Oak Bay, British Columbia

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Oak Bay
The Corporation of the District of Oak Bay[1]
Oak Bay.jpg
Coat of arms of Oak Bay
Coat of arms
Oak Bay, British Columbia is located in British Columbia
Oak Bay, British Columbia
Location of Oak Bay in British Columbia
Coordinates: 48°25′35″N 123°19′22″W / 48.42639°N 123.32278°W / 48.42639; -123.32278Coordinates: 48°25′35″N 123°19′22″W / 48.42639°N 123.32278°W / 48.42639; -123.32278
Country Canada
Province British Columbia
Regional DistrictCapital
 • MayorKevin Murdoch
 • Governing BodyOak Bay Municipal Council
 • MPLaurel Collins (NDP)
 • MLAAndrew Weaver (BC Green)
 • Total10.53 km2 (4.07 sq mi)
34 m (112 ft)
 • Total18,094
 • Density1,717.7/km2 (4,449/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC−8 (Pacific Time Zone)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−7 (Pacific Daylight Time)
Area code(s)250, 778
WebsiteOfficial website
Oak Bay

Oak Bay is a municipality incorporated in 1906 that is located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, in the Canadian province of British Columbia, Canada. A member municipality of the Capital Regional District, it is a community east of and adjacent to the city of Victoria. It is one of the 13 municipalities of Greater Victoria.

Notable features[edit]

Oak Bay has several notable features which include:

Oak Bay's motto, from its coat of arms, is Sub Quercu Felicitas, Latin for "the oak happiness".[4]


Cattle Point, Oak Bay, British Columbia, Canada

Prior to the arrival of Europeans, Oak Bay was home to the local Coast Salish people of the Songhees First Nation. Evidence of their encampments has been found along local shores, including Willows Beach, where an ancient Lkwungen seaport known as Sitchanalth was centred around the mouth of the river now known as Bowker Creek.[5] Sitchanalth is hypothesized to have been destroyed by the great Tsunami of 930 AD.[6]

Oak Bay takes its name from the Garry oak tree, which are found throughout the region, and also the name of the large bay on the eastern shore of the municipality, fronting onto Willows Beach.

John Tod in 1850 built on a 109-acre farm what is today the oldest continuously-occupied home in Western Canada. John Tod was HBC Chief Fur Trader for Kamloops, one of the original appointed members of BC's Legislative Council.[7][8][9]

Originally developed as a middle class streetcar suburb of Victoria, Oak Bay was incorporated as a municipality in 1906. Its first Council included Francis Rattenbury, the architect who designed the Legislative Buildings and Empress Hotel located on the inner harbour in Victoria. Rattenbury's own home on Beach Drive is now used as the junior campus for Glenlyon Norfolk School. In 1912 the former farm lands of the Hudson's Bay Company were subdivided to create the Uplands area, but development was hampered by World War I. After the war, development of expensive homes in the Uplands was accompanied by the construction of many more modest dwellings in the Estevan, Willows and South Oak Bay neighbourhoods.

The Victoria Golf Club is located in South Oak Bay. It was founded in 1893, and is the second oldest golf course west of the Great Lakes. It is a 6120 yard links course on the ocean side, and claims to be the oldest golf course in Canada still on its original site. The course is reported to be haunted.[8]

The Royal Victoria Yacht Club was formed on June 8, 1892, and moved in 1912 to its current location, at the location of the old Hudson's Bay Company cattle wharf.

The Victoria Cougars won the 1925 Stanley Cup at the Patrick Arena in Oak Bay, the arena was destroyed by fire in 1929, the Victoria Cougars are today the Detroit Red Wings.

The Oak Bay Marina was built in 1962 and officially opened in April 1964. It replaced the Oak Bay Boat House built in 1893. The breakwater was built in 1959 and funded by the federal government.

There have reportedly been sightings of a sea monster known as the Cadborosaurus off Oak Bay, with modern-day accounts and ones dating back to first nations accounts.


Canada 2016 Census Population % of Total Population
Visible minority group
Chinese 850 4.9%
South Asian 285 1.6%
Black 55 0.3%
Filipino 130 0.7%
Latin American 95 0.5%
Southeast Asian 60 0.3%
Arab 65 0.4%
West Asian 50 0.3%
Korean 105 0.6%
Japanese 125 0.7%
Other and Multiracial visible minority 45 0.3%
Total visible minority population 1,865 10.7%
Aboriginal group
First Nations 110 0.6%
Métis 120 0.7%
Total Aboriginal population 230 1.3%
White 15,380 88%
Total population 18,094 100%

Film studio[edit]

During the 1930s, Oak Bay, British Columbia was the original "Hollywood North" when fourteen films were produced in Greater Victoria between 1933 and 1938.[12] In 1932 Kenneth James Bishop leased an off-season exhibition building on the Willows Fairgrounds was converted to a film sound stage to produce films for the British film quota system under the Cinematograph Films Act 1927[13] and films were produced with Hollywood stars such as Lillian Gish, Paul Muni, Sir Cedric Hardwicke, Edith Fellows, Charles Starrett and Rin Tin Tin Jr. Film production was curtailed when the Cinematograph Films Act 1938 specified only British made films would be included in the quota.

