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First Oak Bay Municipal Office. Oak Bay Archives ref. 2016-005-009. The first Oak Bay municipal office was located in the the Law Chambers in Bastion Square from 1906 to 1912.  Foreground: James Floyd, first Municipal Clerk. ND, 1906-1912.

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Posts about local history and Oak Bay Archives holdings from the municipal archivist and archives volunteers.


Oak Bay Archives historic photographs

More about Oak Bay archives

Archives access during 2021 renovations

Contact the archivist

  • Oak Bay Street Names

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    Street Names and Origins

    Compiled by Jean Sparks, Oak Bay Archives. The earlier static 2017 version can be viewed at

    This version is online as of September 2021 and will be added to and updated as a live document., edited by Anna Sander, Archivist.

    Questions? Corrections? Sources? Email the archivist


    In the early years, names were given to Oak Bay streets without consideration of duplication of names already in use in adjacent areas. As a result of this practice, street names had to be changed on numerous occasions following complaints from postal authorities about confusion in mail delivery. At one time, there were three streets in Oak Bay with the name Gonzales.

    How some of the names listed here were arrived at must be pure conjecture, as the thoughts of councillors at the time are unknown. Nor is there reference in any of the early council minutes to the reason for giving a particular name to a street. Some have their origin in the name of a prominent personage. Others are of a nostalgic nature, leading to reminiscences of known places in the British Isles.

    Research suggests that a number of streets in the former Hudson’s Bay Company properties honour persons associated with HBC history, while many on the Lansdowne slope end in “downe”, perhaps reminiscent of the English topographical feature of treeless grassy slopes or uplands, bringing in an association with the nearby Uplands development. (See OED 'down' n.1 senses 1-2 The suffix also fits with Lansdowne (derived from a surname), which runs across the top of the development and informally lends its name to the area above Carnarvon Park. As with other names supplied on the plans when the land was subdivided, no explanation of street name choices was provided by the company.


    List of street names

    Street names are listed alphabetically, followed by either (historic), indicating that the name has been changed, or (current). Note that some names have changed more than once!

    Alexander Street (historic). Named for developer H.B. Alexander. Now Dewdney Avenue.

    Allenby Street (current) Renamed for Field Marshall Viscount Allenby following World War I. Originally Robert Street to the west of the Exhibition Grounds and Wakefield Street to the east of the Grounds.

    Anscomb Place (current). Named for Herbert Anscomb, 1892-1972, a former reeve of Oak Bay (1925), mayor of Victoria (1928-31), and a cabinet minister in the provincial government.

    Armstrong Avenue (current) ? possibly named for an early landowner.

    Ashdowne Road (current) Named by Hudson's Bay Company Land Department, Winnipeg (Manitoba).

    Avondale Road (current) Named by Hudson's Bay Company Land Department, Winnipeg (Manitoba).

    Babbacombe Place (historic) South of 951 Beach Drive to water. Now closed.

    Barkley Terrace (current) Named for Captain Charles William Barkley, an early explorer in local waters (ca. 1787). Formerly part of Highland Drive and Patricia Avenue.

    Bartlett Avenue (current) Named for Alfred T. Bartlett, an early resident of Oak Bay. Bay Road (historic) Now Cedar Hill Cross Road.

    Beach Drive (current) Originally three sections - Beach (First Street) from intersection of Dallas Road and Foul Bay Road (Victoria City boundary) along to the bend by the Victoria Golf Course; "Mount Baker Avenue" from that point to just beyond Bowker Creek, where it ended; and The Uplands portion was called Shore Road. By 1908, it was called Beach Drive all the way to Uplands, then Shore Road.

    Beach Avenue (historic) Now Broom Road. Descriptive.

    Beachway Avenue (historic) From Bells Road (now part of Musgrave Street) to city limits, now Cavendish Avenue.

    Beaver Street (historic) Original name of Beaverbrooke Street. Name changed at the request of the Victoria Postmaster.

    Beaverbrooke Street (current) Originally called Beaver Street. Name changed at the request of the Victoria Postmaster. Possibly named after small stream in the area rather than Lord Beaverbrooke.

    Bee Street (current) Origin unknown.

    Beech Road (historic) Found in 1911 Census. May be misspelling of Beach.

    Bellevue Street (historic) Now Beresford Place.

    Bells Road (historic) Now part of Musgrave Street.

    Belmont Street (historic) Now Satellite Street.

    Beresford Street (current) Originally Bellevue Street. Renamed for Admiral Lord Charles Beresford (1846-1919) .

    Bold Point Lane (historic) Was Island View Lane and later became Radcliffe Lane.

    Boundary Road (historic) Now Falkland Road.

    Bourchier Street (historic) Now Goldsmith Street.

    Bowker Place (current) Derived from the name of the J.S. Bowker residence, Bowker Place (formerly Oak Bay Farm) presently at 1931 Bowker Place.

    Bowker Avenue (current) Named for John Sylvester Bowker, 1867-1935, early resident of the District and son-in-law of John Tod. Originally Oak Bay Road.

    Brighton Avenue (current) Originally two names: Cowan Avenue and Brighton Place (Monterey to Transit). Possibly named for the English seaside town of Brighton, Sussex.

    Brighton Place (historic) One of the original names for Brighton Avenue along with Cowan Avenue. Brighton Place was the block between Oliver Street ((historic) name St. Andrew Street) and St. Patrick Street. It was to be left as a green space (square shaped). The municipality sold off the land in the 60s and four homes were built - two on Oliver Street and two on St. Patrick Street.

    Broom Road (current) Originally Beach Avenue, changed to avoid confusion with Beach Drive.

    Burdick Avenue (current) Early settler Newton Townley Burdick (1882-1953) was an alderman and reeve of Oak Bay in 1918.

    Burns Street (historic) After Scottish poet Robert Burns. Now Elgin Road.

    Byng Street (current) Originally Church Road. Renamed for Lord Byng of Vimy (WWI). Also called Oakland(s) Road.

    Byron Street (current) For the English poet, George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron, better known as Lord Byron (1788- 1824).

    Cadboro Bay Road (current) A shortening or variant of the name Cadborough, first vessel to enter the bay of that name (c. 1842) in the service of the Hudson's Bay Company. Becomes Fort St at Foul Bay. See also Willow Crescent.

    Calvert Crescent (historic) Anderson Hill to Earn Street - closed for Elkington Close - now part of Centennial Trail. Origin unknown.

    Camas Lane (historic) Camas Lane is named after the native plant (kwetlal, Latin Camassia) cultivated as a food resource by Indigenous peoples. This lane was unnamed until approximately 2005. It is historically significant for following the survey line delineating the south end of HBC's Uplands Farm, and it was used as a pathway from the beach to the HBC trading post on what is now Nottingham Park. More about Blue Camas tradition and restoration:

    Cardiff Place (current) Named for Cardiff, Wales.

    Cardigan Road (current) Named for Cardigan, Wales.

    Carnarvon Street (current) Named for Carnarvon, Wales. Formerly Gordon Street.

    Carrick Street (current) Continuation of a street in Saanich with the same name. Originally Fourth Street.

    Cavendish Avenue (current) Possibly named for William Cavendish, Earl of Newcastle. Originally Beachway Avenue.

    Cedar Hill Cross Road (current) Originally called Bay Road.

    Central Avenue (current) Central location, dividing south Oak Bay.

    Charlton Street (historic) Prior to 1928. From Foul Bay Road to Fairgrounds. Now Newton Street.

    Chaucer Street (current) After English poet Geoffrey Chaucer (c.1343-1400).

    Chelsea Place (current) Named by HBC, possibly for the affluent area of southwest London, England.

    Chiltern Place (current) Named by HBC, possibly for the Chiltern Hills, north and west of London, England.

    Christie Way (current) For Victoria alderman, the late Mrs. Margaret Christie, who was responsible for the subdivision of city-owned property once part of the lane of the Old Men's Home (Mountain View) on Hampshire Hill. Councillor from 1944-54.

    Church Road (historic) Now Byng Street.

    Clive Drive (current) Named for Sir Clive Phillipps-Wolley, who built a large home, Woodhall, at the upper end of the street in 1891.

    Connaught Avenue (historic) Previously Olympia Avenue, now Estevan Avenue.

    Cookman Street (current) Probably named for an early resident.

    Cotswold Road (current) Uplands. Named for the Cotswold Hills in England, following the HBC tradition of naming streets for British places.

    Cowan Avenue (historic) One of the original names for Brighton Avenue along with Brighton Place. Cowan Avenue went from Foul Bay Road to Victoria Avenue.

    Cranleigh Place (current) Name taken from Cranleigh House School (formerly the Willows Hotel), itself named after the English public (i.e private, boarding) school in Cranleigh, Surrey.

    Cranmore Road (current) Contraction of names of early families Crane and Blakemore. Originally called Tod Road, leading to John Sylvester Bowker's Oak Bay Farm. NB There is currently another Tod(d) Road.

