The Salish Sea Walk of the Planets

The Salish Sea Walk of the Planets is the world’s biggest “Orrery”.

You probably saw orreries in Harry Potter.  Models of the Solar System.

Harry Potter - The Orrery

The Salish Sea Walk of the Planets

It exists to complement the natural beauty of this part of the world. This is a journey through the solar system, from the SUN at Cattle Point Urban Star Park in Oak Bay to the KUIPER BELT at Ucluelet-Tofino, and the OORT CLOUD in Beijing.

The first walk, the Oak Bay Walk of the Inner Planets Trail, is just 11 km long and all within Oak Bay. It starts and ends at Cattle Point and is expected to take 2-3 hours. Perfect to start and end at VENUS located at the Oak Bay Beach Hotel.

Each planet location will have a physical marker embedded in the side-walk.

This Oak Bay News article from August 2014 gives you a sense of the concept.

For your convenience we have put this “Easy Walk” on Google for your iPhone/GPS use as you enjoy the walk. Please click here to see the Oak Bay Walk of the Inner Planets Map in complete detail.

The walk starts at the SUN at Cattle Point Urban Star Park close to Victoria and ends at the Kuiper Belt at Tofino over 300 kms away, following the awe-inspiring west coast of Vancouver Island.

The complete “walk of the planets” tour has 5 sections. The last 3 can also be reached the same day by car, motor bike,  bicycle or helicopter.

Walk #1: The Easy Walk (aka Oak Bay Walk of the Inner Planets) : Starts at the SUN at Cattle Point represented by the Kiwanis cairn. Passes MERCURY at Willows Park; passes VENUS at the Oak Bay Beach Hotel; onto EARTH at Blueberry Hill;  MARS at Walbran Park; and finally the ASTEROID BELT at the Gonzales Hill Observatory. This easy walk – easy even for both young and old – ends back in the Oak Bay Village at the International Space Station (aka the Penny Farthing or Starbucks). Estimated Time : 2 hours  Distance : 7 miles

Walk #2 : The Intermediate Walk  : Starts with the Easy Walk, but from MARS at Gonzales Hill, the walk then, instead of heading back into Oak Bay Village,  passes through Victoria’s beautiful  inner harbour heading out west along the Galloping Goose Trail; exiting to see   JUPITER at the Centre of the Universe by the Dominion Observatory, continuing on the Galloping Goose Trail to SATURN at Sooke Potholes. Estimated Time : 8 hours

Walk #3: The Connector Walk :  Starts at SATURN at Camp Bernard, and takes you to the start of the Juan De Fuca Marine Trail at URANUS at China Beach .

Walk #4: The Tough Walk : The next day you will join the Juan De Fuca Marine Trail from URANUS at China Beach to NEPTUNE at Port Renfrew.

Walk #5 : The VERY Tough Walk :  Starts at PLUTO near Bamfield and then traverses  the famous WEST COAST TRAIL  back to NEPTUNE at Port Renfrew.  Due to the rules of walking this trail, reservations are needed and the walk starts at Pluto and comes back towards the SUN ending at NEPTUNE.

Tour #6: JUPITER, SATURN, URANUS, NEPTUNE and PLUTO can also be reached by car, motor bike or bicycle using the two roads across Vancouver Island.  THE KUIPER BELT WALK can be reached by bus or car and is in the UCLUELET-LONG BEACH-TOFINO region. The walk is based around the Wild Pacific Trail(s).

The final tour is your first step to becoming an astronaut!

Space Journey #7 : THE TEAM at ATHLONE GALACTIC will take you  b helicopter across the whole length of the solar system.  Over a three hour period the lucky traveller journeys over the Oak Bay Walk of the Inner Planets: from the SUN, by MERCURY, VENUS and EARTH.  By MARS, and the ASTEROID BELT. We then follow the Galloping Goose Trail to JUPITER at the Centre of the Universe and then on to SATURN at the Sooke potholes.

You will be quickly whisked acoss Sooke (your loss 🙂 ) to reach URANUS at China Beach.

We then move along the coast of Vancouver Island following the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail from URANUS at China Beach to NEPTUNE at Port Renfrew. We cross over the fijord and then follow the famous West Coast Trail in reverse direction (heading North) reaching Bamfield and the  DWARF PLANET PLUTO.

