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

S


St Christopher's School
1915–1970s
1187 Newport Avenue (1915... city directory)
2629 Longbranch Avenue (...1917–1922 city directories)
2629 Currie Road (1923–1970... city directories / phone books)
preschool and kindergarten
courtesy Richard Goodall
1949/50 Teachers and Students
Click on image to view enlargement
St Christopher's School was established in 1915 by Miss Mary Ashworth at 1187 Newport Avenue.
By 1917 she had relocated the school to 2629 Longbranch Avenue (Currie Road) where she served as principal until 1946.
After 1946 the school endured a large turnover of key personnel.1 The school closed in the early 1970s, afterwhich the facilities became a dance studio.
In 1978 the property was acquired by the Queenswood Montessori Society to become St Christopher's Montessori School.

1 In 1947, Rev Odo Barry became master before moving on to become a teacher at Glenlyon Prep School a year later.
In 1948, J J Timmis became head master before moving on to become head master at University School a year later.
In 1949, Miss G M Edwards became head mistress through 1951.
In 1952, Mrs Marion C S Downie became head mistress through 1953.
In 1954, Mrs Winnifred Black became head mistress for one year
In 1955, Mrs Faith McNeel-Caird became head mistress.
see St Christopher's Montessori School
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

St Christopher's Montessori School
1978 —
2619 Currie Road
preschool and kindergarten
Montessori School, today
In 1978, the property once occupied by St Christopher's School was acquired by the Queenswood Montessori Society to become St Christopher's Montessori School.
"St. Christopher's Montessori School, a non-profit organization owned by parents and operated by a Board and a Principal, opened in the fall of 1978. It was an offshoot of the original Montessori school in Victoria, Queenswood Montessori School. When that school closed, a group of dedicated parents organized the Queenswood Montessori Society, and found a new location on the corner of Currie and Newport in Oak Bay. The early 1900's building had originally been a small primary school, later enlarged and converted to a dance studio."
— St Christopher's Montessori School website
see St Christopher's School

St Columba Presbyterian church
Former name of Oak Bay United Church prior to national amalgamation of Presbyterians and Methodists in 1925 to form the United Church of Canada.
see Oak Bay United Church

Born into a privileged Irish clan, Columcille (c 521-597) became a monk and founded a number of monasteries in Ireland. About 563 he left Ireland with twelve followers to establish a monastery on the island of Iona (Argyll) to be among the heathen Picts and subsequently converted Bude, king of the Picts. He was canonised as Saint Columba.

St George and the Dragon Hotel
Conceived by renowned architect Francis Mawson Rattenbury, this is the grandiose Oak Bay hotel/pub that never was.
In 1927 a zoning bylaw was implemented in Oak Bay that defined areas for commercial development. In June of this year, WC Merston applied for, and was issued, a permit for the development of the Oak Bay Beach Hotel on Beach Drive.
Rattenbury, always an opportunist (and with a 4-acre waterfront property on Beach Drive) applied for a development permit in September to build the St. George and the Dragon Hotel on his property, but his application missed the zoning deadline.
After nearly three years of heated public debate, the municipal council allowed a portion of Rattenbury's property to be zoned for his hotel/pub development. But, in 1930, a very troubled Rattenbury fled Victoria to live in England with his new, young wife. A permit extension was requested and granted in 1932, but still no development.
In three short years Rattenbury would meet his untimely death — called "the murder of the century" by the British tabloids — and the St. George and the Dragon Hotel was pursued no further.

In 1935, the year of his death, Rattenbury's Beach Drive property was sold to Major Ian Simpson for the new location of Glenlyon School.

St Mary's Anglican church
1911 —
1701 Elgin Road
Oak Bay's first church, built in 1911
St Mary's Church, today
St. Mary the Virgin Parish was originally served from Christ Church Cathedral. The first parish church in Oak Bay was dedicated on October 4, 1911, and the congregation was self-supporting by 1914.
A new replacement church was built in 1959 to serve a growing community.1

1 A year later, in 1960, St Mary's daughter church, St Philip's, became a self-supporting parish.
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

St Michael's private school
1914–1971
2176 Windsor Road
Oak Bay's first private school for boys opens in 1914

In 1971 St Michael's amalgamated with University School to become St Michael's University School.
Profile under development