    Crescent Road (current) Descriptive.

    Crestview Road (current) Descriptive.

    Cubbon Drive (current) A subdivision of the former Joseph Pemberton Jr. property. Named for the developer Harold Cubbon.

    Currie Road (current) Originally Longbranch Avenue. Named for Lieutenant General Sir Arthur Currie, C.B., K.C.M.G., commander of the Canadian forces, WWI.

    Dalhousie Street (current) Originally in three sections: Thistle Street at the upper end; Margaret Street in the middle; and Seaview Avenue toward Beach Drive. Possibly to honour the Earl of Dalhousie, or after Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

    Deal Road (historic) Part of Cattle Point Loop/Scenic Drive. Also called Southdowne Road. Changed in 1928 when road not completed due to Uplands Park. 1908 Victoria map shows it as part of what is now the Cattle Point loop. Deal went from Beach directly to the waterfront (no loop). Southdowne Rd, between Beach and Landsdowne, is now wholly within Uplands park.

    Deal Street (current) Possibly named for the seaside town of Deal in Kent, England.

    Denison Road (current) Was to have been part of Highland Drive (now Barkley Terrace). Renamed for Napier Denison, 1866-1946, Dominion Government Meteorologist, at the time the observatory was was constructed on Gonzales Hill. Denison was known to thousands of Victorians as "our weatherman."

    Devon Road (current) Named for the English county.

    Dewdney Avenue (current) Originally Alexander Avenue. Renamed for Edgar Dewdney, 1835-1916.

    Dorset Road (current) Named for the English county. Southern part to Beach Drive was called Meadow Road. Changed in 1928.

    Dover Road (current) Named for the English seaport town.

    Dryfe Street (current) Possibly an early settler. Scottish place name.

    Dufferin Avenue (current) Originally Scott Avenue. Named for Lord Dufferin, Governor General of Canada, 1872- 1878.

    Dundrum Road (current) Hudson's Bay Company name. A suburb of Dublin, Ireland.

    Dunlevy Street (current) Named for Peter C. Dunlevy, an early settler prior to 1906. Originally Fourth Street, then Fuller's (Fuller?) Avenue (or Street) after early landowner.

    Durham Road (historic) Uplands road on Oak Bay Municipality 1911 map. Not built. (North end of Shoreway near Cadboro Bay intersection.)

    Earn Street (current) Part of Centennial Trail - Transit to Island Roads. Possibly after Loch Earn in Scotland. Eastdowne Road (current) Another of the "downes" named by Hudson Bay Company. The portion of the road from Cadboro Bay Road to Haultain Street (Fairgrounds) was originally Willow Road.

    Edgecliffe Place (current) Cul-de-sac subdivision named after the (historic) Edgecliffe estate (formerly 925 Foul Bay Road) where the road is situated.

    Elgin Road (current) Originally Burns Street (for Scottish poet Robert Burns). May be named for Elgin, Scotland, or it could be named for Victor Alexander Bruce, 9th Earl of Elgin.

    Elkington Close (current) After Dr. Elkington - dentist and owner of property prior to subdivision of 572 Island Road.

    Empress Street (historic) Now Epworth Street.

    Epworth Street (current) Originally named Empress Street. Possibly after village of Epworth, Lincolnshire, England.

    Esplanade (current) Originally Oak Bay Esplanade.

    Estevan Avenue (current) Originally Olympia Avenue, later changed to Connaught Avenue. Present name may be for an early Spanish explorer, though could have been suggested by news reports of the arrival of the lighthouse tender C.G.S. Estevan in Victoria at the time of the name change.

    Exeter Road (current) Named for Exeter, England.

    Fair Street (current) Name originated from the agricultural fair held annually at the Willows Exhibition Grounds.

    Falkland Road (current) Originally named Boundary Road. Present name commemorates the Battle of the Falkland Islands during World War I.

    Fifth Street (historic) Now Musgrave Street.

    First Street (historic) Section of Beach Drive from Dallas and Foul Bay Roads along to the bend by the Victoria Golf Course.

    Florence Street (current) Origin unknown.

    Foul Bay Road (current) From the bay of the same name. (This was spelled "Fowl" on some early charts.) The name was given to the bay by early mariners because its exposed position and rocky seabed provided a poor anchorage.

    Fourth Street (historic) Now Dunlevy Street and also Carrick Street.

    Frederick Norris Road (current) Named for former reeve (1954-58) Frederick E. Norris.

    Frederick Norris Place (current) Named for former reeve (1954-58) Frederick E. Norris.

    Front Street (historic) Now Penzance Road and Maquinna Road.

    Fuller Street (historic) After Alfred Dixon Fuller, early developer who purchased much of the John Tod estate in 1879. Now Dunlevy Street.

    Gibbs Road (current) Named for former reeve (1950-53) and MLA, P.A. Gibbs.

    Glen Avenue (current) Named by Hudson's Bay Company. Now closed.

    Goldsmith Street (current) Originally Bourchier Street. Named for Irish/English poet Oliver Goldsmith (1730-1774).

    Gonzales Avenue (historic) Two different roads. One near the Chinese Cemetery now called Quimper Street (changed in 1928). The other is a section of Granite Street.

    Goodwin Street (current) Originally Nile Street. Gordon Street (historic) Now Carnarvon Street. Granite Street (current) A section was orginally called Gonzales Street.

    Greatford Place (current) May have been named for an early settler or village in England.

    Guernsey Street (current) Originally Katherine Street. Named for the island of Guernsey in the English Channel, birthplace of the father of John Le Gresley who built a home at 2184 Guernsey Street in 1912.

    Hall Road (current) Named for Frederick James Hall, an early resident of the area.

    Hamiota Street (current) Possibly Hamiota, Saskatchewan.

    Hampshire Road (current) Originally Junction Road. Named by early farmer William Noble after his birthplace Hampshire, England.

    Hampshire Terrace (current) Named for Hampshire, England - birthplace of early farmer William Noble.

    Harlow Drive (current) Origin unknown.

    Haro (current) Unpaved, off Cedar Hill Cross (X) Road on University land.

    Haro (historic) Now Rosario Street.

    Hattie Street (historic) Now Pentland Road.

    Haultain Street (current) This is a continuation of a street that starts in the City of Victoria and passes through a portion of the District of Saanich. Origin of name is unknown. First named Third Street in Oak Bay.

    Hazel Street (current) May have been named for an early medical doctor of same surname who was associated with the Royal Jubilee Hospital.

    Henderson Road (current) Named for William Henderson, second reeve of Oak Bay, 1909-11.

    Heron Street (current) Originally Third Street (see Haultain Street). Present name may be derived from the bird indigenous to the local waterfront.

    Herrick Street (historic) Named after James "Herrick" McGregor, surveyor. He lived at the corner of Newport Avenue and St. David Street. He was one of the men behind the Oak Harbour Plan (deep sea harbour and hotel) with Joseph Pemberton, circa 1891. Now Satellite Street.

    Hewlett Place (current) Named for H.F. Hewlett, early Oak Bay reeve, 1923-24. Originally part of Mitchell Street.

    Highland Drive (historic) Now Barkley Terrace (was to continue to Denison Road but not completed [Oak Bay Municipality map 1911]).

    Hood Lane (current) Possibly for HMS Hood. Originally Rainier Lane.

    Hudson Avenue Now Sutherland Road. Humber Road (current) Origin unknown. Family name, river in England.

    Inglewood Terrace (current) Origin unknown. Place name.

    Island Road (current) Possibly named as the road leading to Trial Island.

    Island View Lane (historic) Original name of Radcliffe Lane.

    Junction Road (historic) Now Hampshire Road, south of Oak Bay Avenue.

    Jutland (historic) Now Sutherland Road.

    Katherine Street (historic) Now Guernsey Street.

    Kelsey Place (current) Named for Hudson's Bay Company explorer Henry Kelsey, the "Little Giant," 1667-1724.

    Kendal Avenue (current) Named by Hudson's Bay Company, possibly after the English market town in the picturesque Lakeland area of Cumbria.

    King George Terrace (current) Named for King George V. Part near Beach Drive originally called Sunrise Avenue.

    Kings Road (current) A continuation of a Victoria road of the same name.

    Kinross Avenue (current) Scottish place name.

    Lafayette Street (current) Origin unknown.

    Lansdowne Road (current) Named by Hudson's Bay Company after Governor General Henry Charles Keith Petty-Fitzmaurice, the 5th Marquess of Lansdowne (1883-1888).

    Larch Street (historic) Now Plumer Street.

    Larkdowne Road (current) HBC named street ending in "downe."

    Laurel Street (historic) Now Victoria Avenue, south of McNeill Avenue.

    Lincoln Road (current) Originally two sections: the northern end was called Seagull Avenue and the southern end was Second Street. Possibly for the English county town. Historic, unfinished portion through Uplands Park.

    Linkleas Avenue (current) Part of Golf Links Park Subdivision, on the Lea of the Links.

