounced “sneed-kwith”) which means “place of the Blue Grouse,” a symbol meaning the land was plentiful.
In Brentwood Bay, turn onto Verdier Avenue from West Saanich Road and follow it to the shoreline. There are a few facilities for kayak rentals in the area. Some are full serve, some self serve, or if you have your own kayak, use the public beach left of the Brentwood Bay ferry terminal to launch from. The beach has a paved path down to a flat, rocky beach.
Regardless of where you start (private facility or public beach) your goal is to paddle toward the Inlet. You can head across the bay towards Willis Point or you can paddle along the eastern and southern shore of Brentwood Bay and follow that along to Tod Inlet.
As you paddle towards the Inlet you will pass by Butchart Cove on your left, with the dock that belongs to Butchart Gardens. As you keep following the shoreline into the Inlet, the treed slopes to the right are part of the provincial park and to your left camouflage Butchart Gardens.
It is a leisurely loop in the Inlet, with plenty of wildlife viewing including seals, otters, starfish, herons, bald eagles and more. A highlight at the turnaround point are the remains of the piers of an old cement plant. There are a number of birdhouses attached to the piers, some that look little RVs, “driven” by the purple martins who call them home.
Along the way there are great stops on sandy beaches, ideal for lunch and enjoying the peace of this beautiful Inlet.
On your way back, take time to paddle around Daphne Islet to enjoy the multitude of ochre sea stars.
Things to Note
• Time duration: 1.5 to 2 hours
• Paddle length: About 5km,
depending how much you meander.
• Brentwood Bay can get busy with
powerboats, so be careful
• The public access beach area has
room for one vehicle to unload at a
time and has a washroom.
• Parking can be tough at busy times
as there are limited spaces at the
park and along the street.