The Malahat Highway is a winding, 20-kilometre stretch of the Trans Canada Highway that straddles the mountain of the same name between Goldstream, (just north of Victoria) and the town of Mill Bay – gateway to Cowichan.
These days, approximately 35,000 vehicles whip over this stretch of highway every day.
But it was never this way when it was first constructed as a gravel road in the Edwardian era.
Envisioned, surveyed and doggedly championed by expat and former British army officer, Major James MacFarlane, the link between Cowichan and Victoria originally consisted of just a treacherous, meandering trail.
Having a farm in Cobble Hill, it was MacFarlane who was keen and ultimately instrumental in developing a practical route to Victoria. Along the way, his friends and neighbours didn’t quite share his optimism. Thus, they referred to his passion as “MacFarlane’s Folly”.
In the end though, MacFarlane prevailed. In 1911, the road opened and ever since, “The Malahat Highway” has become a critical connector between Victoria and all points north. If you’re driving this very scenic highway, there are a number of places to take in the vistas: The Malahat Chalet: 48.544051º -123.564355º, The Malahat Summit Pull Out: 48.567498º -123.546995º and “Spilt Rock”: 48.584518º -123.529481º. If you’re there at dusk, look for a big, snow-capped mountain to the east for Mount Baker, an active volcano located in Washington State.