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

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

W


Walker, W M
1887–1983
reeve of Oak Bay (1946–1947)
W M Walker
Walter Walker was Oak Bay's first post-WW II reeve, and his two terms in office oversaw significant change in the municipality, most notably the creation of Uplands Park and, after heated debate with vested interests, the end of horse racing at Willows Park.
In 2004 a cairn at Cattle Point in Uplands Park was dedicated to his service to the municipality.

Walter Walker was owner of Walker Fuels. In 1932 he bought one of the first homes on Weald Road in the Uplands. He served on the Oak Bay School Board and sat on the Oak Bay Council prior to becoming reeve. He was president of the Union Club, Honorary Member of the Kiwanis Club, School Board and Community Chest chairman and was also a 33 degree Mason.
"My grandfather, Walter M Walker, reeve in the 1940s, was instrumental in the creation of Uplands Park and of the War Memorial there."
Brian Tucker, grandson of W.M. Walker.

War Memorial
see Oak Bay War Memorial

Wards
At the inaugural meeting of the Oak Bay Council in 1906 the municipality was divided into three wards:
North
Central
South
As the municipality developed these areas became generally known as:
Uplands
Willows
South Oak Bay

Watson's Grocery & Confectionery
2559 Estevan Avenue (19501952 phone books)

Previous location of Estevan Grocery
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

Watson's Woollens
2519 Estevan Avenue (19481949 phone books)

This business was sold to become Lucille's Estevan Woollens in 1950 when Watson opened Watson's Grocery and Confectionery down the street at 2559 Estevan in 1950.
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

Wave Beauty Shop
2162 McNeill Avenue (1936, 1938 city directories)
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

Weir's Sewing School
2182 Oak Bay Avenue (1951 city directory)
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

Western Produce Store #2
2045 Oak Bay Avenue (19481956 phone books)
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

What Price Vengeance (aka Vengeance)
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
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

Whittemore, T S
third principal of Oak Bay High School (1929–1930)
T S Whittemore
Biographical material welcomed

Williamson's Grocery
2509 Estevan Avenue
(1954... phone book)
2517 Estevan Avenue (...1956 phone book
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

Willo-way Supermarket
2579 Cadboro Bay Road
(...1956–1970... phone books)
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

Willows Arena
1941–1944
Willows Horse Show Pavilion becomes city's second ice arena
Willows Arena
Click on image to view enlargement
After Oak Bay's Patrick Arena burned to the ground in 1929, Victoria went without an arena for several years, despite exploring some possibilities, until Barney Olson undertook to convert an existing building — the Horse Show Pavilion on the Willows Fairgrounds — in 1941.
League play commenced with the 1941/42 season and the calibre of hockey was very high as many easterners stationed in Victoria, either as servicemen or shipyard workers, played in the NHL or in eastern pro leagues. But tragedy struck in 1944 when the Willows Arena became the second arena in Oak Bay to burn to the ground.
From the ashes of the Willows Arena grew the desire for a safer, fireproof building as a memorial to those who lost their lives during World War II. Victoria's Memorial Arena opened in 1948.
Click on MEMORABILIA to view or contribute recollections, photos and artifacts

Willows B-A Service
2554 Cadboro Bay Road
(19561969 phone books)

Previous location of Saunders and Hitchman
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

Willows Barber Shop
Estevan Shopping District
HAIR CUTS – Iroquois, Flattop, University, College,
Bogey, Hollywood, Military, Box Cut, Ducktail, Men.
.WILLOWS BARBER SHOP
.In Estevan Shopping District
text from ad in 1960 OBHS Oak Leaves yearbook
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

Willows Beach
Willows Beach
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

Willows Beauty Salon
2051 Cadboro Bay Road
(...1959... phone book)
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

Willows Camp
Willows Fairgrounds serve as WWI staging area for Canadian troups en route to England
Willows Camp
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

Willows Church
1913
Lobby, Patrick Arena
The lobby of the Patrick Arena was used as an assembly hall by Oak Bay Methodists and called Willows Church during the construction of Hampshire Road Methodist Church in 1913.
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

Willows Confectionery
2053 Fort Street
(1953 phone book)
2053 Cadboro Bay Road
(...1928...1954–1957... phone books)
OPEN EVENINGS
GROCERIES - CONFECTIONERY - NEWS STAND
LUNCH COUNTER
2053 Cadboro Bay . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4-9417
ad in 1957 phone book

Former location of Cull's Willows Confectionery
Subsequent location of Robbie's Coffee Shop
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

Willows Electrical Boot Reparing Shop (19281934)
Willows Electrical Shoe Reparing Shop
(19351942)
2051 Cadboro Bay Road