    Lion (historic) Off Macquinna at the end of Lorne Terrace. Found in Fire Insurance book of Victoria, Volume Three.

    Long Branch Avenue (historic) After Longbranch, a resort town in New York State. Now Currie Road.

    Lorne Terrace (current) Honours the Marquess of Lorne, Canada's 4th Governor General.

    Lulie Street (current) Originally Warwick, then St. Lulie Street. Conflict with St. Louis Street caused the "St." to be dropped, possibly after Lulie Gore.

    Lyn Crescent (current) Subdivision off Central Avenue, c. 1950.

    Maquinna Road (current) May have been named for Chief Maquinna whom Captain Cook met on his first exploratory voyage into Nootka Sound. Originally Front Street on Harling Point.

    Penzance Road was also part of Front Street. Margaret Street (historic) Now a portion of Dalhousie Road, the middle portion. From Cadboro Bay Road to Musgrave Street.

    Margate Avenue (current) Named for the English seaside town.

    Marne Street (current) Commemoration of the famous Battle of the Marne in WWI.

    Marrion Street (historic) For Robert Marrion, a settler prior to 1906. Properties were purchased by the municipality in the 1970s to create the Oak Bay Recreation Centre. Commemorated in the name of Marrion Village seniors' housing complex.

    Mayhew Street (current) After the Honourable Robert Mayhew, 1880-1971. Reeve of Oak Bay 1935-37, MP for Victoria, 1937-52; Federal Fisheries Minister, 1948-52; and First Ambassador to Japan, 1952-54.

    McGregor Heights (historic) Closed. From Granite Street to Brighton Avenue. Named after subdivision developer James Herrick McGregor.

    McLaren Avenue (current) Named for dairy farmer Duncan McLaren.

    McNeill Avenue (current) Named for Captain William Henry McNeill of the Hudson's Bay Company and early landowner at Shoal (now McNeill) Bay.

    Meadow Place (current) Descriptive of surrounding farming area, off Foul Bay Road.

    Meadow Road (historic) Uplands boundary from South Circle (Midland Road) to Shore Road (Beach Drive). Now part of Dorset Road. Changed in 1928.

    Middowne Road (current) Another Hudson Bay's Company name ending in "downe". East-west mid-line of the subdivision.

    Midland Circle (current) Turn around for BC Electric Tram in the Uplands. Plans show a north and south circle, connected by Midland Way.

    Midland Road (current) Originally Midland Way, traversed by BC Electric Company Uplands streetcar tracks, and Midland Circle where streetcars turned for return trip to the City of Victoria.

    Midland Way (historic) Connection between North and South Midland Circles. Now Midland Road.

    Milton Street (current) For John Milton, the English poet (1608-74).

    Mitchell Street (current) Named for an early resident (c. 1908). Formerly Cowan [?? Cowan is now Brighton]. Also included in Hewlett Place.

    Monteith Street (current) Possibly for W.B. Monteith, an early resident.

    Monterey Avenue (current) Originally called St. George Street north of McNeill Avenue. Changed to the present name in 1921.

    Monterey Crescent (historic) Was to be a street running from the bend in Monterey Avenue (at Bowker Creek where it turns into St. Ann Street) over to the end of Lulie St onto Monteith St. It was never opened as that is now Firefighters' (formerly Firemen's) Park. The Firehall was opened in 1939.

    Mount Baker Avenue (historic) Section of Beach Drive from Victoria Golf Course (or Windsor Road?) to just beyond Bowker Creek, where it ended. By 1908 the section appears as Beach Drive

    Mountjoy Avenue (current) Named after Mountjoy, the estate of Frederick Despard Pemberton.

    Mowat Street (current) After an early resident. Murdoch Crescent (current) After former reeve George Murdoch.

    Musgrave Street (current) Originally Fifth Street. Named after John Musgrave, principal of the early real estate firm of Swinerton & Musgrave, and Commodore of the Royal Victoria Yacht Club.

    Myrtle Street (historic) Now Victoria Avenue, north of McNeill Avenue.

    Neil Street (current) Originally Thompson Avenue west of Cadboro Bay Road. Changed to West Thompson Avenue in 1939. When the former Willows Fairgrounds was subdivided, a new road was created in alignment with Neil Street in Saanich and with West Thompson Avenue. Renamed Neil Street.

    Newport Avenue (current) After resort area Newport Beach, Long Island. Part of a group of streets named after resort destinations.

    Newton Street (current) This new road created in the subdivision of the former fairgrounds also aligned with a Saanich street named Newton. Probably named for an early resident. A portion of this road previously existed between Foul Bay Road and the fairgrounds and was known as Charlton Street, prior to 1928.

    Nile Street (historic) Now Goodwin Street.

    Norfolk Road (current) Original name. This was changed to Norwich in 1928 and later changed back to the original name, after the English county.

    Norfolk Avenue (historic) (historic) road on Exhibition Grounds. Access road from Cadboro Bay Road to stables.

    North Hampshire Road (historic) Hampshire Road north of Oak Bay Avenue.

    Norwich (historic) (historic) street in the Uplands. Changed from Norfolk Road in 1928, later reversed.

    Nottingham Road (current) Named for Nottingham, England. Formerly Somerset Road/Street/Avenue?

    Oak Bay Avenue (current) Original name. Changed in 1913 to Pandora Avenue until a later council reversed the decision.

    Oak Bay Road (historic) Now Bowker Avenue.

    Oak Bay Esplanade (historic) Now Esplanade.

    Oakdowne Road (current) Named by Hudson's Bay Company. Another of the 'downe' roads.

    Oakland(s) Road (historic) Now Byng/Plumer.

    Ochil (historic) Monterey Avenue near Central Avenue.

    Oliver Street (current) Originally St. Andrew Street. Changed in 1921 and named for W.E. Oliver, first reeve of Oak Bay in 1906.

    Olympia Avenue (historic) Now Estevan Avenue.

    Orchard Avenue (current) Origin unknown - descriptive?

    Pacific Avenue (current) Suggested by proximity to ocean.

    Pandora Avenue (historic) Oak Bay Avenue name change in 1913. Reversed back to Oak Bay Avenue at a later date, possibly 1921?

    Patio Court (current) California inspired five house cul-de-sac, north side of San Carlos.

    Patricia Avenue (historic) Now Barkley Terrace.

    Pattullo Place (current) Named for Thomas Dufferin (Duff) Pattullo (1873-1956), 22nd Premier of British Columbia and long time resident of Oak Bay.

    Pelly Place (current) Named for J.H. Pelly, Governor of Hudson's Bay Company 1822-52.

    Pentland Road (current) Originally Hattie Street. Scottish place name.

    Penzance Road (current) Possibly for Penzance, Cornwall, (UK). Originally Front Street on Harling Point. Maquinna Road was also part of Front Street.

    Pleasant Avenue (historic) Now Roslyn Road.

    Plumer Street (current) Formerly Church Road, Larch Street, and Oakland(s) Road. Named for Field Marshall Viscount Plumer (WWI). [Church Road and Oakland(s) Road are categorized with Byng Street #1027.]

    Plymouth Road (current) Named for Plymouth, Devon, England.

    Prince Andrew Place (current) Named for the second son of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip.

    Prince Edward Drive (current) Named for the youngest son of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip.

    Prospect Place (current) Originally Prospect Street. Changed in 1921. "One other special feature is the actual layout of Prospect Place, which is undoubtedly the one piece of urban design by F.M. Rattenbury within Oak Bay's boundaries. Designed virtually as a private drive, Oak Bay Avenue was continued (as Prospect Place) through a street of houses by name architects to the gates of Rattenbury's own home." [source]

    Prospect Street (historic) Now Prospect Place.

    Quimper Street (current) Named for Sub-Lieutenant Manuel Quimper of the Spanish Navy who explored local waters in 1790. Was Gonzales Avenue - near the Chinese Cemetery, at Harling Point. Name changed in 1928.

    Radcliffe Lane (current) Originally Island View Lane and later changed to Bold Point Lane. Origin unknown.

    Ranier Lane (historic) Possible views of Mount Rainier. Now Hood Lane.

    Rattenbury Place (current) Named for F.M. Rattenbury, architect for the Parliament Buildings in Victoria, early Oak Bay alderman and reeve in 1913.

    Redwood Avenue (current) Named by Hudson's Bay Company - reference to sequoia trees of Cedar Hill area.

    Renfrew Road (current) Named by Hudson's Bay Company. Possibly after place name (Renfrew, Scotland) or family name.

    Ripon Road (current) Originally York Road. Changed in 1928. Possibly for Captain Ripon of the CPR Coast Steamship service, a prominent figure in the early years, or the cathedral city in North Yorkshire, England.

    Robert Street (historic) To the west of the Exhibition Grounds into Saanich. To the east of the Grounds, the road was called Wakefield. Now both are called Allenby Street.

