The Oak Bay EncyclopediaTM
T . H . E . . E . A . R . L . Y . . Y . E . A . R . S

A listing of noteworthy
people, places and things from

Oak Bay's early years.


Click on any letter, above, to visit specific section of encyclopedia


A&W Drivein
1921 Oak Bay Avenue
(1961–1970... phone books)
A favourite pit stop when out cruising in the '60s
images courtesy Janice Mason
1921 Oak Bay Avenue location
free root beer coupon
Click on either image to see enlargement
There were two A&W locations in Victoria: one at 3335 Douglas Street and the other at 1921 Oak Bay Avenue .
The Oak Bay Avenue location opened in 1961 (a year after the Douglas Street location) and immediately became the social centre for Oak Bay students out cruising on Friday and Saturday evenings. It was the place to be seen.
We're grateful to Janice Mason for the two images above. Janice lived across the street from the A&W on Oak Bay Avenue during the 1960s.

"I remember dropping in at the A&W on Douglas with a carload of teammates after Oak Bay rugby games in the spring of 1960. We certainly would have celebrated our victories at an A&W on Oak Bay Avenue if one had existed at this location in 1960. The Oak Bay Avenue location opened in 1961.
Gary Wilcox, OBHS class of 1960
* * *
"How many times did I drive into that Oak Bay A&W for a "small orange and a baby burger"? It was usually all I could afford on my measly allowance. Someone usually ordered a "Swamp Water" or that ugly mixture of milk and root beer. The name eludes me. Jungle Juice?"
Dave Foster, OBHS class of 1960
* * *
"Ah yes, Swamp Water — for those with more refined tastes! I think it was 50% root beer and 50% orange. The A&W was a great place to congregate with friends, although the carhops did their futile best to confine us to our cars."
Gary Wilcox, OBHS class of 1960
* * *
"The old A&W lasted until 1991 when Payless Gas did a land lease with plans to redevelop the whole block. They only redeveloped the A&W half with an office block and left the old Gulf gas station. Payless was bought by Shell who are in the process of remediating the gas site and are planning to build a Tim Horton's. I wonder if it will be a drive in."
Bryan Bradbury, OBHS class of 1960
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

Ackerman's Upholstery
2280 Cadboro Bay Road (...1964–1968 phone books)
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

Acme Transfer
2019 Oak Bay Avenue (19521954 phone books)
GOODS – BAGGAGE – Residence 2-3215
2019 Oak Bay . . . . . . . . . . .
. 2-5311.
ad in 1954 phone book

Active Radio & Television
2047 Oak Bay Avenue (19671968 phone books)
2170 Oak Bay Avenue (1969–1979... phone books)
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

Adrien's Bakery
Three locations — all in Oak Bay

2190 Oak Bay Avenue
...Adrien's French Pastry & Confectionery (...1941–1942... phone books)
...Adrien's Cake and Chocolate Shop (19441950 phone books)
...Adrien's Bakery (1957–1962... phone books)
2533 Estevan Avenue
...Adrien's Cake and Chocolate Shop (19471952 phone books)
...Adrien's Cake Shop (19531954 phone books)
...Adrien's Bakery & Coffee Shop (1955–1957... phone books)
...Adrien's Bakery (...1959–1962... phone books)
2863 Foul Bay Road
...Adrien's Bakery (...1959–1962... phone books)
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

Agricultural Fairs
An annual Victoria tradition that began in 1861 and continued in Oak Bay until the 1940s

Click on image to see enlargement
An agricultural fair is the highpoint of the year in a rural community. It allows farmers and ranchers to socialize and compete with their produce and livestock.
Victoria began its tradition of agricultural exhibitions in 1861 when it began holding annual fairs at different locations throughout the city. In 1883 a permanent building was constructed in Beacon Hill Park where a provincial fair was held every second year, alternating with New Westminster. The pressures of urban growth in the late 1880s thwarted expansion plans in the Park and, wanting to host an annual fair, it was decided to relocate beyond the city limits. Land was purchased at "The Willows" in Oak Bay where a magnificent exhibition hall was constructed in 1891. The Willows Fair* continued into the 1940s.

