Oak Bay is a municipality located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, in the Canadian province of British Columbia, Canada, and is a seaside community. A member municipality of the Capital Regional District, a community east of and adjacent to the city of Victoria. It is one of the 13 municipalities of Greater Victoria.
Prior to the arrival of Europeans, Oak Bay was home to the local Coast Salish people of the Songhees First Nation. Evidence of their encampments has been found along local shores, including Willows Beach. Following the establishment of Fort Victoria on the Inner Harbour, the Hudson's Bay Company established Cadboro Bay Farm to supply food for the small settlement. Cattle Point, where cattle were brought ashore to avoid taxes, between Cadboro Bay and Willows Beach recalls the early history of this area. Early European settlers of the area included John Tod, whose home still stands and is reputed to be haunted.
Oak Bay takes its name from the Garry Oak tree, which are found throughout the region, and the name of the large bay on the Eastern shore of the municipality, fronting onto Willows Beach.
Originally developed as a middle class streetcar suburb of Victoria, Oak Bay was incorporated as a municipality in 1906. Its first Council included Francis Rattenbury, the architect who designed the Legislative Buildings and Empress Hotel located on the inner harbour in Victoria. Rattenbury's own home on Beach Drive is now used as the junior campus for Glenlyon Norfolk School. In 1912 the former farm lands of the Hudson's Bay Company were subdivided to create the Uplands area, but development was hampered by World War I. After the war, development of expensive homes in the Uplands was accompanied by the construction of many more modest dwellings in the Estevan, Willows and South Oak Bay neighbourhoods. In addition to being an attractive retirement area, Oak Bay has also long appealed to families with young children and others seeking safe and well-maintained neighbourhoods. Oak Bay boasts wonderful beaches, the Oak Bay Marina, the Oak Bay Beach Hotel, and the Royal Victoria Yacht Club located on the shore of Cadboro Bay.
The Victoria Golf Club is located in South Oak Bay. It was founded in 1893, and is the second oldest golf course west of the Great Lakes. It is a challenging 6000 yard links course which hugs the ocean side, and claims to be the oldest golf course in Canada still on its original site.
The Royal Victoria Yacht Club was formed on June 8, 1892, and moved in 1912 to its current location, at the location of the old Hudson's Bay Company cattle wharf.
The Oak Bay Marina was built in 1962 and officially opened in April 1964. It replaced the Oak Bay Boat House built in 1893. The breakwater was built in 1959 and funded by the federal government.