With one last leg, ATHLONE GALACTIC speed through the whole KUIPER BELT following  the Wild Pacific Trail from UCLUELET; over the world famous LONG BEACH to the end of our journey at TOFINO where lunch will be enjoyed.

Experience #7: The OORT CLOUD, to scale, is positioned at the centre of BEIJING, CHINA, in the Canadian Embassy. Visiting the cairn in Beijing will become part of the whole experience. Walks are planned in Beijing.


The SALISH SEA Walk of the Planets is dedicated to :

  1. the DARK SKY movement.
  2. to visionary NASA scientist Bill Boruki. The 2013 data from the Kepler Mission gave an estimate of the number of Earth-like planets in the habitable zone of sun-like stars, in the Milky Way Galaxy, as 144 billion. 2013 was the paradigm changing year. It was suddenly much more likely that life existed across the galaxy, than that life existed only on earth.


The latest powerpoint is below :

In 2014, one of the  volunteers of Cattle Point Urban Star Park,  Bill Smith, recently visited Passau, Bavaria on a River Cruise on the Danube.

Passau-Sign (Medium)

Passau is a wonderful ancient university town at the confluence of the Danube and the Inn, in Germany close to the Austrian border.

Bill was fascinated  by the “Passau Walk of the Planets” as it was the kind of concept he had been talking to Oak Bay Municipality about, making use of stone cairns.

Sun and Cairn

During the rest of his river cruise Bill thought more about Passau’s concept finally deciding it might be worth the effort to incubate a proposal to the Oak Bay Municipality.

Here is the current very early proposal concept that in May 2014 has been presented to various committees in Oak Bay. It is still in very early stages.

The proposed Salish Sea “Walk of the Planets” begins at Cattle Point in a discrete spot at the top of the steps to Willows Beach. The inner in planets have cairns within Oak Bay. For example the proposed cairns might be located as follows :  MERCURY is at Willows Park,  VENUS is at the Oak Bay Beach Hotel, the EARTH on Blueberry Hill and MARS on Gonzales Hill.

venus_and LoveLockFence

The rest of the cairns will be placed outside Oak Bay.  JUPITER will be at the Centre of the Universe, and SATURN at Sooke Potholes.

As the outer planets are so far away from the SUN.

  • URANUS is at China Beach at the start of the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail.
  • NEPTUNE is at  Port Renfrew at the very end of the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail.
  • PLUTO is in Bamfield at the end (start 🙂 ) of the West Coast Trail.
  • THE KUIPER BELT is the Wild Pacific Trail(s) of the Ucluelet-Long Beach-Tofino Region.
  • THE OORT CLOUD will start in BEIJING.

As mentioned in the powerpoint below, these outer planets can be visited by taking the wonderful Pacific Marine Drive by car, motorbike or even bicycle.

To head out to the OORT CLOUD and then off to the nearest star, you will need to fly to BEIJING.

Plato’s Allegory of the Cave

Post Script: To better understand why this ‘Walk of the Planets” even exists lets look quickly at the following idea from Ancient Greece : In the Allegory of the Cave, Plato described symbolically the predicament in which mankind finds itself and proposes a way of salvation.


The Allegory presents, in brief form, most of Plato’s major philosophical assumptions: his belief that the world revealed by our senses is not the real world but only a poor copy of it, and that the real world can only be apprehended intellectually; his idea that knowledge cannot be transferred from teacher to student, but rather that education consists in directing student’s minds toward what is real and important and allowing them to apprehend it for themselves; his faith that the universe ultimately is good; his conviction that enlightened individuals have an obligation to the rest of society, and that a good society must be one in which the truly wise (the Philosopher-King) are the rulers.

Some questions to illustrate Plato’s theory :

1. can dogs see at infra-red or ultra-violet frequencies?

2. Can dogs “see” what they smell?

3. Can birds see the earth’s magnetic field? Is this how Canada geese still come back to the Oak Bay Beach Hotel where they lived for thousands of years?

4. What would the world look like if human’s had the same eye-sight as Bald Eagles?