Beaches, Pacific Northwest
Gonzales Bay (also known as foul bay) is named for Spanish explorer Gonzalo Lopez de Haro, ﬁrst mate of the Spanish ship Princesa Real. Gonzalo was instrumental in charting the waters around Vancouver Island in the 1790s.
Until the late 60s, Gonzales beach remained a popular recreation area, but the small beach cabins were being replaced with larger houses and the bays access began to be more limited. The property owners were becoming upset with the noisy party’s that were popular with younger people.
Then in November 1969, the worst storm in memory battered the Victoria shoreline, it raged for a full 3 days, lashing the shore, pulling anything that was not tied down into the sea, some lost portions of their land.
Due to the efforts of the residents of the bay, all the homes were saved and after the storm the city built a retaining wall around most of the bay to protect the homes in the future, giving the bay a new look.
The bay was originally called Foul Bay, not because it was foul but because it was not a very good anchorage for the old sailing ships. In 1934 it was renamed after the local residents said it made it sound like the bay was disgusting and vile sounding. Gonzales was a great name to change it to, it represents a piece of the bay’s history.
Today, you can still swim and picnic here. It’s a very pretty part of the city and very peaceful. Take a walk here and see it for yourself, don’t forget to bring your camera. Pets are allowed off leash here from September, 1 till June, 1, it is a great place to let your pup get some exercise.