    Rock Road (historic) Esplanade near Cattle Point. 1911

    Rosario Street (current) Earlier called Walter, Haro. Derived from Rosario Strait.

    Roslyn Road (current) Originally Pleasant Avenue.

    Runnymede Avenue (current) Named for Runnymede, England. (historic)/anecdotal - Salubrious Avenue. Runnymede Place (current) Named for Runnymede, England.

    Rutland Road (current) Originally Suffolk Road. Possibly named for County of Rutland, England.

    San Carlos Avenue (current) Possibly after California resort town. Incorporates Patio Court.

    Sandowne Road (current) Named by Hudson's Bay Company. Another of the 'downe' roads.

    Saratoga Avenue (historic) After resort town Saratoga, N.Y. Now Windsor Road.

    Satellite Street (current) Derived from name of Satellite Channel. Original driveway to a summer camp (home). (historic) names were Belmont Street and Herrick Street.

    Scott Avenue (historic) Named for early developer. Now Dufferin Avenue.

    Seagull Avenue (historic) The northern end of Lincoln Road. Southern end was called Second Street.

    Seaview Avenue (historic) Now a portion of Dalhousie Road. From Musgrave Street to the sea at The Esplanade.

    Second Street (historic) Southern end of Lincoln Road. Northern end was called Seagull Avenue.

    Shady Lane (current) Descriptive Next to Bowker Creek off of Beach Drive.

    Sherringham Place (current) Possibly for Sheringham, England, but Sherringham with both rs is also a surname.

    Shore Road (historic) Descriptive -Section of Beach Drive from Bowker Creek to the Uplands.

    Shore Drive (historic) Section of Beach Drive from Bowker Creek to the Uplands.

    Shoreway (historic) Section of Beach Drive from Bowker Creek to the Uplands.

    Smythe Street (current) Origin unknown, prob. name.

    Somass Drive (current) Origin unknown - cf Somass River, Port Alberni.

    Somerset Road (historic) Now Nottingham Road.

    Southdowne Road (current) Named by Hudson's Bay Company. Another of the 'downe' roads. Uplands.

    St. Andrew Street (historic) Changed to Oliver Street in 1921.

    St. Ann Street (current) After Saint Ann and possibly Sisters of St. Ann.

    St. David Street (current) Welsh Saint.

    St. Denis Street (current) French Saint. Original survey crossed Windsor Park.

    St. George Street (historic) North part of Monterey Avenue from McNeill Avenue to Oak Bay Avenue.

    St. Henry Street (historic) Original survey crossed Windsor Park west of St. Denis Street. [Never completed?]

    St. James Street (historic) Transit Road north of McNeill Avenue to Newport Avenue.

    St. Louis Street (current) After Louis IX, only canonized King of France.

    St. Lulie Street (historic) Now Lulie Street. Site of early Oak Bay landfill.

    St. Patrick Street (current) Irish Saint.

    Stonehewer Place (current) Part of the Kildonan estate (931 Foul Bay Road) of John Sutherland. Named after a former Sutherland residence, Stonehewer House.

    Suffolk Road (historic) Now Rutland Road.

    Sunny Lane (current) Origin unknown - descriptive?

    Sunrise Avenue (historic) Descriptive - Eastern part of King George Terrace from Sunny Lane to Beach Drive.

    Sunset Avenue (current)

    Surrey Road (current) Named for Surrey, England.

    Sutherland Road (current) Original name Jutland, later Hudson Avenue. Named for John Sutherland, early resident and a member of early Oak Bay council.

    Swanson Place (current) Named after John Swanson (1827-72), HBC master of Beaver, Cowlitz and Enterprise shipping vessels.

    Sylvan Lane (current) Descriptive.

    Tarn Place (current) Origin unknown.

    Theatre Lane (current) Named for the Oak Bay Theatre which closed in 1985.

    Third Street (historic) Now Heron Street and Haultain Street as there were two Third Streets in Oak Bay at one time.

    Thistle Street (historic) Now a portion of Dalhousie Road, from Eastdowne Road ((historic) Willows Road) to Cadboro Bay Road. Thompson Avenue (current) Possibly named for explorer David Thompson.

    Thorpe Place (current) Origin unknown.

    Tinto Street (current) Possibly Tinto, Scotland.

    Tod Road (historic) Now Cranmore Road.

    Tod Road (current) Originally the driveway from Cadboro Bay Road to the home of John Tod, Chief Factor of the Hudson's Bay Company. The house (Oak Bay House) still exists on Heron Street. Also Tod Lane.

    Topp Avenue (current) Named after local developer or for C.H. Topp, a former city engineer of Victoria.

    Townley Street (current) Name given to a Saanich street of which the one in Oak Bay is a continuation. Possibly named for an early resident Newton Townley Burdick, active in real estate and reeve of Oak Bay in 1918.

    Transit Road (current) After surveyor's instrument or describing transit road to McNeill Bay land fill? North of McNeill Avenue to Newport Avenue called St. James Street.

    University Woods (current) Originally part of Hudson's Bay Woods. Proximity to the University of Victoria?

    Uplands Road (current) After HBC Uplands Farm and subdivision.

    Uplands Place (current) Upper Terrace Road (current) For location.

    Valdez Place (current) Named for Captain Valdez, an early Spanish explorer.

    Victoria Avenue (current) Named for Queen Victoria. Originally in two sections: Laurel Street from Beach Drive to McNeill Avenue and Myrtle Street north of McNeill Avenue.

    Wakefield Road (historic) Off Exhibition Grounds to the east. Now Allenby Street. To the west of the Grounds this road was called Robert Street.

    Wales Road (historic) Uplands, between Upper Terrace and Midland Road. Not built - now a pedestrian trail.

    Walter Street (historic) Was also Haro. Now Rosario Street.

    Warwick (historic) Suggested for Lulie Street.

    Weald Road (current) = a forest or uncultivated upland. Area of Kent, England.

    Wessex Close (current) From Wessex, England. Wessex Crescent (current) From Wessex, England.

    West Thompson Avenue (historic) Now Neil Street. Continuation of Thompson Avenue running from Cadboro Bay Road to Foul Bay Road and continuing into Saanich.

    Westdowne Road (current) Named by Hudson's Bay Company. Westerly road of the subdivision. Another one of the "downe" roads.

    Willow Crescent (historic) From Willow Road (now Eastdowne Road) to Bowker Avenue. Now part of Cadboro Bay Road.

    Willows Road (historic) From Cadboro Bay Road to the Fairgrounds at Haultain Street. Changed to Willows Road in 1928. Now Eastdowne Road.

    Willows Road (historic) Was Willow Road. Now is Eastdowne Road.

    Wilmot Place (current) Originally driveway to Wilmot House, home of Joseph Despard Pemberton Jr.

    Windsor Road (current) Originally Saratoga. Renamed 1921- 22 for the Royal House of Windsor.

    Woodburn Avenue (current) Named by Hudson's Bay Company. Scottish and north English family name.

    Woodhouse Road (current) Named for W.L. Woodhouse, reeve of Oak Bay 1941-45.

    Woodlawn Crescent (current) An early subdivision off Monterey Crescent/Avenue.

    Wootton Crescent (current) Named for former reeve, R.A.B. Wootton, 1948-49.

    Yale Street (current) After James Murray Yale, 1798-1871, Chief Trader for the HBC at Fort Langley. York Road (historic) Uplands. Now Ripon Road.

    York Place (current) Named for York, England. Original Oak Bay Avenue address.

    Zela Street (current) Ancient city, site of Battle of Zela, 67 BC.

    Questions? Corrections? Sources? Email the archivist

  • August 2021 #ArchiveFirsts

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    August's illustrated Tweets for @explorearchives #ExploreYourArchives theme of #firsts - with a few more characters than Twitter allows, and some links to explore further:

    Oak Bay Archives @OakBayArchives

    Aug 5

    Some Archive #firsts for August's #exploreyourarchive theme, starting with the first woman who served as the municipality's mayor, Frances Elford (1914-2002).

    More about her life & career:

    Image: Oak Bay Archives, PHOT 2016-002-030

    Aug 6

    The first Exhibition Building at Willows Fairgrounds (on the site of the present day Carnarvon Park) aka 'Crystal Palace'. Built in 1887, it was destroyed by fire in 1907. Fairs, however, continued into the 1940s.

    More about the B.C. Agricultural Association Exhibition Building:

    Image: OB Archives PHOT 1994-001-072

    Aug 9

    Today we’re hopping just across municipal borders to the first Royal Jubilee Hospital building at Richmond x Fort, built 1889-91.

    Image: OB Archives PHOT 2010-010-316 by Oak Bay photographer Frank Burrell, ca1900.

    More @CityOfVictoria Archives

    Aug 10

    The first St Mary's Anglican Church building in Oak Bay, built 1911 as a local ‘chapel of ease’ to the Cathedral, replaced by the present building 1959. The street address then was 1805 Burns Rd, but is now 1701 Elgin Rd – street names and numbering have changed, not the site.

