Oak Bay Neighborhood

Oak Bay Features the Most Coveted Real Estate in Greater Victoria.

OAK BAY is currently the most sought after district in the region, with it's many luxurious turn of the century character houses, elegant town homes, and condos, manicured lawns, tree lined boulevards, and it's generously landscaped oversize lots.  Nestled away from busy transportation corridors, and in very close proximity to the water, Oak Bay offers a quiet neighborhood ambience, very little traffic, and plenty of fresh air.  The housing stock is generally of superior quality, and in superb condition, with nothing in the way of industrial or heavy commercial activity to disturb the peace, while still offering enough in the way of conveniences and amenities to cater to the upscale tastes of it's conservative, mostly older professional, often retired, and generally more affluent population. 

The Oak Bay Ave neighborhood village is the most substantial and varied of it's kind in the city, offering everything from a bakery, to a high end organic butcher, a pharmacy, and an English style pub for those who wish to have a few pints without getting busted for driving under the influence by members of Oak Bay's own police force, some of whom have been known to drive while inebriated themselves, occasionally. Major shopping is available via the Fairfield Plaza shopping center, close by, or the Save on Foods center, that also features the most well stocked liquor store in the city, catering to Oak Bay's many wealthy boozers.    

Penny Farthing Pub

Oak Bay

"Oak Bay is essentially an Edwardian townscape," the architectural historian Martin Segger has observed. He went on to say that, as such, it preserves a visual record of British Columbia's grandest architectural age and the works of many of its most successful and gifted practitioners. The house at 599 Island Road- set well back along a winding driveway - exemplifies the scale of this Edwardian era in homebuilding.

Constructed of cut granite quarried on the original 35-acre farm site, roofed with slate from Deserted Bay, Jervis Inlet, on the Mainland coast, it was completed in 1910, the year of Edward VII's death when, deceptively, all seemed well with the world. The architect was Francis Rattenbury, already famous in the province. What materialized here from his inspired drawing board was a home both spacious and gracious, with entrance hall, lounges, library, conservatory off the main living room, bedrooms upstairs, servants' quarters and, for an exceptional feature, an oval window in the dining room. All this and more was built, over a three-year period, for Dr. Oswald (Owen) Meredith Jones, born in south Wales in 1863, a London-trained medical doctor who had come to Victoria as a Royal Navy surgeon aboard H.M.S. Warspite.

He opened his civilian practice in Victoria in 1891, eventually commissioning Samuel Maclure to design the Jones Building on Fort Street for his medical offices. In the years leading up to his death in 1918, he gained the reputation of being the most skilled surgeon in Canada. This skill, combined with the British patriotism of a man too old for active service, was expressed during the First World War by his attending, free of charge, hundreds of maimed soldiers repatriated from the front lines.

The popular doctor was also a gregarious family man, and in the few years he had to enjoy his home on the lee of Anderson Hill, it thronged with his own children, other relatives, and friends. His wife, who was a friend of Mrs. Butchart of Butchart Gardens fame, Mrs. Dunsmuir of Hatley Park and other notable gardeners around the city, helped with the landscaping, and here, as with the house, the emphasis was on permanence. Besides the conservatory, she had a greenhouse down in the garden where she grew lavender, rose geraniums, and a great variety of plants of her fancy. (A grapevine, a cutting taken from those at Hampton Court in England and brought out by a friend, also grows there.)

Later on, Mrs. Jones became known as the Lavender Lady of Oak Bay for making lavender perfume, soap and sachets. Every spring, drifts of snowdrops, crocuses and daffodils emblazon the grounds and in summer, the lavender hedges blossom; they speak softly of Mrs. Jones' love of gardening and her perception of beauty. Dr. Jones himself had a sense of property and land use that extended beyond Oak Bay - to mining interests and ranching. Farms he established at Metchosin and in the B.C. interior at Lillooet remain in the family to this day. His enthusiasm for science and scholarly pursuits also lived on. One son became a medical doctor in Victoria and in the Great War; a grandson, A.M. Quinton, is a noted British philosopher and the president of Trinity College, Oxford. His home has come through the long years virtually unchanged, as the residence of his daughter, Miss Ruth Jones. This family continuity distinguishes it from most other grand homes of the Edwardian era in British Columbia. Few of Oak Bay's splendid homes of seventy years ago are so closely bound to their origins.


Homes for Sale in Oak Bay

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