The District of Saanich is a district municipality on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, within the Greater Victoria area. The population was 109,752 at the 2011 census, making it the most populous municipality in the Capital Regional District and Vancouver Island, and the eighth-most populous in the province. The district adopted its name after the Saanich First Nation, meaning "emerging land" or "emerging people".
The Municipality of Saanich was incorporated on March 1, 1906. With an area of , it is the largest of the core municipalities making up Greater Victoria. The topography is undulating with many glacially scoured rock outcroppings. Elevations range from sea level to . The physical setting is greatly influenced by water. There are of fresh water lakes and of marine shoreline.
Saanich is home to part of the University of Victoria which is bisected by the boundary with the neighbouring district municipality of Oak Bay. Saanich is fairly large in area and contains a wide variety of rural and urban landscapes and neighbourhoods stretching north to the Saanich Peninsula. Saanich is the location of the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory near Elk Lake. The Municipality of Saanich contains a long shoreline with sandy beaches located at a number of ocean bays. Two of the beaches are Cadboro Bay Beach and Cordova Bay Beach. Cadboro Bay is known as a place to view the "Cadborosaurus", a mythical sea monster that may or may not exist. Saanich's notable parks include Mount Douglas Park, Mount Tolmie Park (with viewpoints) and Gyro Park.
The Craigflower Schoolhouse (originally called Maple Point School), the oldest surviving school building in Western Canada, was built on orders from Kenneth MacKenzie. He came from Scotland with his family in 1852, on the Hudson's Bay Company ship Norman Morison, to establish a farm for the Puget Sound Agricultural Company, a subsidiary of the Hudson's Bay Company. A school was needed for the children of farm employees, as well as those of arriving settlers.
The Dominion Astrophysical Observatory telescope was designed by Dr John Stanley Plaskett, astronomer with the Department of the Interior in Ottawa. The 72 inch (1.8 m) reflecting telescope was the largest of its kind in the world when it was built, though this was only the case for a few short months in 1918.