This site is a celebration of un-sung heroes in Saanich: people in our community who - through their strength of will - are quietly making big differences. Some of their stories are about overcoming hardship and adversity, other stories are about community service, innovation and leadership. We launched stars from June 2011 to March 2013.
Paul at Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary
...is all about making connections.
As a Senior Transportation Technologist in the engineering department, Paul
knows what it takes to keep people moving in the District of Saanich. Whether those people are walking,
cycling, or driving – Paul knows.
In February 2010, Paul wondered how well the road/trail crossings
were working: were they visible and safe. As he started looking around, he
decided the best way to know how well a trail is working, is to walk the trail.
One walk and he was hooked – he felt the stress of his highly
complex and demanding job just melt away as he walked the trails. Then he
realized that in a municipality with an abundance of parks, there are many
people who still cannot access them. He wanted to bring the park experience to
Thus began his “Hike Every Park” project. Over the next two
years, Paul deliberately experienced every park in the District of Saanich. As
of April 8, 2012, he has hiked and photographed all 157 – including the 8 parks
that had been added to the roster since he began his effort.
Feeling like the king of the hill
“I wanted to make sure that I knew what I was talking
about.” says the now avid hiker, “Now I have a real good sense of just what is
out there; what our parks can offer people.”
Paul has taken thousands of photos, documenting the beauty
of these often hidden gems. He hopes to develop his photographic library into a
full virtual tour of each park. He envisions each virtual ‘tour’ including a
naturalist tour, historical stories, video clips, and audio tracks – all the
components to bring as much of this experience as possible to those who cannot
actually visit the parks.
For this next phase of the project, Paul is inviting
participation from the public. Starting with one valley and one mountain -
Colquitz River Park and Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary - Paul invites people
to use their creativity to highlight how they appreciate the park space. Are
you drawn by the sights and sounds of the place? Record them. Do you have words
to describe an adventure or some history? Write them down.