Former location of Robert L Cull shoe repairs, who renamed his shoe business Willows Electrical Boot Repairing Shop in 1928.
see Robert L Cull shoe repairs
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

Willows Fair
1891–1940s
the annual fair in Oak Bay was a highlight of the year
Willows Fair
The Willows Fair began in 1891 when the provincial agricultural exhibition relocated from Beacon Hill Park to Oak Bay. A magnificent exhibition hall was constructed adjoining an existing racetrack — the Driving Park — to create a new recreation centre for the city — the Willows.
With the incorporation of Oak Bay as a municipality in 1906, urban growth soon started to encroach upon the exhibition grounds. Its days were numbered.
The old livestock buildings were considered fire and health risks to the community through the 1940s and by 1948 all the buildings were gone. The fairgrounds stood vacant until the Carnarvon Park subdivision proceeded in the early 1950s.
Click on MEMORABILIA to view or contribute recollections, photos and artifacts

Willows Farm
In 1850 retired Hudson's Bay Company employee John Tod became the first person to buy land in Oak Bay.1 His property became known as Willows Farm.2 A year later, in 1851, he built a home, sometimes refered to as Oak Bay House (still standing), on the property.
The best agricultural portion of Tod's land was the flatland that became Victoria Driving Park, developed after his death in 1882. The Driving Park became Willows Park racetrack which expanded to include Willows Fairgrounds from the 1890s–1940s before succumbing to the Carnarvon Park subdivision in the early 1950s.
Tod's extensive property accounted for most of central Oak Bay, which became known as the Willows area of the municipality once a ward system was initiated in 1906.
see Willow Road, Oak Bay House, John Tod, Wards, Driving Park, Willows Fair

1 This was the first parcel of land sold in the Victoria area, as the land wouldn't be officially surveyed by Joseph Pemberton for another year, in 1851. Tod's property lines were surveyed in 1850 by interim surveyor Walter Colquhoun Grant (before leaving that same year to prospect for gold in Oregon) as a favour by HBC chief factor James Douglas to valued, HBC retiree John Tod.
2 Scott, Andrew. The Encyclopedia of Raincoast Place Names (Madeira Park: Harbour Publishing, 2009) 434.

Willows Fish & Chips
2271 Bowker Avenue (19551956 phone books)
2280 Cadboro Bay Road (...1959–1962... phone books)
Cadboro Bay Road at Bowker
Take Out Orders & Table Service
Choice Halibut – Deep Fried Prawns
2280 Cadboro Bay . . . . . . . . . . . . Ev 3-5743
ad in 1959 phone book

2271 address is previous location of Quikwrap Tapes
2271 address is subsequent location of MacKenzie TV Service
2280 address is previous location of Taplin TV & Radio Service
2280 address is subsequent location of Ackerman's Upholstery
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

Willows Food Market
2077 Cadboro bay Road
(19501953 phone books)

concurrent address of Porter's Red & White Market
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

Willows Hotel (The Willows)
1864–1923
2190 Cadboro Bay Road (...1913.. Victoria Directory)
2184 Cadboro Bay Road
(1914...
Oak Bays first commercial establishment was a pub
Willows Hotel
Click on image to view enlargement
The Willows Hotel was built in 1864 at the corner of Cadboro Bay Road and Willow Road (Eastdowne). For nearly six decades, under different ownerships,1 it served as a wayside inn and pub for city daytrippers and local pioneers.
Originally built in the middle of nowhere, business boomed from the mid-1800s with the development of the adjacent Willows race track and, from 1891, the Willows fairgrounds.
During the early years of WWI the hotel was a popular watering hole for Canadian troups stationed at Willows Camp on the fairgrounds. But the prohibition of alcohol in British Columbia from 1917–1921 dealt a blow from which the hotel never recovered, despite trying for two years after prohibition was repealed.
In 1923 the building was sold to Robert V Minton and served as Cranleigh House — a private school for boys.
The building was subsequently converted into a four-plex before being demolished in 1968 to make way for the Cranleigh Apartments currently standing at 2189 Cadboro Bay Road.

1 Willows Hotel Proprietors
1864–1865
William Louden
1865...
Amedu Voisard
...1869...
James Moss1
...1871...
Thomas Argyle
William Haynes
...1905...
Mrs Rhodes
...1903–1911...
James Chamberlain
...1912–1914...
Alex Lipsky
...1917...
Mrs Clarence Marsh
...1918–1920...
Norman C Phair
0...1923...
Lipsky
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

Willows Meat Market
2077 Fort Street
(...1930–1947 phone books)
2077 Cadboro bay Road
(19481949 phone books)
same location

— ad in 1930 phone book,
Click on image to view enlargement
The Willows Meat Market was one of five outlet stores in Greater Victoria for the "Cross, Your Butcher" franchise.