St Patrick's Parish Catholic church
1960 —
2060 Haultain Street
modern, De Castri-designed Catholic Church opened in 1960
St Patrick's Parish, today

The parish was created in 1912 under the patronage of Our Lady of Lourdes.
see Our Lady of Lourdes
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

St Philip's Anglican church
1955 —
2928 Eastdowne Road
the Anglican Church branches out in 1955
In 1953 three lots were purchased on the northwest corner of Eastdowne Road and Neil Street — on the former Willows fairgrounds1 — for the construction of St. Philip's Church.2
Serving originally as a daughter church of the Parish of St Mary the Virgin Anglican Church in Oak Bay, it was initially called the Carnarvon Church Hall. The Church was dedicated on January 19, 1955 and, in 1960, St Philip's became a self-supporting parish.
The building was consecrated on St Philip's Day, May 1st, 1976.

1 Kids of the early 1950s will have memories of catching frogs and tadpoles in this corner of the former exhibition grounds. see Frog Ponds
2 The "'s" in St. Philip’s was dropped in the 2000s, with the understanding that the church was not Philip’s church in the possessive sense of the word, but is more accurately part of Jesus Christ’s Church. Today the church refers to itself as St. Philip Anglican Church.

Saanichton Market
1509 Wilmot Place
(1948 phone book)
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

Safeway Stores (Oak Bay branch)
2253 Oak Bay Avenue
(1940–1955... city directories / phone books)
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

Saunders and Hitchman service station
2554 Cadboro Bay Road
(19471955 city directories / phone books)
2040 Cadboro Bay Road
(1956–1970... phone books)
CHEVRON PRODUCTS
COMPLETE AUTO REPAIR SERVICE
2040 Cadboro Bay . . . . . . 2-4594
ad in 1957 phone book

2554 Cadboro Bay Road was subsequent location of Willows B-A Service
2040 Cadboro Bay Road was former location of Norton Service & Engineering Works. Saunders and Hitchman enlarged this facility by incorporating the two adjacent lots to the west, which were acquired by the Imperial Oil Company in 1929.
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

Savage, Chas hardware
2069 Cadboro Bay Road (19241926 city directories)

Previous location of Arena Grocery
Subsequent location of Arena Bakery
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

Sealand of the Pacific
Profile under development
see Undersea Garden

Secret Patrol
1936 movie produced by film studio in Oak Bay
Production Still
Lobby Card
Click on image to view enlargement
see Willows Park Studio
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

Secrets of Chinatown
1935 movie produced by film studio in Oak Bay
Secrets of Chinatown
This film is available at amazon.com in dvd format
see Willows Park Studio
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

Senators, Victoria ice hockey team
1912–1913
Victoria Senators hosted Canada's first hockey game played on artificial ice in 1912 in Oak Bay arena
Victoria Senators
Click on image to view enlargement
The Victoria Senators hosted the inaugural game of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association at Oak Bay's Patrick Arena on January 2, 1912.
This was the first hockey game played on artificial ice in Canada.
The Victoria team would subsequently be called the Aristocrats (1913–1915), Canaries (1916) and Aristocrats again (1918–1921) before distinguishing itself by winning the Stanley Cup in 1925 as the Cougars (1922–1926).
see Victoria Aristocrats, Victoria Cougars
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

Sequoia Tree
Alex Casanave's Sequoia Tree
Click on image to view enlargement
The large Sequoia (Redwood) tree that stands on the grounds of Oak Bay High was planted by Alexis Casanave. The grounds of both schools were originally the dairy farm of Casanave. A plaque at the foot of the tree pays tribute to this pioneer Oak Bay settler.
"When I was growing up in Montreal in the 1960s my mother used to tell me about a redwood tree that was planted by my great-grandfather. She told me that the tree was over one-hundred years old. I always wanted to visit that tree and I finally made it to the grounds of Oak Bay High School in 1987. Now that the internet age is here, I am so happy to have found more information about the tree and the dairy farm of Alexis Casanave at your website."
Constance Squire, great, great granddaughter of Alexis Casanave
see Alexis Casanave
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

Service Stations
Oak Bay's first service station, Oak Bay Garage, was built by a Victoria car dealer in 1913 — against the wishes of Oak Bay Council. Over the years, six service stations* have located within the municipality but Council has systematically re-zoned and phased them out with the single exception of Totem Super Service (now O'Keeffe's Automotive Service) which has been designated a heritage site.
Oak Bay Garage (...1918–1957... phone books)
Arena Service Station (...1930–1947... phone books)
Uplands Garage & Motor Co (...1930–1957... phone books)
Totem Super Service (...1934–1957... phone books)
Norton Service Station (...1947... phone book)
Saunders & Hitchman (...1947–1957...phone books)
Cranmore Service (...1957...phone book)
Willows B-A Service (...1957... phone book)

*Although eight service stations are listed above, the last two, namely Cranmore Service and Willows BA Service, were existing facilities that were renamed.

