James Bay: A Neighbourhood Guide
James Bay is a vibrant and diverse neighbourhood rich in history with both apartment towers and classic Victorian homes. This little neighbourhood is the oldest Western Community in the pacific northwest. With ocean front on all 3 sides & bordered by Beach Hill Park, this neighbourhood is not only historic but also very beautiful.
James Bay residents value their quality of life; walking through the neighbourhood, along the Dallas waterfront, and through Beacon Hill Park. Community events, community gardens and the summer community market are valued attractions.
Scroll down to read what it’s like living in James Bay. If this is the neighbourhood for you, scroll down to the bottom where you can view homes that are currently for sale. Alternatively, you can view these properties here.
A Brief History Lesson:
Originally home to the Swenghwung and Lekwungen First Nations people of the Coast Salish, James Bay’s original descendants are known today as the Songhees First Nation. All along the shoreline were the homes of these first nations people. Holland Point is the site of a forfeited ancient village and Laurel Point was used a Coast Salish burial ground.
James Bay derives it’s name from Sir James Douglas and forms part of Victoria’s Inner Harbour and James Inlet. In the days when the Capital was known as Fort Victoria and what began as a farming community, James Bay was originally known as Ogden Fields Farms, and later Beckley Farms. On the official Deed (title) of the many homes in James Bay will cite this reference to Beckley Farms, which was part of the original subdivision plan.
English settlers arrived and formed Fort Victoria in 1840’s when James Bay was being used mainly for farming. Development soon carried it’s way into James Bay and in the 1860’s the area was subdivided by many wealthy individuals who built their homes on the Southern and Western Areas of James Bay. Nearly 100 years later, some of these same homes were torn down to be replaced by many apartment buildings. This is what can be seen today; Brutalism-styled concrete apartment towers and Victorian-Eduardian heritage homes.
Fisherman’s wharf offers just more than hot dogs and ice cream. Many flock to the docks to view the eclectic collection of float homes that many homeowners decorate with an artistic flair. This makes for a hugely popular destination for tourists and locals alike.
The Dallas Road Walkway boast some of the most beautiful views of the Olympic Mountains, and some of the warmest sandy beaches on the Island. Ogden Point and the breakwater are a great spot for a walk or a scenic cup of coffee.
Beacon Hill Park is like Victoria’s own Central Park in NYC. This 185+ acre park features a petting zoo, beautiful landscaped gardens and ponds, and many birds such as free roaming peacocks, ducks, swans and geese. There’s over 20 parks & community gardens in James Bay alone. Holland Park is a popular spot for many locals to fly kites, walk their dog, & even launch into the ocean with a kite-board.
It’s easy to stay in James Bay as you’ll likely find everything you need right in the centre.
The main hub features a thrifty’s food, countless coffee shops, banks, bakery’s and liquor stores. The Bent Mast Pub is the local watering hole for many locals.
There’s also a regular Market, known as the James Bay Market which features fresh greens and local artisan crafts. Of course, Fisherman’s Wharf also features food and drink as well as the Ogden Point Café.
Schools near James Bay