Oak Bay is a beautiful seaside community located adjacent to the city of Victoria, Canada. The city boasts of its British heritage and is often referred to as “more English than England.” One of the most prominent features of Oak Bay is the gnarly Oak trees that dominate the city’s landscape.
Oak Bay is a fully serviced city with its own police force, fire department, water and sewer services, garbage collection, and recycling program for the entire municipality. The city is home to the Oak Bay Sea Rescue Society, a Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary Unit, and the University of Victoria, located between the border of Oak Bay and the neighboring municipality of Saanich.
For recreation, there are three sites in Oak Bay which offer a range of activities and programs for all ages. These are Monterey, Henderson, and Oak Bay recreation centers. The city also boasts of three golf courses, with the Victoria Golf course being especially notable for having the Golf Course Ghost, often seen beside the seventh fairway or gliding across the road in front of motorists!
Oak Bay is also known for its annual Oak Bay Tea Party held since 1963 at Willows Park. This fundraising event for local charities is a grand celebration complete with a parade, an air show, a bathtub race, entertainment, and lots of food!
Oak Bay is a quiet and genteel city with its seaside charm and British origins, making it a lovely place to call home.
Oak Bay Sub-Area Attraction Pages:
Located in Oak Bay on southern Vancouver Island, Willows Beach is just a short 15-minute drive from downtown Victoria. With shallow, protected waters and a playground, Willows Beach is a great spot for families with young children.
Amenities at Willows Beach include:
- Change Rooms
- Grassy areas perfect for relaxing
- Picnic tables
- Water Fountain, and more
This scenic waterfront park is frequently used for more relaxed recreational activities and is often utilized for gatherings by local social groups. While portions of the large grassy areas are available for rent for such social gatherings, they remain open to visitors. A limited number of organized sporting activities are permitted each summer and can be requested by calling the Victoria Visitor Centre at 250.953.2033 or toll-free at 800.663.3883.
Swimming, sunbathing, and paddling are even more relaxing at Willows Beach with beautiful views of Mount Baker and Discovery Island. There are several areas where visitors can set up volleyball courts, which is a popular activity, especially on summer weekends.
The annual Oak Bay Tea Party has been a fun and well-attended event for more than 50 years. It includes a parade, rides, shows, and a host of fun activities for the whole family.
The Beach’s name came originally from the Willows Fairground that was built in 1891 and the Willows Racetrack from the early 1900s that was Greater Victoria’s popular horse-racing venue. Archaeological digs found it to be a permanent encampment of thousands of Coast Salish People dating back several generations.
Willows Beach also has a number of nearby attractions that are well worth checking out such as:
- Cattle Point – A scenic walk along the rocks where you can dip your feet in the water. A popular stopping spot for boaters to have some privacy during the evening hours.
- The Salish Sea Walk of the Planets – An incredible walking journey through the solar system starting at the sun (located at Cattle Point) and continuing on to the Kuiper Belt in Ucluelet/Tofino, and the Oort Cloud in Beijing. This is also the largest orrery in the world!
- Kiwanis Tea Room – Open January to April from 9:00 a.m. to 12 noon and Spring through Autumn 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
The north and south ends of the beach (which are more shallow) are popular for skimboarding during spring and summer. There are also a number of trails in the area including one that is 1 km long and has a viewing platform with benches to sit for a while and enjoy some great views.
Willows Beach certainly has something for everyone, making it a fun and relaxing place to spend the day with family and friends. Whether you want to spend a quiet day picnicking on the grass or at a picnic table, playing a friendly game of volleyball, swimming, paddling, or taking a leisurely hike, a day spent at Willows Beach is sure to rejuvenate you.
Victoria Golf Club
Victoria Golf Club is the oldest golf club located on southern Vancouver Island. The club takes pride in its heritage clubhouse, which dates back to 1929. Over the years, the club has undergone comprehensive renovations to offer modern amenities while still retaining the rich character and ambience of the Tudor-style building.
The club offers various services, including wheelchair access, casual and fine dining, award-winning Pro & Back shop, social fire pit & outdoor patio, and fireside lounge. Membership at Victoria Golf Club is more than just an opportunity to enjoy a world-class golfing experience. It’s a coming together of old friends and a chance to make new ones, all in a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere.