Subsequent location of Willows Food Market
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

Willows Park
There have been two Willows Parks in Oak Bay.
The first Willows Park was an outgrowth of the Victoria Driving Park, which was established in the 1880s for horseracing on the former Tod property. The area became known as The Willows after the Willows Hotel, a popular pub that had been serving suds at this location since 1864. The Willows developed into Willows Park, the site of the Willows Fairgrounds and racetrack complex, before ultimately succumbing to the Carnarvon Park subdivision in the early 1950s. During the 1930s one of the exhibition buildings was converted to a motion picture soundstage and called Willows Park Studio. This first Willows Park is remembered today by Willows Park Grocery on Eastdowne Road.
The second Willows Park, the one people know today on Beach Drive adjoining Willows Beach, was developed after the purchase of 3.5 acres of land from Robert Scott in 1913.1

1 The creation of green spaces and parks was a high priority of Francis Mawson Rattenbury, reeve of Oak Bay in 1913. He saw this as a vital park of urban planning after his visits to England and Europe.

Willows Park Grocery
2043 Willows Road (19121913 city directories)
2405 Willows Road
(19141951 city directories / phone books)
2405 Eastdowne Road
(1952–1970... phone books)
all the same location
Oak Bay's longest-running business
GROCERIES - MEATS - DELIVERY SERVICE
OPEN 9 AM to 10 PM
2405 Eastdowne . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4-3962
ad in 1957 phone book

An early address for Willows Park Grocery (sometimes Willow Park Grocery) was Thistle and Willows.
The Willows address was prior to the subdivision of the Willows Fairgrounds in the early 1950s when Willows Road was extended north through the subdivision and renamed Eastdowne Road.
Thistle Street (named after W. Thistle, an early pioneer and an 1885 trustee of Oak Bay's first school) was the original name of Dalhousie Street, west of Cadboro Bay Road. The street name changed from Thistle to Dalhousie in 1921.
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

Willows Park Studio
Oak Bay was "Hollywood North" during the 1930s
Tugboat Princess
1936
Stampede
1936
Convicted
1938
Click on image to view enlargement
During the 1930s, Oak Bay was the original "Hollywood North" when fourteen films were produced locally between 1933 and 1938. An off-season exhibition building on the Willows Fairgrounds was converted to a movie soundstage and movies were produced with stars such as Lillian Gish, Paul Muni, Sir Cedric Hardwicke, Rita Hayworth, Edith Fellows, Charles Starrett* and Rin Tin Tin Jr.
The Willows Park Studio films were:
Although primarily producing "B" movies in the '30s — like The Crimson Paradise in 1933 (Canada's first "talkie") and Special Inspector and Convicted in 1938 for Columbia Pictures (both featuring starlet Rita Hayworth) — this historic Oak Bay studio also produced Commandos Strike at Dawn in 1942 — an Academy Award nominee.

* Charles Starrett, 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

Willows Racetrack (formerly Victoria Driving Park)
1880s–1947
"The best half-mile track on the Coast"
Willows Racetrack
"I remember watching the horse races from the fence at the old Willows track and on one occasion around 1949 attending some sort of a stunt show where seasoned bikers like Shanks and Baylis rode their Harley 45s through flaming barriers."
Richard Goodall, OBHS class of 1960
* * *
A bit more on Bob Shanks . . .

"Bob Shanks left Vic high to work in his father's shop, Brooklands Motorcycle Works, but left in 1924 to operate the Indian Motorcycle Agency. When that company folded he opened Shanks Saddlery. He became a trophy jumper on thoroughbred horses and a stunt rider on motorcycles through the '30s, '40s, and '50s.
I have a small book written by Bob Shanks entitled "Thoroughbreds: Rhymes and Reminiscences." It's a book of poetry and recollections on horseracing — much of it about the Willows Park track."
Gary Wilcox, OBHS class of 1960
* * *
"Speaking of Bob Shanks, in the late 1940s my sister and I used to visit his shop down near the roundabout (Douglas and Hillside) where my uncle Morris (Kersey) started his peanut butter business. We used to help crush the peanuts. Eventually the peanut butter business was sold to Standard Brands."
John Stenstrom, OBHS class of 1960
* * *
A bit more on Morris Kersey . . .

