The region immediately west of Victoria, is known as the Western Communities, or West Shore, and stretches westwards from Esquimalt Harbour to Rocky Point, along the shoreline of the Juan de Fuca Strait.
This part of Vancouver Island was opened for farming in the 1860s to provide fresh produce for the burgeoning population of gold miners and attendant settlers in the nearby Victoria region. As such, the natural ambience here remains pastoral, particularly in Metchosin and the Highlands. Today, the Western Communities is a largely residential and rural area of Greater Victoria, offering a number of excellent parks, golf courses and many other sports facilities. The population (2006 Census) is 58,450 including the West Shore municipalities of Langford, Colwood, Metchosin, View Royal and the Highlands. The area is accessed from Victoria by Douglas Road, which becomes the Trans-Canada Highway 1, and the West Coast Highway 14 (Sooke Road).
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