The club hosts almost endless events throughout the year, such as wine tastings, gourmet evenings, men’s & women’s nights, bridge nights, President’s Dinner, and family holiday festivities. Victoria Golf Club believes in giving back to the community that has supported them over the years. The club raises an incredible $100,000 each year and has supported worthy causes such as the Evans Scholarship Program and the Victoria Women’s Transition House.
Victoria Golf Club’s location on Canada’s Pacific West Coast is nothing short of awe-inspiring. Overlooking the beautiful Olympic mountain range as well as Mt. Baker, the club offers a more temperate climate, allowing one to enjoy the pleasures and challenges of this course 12 months of the year. It’s certainly a privilege to take in a game of golf on a sunny New Year’s Day while much of the country is covered in a blanket of snow.
Membership at Victoria Golf Club means that you will be playing on a course that has been ranked #14 in all of Canada, #3 in the province, and #1 on Vancouver Island according to Golf Digest 2015. The club sites a number of reasons that membership is highly valued by so many, including:
- Nationwide recognition – Knowing that you belong to a renowned club that is the oldest private golf club as noted in Golf Digest’s ‘Top 20 Courses in Canada.’
- Temperate climate – With one-third of the annual rainfall of Vancouver, Oak Bay is one the sunniest and driest cities in Canada, and with such mild winters, golfing in the sun year-round is the norm.
- Fabulous scenery & amazing wildlife – Victoria Golf Club is recognized as one of the most scenic in the world and has 7 holes along the water. Members enjoy eagle sightings on a daily basis as the result of two resident eagles that produce new eaglets every spring.
- Diverse & welcoming membership – Members enjoy the camaraderie of people from all walks of life who come together in a respectful attitude and sense of fair play.
Victoria Golf Club offers several categories of membership. The details and membership qualifications can be found directly on their website. You can also contact them by phone at 250.598.4321 ext. 234 or ext. 211.
Dining Options at Victoria Golf Club
The club offers three great options for dining:
- Macan’s Pub – Open from Saturday – Thursday: 9a.m. – 8p.m. Friday: 9a.m. – 9p.m. It’s a good idea to check with them about hours as they can change due to private functions.
- Snack Bar – Open daily from 9:30a.m. – 5:30p.m.
- Dining Room – The main dining room has lovely picturesque views and offers fine dining that is second to none. It is also the perfect spot for their Gourmet Club Nights as well as private events and functions.
Private Events at Victoria Golf Club
Holding corporate meetings and other private events either indoors or outdoors at the club is popular with members knowing that staff are professional and detail-oriented, ensuring that your function will be one to be remembered by all who attend. To arrange a private function, you can call the club directly at: 250.598.4321 ext. 213 or ext. 234. A private event brochure is also available for viewing on their website.
Wedding Packages at Victoria Golf Club
Victoria Golf Club also offers amazing wedding packages. Their professional staff works with you every step of the way and pays special attention to your personal wishes to help you create a day that will surpass all your expectations.
Victoria Golf Club: A World-Class Golfing Experience
Steeped in the rich and lively history of the club, members enjoy the camaraderie of one another while taking in a world-class game of golf, socializing with new and old friends, all in a welcoming environment.
Uplands Park is a natural wonder located on the southern portion of Vancouver Island. This park is surrounded by the ocean on the east and residential areas on other sides, providing a perfect escape for visitors seeking a break from their hectic lives.
Visitors can experience a wonderful example of a Garry Oak meadow and the unique ecosystem that is inherently associated with it. The park offers a variety of amenities that enhance visitors’ experience, such as boat ramp, parking, picnic tables, breathtaking views, and well-defined natural trails. Moreover, there is a manicured area housing a war memorial.
The drive along the scenic waterfront is well worth the experience especially when there is beach access once you park your vehicle. The Cattle Point side of the park allows dogs off-leash throughout the year, while some seasonal restrictions apply to the rest of the park.
- January to March – Dogs allowed off leash
- July to December – Dogs allowed off leash
- April to June – all dogs are required to be on leash and in total control of a capable and responsible person
Visitors can learn about the plants and animals that call the park home, as the ecosystem within Uplands Park is allowed to flourish and evolve naturally. The park fosters and encourages respect and appreciation for the natural beauty that Vancouver Island is so fortunate to have.
