Guest column, Emily Hiltz
Every time I journey through Victoria Park, I find myself thinking about how unbelievably fortunate the residents of Truro and Colchester County are to have such a beautiful park in their midst. While walking on the trails, I often expect to see Bambi emerge from the thicket or Snow White whistling through the trees. A walk in Victoria Park feels like you have been magically transported into another time and place.
Nestled in the Southeast corner of Truro, Victoria Park was established in 1887 when 25 acres of land were given to the town by local resident Susan Waddell Stevens for the creation of a public park. Today, the approximately 1,000 acres of land are considered one of Truro’s greatest treasures. Along with two rugged waterfalls, countless trails and well-known Jacob’s Ladder – the 175-step stairway – the park also includes an outdoor swimming pool, tennis courts, a little league ballfield, playground, bandshell and picnic area. The park’s enchanted interior includes unique geological formations in the gorge and river bed areas and soaring hard and softwood trees on the cliffs and forest area.
The park was named ‘Colchester’s Best Family Outing’ 2015 by the Truro and Colchester Chamber of Commerce.
Victoria Park is a unique gem, regardless of the season. In the summer, runners, hikers and families can be found enjoying a picnic in the park’s breathtaking scenery. In the winter, it’s a popular spot for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
The park’s trails range from lengthy routes for those interested in an afternoon trek to shorter walks for people who enjoy a short stroll. Signs are set up in different areas of the park to help visitors find their way, as well as highlight the lengths of the nearby trails and their terrain. Some trails, like the favored Wood Street Lookoff are picturesque and offer a rare view of the town and the Salmon River, while many other trails are perfect for birdwatchers and nature lovers alike.
A short walk into the park on the lower trail along Lepper Brook will take a visitor past the Holy Well Gazebo – a popular spot for wedding photos – Jacob’s ladder, and eventually the Joseph Howe Falls, which were named for Howe after he admired them on a visit in 1830. A couple sets of stairs takes the visitor to the Waddell Falls, which are named after the park’s original donor of land.
Cyclists are welcome in the park, but are urged to stay on hard-surface trails to prevent damage to environmentally sensitive areas of the park and yield to pedestrians.
If you’re going to be visiting the park, make sure to check out the Town of Truro website (www.truro.ca) for public activities or events coinciding with your visit. In the summer, there are often day camps for children in the park and swimming lessons at the pool. On occasion, there is also music and entertainment in the bandshell area. In the winter, there are sometimes guided walks through the park’s trails. In addition, cross-country skis, poles and snowshoes can be rented from the Truro Parks, Recreation and Culture offices.
If you will be passing through Truro in the near future, I strongly suggest placing Victoria Park as a priority on your must see list of places to visit.
Article and photographs by Emily Hiltz a freelance journalist.