    Image: OBA PHOT 2010-010-153, photo by Frank Burrell, ca 1912.

    More about St Mary’s history: The history of St. Mary the Virgin Anglican Church, Oak Bay, Victoria BC, 1911-2011 (first published 1986, updated 2011) by Betty Benton and Elizabeth Laugharne.

    Aug 12

    James Sterling Floyd, Oak Bay’s first municipal clerk, & staff in the first Oak Bay municipal offices – ironically, not in the municipality at all for Oak Bay’s first few years of official existence 1906-1912, but downtown at 1218 Langley St in (looks like the basement of) the then brand new Rattenbury-designed Chancery Chambers building, adjacent to Bastion Square.

    Image: OB Archives PHOT 2016-005-009…

    More about JS Floyd…

    More about this building:

    Now, who can identify the women in the photo…

    Aug 16

    Oak Bay's 1st reeve (mayor), William Edgar Oliver (1867-1920), held office for three terms: 1906-08, 1912, and 1914-15.


    And try searching photo # 2006-004 as well.

    See also @CityOfVictoria Archives & archives descriptions, and @archivesassocbc's catalogues at MemoryBC…

    Aug 17

    Oak Bay's first fire chief, Edward G Clayards 1904-1955, formerly of @CityOfVictoria fire dept, was appointed in 1938 when the municipality established its own @OakBayFireDept

    Image: OB Archives PHOT 1994-048-018

    Here's his original helmet… #exploreyourarchives #firsts

    Aug 19

    Oak Bay House (Tod House) still stands at 2564 Heron St, built by Oak Bay's first retiree (possibly the least interesting facet of his biography!) HBC Factor John Tod, in 1850/51


    More on John Tod… & on the house

    Both of those publications about John Tod & Tod House need updates. See also Robert C. Belyk’ biography John Tod: Rebel in the Ranks, published by Horsdal & Schubert in 1995.

    Tod House is a Designated Heritage Property on the Oak Bay Heritage Register: see and

    Aug 24

    Oak Bay's original Municipal Hall, at the NW corner of Hampshire Rd x Oak Bay Ave

    OBA PHOT 2016-005-001…

    The building gains some nice streetscape context in this @BCArchives photo… taken looking NW past Pattinson pharmacy, now @_PennyFarthing

    Aug 31

    The last in this series of #ExploreYourArchive #firsts is the First World War #WW1 in Oak Bay. Here, troops are marching from Willows Camp at Willows Fairgrounds on Willows Rd (now the south end of Eastdowne) toward Cadboro Bay Rd, ca 1915. I reckon the house nearest the camera on the right is the one that's still at the northeast corner of Bowker x Eastdowne; that distinctive curve at Eastdowne and Cadboro Bay is still there. This photo must have been taken from the south side of Cadboro Bay Road, which would run across the bottom of the photo. There's no longer a streetcar track on Eastdowne, and the Exhibition buildings have been replaced by houses, but the three houses visible on the right are still there, including, about three telephone poles back, the former Willows Park Grocery, now housing Yumbrosia deli.

    Image: OBA PHOT 2012-001-057

    And compare with Joseph Davenport, Atlas Map of Victoria BC, pocket edition. Island Blue Print & Map Co., 1925. P. 27 (detail) – showing junction of Cadboro Bay Road and Willows Road (now Eastdowne) and Fair St streetcar loop.

    Compare with that corner now, on Google Earth:,-123.31617603,14.9730085a,107.17345122d,35y,6.20228797h,63.69327163t,0r

    For more photos of any of the above subjects, search Oak Bay Archives' photos online at

    Questions for the archivist? email

  • April 2021 #Archive30

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    April brings the annual #Archive30 hashtag from the Archives & Records Association Scotland, providing daily prompts for archivists to highlight themes in their collections. It's a great way to get to know an archive from different angles, bringing individual items or whole collections into focus. The hashtags provide a great way for archivists, volunteers and researchers to think about how we present the stories in our own archives, and to get to know about repositories, fonds, projects and puzzles from a wide range of other archives.

    Archival research hardly ever uses a one-stop shop approach - who knows where relevant material could turn up? Have a read through the hashtags each day and get to know the network! It's a series of fascinating glimpses into archival work, holdings, and ways of thinking. And sometimes (totally relevant) historic cat pictures.

    Tweets are limited to 280 characters, including punctuation, so they have to be concise (and/or heavily abbreviated - palaeographers are thinking 'everything old is new again') but info-dense. They function well as attention catchers, tips of the icebergs, the opening sentences of a story - or many stories. What connections will readers find, or reveal? What questions will be sparked? Click through to the entries on Twitter @OakBayArchives to follow up some interesting conversation threads.

    Here are my entries @OakBayArchives for this year:

    for Archives Awareness Week, some posts for #Archive30 . 1. #MyArchive is in storage atm & I'm working from home, so I'll be mostly sharing photos from our online collection: search at . 2021#AAW

    #Archive30 Day 2 #WhereYouStarted Near Oak Bay’s beginnings, ca 1911: Public Works paving crew with horse drawn cart, removing rock for road beds, Gonzales Hill . Later paved to become King George Terrace. #2021AAW

    #Archive30 Day 3 #HealthArchives Larry Davenport and daughter Ann at Davenport's Pharmacy, 2020 Oak Bay Avenue, in 1968. #2021AAW

    #Archive30 Day 4 #SomethingSmall a 1917 Oak Bay Dog Tax tag. Oak Bay dog licensing started in 1912 - letters, minutes, bylaws re controlling stray dogs (& other animals) recur in decades of Council minutes. See for photos of early C20 Oak Bay dogs #2021AAW

    from @DistrictOakBay Council minutes 6 Apr 1907 #OTD 114 yrs ago, on Pound By-Law: a cttee wd "see about obtaining a field, & that the Pathmaster [roads supervisor] be instructed only to enforce the By-Law where cattle were straying on the roads & where complaints had been made."

    #Archive30 Day 5 #ArchivesFromHome Frank Burrell (1861-1928) of Pemberton & Sons was also a photographer & took many informal photos of his family at their home, ‘Summerdyne' (SW corner Oak Bay Ave x Monterey, now Royal Bank site). See more #2021AAW

    #Archive30 Day 6 #UnusualItem Not a shredder or complicated wastebasket but an early C20 (?) dough mixer. I have only this photo of the patent info & instructions on the lid (a drawback of #ArchivesFromHome)

    but here’s a near cousin @smithsonian : #2021AAW

    And spot another in this RBCM video!

    #Archive30 Day 7 #ArchiveFoodAndDrink : Family Tea at Oak Bay Camp, ca 1905. A group of young OB men lived in tents on the beach @ foot of OB Ave & commuted by tram fr Windsor Pk, summers 1889-1909 More info, More vintage picnics:

    #Archive30 0 Day 8 #ArchiveOutreach @SarahMcLeod_TL and I & @glenlyonnorfolk Grade 4 had a lot of fun with this virtual tour & talk about research using historical sources & what archivists do. Can I help you and your class with something similar? #2021AAW

    #Archive30 Day 9 #ArchiveObject a selection of the many objects @OakBayArchives : school slate and trophies, pharmacy mortar & pestle, former municipal seal press, a toaster and china teacups. Objects give an extra dimension to history in archives! #2021AAW

    #Archive30 Day10 #DigitalArchives Very little born-digital material in this archive yet, but lots of digital images of hard copy original records = access tools, not replacements. Here's Beach Drive, 'Blizzard of 1996', before we all had digital cameras:

    #Archive30 Day 11 #Misconceptions : archivists=librarians, archives=libraries, always wear white gloves, archives=academics only, digital images=original records, archives=collections... Here's BM Watson: Outreach =work in progress!

    #Archive30 Day 10 #DigitalArchives + Day 11 #Misconceptions Why Don't Archivists Digitize Everything? from @archivespama

    #Archive30 Day12 #SportArchives @OakBayHigh Girls Field Hockey team (and Biddy the dog) 1930

    Sorry single photo info pages don't link back to main photo search (work in progress, also keywords/tags):

    #Archive30 Day 13 So many #UntoldStories are in family archives! @OakBayArchives holds local family/business/community org/personal papers as well as historic municipal corporate records. (old) St Mary's church interior 1938, photo Pattinson family papers

    #Archive30 Day 14 #FavouriteItem Many, but can't help mentioning this again: 1909-10 Oak Bay wildflower sketches by Ada Hope Leeder (1896-1990), later Yarrow and Stuart Taylor, for the sketches & for connections with other collections:

    #Archive30 Day 15 #YourWorkplace Municipal Staff on the steps of the original Oak Bay Municipal Hall, 1956:

    Must be one of the last taken at the old MH:

    #Archive30 Day 16 #ArchiveEnvironment Rather than a photo of a thermohygrograph, here's the forested bank above the shoreline at McNeill Bay, ca 1915

    More WW1-era views around Oak Bay from this family album:

    #Archive30 Day 17 #ArchiveAdvice short & sweet #AskAnArchivist #AskArchivists Enquiries accepted and *welcome* from anyone anywhere. We may not have the answers, but we'll have suggestions. Or new questions! Or we might be able to help you find just what you're looking for. Ask!