Shank's Barber Shop
2244 Oak Bay Avenue (...1934 Victoria directory)
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

Shirley McAree florist
2043 Cadboro Bay Road
(1960–1970... phone books)
SHIRLEY McAREE Florist
.We take pride in arranging fresh flowers
to their best advantage for every occasion

.2043 Cadboro Bay Road . . . . . . . EV 4-3552
text from ad in 1960 OBHS Oak Leaves yearbook

Previous location of Johnston's Pharmacy
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

Shoal Bay General Store
469 Monterey Avenue (1927–1928 city directories)

Previous location of Shoal Bay Grocery & Tea Rooms
Subsequent location of Shoal Bay Grocery
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

Shoal Bay Grocery
469 Monterey Avenue (1929–1970... city directories / phone books)

Previous location of Shoal Bay General Store
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

Shoal Bay Grocery & Tea Rooms
469 Monterey Avenue (1926 city directory)

Previous location of Chas Cooper, grocer
Subsequent location of Shoal Bay General Store
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

Shoal Bay Tea Room
see McNeill Bay Tea Room

Shop Easy Stores
2187 Oak Bay Avenue
Oak Bay franchise of Western Canada grocery chain
. . .SHOP EASY STORES . . .
.Oak Bay Avenue
.Fresh Produce -
Meats and Grocery
.Courteous Service
text from ad in 1959 OBJHS OBEJAY yearbook

Previous location of B&K Food Market.
Subsequent site of Athlone Court
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

Shore Road
see Street/Place Names section

Skelton, T J nursery
1828 Lulie Street
(...1944–1946... phone books)
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

Skins & Thompson real estate
1195 Newport Avenue (1914 city directory)
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

Skylarks
the joyous trill of skylarks over Oak Bay meadows is sadly missed by those who remember
English Skylark
The English skylark, because of its melodious song, was imported to Victoria by British homesteaders in the late 1800s. These songbirds soon found sanctuary in the open meadows of undeveloped Oak Bay, and undoubtedly were an inducement to British settlement in the municipality.
The song of the skylark has inspired much poetry, probably the most memorable by William Wordsworth and Percy Bysshe Shelley, both with odes entitled To a Skylark.
In his ode, Wordsworth expressed:
Up with me! up with me into the clouds!
For thy song, Lark, is strong;
Up with me, up with me into the clouds!
Singing, singing,
With clouds and sky about thee ringing,
Lift me, guide me till I find
That spot which seems so to thy mind!
Shelley wrote:
Teach us, Sprite or Bird,
What sweet thoughts are thine:
I have never heard
Praise of love or wine
That panted forth a flood of rapture so divine.
And in Wordsworth's second tribute, To the Skylark:
Whence thou doust pour upon the world a flood
Of harmony, with instinct more divine
Skylarks thrive in open meadows. They nest on the ground in tall grass. When meadows yield to subdivisions, skylarks move on. With urban sprawl, skylarks have become an endangered species.
"I can recall walking through the tall grass of the former Willows Fairgrounds in the early 1950s and being startled when a skylark suddenly darted up into the air when almost underfoot. Skylarks had the peculiar characteristic of building their nests on the ground, not in the safety of trees.
Consequently, as the fairgrounds were subdivided and developed during the mid 1950s, skylarks had no place to nest so moved on, many finding refuge in the meadows of Gordon Head, until the University of Victoria was built on these grounds.
Life for a kid in Oak Bay during the early 1950s was wondrous —even sensual, what with the song of skylarks, the beauty of large exotic butterflies, the tobacco spit of grasshoppers, the sublime gooeyiness of frog spawn . . ."
Gary Wilcox, OBHS class of 1960
Click on play to enjoy the musical trill of the English skylark
see flora and fauna, frog ponds

Small's Bakery
2217 Oak Bay Avenue
(19371943 city directories)

Previous location of Royal Cleaners
Subsequent site of Oak Bay Delicatessen
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

Snug, The
1954 —
1175 Beach Drive
popular pub of the Oak Bay Beach Hotel
The Snug
The Snug derived its name from the old English custom of having one room, the snug, reserved for patrons not wishing to be seen in the public bar — the local Bobbie on his rounds for a quiet pint, the Vicar for his evening sherry, and other notables for their clandestine visits.

