The Ogden Point breakwater is one of this city’s treasures, as anyone who is living in Victoria can attest. Almost every resident and a good number of visitors have enjoyed strolling atop this unique structure at some point, and for some it’s regularly revisited.
Generation of families have walked the breakwater since it was completed in 1916 in anticipation of an increase in shipping traffic along the west coast due to the construction of the Panama Canal. The breakwater, sheltering two piers and a cargo warehouse were intended to establish Victoria as a major industrial centre and cargo terminal.
Until recently a walk along the top of the 700 metre breakwater was best undertaken in reasonable weather conditions because there were no barriers to protect you should a particularly strong gust of wind occur, not that everybody paid heed to safety warnings and over the years there were a few accidents.
In April 2013 the Ogden Point breakwater reopened after constructing railings along its length. There were some who weren’t pleased with this addition but it has made the breakwater more accessible to those who are less than steady on their feet and for people who use wheelchairs, not to mention safer for young children and on windy days.
In September 2013 there was an exciting afternoon on the breakwater when a group of Orcas decided to spend some time very close by, offering walkers an extraordinary opportunity to see them up close. In fact, video shot during this encounter seems to show that the orcas were just as interested in looking at the people, especially the fisherman who had climbed down and was casting a line from the blocks at the end of the breakwater. I think if I were him I would have been concentrating on looking as unlike a seal as possible! You can see some of the video and pictures here.