* Formally referred to as the Provincial Exhibition at Willows Park
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

Albert's Barber Shop
2006 Oak Bay Avenue
(1932... Victoria directory)
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

Aline's ladies' ready-to-wear
1179 Newport Avenue
(19481949 phone books)
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

Allenby Street
see Street/Place Names section

Anderson Hill (Blueberry Hill)
see Street/Place Names section

Andre's gift shop
2225 Oak Bay Avenue
(1948 phone book)

Former location of Sunbeam Tea Room
Subsequent location of Sunbeam Gifts
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

1587/95 York Place
Built: 1897/98
Original owner: Sir Charles Hibbert Tupper*

* Minister of Justice for the Dominion Government, son of Sir Charles Tupper, a Father of Canadian Confederation
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

Anscomb, Herbert
Reeve of Oak Bay (1925–1927), Mayor of Victoria (1928–1931) and cabinet minister in the provincial government (1941–1952)
Herbert Anscomb was born in England in 1892 and emigrated to Canada in 1911. Arriving in Victoria he found work as a bookkeeper with the Victoria Brewing Company. Before long he was managing the company, although a tea-totaller himself.
In 1925, at the age of 33, he became the youngest reeve of Oak Bay where he served for 3 years. In 1928 he became mayor of Victoria and served in this capacity until 1931.
He entered provincial politics in 1938 and served in the wartime coalition government of John Hart. After the war he served as Finance Minister and developed the reputation as an ultra conservative, introducing the first provincial sales tax in 1948.*
Although disillusioned by the hypocrisy in politics, Anscomb served conscienciously in the political arena for 27 years as "one of the last of the real conservatives."
Herbert Anscomb is remembered in Oak Bay by Anscomb Place

* Fellow M.P., W.A.C. Bennett thought Anscomb's fiscal policies were far too conservative to build a vibrant economy and reacted by crossing the floor to form the Social Credit government which dominated B.C. politics for the next three decades.

Anscomb Place
see Street/Place Names section

Beach Drive and Margate Avenue
Built: 1927
Original owners: Ada and Hugo Beaven
Ada Beaven was Joseph Despard Pemberton's daughter. After her husband, Hugo Beaven, a rose fancier of renown, died in 1937, Ada donated 500 rose plants to establish the Rose Garden at Windsor Park. In 1939 she donated some "Arden" land for the Native Plant Garden located at the corner of Beach Drive and Margate Avenue. Ada continued to live at "Arden" until her death at age 91 in 1958.
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

See Patrick Arena

Arena Service Station
2174 Cadboro Bay Road
(...1930–1946 phone books)
2151 Cadboro Bay Road
(19471948 phone books)
Named after the Patrick Arena, one block west, which burned to the ground in 1929. Subsequently called Cranmore Service from 1949.

Despite two addresses noted above, this is the same location with an address change, although even/odd addresses present a puzzlement. It would appear that the municipality flipped the odd/even street number alignments on some Cadboro Bay Road addresses in 1947 and adjusted the numbers. Also so-affected in 1947 was Baldwin's Nurseries.
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

Argyle, Thomas
Royal Engineer, Race Rocks lighthouse keeper, and an owner of the Willows Hotel
Twenty-year-old Thomas Argyle came to Canada in 1859 as one of 150 Royal Engineers (Sappers) assigned to maintain a British presence in New Caledonia (British Columbia). The Sappers built roads and bridges, and enforced British law upon rumbunctuous American goldseekers in the Fraser canyon.
At the end of his service, in 1863, Argyle opted to accept a land grant of 150 acres at Rocky Point in Metchosin where, in 1867, he became the keeper of the Race Rocks lighthouse until his retirement in 1888.
On July 10, 1871 he purchased the Willows Hotel, Oak Bay's first commercial establishment, then located on Cadboro Bay Road at Willows Road (Eastdowne).

