The Grounds around Goward House
In 1908, when Bernard and Mary Goward built their new home in the Cadboro Bay forest they named it ‘Woodlands’. That name is as appropriate now as it was then because the garden beds and lawn of today’s Goward House are still nestled within this precious six-acre urban woodland. Interested hikers can view the diversity of this forest from a footpath system established between 2002 and 2010.

The lawn and the forest

The bridge over Haro Creek


Indian pipe (Monotropa uniflora) in the Goward woodland

In April 2008, Goward House Society received a two-year grant from Saanich Legacy Foundation to upgrade the garden beds and to encourage use of native plant species in the contact zone between garden beds and adjacent woodland.

By summer 2009, approximately 70 potted native plants had been planted in newly enlarged Goward House garden beds. The main native species used in these new plantings are: red flowering currant, native wild rose, trillium, red huckleberry, salmonberry, evergreen huckleberry, vine maple, camas and bunchberry.

In October 2011, Goward House Society received a grant from the Fido-Evergreen Grant Program under the title "Boundary naturalization in a municipal natural area, Saanich, B.C." That project, completed in June 2012, resulted in removal of invasive non-native shrubs and vines in a 5-meter-wide band of the Goward woodland along the rear of private properties on Rowley Road

The woodland restoration program has been greatly aided by financial support from Saanich Legacy Foundation, the Fido-Evergreen program, and from Small Sparks grants from Saanich Recreation and Parks. Further restoration is planned to return the Goward woodland to more natural conditions. Priority locations can be seen by clicking on Restoration Plan, 2015-2019


In 1993, Dr. Richard B. Smith, then recently retired forest ecologist from the Pacific Forestry Centre in Victoria, compiled a list of about 90 plant species in the Goward woodland, excluding species of mosses, lichens and fungi. There has been no comprehensive plant inventory since 1993, but in 2009 new footpath construction in the southwest segment of the woodland revealed three species not recorded in the 1993 survey: two shrubs, Pacific ninebark and black twinberry; and Indian pipe, a member of the heather family, an unusual plant that lacks chlorophyll and is dependent upon fungal connections to Douglas-fir roots for its nutrition. Recent clearing of invasive ivy revealed the location of falsebox (Oregon boxwood), an evergreen shrub that had been recorded in 1993 but whose location was unknown until 2009.


In 2009 Saanich Parks and Recreation began development of an Urban Forest Strategy. One early outcome was a realization that although mature urban trees are protected little attention is given to young trees that are a part of natural forest succession. In 2009 Goward House Society began identifying locations of the very few young trees present in the Goward woodland. These are mainly saplings of grand fir and broadleaf maple but also two young Garry oaks and one young cascara sapling. One indication of future changes is that the most conspicuous tree species now in this woodland - Douglas- fir, arbutus, western yew, red alder, black cottonwood, shore pine and willow – have few, if any, young saplings to replace the mature forest now present. The likely future structure and appearance of the Goward woodland is a subject being researched at present.

Views before and after clearing non-native Himalayan blackberry around large red alder

’Click’ on this line to display additional before and after photographs in a separate window

Further information about Goward House and its surrounding 6-acre woodland can be found in a booklet, From the Beginning...’Woodlands’ and ‘Goward House’: a brief history, available for purchase at the Goward House front desk. A map showing locations of footpaths within the Goward woodland is also available as a pamphlet from the front desk or by clicking on footpath system.