If you’re into gold rush-era history, this is for you. The now-abandoned town of Leechtown sits 59 km northwest of Victoria, and it’s situated next to the beautiful, untamed nature contained in Kapoor Regional Park. So if you’re looking for an escape to nature with a sprinkle of local history, consider checking out Leechtown this fall.
A day trip to Kapoor Regional Park
At the park, visitors can explore meandering wilderness trails, including the northwest terminus of the famed Galloping Goose Regional Trail. Looking for a scenic day trip idea? Head to Sooke Potholes Park first, and make your way on foot or by bike along the Goose Trail to Kapoor Regional Park.
Named after the Kapoor family in memory of “pioneer lumberman and visionary” Kapoor Singh Siddoo, the park is a symbol of the area’s mining and logging history. And although no standing structures remain, hikers can spot relic mining and logging equipment throughout the area.
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History of Leechtown
Now, we come to the historic site of Leechtown, a 19th-century gold-mining town and former site of railway logging operations. On July 18th, 1864, the Vancouver Island Exploring Expedition (VIEE) discovered “payable gold” at Leech River, which led to a gold rush of its own – and thus the creation of Leechtown.
Flash forward four months, and the townsite was home to over 1,200 miners, six general stores, three hotels, and no fewer than 30 bars and saloons, according to Magistrate Foster of Sooke. However, the town’s success was short-lived, as by 1865, the gold rush had passed its peak, with many moving away.
Leechtown then became a hotspot for smaller-scale mining and logging, which kept the town alive until the late 1950s.
According to the Sooke to Port Renfrew Tourism Association, there’s not much lasting evidence of this once buzzing gold rush town. However, the area has numerous active placer gold claims.
Oh, and legend has it that there exists a lost cave of gold, which a Swedish geologist named Hans Christens is told to have discovered accidentally while looking for his mule back in 1864.
So there you have it, BC! If you’re looking for a unique outdoor adventure to go on this fall, a trip to Kapoor Regional Park and through the remnants of Leechtown is definitely warranted.
Where: Leechtown, BC