Plaques celebrate Oak Bay’s ‘century homes’

To honour those grand dames of Oak Bay architecture, the Oak Bay Heritage Foundation has launched a Century House Celebration

Oak Bay Heritage Foundation president Robert Taylor shows the plaques that will grace many of Oak Bay’s “century homes.”

Jennifer Blyth

Oak Bay News

Reaching the century mark is a significant milestone that should be celebrated.

To honour those grand dames of Oak Bay architecture, the Oak Bay Heritage Foundation has launched a Century House Celebration.

Foundation president Robert Taylor estimates approximately 1,000 pre-First World War houses still stand in Oak Bay, many in the area of Oliver, St. Patrick and Victoria streets. Records show limited building leading up to 1905, when things started to pick up before a pre-war building boom.

More than 300 houses were built in 1912, more than any other year. “That was the height of the boom,” Taylor says. “We don’t know how many are left, but they’re such wonderful houses.”

After seeing how Ontario’s ‘century houses’ are celebrated – and advertised – as something special, Taylor wanted to see a similar program launched in Oak Bay.

“It got us into the idea of how do we celebrate our old houses?” he says.

An informal program very different from official heritage designation, this is a no-strings-attached recognition of the home, whose owners receive an attractive plaque to mount proudly on the outside of the home. Calgary also has a similar program, as do many U.S. cities.

“It’s official, and the plaques look official and they’re quality, but at the same time it’s just a celebration and recognition. And I think it adds to the ambience (of Oak Bay).”

Initially promoting the idea at Oak Bay’s summer night markets, where a draw awarded three plaques, the initiative received a receptive response, Taylor says. A contest was then launched where homeowners could nominate their house to win a plaque. The home needed to be in Oak Bay, be 100 or more years old, in reasonable repair and reasonably original in appearance.

Beginning in November, plaques will be available for sale from the heritage foundation for $125.

With the owner’s name, address and year of construction, foundation volunteers can gather details about the house from the archives, which is provided for the current owners.

“I just think it’s another part of community values. One of the values Oak Bay has is its streetscape and part of that is how the older homes blend in to create this marvelous environment,” Taylor says. “This program is recognition of that.”

For details about the program, email heritageoakbay@gmail.com.

 

Just Posted

Federal government actions hurt Sooke hatchery fundraising efforts

Funding denial comes on the heels of fishing closures

SD62 student places third in province-wide French competition

12-year-old Sasha Zandieh won third with a speech on poet Pablo Neruda

Oak Bay researcher’s Canadian English dictionary goes to print

How an unknown American hobbyist sparked a Canadian dictionary

Jesse Roper learns to create fire in the wild, in Sacred Knowledge web series

Ragnarock Studios production shares primitive skills with Islanders

Island athlete goes from hoop dreams to icy track

Cyrus Gray hopes to punch his ticket to Olympics in bobsleigh

Police release photos of suspect in daytime sex assault at Vancouver woman’s home

A young woman, in hers 20s, was followed home by the man, before he violently attacked her inside

Raptors beat Bucks 100-94 to advance to franchise’s first-ever NBA Finals

Leonard has 27 points, 17 boards to lead Toronto past Milwaukee

Third person charged in death of B.C. teen Bhavkiran Dhesi

Inderdeep Kaur Deo facing charge of accessory after the fact to murder

Kamloops girl, 9, recovering from carbon monoxide poisoning now out of ICU

Her mother who was sleeping in the same tent with her did not survive

‘I think he’s still alive’: B.C. mom pleads for help finding son last seen a month ago

Family offering $5,000 reward for information leading to the safe return of Tim Delahaye

New poll suggests one-third don’t want politicians to wear religious symbols

Local politicians shouldn’t be allowed to wear hijabs, crucifixes or turbans on the job, survey suggests

Raptors fans far from home adjust plans to watch pivotal playoff game

Raptors currently lead the playoff series 3-2, and a win Saturday would vault them into NBA finals

PHOTOS: First responders in Fernie rescue baby owl who fell from nest

The baby owl’s inability to fly back to its nest prompted a rescue by first responders

Five takeaways from the Court of Appeal ruling on B.C.’s pipeline law

It’s unclear how many tools are left in B.C.’s toolbox to fight the project

Most Read