Argyle's second home is reportedly still standing on the Camosun Campus grounds, although this has yet to be confirmed. Argyle Avenue, north of the campus, is probably named after him. Fellow sapper, William Haynes, was another early owner of the Willows Hotel.

"Aristocrats," Victoria
1913–1917, 1919–1922
Victoria team denied 1914 Stanley Cup in Oak Bay arena
Professional ice hockey began in Victoria in 1912. The first game was played between the Victoria Senators and the New Westminster Royals in Oak Bay's Patrick Arena on January 2, 1912.
This was the first hockey game in Canada played on artificial ice.
The Victoria Senators changed its name to the Victoria Aristocrats for the 1913/14 season and won the Pacific Coast League championship, earning the right to challenge the Quebec Bulldogs (the then-current Stanley Cup holders). With home ice advantage at Oak Bay's Patrick Arena, the Aristocrats won the championship but were denied the Stanley Cup as it was deemed, by eastern authorities, to be an exhibition series.
During World War I the arena was commandeered by the Canadian government, so the team moved south after the 1916/17 season and became the Spokane Canaries. After the war the team returned to the Oak Bay arena and was once again called the Aristocrats until re-named the Cougars starting from the1922 season until the league folded in 1926.
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

Arnold's Bakery
2522 Estevan Avenue (...1964–1970... phone books)
2863 Foul Bay Road (...1964–1970... phone books)
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

Armstrong Avenue
see Street/Place Names section

Ashdowne Road
see Street/Place Names section

Ashdowne, V E, Miss nursery school
2164 Oak Bay Avenue
(...1944... phone book)
see Greater Victoria Nursery School
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

Ashton and Farrow Plumbers
2205 Oak Bay Avenue
(...1918... phone book)
Oak Bay Branch of Victoria plumbing company

Subsequent location of Usher's Confectionery Store (...1930–1957... phone books)
Subsequent location of Fisher's Confectionery (1959 OBHS yearbook ad)
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

Auto Livery & Taxi
1196 Newport Avenue
(...1925... phone book)
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

Avenue Dress Shop
2259 Oak Bay Avenue
(1960–1970... phone books)
Congratulations to Grads of Oak Bay High
from the

.2259 Oak Bay Avenue . . . . . . . . Phone EV 6-2523
— text from ad in 1960 OBHS Oak Leaves yearbook.
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

Avenue Electric
2047 Oak Bay Avenue
(19481956 phone books)
2006 Oak Bay Avenue
(19571960 phone books)
Appliance & Radio Repairs – We Specialize in
Range Repairs . . Ron Winter . . Day or Night
2047 Oak Bay . . . . . . . . . . . . 3-1087
. .
ad in 1954 phone book
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

Avenue Theatre
2009 Oak Bay Avenue
1 (19141917 Victoria directories)
2013 Oak Bay Avenue
(19181921 Victoria directories)
One of the first dedicated film theatres
The Avenue Theatre was one of the first theatres designed specifically for the viewing of films. It was a dedicated film theatre. Most theatres of the day were stage theatres that would put up a screen and bring in a projector if a film was to be shown.
It was an independent movie house that played the popular silent films of the day.

" of the best and most up-to-date
theatres of its kind in B.C."
— 1913 newspaper ad

But despite recognizing and embracing the film industry in its infancy, the success of the Avenue Theatre was short-lived. For whatever reason, it closed its doors in 1921.
In 1922, the building was gutted to create a large open space — which served as an automotive garage for a succession of enterprises until 1944.2
In 1944, this historic building was converted to an apartment block, and is still standing at 2013 Oak Bay Avenue.

1 Despite two addresses it's the same location.
2 Mechanical Motor Works (1923–1928), Victoria Auto Trunk Works (1929–1930) and W.E. Ferriday taxi, tranfer and storage enterprises (1932–1942).
Click on the MEMORABILIA button to view or contribute recollections, photographs and artifacts of the Avenue Theatre

Avondale Road
see Street/Place Names section

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The Oak Bay Encyclopedia
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