The term snug has been used since the 1800s in both Britain and America to describe a variety of clandestine activites.

Songhees
Oak Bay's original landowners lived on local beaches for millennia
BC Archives | G-04273
Songhees' Canoes
on Oak Bay beach
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

Special Inspector
1938 movie produced by film studio in Oak Bay introducing starlet Rita Hayworth
Production Still
Lobby Card
Click on image to view enlargement
This film is available at amazon.com in dvd format
see Willows Park Studio
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

S R Tyler & Son Exclusive Men's Wear
2201 Oak Bay Avenue
(1954–1957... phone books)
MEN'S WEAR
S.R. TYLER & SONS
.CITY PRICES OR LESS
READY MADE AND MADE TO MEASURE SUITS
FIT GUARANTEED OR NO CHARGE
CORNER OF OAK BAY AND HAMPSHIRE
.PHONE 4-7924
text from ad in 1957 OBJHS OBEJAY yearbook
"In the early 1950s, Mr Tyler ran the Oak Bay Theatre. When the Bank of Montreal moved from the corner of Hampshire and Oak Bay Avenue, in the mid '50s, Mr. Tyler and his son opened a clothing store at this location. It was subsequently taken over by Jack Burgess."
Richard Goodall, OBHS class of 1960
* * *
" . . . dad and mom went on to purchase S.R.Tyler Exclusive Mens Wear which became Jack Burgess Ltd and eventually also took on Ladies ready-to-wear.
Ironically I continued on in the Clothing Business and did build and operate Pickwicks Restaurant in Athlone court."
Rick Burgess, Oak Bay resident, 1944-1998

Previous location of Bank of Montreal
Subsequent location of Jack Burgess Men's Wear
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

Stampede
1936 movie produced by film studio in Oak Bay
Production Still
Lobby Card
Click on image to view enlargement
This film is available at amazon.com in dvd format
see Willows Park Studio

Stampede starred Charles Starrett who, after signing with Columbia Pictures in 1935 and honing his skills in Oak Bay (Secret Patrol and Stampede, both in 1936), would go on to greater fame in the 1940s and 1950s as cowboy superhero, the Durango Kid.
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

Stanley Cup
the 1925 Victoria Cougars won the Stanley Cup in Oak Bay
1925 Cup
see Victoria Cougars

Star Pharmacy
2001 Oak Bay Avenue
(19141920 Victoria directories)

Subsequent location of Merryfield & Dack drug store
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

Steve Kraus confectionery
2284 Cadboro Bay Road (1938–1940... Victoria directories)
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

Stoddart, David optometrist
2203 Oak Bay Avenue
(1954–1957... phone books)
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

Streetcar Lines
Oak Bay
Willows
Uplands

Suckling, Frank
1584 Yale Street
one of Oak Bay's first two police constables
Suckling Residence
"I'd like to add this photo to your site. It's a 1915 photo of 1584 Yale Street, Oak Bay. Owners were Frank & Mary Ann Suckling who came from England in 1910. Frank Suckling was an Oak Bay Police Constable, 1912-1932.1
I am researching the Suckling family and would appreciate anything you come across on this family."
Christine Recker, Queensland, Australia
recker@austarnet.com.au

In 1923, Kyrle C. Symons, headmaster at St. Michael's School, received a phone call from the Oak Bay police informing of broken windows at the school:
"In I went hot foot to see the damage and I found that Constable Suckling — known to all as 'Tanglefoot' and a terror to evil doers — had caught the culprits, two small boys. . . ." 2

1 When the original municipal hall was built at Hampshire Road and Oak Bay Avenue in 1912 it also housed the Oak Bay police department. Frank Suckling was one of the first two constables on the municipal payroll. John Syme was the other constable and WH Handley was appointed the first Chief of Police. Suckling retired from the Oak Bay police force in 1932.
2 Symons, Kyrle C. That Amazing Institution: The Story of St. Michael's School, Victoria, B.C., from 1910–1948. p 67
Stories and photos of early settlers and residents are an important part of this website. Until a "People" section is developed, all such submissions will be included in this Encyclopedia section.