    #Archive30 Day 18 Our #ArchiveBuilding is being worked on, so instead, a couple of amazing, alas no longer extant #ArchivedBuildings of Oak Bay : Willows Exhibition hall (Carnarvon Park site)

    and Mt Baker Hotel (nr Beach x Orchard)

    #Archive30 Day 19 #ArchiveMystery Does anyone recognize this smart pair, or the porch of the house? (house number 113). From Frank Burrell's photos, ca. 1900.

    #Archive30 Day 20 This rather fabulous Model A Ford Special Coupe (vintage car experts?) was #SomethingNew when this photo was taken in 1929.

    A Burrell family photo - Frank and Kate Burrell's granddaughter Muriel Armstrong is seated on the running board.

    #Archive30 Day 21 #ArchivePeople Ada Beaven, nee Pemberton (1867-1958), is well remembered in Oak Bay as the founder of both Windsor Park's rose garden and the OB Native Plant Garden.

    Did you know she enjoyed the occasional well-dressed campfire as well?

    #Archive30 Day 22 #ArchiveFashion Roy Pattinson (1919-1944) and friends model 1930s cycling chic:

    More from @OakBayNews about Roy Pattinson and the Pattinson papers @OakBayArchives:

    #Archive30 Day 23 #ArchiveInclusion What gets included in archives, what's left out, & why? Which records are deemed worthy of permanent preservation? What survives to be donated? How do archivists decide? Here’s @margotnote on appraising old photographs:

    #Archive30 Day 24 Closing up @OakBayArchives on time for Municipal Hall's big reno was a major milestone - now setting many #MiniMilestones for this year in #WFH projects: disaster response planning & online cataloguing @ .

    #Archive30 Day 25 A big #ConservationWin for @OakBayArchives was Jean Topham's work on the Hampshire Road Methodist Church #WW1 Roll of Honour in 2019:

    #Archive30 Day 26 Over the years, Oak Bay has lost a number of buildings to fires, and the photos are really #SomethingScary: here, the Olson Arena burning in 1944

    and the first @OakBayBeach Hotel after its 1930 fire

    #Archive30 Day 27 #ArchiveCollection An important collection supporting all kinds of work in @OakBayArchives is our reference library! Check out the catalogue:

    #Archive30 Day 28 #SomethingBig that we use a lot: the huge bound volumes of early C20 BC fire insurance maps for Victoria. Each volume is more than 2' sq and several inches thick, and needs 2 people to move or shelve it. Digital images are much easier to handle!

    #Archive30 Day 29 #ArchiveGoals oh wait that doesn't say #ArchiveGoats? Here are some #ArchiveGoats, in the fields behind the Unwin home (2178 Beaver Street, now Beaverbrooke) in Oak Bay, ca. 1915.

    #Archive30 Day 30 #WhyArchives? For me - never the same day twice, never stop learning, all knowledge is useful (eventually), endless research puzzles & some satisfying answers!

    Thanks @ARAScot for another great month of hashtags and highlights!

  • Archives closure and access in 2021

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    Archives access in 2021:

    September 2021: Oak Bay Archives remains closed to volunteers, researchers and visitors in person, but open for enquiries by email, post and phone. Anna is back in the office (half time as usual), unpacking and rearranging the repositories and working areas following 6 months of renovations at Municipal Hall. Once the archives and reference materials are fully reshelved, there will be lots of source checking for Feb-Aug 2021 enquiries to catch up on.

    Dates and arrangements for reopening to researchers and visitors in person will be announced in due course.

    When the Archives eventually open again, all visits will be by appointment in advance. Booking appointments is new for Oak Bay Archives, but usual for archives in general. An appointments system will help us to adapt to future developments in public health regulations, and will ensure that researchers and visitors can be accommodated effectively in our refreshed but smaller search room.

    To contact the archivist: email . *Please use email if at all possible, as most responses will include links to online resources. Alternatively, you can leave a phone message at 250-598-3290 - be sure to state your name and contact details clearly within the message.


    February - August 2021: Oak Bay Archives has been closed to volunteers, researchers and visitors in person since the pandemic was announced in mid-March 2020. Anna Sander, the current Archivist, started working (half time) in early May 2020 and has been based in Municipal Hall with the archives since then, carrying out research and reprographics on behalf of enquirers.

    Now that Oak Bay Municipal Hall is closed for renovations, the Archivist will be working from home from 22 February, without physical access to the collections, until the renovations are complete and staff are able to move operations back to the Hall. This is currently expected to happen in late August 2021.

    Once Municipal Hall is in use again, a timeline for reopening the Archives will depend on developments in the public health situation and regulations.

    Archives enquiries: the Archivist is happy to receive enquiries during the renovation period, and will endeavour to respond with the digital resources available. Inevitably, some resources will be limited until physical access to the collections is restored.

    Archives donations: the Archivist is unable to accept donations of archival material during the renovation period.

    For information about the renovations: please check for project updates at

    To contact the archivist: email . *Please use email if at all possible, as most responses will include links to online resources. Alternatively, you can leave a phone message at 250-598-3290 - be sure to state your name and contact details clearly within the message.

  • OBA reference library catalogue online

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    Oak Bay Archives' reference library catalogue is on LibraryThing!

    Browse here

    This collection of more than 400 titles forms the reference section supporting the municipal and community archives of the Corporation of the District of Oak Bay, BC. It consists of reference books relating to the history of Oak Bay, Greater Victoria, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, and Canada, in that order.


    Classmark sections:
    OB main subject directly related to Oak Bay
    GV " " Greater Victoria, the CRD, other municipalities
    VI " " Vancouver Island, Gulf islands and Island communities
    BC " " British Columbia, BC mainland communities, the Pacific Northwest
    CA " " Canada, Canadian communities outside of BC
    HE " " heritage properties, generic
    LO " " local authors not covered by above subjects
    AB " " autobiography/memoir, biographies of Oak Bay people

    These are the shelfmark categories for in-person library use. We are not using the Dewey decimal system - that structure doesn't serve small specialist collections well. Instead, books are grouped on the shelf according to geography, then alphabetically by author surname in each section. This Oak Bay - centric geographical arrangement reflects the collecting policy of the archives and the research interests of archive users and enquirers. But suppose a researcher is interested in, for instance, the history of trains and railroads in BC - there are relevant books in the GV, VI and BC sections?

    Ways to search

    • Click column headers (Author, Title etc) to order the collection by that heading
    • Click individual tags or subject headings to browse by theme (example - all the books about railways)
    • Enter keywords to search the whole collection - use `Search this library` box near top right, not `Search this site`

    Why an online catalogue?

    For enquirers: identify relevant secondary sources, locate online or local copy, prepare for archival research

    For researchers in person: time in the archives is never long enough, and is best used looking at primary source material, i.e. archives. An online library catalogue helps researchers to plan ahead and identify secondary sources that could be consulted elsewhere before visiting the archive, and those that are only available at the archives.

    For potential donors: We do our best not to acquire multiple copies of identical publications, and in most cases we don't need to duplicate the holdings of the GVPL system, especially if there is a copy at the nearby Oak Bay branch. But we are adding to the reference library collection, and we have a Wish List! (We are not able to accept new donations of reference books at the moment, as the collection is packed up during the construction project at Municipal Hall.)

  • Reeves and Mayors of Oak Bay

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    Oak Bay Council ca.1940

    [Photo: Oak Bay Archives Accn 2017-049-090, Reeve R.R. Taylor, centre, ca. 1940 with municipal council and staff.]

    George Murdoch (Reeve 1959-1963) notes in his unpublished History of Oak Bay for 1968 that "the Minister of Municipalities advised in April that, through a change in the Municipal Act, reeves and councillors of district municipalities were henceforth to have the respective titles of mayor and aldermen ". The change in terminology from Reeve to Mayor occurs between one Council meeting and the next in April 1968, during the tenure of FW Hawes.

