Few Oak Bay residents can imagine this community without its parks and recreation facilities. Windsor Park, Monterey Recreation Centre, and Henderson Park are district focal points – in no small part due to Margaret Isabel Craig.
Craig began her generous career in the early 1952 as volunteer Block Mother, where she went on to join the recreation committee and was later appointed Oak Bay’s first full time recreation director in 1967. She served on the Oak Bay council as alderman for an additional 11 years.
The District of Oak Bay honours Craig this month by inducting her posthumously to the Oak Bay Wall of Fame. The municipal dinner on May 25 will formally recognize her addition before she is permanently recognized on the wall. Mayor Nils Jensen says she is “a most worthy person to be included in the Wall of Fame” due to her full and diverse career.
“This is one small way of showing our gratitude for everything she did … and a way we can honour her legacy,” Jensen said. “She was a wonderful contributor to our community.”
Jensen emphasizes the value of Oak Bay’s parks and recreation centres as the places where younger members of the community grow, socialize, and learn the importance of participation and the skills necessary to serve themselves and their neighbours later on in life. These locations and facilities unite the community at large.
“We can be very proud at her efforts to build community. Those who have gone after her and continue to build stand on her shoulders,” Jensen said.
Craig was nicknamed “The Energy Machine” during her career for her constant efforts to improve the district and for the many roles she filled. She retired in 1986, though she would have continued if health problems did not prove an obstacle. She was quoted saying, “The spirit is willing but the body is weak.”
The Oak Bay Parks, Recreation &Culture Wall of Fame honours eight other extraordinary people who have been instrumental to the success of the community. Chair of the Oak Bay Parks, Recreation &Culture Committee Monty Holding said, “Citizens of Oak Bay should be incredibly grateful that people like Isabel Craig had the vision and foresight to build the parks and recreation facilities that we so much appreciate today.”
“We are very fortunate to have had people like Isabel Craig,” Jensen said. “She exemplifies all those values that underline our community.”