Sunbeam, The drygoods
2225 Oak Bay Avenue
(19531954 city directories)

Concurrent address of W H Davies jeweler and Lady Elizabeth Hat Shop
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

Sunbeam Dairy
2065 Milton Street
(...1918–1921 city directories / phone books)
In 1921 the Sunbeam Dairy property on Milton Street was purchased by the Municipality for use as a municipal works yard and stables. The Sunbeam Dairy sign remained standing at the entrance to the works yard for another two years before it was replaced with municipal signage.
"Reading about the farms around Oak Bay brought to mind the rocky area above the empty field between the school and St. Mary's church.
Lynn Ramsay, Sylvia Newell, Pat Windjack and lots of other kids played all kinds of pirate games up there, and we stopped to have lunch on a large rock with the original name of "Table Rock", then headed for the Public Works yard on Milton.
We spent hours jumping into the gravel pits from the wooden structure above it until we were kicked out by some authority figure or other. It has become a senior citizen complex now. But as children, we were so free, and so innocent of the things that taint children's lives today."
Laurel (Page) Johnson, OBHS class of 1960

Sunbeam Gifts
2225 Oak Bay Avenue
(19471952 phone books)
"My Grandmother was Mabel Ellis who owned and operated the Sunbeam Tea Room and Sunbeam Gifts.
It [Sunbeam Gifts] was a shop that sold notions in the way of patterns for tatting, embroidery and fancy stitchery. All of which in later years became a part of the Royal BC Museum.
Also in the same shop was her tea room where the fare was sandwiches, soups and fancy cakes."
Rick Burgess, Oak Bay resident, 1944-1998

Concurrent address of Andre's Tea Room
see Sunbeam Tea Room
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

Sunbeam Tea Room
2225 Oak Bay Avenue
(...1944–1947 phone books)
"My Grandmother was Mabel Ellis who owned and operated the Sunbeam Tea Room and Sunbeam Gifts.
The fare [in the Tea Room] was sandwiches, soups and fancy cakes.
I remember she used to cook dinners and carry them home to 1423 Hampshire. The house is still there and a part of the Seniors accommodation attached to the seniors center. She took in boarders, including my Mom Joan (nee Ellis) and Jack Burgess, Rick and Mary.
Grandmother (Gammie as she was known) had another tenant move into the shop with her who eventually, by growth of his business, closed her out.
Dad and mom went on to purchase S.R.Tyler Exclusive Men's Wear which became Jack Burgess Ltd and eventually also took on Ladies ready-to-wear.
Ironically I continued on in the Clothing Business and did build and operate Pickwicks Restaurant in Athlone court."
Rick Burgess, Oak Bay resident, 1944-1998

Subsequent location of Andre's gift shop
see Sunbeam Gifts
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

Super-Valu
2510 Estevan Avenue
(19511961 phone books)

Subsequent location of Cambridge Super Market
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

Superior Food Stores
2252 Oak Bay Avenue
(1949 phone book)
This was the Oak Bay outlet in a chain of Superior Food Stores with outlets in Victoria and Esquimalt. This Oak Bay operation lasted one year.

Former location of Oak Bay Grocery
Subsequent location of McBratney's Fne Foods
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

Superior Television
2573 Cadboro Bay Road
(1957–1970... phone books)
SALES & SERVICE
ALL MAKES REPAIRED
QUALIFIED TECHNICIANS
2573 Cadboro Bay . . . . . . EV 5-4195
ad in 1959 phone book
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

Superway Food Market
2007 Oak Bay Avenue
(...1968–1970... phone books)
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed



Click here to suggest a topic or to submit material

The Oak Bay Encyclopedia
is constantly evolving. Please bookmark
and return often.



Legal Footer

The Oak Bay Encyclopedia
Contents copyright © 2004-2015 Gary Wilcox Studios Incorporated.
Selected material may be used for research and non-commercial projects with proper credit given.
All other rights reserved.