Dec 12, 2022

Murray's Pond Park is a peaceful natural area nestled in the woods near the back of the Royal Bay neighbourhood in Colwood, not far from Royal Bay Secondary School. It's one part of the extensive park improvements being implemented as part of the Royal Bay development.

The viewing platform will allow visitors to enjoy the sights, sounds and natural beauty of the area with minimal disruption to the setting and habitat. Wander along the lovely trail that runs up from Latoria Boulevard above Royal Bay Secondary School with incredible views across the Salish Sea. The illuminated trail meanders down the hill to the pond and the new viewing platform, joining the Painter Trail at Ryder Hesjedal Way.

A unique and sensitive natural setting

Murray's Pond is surrounded by a woodland ecosystem that is home to abundant wildlife and has a unique geological history. The pond itself is a glacial "kettle pond". Kettle ponds were formed when a chunk of a receding glacier broke off and settled in place. The sediment-rich ice block gradually deposited sand, clay, grit and rocks around and on top of it, solidifying. Years later, as the underground ice block melted, the sediment layer caved in to form a large depression that filled with groundwater, creating the pond.

Colwood is working to protect wild places like Murray's Pond where families and students can explore thoughtfully and learn about geography, flora, fauna, the cycle of life and the seasons. The new platform at Murray's Pond is one place that provides a unique natural laboratory to study, enjoy and appreciate our environment. 

Piecing together the history of Murray's Pond

The property where the pond is located was once part of a farm owned by the Murray family. According to Colwood Pioneer Cemetery records, Robert Bertram Murray was born circa1858 and died January 30, 1935. His wife Mary Murray was born circa 1878 and died December 23, 1977.

A glimpse of history from Lois Gardner, Colwood resident

I was born here in 1947, on what is now Raynerwood. The corner of Wishart and Metchosin belonged to my grandparents the Kenwoods... about 14 acres.

When we were kids we would hike all over the place... there were no houses between our back door and the top of Triangle.

We would also go to “the swamp” which was off the end of Painter Road/Applegate, then partway along the driveway of Meakes’ log house, and branch off  down what looked like an old logging track. Wally Meakes ran Circle Plumbing up on the Colwood strip. 

In spring the water would be high and we would sometimes find frog eggs attached to branches, on the logs fallen into the water. One year we brought them home in a jar and hatched them in a crock, then took them back when they started to get legs. In those days you could hear the frogs singing everywhere in the early spring.

My grandmother Bessie Kenwood belonged to the Women’s Institute and we would see Mrs. Murray at teas, in the 1950's/60's .  She was a tiny person and used to bring big bunches of ladyslippers (calypso orchids) to decorate the tables. We were shocked as our grandfather always told us not to pick wildflowers! I did not know at the time that the swamp was named after Murrays, or that the sweet lady picked her flowers there.

This picture of my son Paul was taken there, he was born in 1976.

By the early 1980's the swamp was fenced in as part of Construction Aggregates gravel operation, and I was afraid it was going to be dug up, so organized a bit of publicity. CHEK TV covered it, and the Goldstream News.

The gravel guys told me they likely wouldn’t dig it, because the silt would block up their machinery, and it was left alone until Royal Bay plans designated it as potential park. There was discussion on the committee about it being used for drainage from development on the hill above, which I hope did not happen for the sake of any surviving amphibians.

I’m really glad to see it is now an official park... must confess I have not visited the new viewing platform, because I don’t want to overwrite my old memories. The rest of Colwood has changed so much that I hardly recognize it, and driving around often, quickly forget what used to be there!  Hopefully the swamp will look more familiar than Latoria road or Colwood Corner, when I finally get up the nerve to go look. 

P.S. Writing this has reminded me how blessed I was to grow up here when the population was only 600, and kids could roam free.

We encourage other long time community members to share stories from the past of this and other Colwood locations. If you have history to share, please reach out at

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