British Columbia

Songhees Nation secures funding for marine trail tours that will highlight culture, history

Once the trail is complete, tourists will have the opportunity to visit 12 culturally significant sites along the Greater Victoria shoreline and hear stories about the nation's history.

Trail to include 12 sites along the Greater Victoria shoreline

Victoria's Inner Harbour is the traditional territory of the Lekwungen-speaking peoples, known today as the Songhees and Esquimalt nations. The new marine trail tours will take 12 people by boat to 12 sites along the waterfront that are significant to local Indigenous culture and history. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)

By the time B.C. can accept visitors again with open arms, the Songhees Nation plans to be running a new tourism venture on southern Vancouver Island that will give people the opportunity to explore the history and culture of its people by boat.

The nation has received $630,000 from the provincial government to develop an Indigenous marine trail along Greater Victoria's shoreline.

The trail will include 12 cultural and recreational sites that are significant to the Lekwungen-speaking peoples. Tourists will travel in a near-eight metre-long vessel from Esquimalt, through the Inner Harbour, along the Victoria and Oak Bay waterfront and up to Cadboro Bay.

"There's so many stories that could be told about the land and the history of the people and what we used to use the lands for," said Cecilia Dick, the Songhees Nation's cultural tourism supervisor, during an interview on CBC's All Points West.

The region is the traditional territory of the Lekwungen People, known today as the Songhees and Esquimalt nations, who have hunted and gathered there for thousands of years.

The tour will include visits to traditionally used islands, the Songhees' last known village site, and the nation's wellness centre.

"When it's safe, we welcome everybody who wants to learn," said Dick.

The plan is to have tours up and running by 2022.

With files from All Points West