Although the park is wheelchair accessible, all wheeled apparatus must be kept to sidewalks and paved roadways. The milder, more temperate climate of the area means that residents and visitors alike are able to enjoy this unique experience all year round.
In summary, Uplands Park is a natural oasis that provides an exceptional opportunity to escape from the hustle and bustle of urban life. It’s a perfect place to rejuvenate one’s spirit and appreciate the natural beauty that Vancouver Island has to offer.
Oak Bay Recreation Centre
Oak Bay Recreation Centre is the perfect place to stay active and fit, regardless of your age or physical ability. With a wide range of activities, there’s something for everyone at the centre. Here are some of the activities offered at the centre:
- Drop-in soccer games
- Aqua-fit class
- Aerobics class
- Weight room
- Rehabilitation programs
The Sports View Deli Bar & Grill is an ideal place to catch up with friends after a leisure or fitness class.
The centre’s hours are incredibly convenient and will fit into even the most hectic schedule. Here are the centre’s hours:
- Reception is open every day from 6:00 a.m. to midnight
- Fitness Studio is open Monday to Friday from 6:00 a.m. to midnight & Saturdays and Sundays from 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
- Pool hours run from 6:00 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. every day
Skating is a very popular activity at Oak Bay Recreation Centre. The skating activities include:
- Skating lessons
- Learning to play hockey for all age groups
- Power Skating
- Public skating times
You can check out all the skating activities and program times on their website. The centre also provides skate sharpening from September to the end of May at a nominal fee.
The Discovery Room next to the arena area offers child minding for those participating in one of Oak Bay Recreation Centre’s programs, including one of their drop-in activities. The centre accepts children from 6 months to 6 years. They operate from Monday to Friday from 8:45 a.m. – 11:15 a.m. The staff who work in child minding have undergone criminal record checks and are certified in Level C CPR and Emergency First Aid. You can register your child by calling 250.595.7946.
Fitness Activity Room
The Fitness Activity Room is where a variety of classes are held. It is 1000 square feet and is equipped with a full mirror. The Fitness Studio located on the 2nd floor overlooks Bee Street and has more than 70 pieces of equipment, including over 35 for Cardio workouts. They are typically open from 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. but it’s a good idea to check studio hours on their website.
Indoor Sport Field
The Indoor Sport Field features a state-of-the-art playing surface that has a look and feel that is very close to real grass. It is specifically designed for playing outdoor sports, like volleyball, grass hockey, or any other outdoor sport – just inside! It’s ideal for year-round sports, especially during the winter months when we tend to get more rain.
There is so much to do at Oak Bay Recreation Centre that it’s worth taking a little time to view their Activity Guide that has information on their tennis courts, sauna/steam room/hot tub, facility rentals, and so much more. With an almost endless array of programs, activities, events, and amazing facility hours, it’s easier than ever for the whole family to have fun and stay active.
Oak Bay Municipal Hall
Oak Bay is a beautiful seaside community located on southern Vancouver Island. With a permanent population of over 17,000 residents, Oak Bay offers a welcoming and inclusive environment for people of all ages. Its Municipal Hall is responsible for planning, growth, and safety carried out through several departments such as:
- Building & Planning
- Public Works
- Parks & Recreation
- Police Department
- Fire Department
Parks & Recreation
The Parks & Recreation Department provides a host of activities in Oak Bay. The staff are responsible for running and maintaining recreation centres, indoor pools, beaches, a golf course, and more. These centres offer fitness programs, community sports, yoga, rehabilitation programs, pre-school dance, and more. To learn about the specific programs, location, and hours of operation for each facility simply click on the centre name.
- Oak Bay Recreation Centre – 1975 Bee Street, Victoria. Contact number: 250.595.7946
- Henderson Recreation Centre – 2291 Cedar Hill X Road, Victoria. Contact number: 250.370.7200
- Monterey Recreation Centre – 1442 Monterey Avenue, Victoria. Contact number: 250.370.7300
- Carnarvon Centre – 2801 Henderson Road, Victoria. Daycare program contact number: 250.370.2137. Afterschool program contact number: 250.370.5392
- Windsor Pavilion – 2451 Windsor Road, Victoria. Contact number: 250.592.7275
The Parks & Recreation Department also runs the Neighbourhood Learning Centre, which operates a before and after-school program as well as a Youth Centre Room along with 29 parks within their district.