"Morris was a great friend of Bob Shanks and loaned him the life-like horse named 'Peanuts' to place outside his shop on Douglas Street to attract attention. The horse was finally sent to the Duncan Forest Museum.
Morris wrote a story of his life called "Victoria, Where Dreams Come True" — published by Trafford Publishing. His Peanut Butter Factory was first at 1626 Store Street and then next door to the Ingraham Hotel on Douglas St. In 1953, he sold the name and business to Derek Todd."
Dianne Kersey Zanichelli, OBHS class of 1961
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

Willows School
three buildings have served as Willows School
Willows School
The first Willows School, in 1910, was a converted farmhouse on Margaret Street (Musgrave) sitting on 21 acres of farmland. In 1913 a 3-room school was built on this farmland to serve the area until a 8-room brick building was constructed in 1920.
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

Willows Speedway
1912–late 1940s
where cars sped "faster than man was really made to go on earth."
Willows Speedway
Auto racing started in Victoria at the Willows Speedway on the exhibition grounds in 1912 and continued until the late 1940s.
Click on MEMORABILIA to view or contribute recollections, photos and artifacts

Willows Streetcar
1891–1948
built in 1891 to help sponsors develop the Willows Fairgrounds
Willows Streetcar
Click on image to view enlargement
Willows was one of three streetcar lines to service Oak Bay in the early years. The other two lines were Oak Bay and Uplands. see Wards
The Willows line began on September 26,1891 and served the community until January 31, 1948.
Click on MEMORABILIA to view or contribute recollections, photos and artifacts

Willows Taxi
2013 Oak Bay Avenue
(1942... phone book)
2246 Oak Bay Avenue
(19441950 phone books)

In 1950, Willows Taxi relocated to 1774 Fort Street, as did Oak Bay Taxi and Oak Bay Transfer & Baggage.
see W E Ferriday
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

Willows Taxi & Transfer
2013 Oak Bay Avenue
(...1941 phone book)

In 1941 a Willows Taxi and Transfer operated in Victoria at 1981 Fort Street. In 1942 Willows Transfer operated at this Fort street address as did Willows Baggage and Transfer.
see W E Ferriday
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

Wilmot Coffee Shop
1507 Wilmot Place (19481954 city directorie / phone books)
"At the corner of Wilmot and what is now called Theatre Lane was the Wilmot Coffee Shop, run by a man called Stan. (not sure if it was originally called Stan's coffee shop or not, but for the most part was the Wilmot.)  This was a gathering place for Oak Bay High School students at noon and after school from 1948 until it closed in the fifties. They made hamburgers and light  lunches, had a soda fountain and at the far end was a juke box and at least one game machine."
Richard Goodall, OBHS class of 1960
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

Wilson, C E
reeve of Oak Bay (1918–1919) / co-owner of Oak Bay Hotel / owner of Wilson Motors Ltd (Oak Bay Garage)
C E Wilson
see Wilson Motors
Biographical material welcomed

Wilson Motors (Oak Bay Garage)
Wilson Motors
Click on image to view enlargement
see Oak Bay Garage
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

Windsor Park
see Oak Bay Ball Park

Windsor Park School
1171 Newport Avenue
(...1954 phone book)
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

Windsor Wool Shop
1210 Newport Avenue (19351942 city directories)

Woman Against the World
1937 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

Peter Wong produce
2867 Foul Bay Road (1954... phone book)
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

Woodhall
1891–c1967
Oak Bay Avenue
1891 home of Sir Clive Phillipps-Wolley

Demolished circa1967.The driveway to Woodhall became Clive Drive when the property was subdivided.
see Sir Clive Phillipps-Wolley

Woodhouse, W L
reeve of Oak Bay (1941–1945)
W L Woodhouse
Biographical material welcomed

Wootton, R A
reeve of Oak Bay (1948–1949)
R A Wootton
Biographical material welcomed

Wright's Meat Market
2215 Oak Bay Avenue
(...1944–1957... phone books)
SERVING OAK BAY
HOME FREEZER SERVICE
FREE DELIVERY
2215 Oak Bay . . . . . . . . . . . 2-1512
ad in 1957 phone book

Previous location of Cross Markets
Former location of Wright's Quality Meats & Delicatessen
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed

Wright's Quality Meats and Delicatessen
2215 Oak Bay Avenue
(...1959–1970... phone books)
. . WRIGHT'S QUALITY . .
. .MEATS AND DELICATESSEN. .
2215-17 Oak Bay Avenue
EV 2-1512
text from ad in 1959 OBJHS OBEJAY yearbook

Previous location of Wright's Meat Market
Photos, artifacts and recollections welcomed



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