History and heritage go hand in hand for Oak Bay resident Ben Clinton-Baker.
The former UVic history grad student spent this past summer compiling information for a historical walking tour of Oak Bay, a project that took him back through the streets where he grew up.
“I think it’s such a beautiful part of the world,” remarked Clinton-Baker. “Part of the route of the tour is actually my old path to school – I grew up near the Oak Bay Village, and I used to walk from there down to Glenlyon School.”
Clinton-Baker says he remembers walking down the streets, through the then-empty lots, and being transfixed by the natural beauty of the landscape with its overgrown oak trees. He especially remembers an old carriage house on one of the lots between York Place and Prospect Place.
“My friend and I used to cut through this empty lot, and we used to go and look around it and pretend it was haunted,” he said. “Then, more recently, I’ve become more interested in history and when I studied the local history, I found out it’s one of the oldest buildings in Oak Bay.”
It was Clinton-Baker’s interest in the history of the area that led him to volunteer with the municipality’s Heritage Commission, which in turn led him to offer his help in putting together a walking tour destined to provide visitors and residents with an informative, optional way of seeing Oak Bay.
The colour brochure features a map of the route, archival photos of the last 100 years, as well as a brief historical description broken down into four categories: the village, the Bay of Oaks, the waterfront, and Victorian architect Francis Rattenbury.
Circled numbers on the map correspond to historical buildings or sites for which Clinton-Baker has included information in the text.