In 1906 when Oak Bay was first incorporated, they had one police officer whose office and home was in the municipal stable on Granite Street. Thanks to the dedication and hard work of the Oak Bay Police Department, today, Oak Bay is been recognized at one of Canada’s safest communities. For information and non-emergency calls, they can be contacted at 250.592.2424.
Oak Bay Fire Department was established in 1937 and is located at 1703 Monterey Avenue. It currently has 26 career firefighters with 2 support personnel. Along with their regular firefighting duties, the department also runs many community safety programs including:
- Fire prevention programs
- Fire inspections
- Fire escape planning
- Smoke alarm and fire extinguisher information
- Community education
Kitchen waste, recycling, and garbage collection is provided for all residential property owners, with the exception of single family homes located on private streets. For information about garbage collection, you can contact Public Works at 250.598.4501. You can get information about Oak Bay’s recycling program from the Municipal Hall website.
As a growing community, Oak Bay is a great place for families and offers a wide range of activities for all ages including parks, beaches, all manner of water sports, and a host of community events, art galleries, and so much more. Oak Bay is just a short 15-minute bike ride and quick trip by car to the provincial capital of Victoria. Oak Bay offers a safe, engaged, and active community with all the amenities that an individual or family may need with easy access to the even larger city of Victoria.
Oak Bay Marina
Link to header image: https://cdn.chime.me/image/fs/sitebuild/2019109/8/0eSa79s7PvOak-Bay-Marina-header-.jpg
Located just 10 minutes from downtown Victoria, Oak Bay Marina is a full-service marina situated on southern Vancouver Island. Boasting a sheltered bay with stunning views of Mount Baker in Washington, Oak Bay Marina offers a range of services and amenities that cater to both locals and vacationers.
Some of the many services provided by Oak Bay Marina include:
- Moorage for vessels between 20′ to 70′
- Diesel and gas fueling dock
- 15 and 30-amp power
- Free parking
The marina is open seven days a week from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. For information on moorage, you can contact the marina directly at 250.598.3369. You can also check out their moorage rates and layout of the marina on their website.
At Oak Bay Marina, both gas and diesel are available at very competitive prices. The staff at the marina are also available to assist with docking, and guests can purchase snacks, ice, engine oil, lubricants, and tackle at the fuel dock. Special offers on fuel purchases are also available during certain times of the year.
Oak Bay Marina is home to two restaurants that provide guests with a range of dining options. The Marina Restaurant serves up original West Coast cuisine, while the Marina Dockside Eatery offers a more casual setting. Both restaurants are fully licensed, and reservations can be made by calling 250.598.8555.
Victoria is known for some of the best fishing in the province for salmon, and Oak Bay Marina offers fishing charters with experienced guides who know all the hot spots. Guests can book a fishing charter by visiting the marina office or calling 250.598.3369.
Guests can explore areas around Victoria by renting a kayak and choosing from several tours. Kayak rentals are also available for those who want to go on their own personal adventure. For more information on kayak rentals or to book a tour, visit the marina office or call 250.598.3369.
Bike rentals are available for those who want to explore Oak Bay with all its spectacular views along the many bike paths in the area. Bikes can be rented by the hour or the full day at very reasonable prices. For information on bike rentals, visit the Marina Gift Shop or call 250.598.3369.
Staff at Oak Bay Marina are happy to provide guests with information on both current and upcoming weather forecasts. You can call them at 250.598.3369 for all the information you need. You can also check out the current tide tables at the Canadian Hydrographic Service’s website on the Fisheries and Oceans Canada website.
Whether you’re looking for permanent and secure moorage, an evening of waterfront fine dining, or unique ways to explore amazing scenery and landscapes, Oak Bay Marina delivers it all and more!