    1. 1906 - 1908 William Edgar Oliver (1867-1920)

    2. 1909 - 1911 William E Henderson (1837-1931)

    1. 1912 W E Oliver

    3. 1913 Francis Mawson Rattenbury (1867-1935)

    1. 1914 - 1915 W E Oliver

    4. 1916 - 1917 Marshall P Gordon (1862-1929)

    5. 1918 Newton Townley Burdick (to April 9) (1882-1953)

    6. 1918 - 1919 Charles E Wilson (April 17 1918 – December 1919)

    7. 1920 - 1922 Samuel J Drake

    8. 1923 -1924 Harold F Hewlett

    9. 1925 - 1927 Herbert Anscomb (1892-1972)

    10. 1928 - 1932 Ernest C Hayward (d.1933)

    11. 1933 - 1935 Robert W Mayhew, later MP (1880-1971)

    12. 1936 - 1940 Richard Ratcliffe Taylor (1884-1942)

    13. 1941 - 1945 Walter Leonard (Len) Woodhouse (1895-1967)

    14. 1946 - 1947 Walter Mitchell Walker (1887-1983)

    15. 1948 - 1949 Robert Alexander Burnie Wootton (1901-1982)

    16. 1950 - 1953 Philip Archibald Gibbs, later MLA (1893-1960)

    17. 1954 - 1956 Frederick Elford Norris (1910-2003)

    18. 1959 - 1963 George Murdoch

    19. 1964 - 1967 Allan Leslie Cox (b.1927)

    20. 1968 - 1969 Frederick William Hawes

    21. 1970 - 1973 Frances Henrietta Elford (1914-2002)

    22. 1974 - 1979 Brian Smith (b.1934)

    23. 1980 – 1983 J Douglas Watts

    24. 1986 - 1990 Susan Brice

    25. 1991 – 1996 Diana Butler

    26. 1997 – 2011 Christopher M Causton

    27. 2011 - 2018 Nils Jensen (d.2019)

    28. 2018 - Kevin Murdoch

    Sources: Minutes of Oak Bay Council, passim; 'Fifty Years of Growth: 1906-1956 Golden Jubilee Souvenir Booklet"; portraits series in Oak Bay Municipal Hall; British Columbia City Directories.

    Questions? Comments? Please contact the Archivist

  • Wildflower sketches by Ada Hope Leeder (1896-1990), later Yarrow and Stuart Taylor

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    OBA PR 240, Ada Hope Leeder sketchbook. Front cover and title page.

    In the Oak Bay Archives is an old school notebook in a plain black paper cover. The stitching is good but the covers are detached and one of the front corners is missing. The acidic wood pulp paper has browned with age. The first page simply states, 'A.H.L. Began May 1909,' hand lettered in red. On the following pages are 18 watercolour specimen sketches of spring-flowering plants found in Oak Bay, accompanied by tidily-written systematic botanical descriptions and lists of species identified in April-June 1909 and March 1911.

    This is the schoolgirl sketchbook of Ada Hope Leeder, archival reference Oak Bay Archives PR 240, Ada Hope Leeder sketchbook.

    OBA PR 240, Ada Hope Leeder sketchbook. First page of 'Nature Notes', Fritillary (Fritillaria) and Fritillary Butterfly.

    Ada Hope Leeder, known as Hope [fn 1], was born in Warwickshire, England, in 1896 [fn 2], and came to Canada with her family in 1907/8 [fn 3]. Her father was Dr Forrest B. Leeder, who worked at the Jubilee Hospital and later practiced with Drs. Hudson and Helmcken [fn 4]. The family, which included Hope's two sisters Edith Mary Faith and Dorothy Margaret Carita, and their mother Edith Mary (nee Hope), lived at 901 Burdett, near Christ Church Cathedral. [fn 5]

    OBA PR 240, Ada Hope Leeder sketchbook. Tuberous Pea (Vicia lathyrus papilionaceae)

    Hope attended St Margaret's School, and produced this notebook while a student there - she and her sister Faith (later Grant) were two of the three original pupils, and one of the founders, Margaret Barton, had been their governess. [fn 6] Two entries mention 'Summer Term', implying that it was probably a school assignment. In the spring and early summer of 1909, Ada sketched and studied wildflowers growing in Oak Bay. The last entry is dated March 31st 1911.

    OBA PR 240, Ada Hope Leeder sketchbook. Broom (Leguminosae)The sketches were painted on smaller pieces of heavier paper and glued into the notebook. Why are they so much whiter than the notebook's pages? Watercolour paper is often made of cotton rag, which is more expensive to produce but gives a better painting surface than wood pulp. A further bonus is that rag, unlike wood pulp isn't acidic, so it lasts better and longer. Interested in the history of papermaking? There's a museum for that!

    OBA PR 240, Ada Hope Leeder sketchbook. Coral Root (Orchid family)The sketches are accompanied by the common English and Latin names and detailed botanical information about each plant, probably copied from a handbook. Which book might she have used? What books of western Canadian wildflowers had been published by this time, what information was available to her? On one day in May, she identifies 86 wildflower species. Which of these species are native to the area, and which had already been imported and naturalized as 'wild flowers'? Are her identifications correct?

    OBA PR 240, Ada Hope Leeder sketchbook. List of 86 species of 'Flowers found at Oak Bay, May 19th 1909.'So many questions. An archival item like this sketchbook can be a fascinating prompt for investigations in many fields of interest - here are just a few suggestions.

    OBA PR 240, Ada Hope Leeder sketchbook. Diagram suggesting further context questions in the areas of botany/natural history, history of education, family history, art history, local history.What happened next?

    The sketchbook came to the Oak Bay Archives as a single item, and there are no other family papers here to give it context.

    OBA PR 240, Ada Hope Leeder sketchbook. Tellima, Saxifrage.However, it's usual, when carrying out archival research to contextualize an accession, to need to refer to numerous primary and secondary sources, online and in archives and libraries, and it doesn't take long to discover other sources to continue the story of Hope Leeder. It's important in historical research, especially online, to be aware of the sources of sources - how does this story lead back to documentary evidence or other *primary* (original, contemporary, created at the time) source material, and how do we know the reliability of that material?OBA PR 240, Ada Hope Leeder sketchbook. Wild Tiger Lily, Lilium columbianum. A few years after the last sketchbook entry, on 9 November 1915, Hope Leeder married shipbuilder Norman Yarrow (1891-1955).[fn 7] Little did Hope know when she listed wildflower species identified in June 1909...

    OBA PR 240, Ada Hope Leeder sketchbook. List of 'Flowers found at Foul Bay, June 3rd 1909'. No. 18 is 'Yarrow.'

    Thanks to society columns of the day, we have some details about the wartime wedding. On returning from honeymoon, the Yarrows lived at 948 Old Esquimalt Road, a house they called 'Fairmont'. [fn 8]

    OBA PR 240, Ada Hope Leeder sketchbook. Pyrola Asarifolia.

    Meanwhile, in another part of the forest... or at least, over in Oak Bay... Just about this time, Hilda Seaborne and her father Charles Seaborne were travelling from England to Oak Bay, to visit their brother and son Charles 'Dudley' Cullamore Seaborne. Hilda's friend, photographer Alice Lisle (1879-1958), accompanied them. [fn 10] Throughout 1916, the three visitors stayed with Charles Jr at the Oak Bay Boat House. Alice documented their unusual life in that extraordinary year with her camera - some of the results can be viewed via Oak Bay Archives' photo search. More about that story in an article by Barrie Moen in Tweed Magazine, Spring 2016 (starts on p.14). [fn 11]

    Back to the story. Hope and Norman Yarrow had three children: John Alfred Forrest (1916-1938), Cynthia Hope (1921-2012), and Daphne Veryan (1924- ). [fn 12] In 1921, the census taker found them at home at Fairmont with their 4-year old son John. [fn 13] John died in a car accident in England in 1938, and in his memory, his parents built the Archbishop's private chapel, designed by well-known architect PL James and known as the Chapel of the Peace of God, in the precinct of Victoria's Christ Church Cathedral. [fn 14]OBA PR 240, Ada Hope Leeder sketchbook. Spikenard, Smilacina stellata.

    We now find a photo of Hope herself in 1924, with her husband Norman Yarrow and her father Dr Forrest Leeder [fn 18]. A later photo of Hope Yarrow shows her in the driver's seat, with an unusual story about the family car! [fn 19]

    During the 1930s, the Yarrow family lived in Oak Bay, at 'Edgecliffe' (925 Foul Bay Road). [fn 15] They later lived at 'Orchard Gate' (5720 Patricia Bay Highway, now 691 Donnington Place), also designed by P.L. James and built for the Yarrows in 1949 near Elk Lake. [fn 16] The BC Archives holds several photographs of this house, as well as P.L.James' papers. [fn 17]

    Norman Yarrow died in 1955. In 1959 Hope married again and became Lady Stuart-Taylor; her second husband was Sir Eric Stuart-Taylor, 2nd Bt (1889-1977), who was marrying for the third time. Sir Eric's second wife had been Hope's cousin Lilian Rosamond Leeder [fn 20], and the Yarrows had entertained them at Orchard Gate in 1950 [fn 21]. Hope and Sir Eric lived at 1663 Rockland (1959) and later at 2875 Lansdowne Road, in the Uplands. [fn 22]

    Ada Hope Stuart-Taylor, formerly Yarrow, nee Leeder, died in Victoria on 23 March 1990 at the age of 95. [fn 23] More than a decade later, her daughter Cynthia gave her mother's sketchbook to Oak Bay Archives.