The Willows Park Studio films include:

  • The Crimson Paradise ("Fighting Playboy" in the US)[14] (The first all talking motion picture in Canada.)[15]


  • Secrets of Chinatown (Production Company was Commonwealth Productions Ltd. based on the out of print book “The Black Robe” by Guy Morton. Kathleen Dunsmuir invested $50,000 in the film. Before completion of the film Commonwealth Productions went bankrupt, Northern Films Ltd. completed post production of the film, Kathleen Dunsmuir lost all $50,000.[15] The film is technically British it received British film registration number br. 11391. The film was seized by the police at request of the Chinese Consul with the claim it was offensive, the film was altered before its release. In Victoria Harry Hewitson the actor playing Chan Tow Ling would remind the audience with the warning it was fictional.[16][17] In addition to Chinatown and surrounding downtown Victoria the Gonzales area is used in outdoor shots in the film.[18][19])


  • Fury and the Woman (aka Lucky Corrigan)
  • Lucky Fugitives
  • Secret Patrol
  • Stampede
  • Tugboat Princess






Oak Bay is the home of the University of Victoria, a public research institution in the Capital Region District. While much of the University of Victoria campus is located within the District of Oak Bay, parts of it are also located in the adjacent municipality of Saanich.

Oak Bay also hosts a number of academically focused public and private secondary schools which are part of School District 61. There is one public elementary school, Willows Elementary, one public middle school, Monterey Middle School, and one public high school, Oak Bay High School, with the second largest student population in the Greater Victoria School District.[21] Residents in the South Oak Bay area may also register their children at the nearby Margaret Jenkins Elementary (in Victoria). In addition to public schools, there are two private schools located in Oak Bay, Glenlyon Norfolk School and St. Michael's University School.


Parks and recreation centres[edit]


Public safety[edit]

  • Oak Bay Emergency Program
  • Oak Bay Fire Department - The Oak Bay Fire Department was formed in 1937.[22]
  • Oak Bay Police Department - The Oak Bay Police Department was formed in 1906.
  • Oak Bay Sea Rescue (OBSR) - Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue Station 33 (RCM-SAR) - Oak Bay Sea Rescue was formed in 1977, and is a volunteer organisation. The Unit's Boats are based out of Oak Bay Marina [23]

See also[edit]

McNeill Bay (British Columbia)


  1. ^ "British Columbia Regional Districts, Municipalities, Corporate Name, Date of Incorporation and Postal Address" (XLS). British Columbia Ministry of Communities, Sport and Cultural Development. Retrieved November 2, 2014.
  2. ^ a b "Oak Bay, District municipality [Census subdivision], British Columbia and Capital, Regional district [Census division], British Columbia". Statistics Canada. January 23, 2017. Retrieved February 8, 2017.
  3. ^ http://www.livinginvictoriabc.com/greater-victoria/mls-statistics-for-victoria-oak-bay-metchosin-north-saanich-and-sidney
  4. ^ https://translate.google.ca/#auto/en/Sub%20Quercu%20Felicitas
  5. ^ "Capital Regional District Victoria BC". CRD. Retrieved 26 January 2017.
  6. ^ Doughton, Sandi. "Ancient quake and tsunami in Puget Sound shake researchers". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 29 January 2016.
  7. ^ https://www.oakbay.ca/explore-oak-bay/points-interest/tod-house
  8. ^ a b Belyk, Robert C. (2011-07-06). Ghosts: True Tales of Eerie Encounters. ISBN 9781926971186.
  9. ^ Green, Valerie (2001). If These Walls Could Talk: Victoria's Houses from the Past. ISBN 9780920663783.
  10. ^ "Community Profiles from the 2016 Census, Statistics Canada - Census Subdivision". 2.statcan.gc.ca. 2019-01-01. Retrieved 2019-01-01.
  11. ^ "Aboriginal Peoples - Data table". 2.statcan.ca. 2010-10-06. Retrieved 2013-04-13.
  12. ^ http://www.webturf.com/oakbay/history/encyclopedia/w.shtml
  13. ^ p. 30 Gasher, Mike Hollywood North: The Feature Film Industry in British Columbia UBC Press, 2002
  14. ^ https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0132948/
  15. ^ a b Reksten, Terry (December 2009). The Dunsmuir Saga. ISBN 9781926706061.
  16. ^ http://www.dukefilmography.com/Willows_Park_Studio.html
  17. ^ http://search.bcarchives.gov.bc.ca/secrets-of-chinatown
  18. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1XAqN9iFYrE
  19. ^ http://freemasonry.bcy.ca/anti-masonry/all_seeing_eye/secrets_of_chinatown.html
  20. ^ http://climate.weather.gc.ca/climate_normals/results_e.html?stnID=113&radius=25&proxSearchType=coordinates&degreesNorth=48&minutesNorth=25&secondsNorth=35&degreesWest=123&minutesWest=19&secondsWest=22&proxSubmit=go&dCode=0
  21. ^ School District website
  22. ^ http://oakbay.ca/public-safety/fire-department
  23. ^ "History of OBSR Society / CCGA(P) Unit #33". Oak Bay Sea Rescue Society. Retrieved 2012-12-29.

Oak Bay, British Columbia: in Photographs 1906-2006 (book)

Only in Oak Bay Oak Bay Municipality: 1906-1981 (book)

External links[edit]