Gorge Swim Fest brings swimming back to the Gorge

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VICTORIA, BC – What’s the best thing about Victoria’s Gorge Waterway? It’s warm, it’s clean and it’s great for swimming. Bet you weren’t expecting to hear that. If you want to give us a chance to prove it, join us August 12th for the 1st annual Gorge Swim Fest.

There will be music, barbeques, prizes and, oh yes, swimming. Come to one of our three venues – Esquimalt Gorge Park, Gorge Park and Banfield Park. Bring your friends, neighbours, children, chairs and your appetite. Swim with us and you can enter draws for some great prizes. All locations are easily accessible by BC Transit and we encourage you to use alternative transportation as some locations have limited parking.

Nervous about swimming the Gorge? Well, we can’t help you choose a flattering swimsuit but we can give you some reassuring facts. The Gorge is warm. Typical August temperatures are about 24 degrees which compares favourably to your favourite local lake. The Gorge is clean. While local lakes occasionally have closures, there has not been a beach closure on the Gorge this century and frequent water sampling indicates contaminant levels are well below allowable levels.

The Gorge has many fun places to swim. There are sandy beaches, pebble beaches, rocks and swim floats. In places, it is narrow enough that even newer swimmers can make it “all the way across”. If you prefer to go the distance, you can travel with or against the current in one direction for kilometers without seeing the same scenery.

Historically, the Gorge was the favoured summer retreat for all of Victoria. Esquimalt Gorge Park was the site of dances and parties, gardens and boating. The Gorge was the site of Victoria’s first swimming school. Swimming races, high-diving, canoeing, the Gorge offered it all. And we offer it to you again… except the high-diving!

This inaugural event is being hosted by four of the community associations that border the Gorge – Burnside Gorge Community Association, Esquimalt Residents Association Gorge Tillicum Community Association and Victoria West Community Association. We are also supported by the Gorge Waterway Initiative, the Friends of the Gorge and the World Fisheries Trust.

More details will be available as we get closer to the date. Watch for these at www.burnsidegorge.ca/events/gorge-swim-fest  and www.facebook.com/gorgeswimfest .

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