    OBA PR 240, Ada Hope Leeder sketchbook. Scarlet Painted Cup, Castilleja coccinea. Digitized finding aids and source material make so much of archival research faster and easier, but much is still not digitized, and the digital sources rarely tell all of the available story on their own. Once online sources and secondary materials have been made use of, it's always worth contacting the archivists at relevant repositories for more information about what other related material might be in their collections.

    OBA PR 240, Ada Hope Leeder sketchbook. Dog Tooth Violet Lily, Erythronium americanum.

    Primary and secondary sources:

    [1] The Islander, Daily Colonist Magazine, 27 August 1967. Retrieved from

    See also 1921 Census entry [fn13, below], etc.

    [2], sourcing England & Wales Census records 1901. Retrieved from, sourcing England & Wales birth and marriage certificates. Retrieved from

    BC Archives, death certificate entry for Ada Hope Stuart-Taylor. Retrieved from (shortened link, result from

    [3] BC Archives, description of Item AAAB3917 - Faith Grant and Felicity Graham interview, 1978. Retrieved from

    [4] Ibid.

    Daily Colonist (Victoria BC), 30 June 1908, p.7. Retrieved from

    Murphy, Herbert H. Royal Jubilee Hospital, Victoria, B.C., 1858-1958 [1958?], p.88. Retrieved from

    [5] Henderson's Greater Victoria City Directory 1910-1911. Retrieved from

    Victoria Heritage Foundation, Heritage Register: 1369 Rockland Avenue. Retrieved from

    Victoria Heritage Foundation, Heritage Register: 1162 Fort Street. Retrieved from

    [6] Victoria Daily Colonist, 24 May 1925, p.7. Retrieved from

    Victoria Heritage Foundation, Heritage Register: 1162 Fort Street. Retrieved from

    Victoria Heritage Foundation, Heritage Register: 1369 Rockland Avenue. Retrieved from

    St Margaret's School, summary institutional history. Retrieved from

    Oak Bay Archives, accession documentation.

    [7] University of Victoria Development Office, Norman Yarrow Scholarship in Engineering. Retrieved from

    Macfarlane, John M. 'Yarrows Shipyard: a short history.' Nauticapedia, 2002. Retrieved from,

    Bosher, JF Imperial Vancouver Island: Who Was Who, 1850-1950. p.808. See snippet previews via Google Books:

    [8] [Unknown]. “Week.” N. Victoria : “The Week” Publishing Company, Limited, 13 Nov. 1915. Original Format: Royal British Columbia Museum. British Columbia Archives. Web. 29 Sept. 2020. . Newspapers - Progress and Week – Victoria.

    [Unknown]. “Week.” N. Victoria : “The Week” Publishing Company, Limited, 18 Dec. 1915. Original Format: Royal British Columbia Museum. British Columbia Archives. Web. 29 Sept. 2020. . Newspapers - Progress and Week – Victoria.

    [10], entry for Alice Florence Lisle Seaborne. Retrieved from]

    [11] TWEED Magazine, 18 March 2016. Black Press Media Group. Retrieved from]

    [12], entry for Ada Hope Leeder, citing Mosley, Charles, editor. Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage, 107th edition, 3 volumes. Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.A.: Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd, 2003. Retrieved from

    Obituary: Cynthia Hope Pinckard (Hyslop) nee Yarrow. Oak Bay News, 27 February 2012. Black Press Media Group. Retrieved from

    [13] Library and Archives Canada, Census of Canada 1921. Entry for Head St and Old Esquimalt Road, including the Yarrow family at 948 Old Esquimalt. Retrieved from

    [14] Daily Colonist (Victoria, BC), 5 March 1966.p.17. Retrieved from

    Victoria Heritage Foundation, Heritage Register: 908 Vancouver Street. Retrieved from

    [15] Information via Jean Sparks

    District of Oak Bay Heritage Commission, Heritage Properties: 925 Foul Bay Road. Retrieved from

    [16] Bosher, JF Imperial Vancouver Island: Who Was Who, 1850-1950. p.808

    District of Saanich, Rural Saanich Local Area Plan, 2007. p.108. Retrieved from

    Swannell, A. 'This is the house where Charman lives (in style).' Daily Colonist (Victoria BC), 22 September 1979. p.8. Retrieved from

    [17] BC Archives, Visual Record Collection, description and image of Item D-05513, '"Orchard Gate", the Elk Lake residence of Norman A. Yarrow, Saanich; P. Leonard James, architect.' Retrieved from

    BC Archives, description of Fonds PR-0714 - Percy Leonard James fonds. Retrieved from

    see also:

    Gill, R.G. 'James, Percy Leonard.' Biographical Dictionary of Architects in Canada 1800-1950. retrieved from

    Granville Island Publishing. Publisher's description, The Life and Times of Victoria Architect P. Leonard James by Rosemary James Cross. Retrieved from

    City of Victoria Archives, description of Fonds PR-0271 - Warner James Johnson Architects Planners fonds. Retrieved from

    [18] BC Archives, image and description of Item I-61882 - Mr. and Mrs. Norman Yarrow, with Dr. Leeder, Mrs. Yarrow's father. Retrieved from

    [19] Edwards, A. 'Collector Classics: Back in the family - Christopher Yarrow’s search for his grandfather’s car led to 1930 Packard Phaeton restoration.' Driving magazine, 18 December 2013. Retrieved from

    [20], entry for Sir Eric Stuart-Taylor, citing Mosley, Charles, editor. Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage, 107th edition, 3 volumes. Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.A.: Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd, 2003.

    Daily Colonist (Victoria BC), 30 September 1950.p.8., entry for Forrest Bertram Leeder showing brothers Ernest Holtham Leeder (father of Lilian) and John Nott [should be N not H] Viner Leeder. Retrieved from

    see also The Cardiff Times, 17 September 1910, p.10. 'Estate of £110,000: Swansea Beneficiaries.' Retrieved from

    Daily Colonist (Victoria BC), 7 June 1959, p.25. Engagement announcement for Hope Yarrow and Sir Eric Stuart-Taylor. Retrieved from

    [21] Daily Colonist (Victoria BC), 30 September 1950.p.8.

    [22] Victoria and Suburban Directory 1971, at Oak Bay Archives.

    Oak Bay Archives, Demolition file for 2875 Uplands Road.

    BC Archives, images and descriptions for Items D-05513, D-05514, D-05515 - "Orchard Gate", (691 Donnington Place), the Elk Lake residence of Norman A. Yarrow, Saanich; P. Leonard James, architect. Retrieved from

    [23] BC Archives, death certificate entry for Ada Hope Stuart-Taylor. Retrieved from (shortened link, result from

    - Anna Sander for Oak Bay Archives, 2020.

    To cite: Sander, Anna. (2020, September). 'Wildflower sketches by Ada Hope Leeder (1896-1990)'. [Blog post]. District of Oak Bay, Archives. Retrieved from

  • Discovering Oak Bay history on foot and by bike

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    [image: Oak Bay Archives, photo 1994-001-027. Public Works Crew Paving 1100 Block of Roslyn Road, formerly Pleasant Avenue, looking north from Windsor Road (Saratoga). Superintendent Samuel Gunter on right. Photographer: E.A. Price, ca. 1911.]

    The archivist and volunteers at Oak Bay Archives are currently collaborating with Sara Lax at the GVCC to create a self-guided local history ride for their 2020 summer series.

    While researching the stops on our history tour, we've encountered lots of great resources for exploring Oak Bay and other Greater Victoria municipalities and neighbourhoods, especially by foot or bike.

    Many of these walks include snippets of local history to ponder as you pause to take in the view. As you explore Oak Bay, have a look at the archival photographs online - you might find images showing the places where you walk now, as they were a century or more ago!

    Oak Bay routes

    Guide to the First Nations Monuments of Oak Bay via Salish Weaving

    Discovery Rides and Scavenger Hunts from the Greater Victoria Cycling Coalition

    Oak Bay Walking Trails Map from the District of Oak Bay, and more at

    Walking & Cycling in Oak Bay

    Maps of Uplands Park from the Friends of Uplands Park - especially Simon Wigzell's map of walking trails within the park

    A few of the many walks available in neighbouring municipalities:

    User-friendly trails from the CRD

    Esquimalt Township Walking Tours by Sherri Robinson, from the Township of Esquimalt

    Neighbourhood walking tours from the Victoria Heritage Foundation

    South Jubilee Neighbourhood History Walk from the South Jubilee Neighbourhood Association

    Trail Guides & Maps from the District of Saanich

    Vic West Walking Trails from the Vic West Community Association

    Walk the West Shore from the municipalities of Colwood, Metchosin, Highlands, Langford, and View Royal; the CRD; and West Shore Parks & Recreation Society

    Imperial Paradise? An Alternative Walking Tour of Victoria, BC from the History of Racialisation Group at UVic (2000)

    Do you have a favourite walking or cycling route in Oak Bay? Where will you explore next?

    Follow @OakBayArchives on Twitter!

    Questions? routes to add to the list? Email the Archivist

Page last updated: 14 September 2021, 11:14