Gonzales Hill Regional Park
Although one of the smaller parks in the region, Gonzales Hill Regional Park has one of the most stunning views of Juan de Fuca Strait, Victoria, Sooke Hills, and the Olympic Mountains. Located in the heart of the city the park acts as an important habitat for California quail, a magnificent stand of Garry Oak Trees, and a number of rare wildflowers.
Spring is an especially great time for a hike in the park to see the wildflowers in full bloom in the Garry Oak meadows. The park offers several trails, all with stunning views. Here are the three separate trail accesses that will take you right into the park:
- Trail One – It is approximately 100 metres to the summit or the observatory and can be reached from the parking lot off Denison Road.
- Trail Two – From trail one, visitors can connect with the thirty-five-meter pathway just up from Fairfield Place.
- Trail Three – This pathway, which is called Centennial Trail, is about 60 metres long. This walk takes you down the south side of Gonzales Hill, ending at Berkley Terrace.
The Centennial Trail is equipped with stairs and is a popular spot for hikers, runners, and for those taking their dogs for a daily walk.
At 66 meters above sea level, Gonzales Hill offers panoramic views of Trial Island and Lighthouse, Gonzales Bay, McNeil Bay, and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. From here, you can look out across to the Olympic Mountains in Washington State and even beyond to Mount Baker and Mount Rainer. This is a perfect opportunity to take advantage of one of the benches, including one near the summit, and take in the magnificent views and the nature that surrounds you.
The Gonzales Observatory sits at the top of the hill and has been used as a weather station for 75 years. This heritage building is one of the oldest in Victoria and is now used by the University Of Victoria (UVIC) in conducting research in atmospheric trace gases. VIU, which is just 4km from the observatory, measures the spatial and temporal distribution of greenhouse gases in an urban environment. This site also has the reputation of being the longest climate measurement recordings on North America’s west coast.
The easiest way to get to Gonzales Hill Regional Park is from Blanchard Street. For directions to the park, you can view a map directly on the park’s website.
Don’t miss out on this oasis in the heart of Victoria. For more information on the park, you can call Tourism Victoria’s Visitor Centre at 250.953.2033 or toll-free at 800.663.3883 or email them at [email protected].
Anglican Church of St Mary the Virgin
The Anglican Church of St. Mary the Virgin is a beautiful church located in the heart of Oak Bay on southern Vancouver Island. Besides being a place of worship, St. Mary’s is an active and integral part of the community, offering support for many of the services in the area.
St. Mary’s is involved in several community projects, including the Mustard Seed, where they collect food all year long and make donations to help thousands of local people who find themselves in need of extra support. They also support Project Grains, which encourages parishioners to donate 1 lb of grain every month to help the homeless. Additionally, the church hosts Noon Hour Concerts during Advent & Lent, with proceeds going to various local charities.
St. Mary’s is also home to the Canadian College of Performing Arts, and it shares its premises with the Oak Bay Parent Owned Preschool. The church also offers rental space in their main sanctuary, which seats up to 420 people, or the Chapel, which can accommodate up to 60. These venues are perfect for concerts and rehearsals. For more information about renting either of these spaces, you can contact their office at 250.598.2212.
The St. Mary’s choir, under the direction of Curt Bergen, is one of the best and most respected in the area, performing choral music from some of the great masters such as Gibbons, Tallis, Byrd, Bach, Handel, Mozart, Mendelssohn, Haydn, Stanford, Rutter, Faure, Goodall, and others.
The parish building is nothing short of majestic and happens to be one of the largest outside of the Cathedral. The aesthetic beauty and perfection of the stained glass adds to the reverent and welcoming atmosphere of the church. Each stained glass scene has been painstakingly chosen with a meaningful story behind each scene.
St. Mary’s hosts several regular events, including Prayer Shawl Knitters, Men’s Breakfast @ The Oaks, Bible Study, Women’s lunch @ The Oaks, and more. Worship at the Church is held on Sundays at 8:30 am (Holy Communion, Book of Common Prayer) and 10:00 am (Sung Eucharist, BAS, Sunday School) with coffee and tea following the service. Additionally, Holy Communion (BAS) is held on Wednesdays at 11:00 am.
St. Mary’s is available for weddings, baptisms, and Celebrations of Life for your loved ones. For more information on arranging such an event, you can contact the church office at 250.598.2212.