I love going for neighbourhood walks, and though I do not technically live in Oak Bay, I am close enough to be able to enjoy its beautiful streets and back lanes. When my husband and I moved into the area 6 years ago, we went out as often as possible to explore our new surroundings. Those outings, which we still go on, have led to the discovery of some great walking trails.
The streets of South Oak Bay are, in my opinion, quite charming with their abundance of trees and wonderful architecture of differeing styles. There are many wonderful gardens to admire and cafes such as Demitasse(McNeill at Roslyn) and De’lish(St. Patrick at Central) where one can get a coffee or a snack. For me though, the real fun is in finding and exploring the more off-road walking trails. One of Oak Bay’s official marked walking trails is Centennial Trail. It is a 6.8 km loop around south Oak Bay and mainly stays on the roads, but has a few nice sections which do not. One of these is the Brighton Walkway which runs from Foul Bay Road to Transit Road. This part is maintained by volunteers who meet two Sundays a month. They have done and are continuing to do an amazing job working on this enjoyable and tranquil trail.
South Oak Bay also has some great back alleyways which I think look more like walking trails than mini-roadways used to get to one’s garage or backyard. In between Windsor Road and McNeill Avenue lie some of my favourites. A few of them are completely grassed and some people have even landscaped their little sections with greenery and flowers. A walk down one of these trails can be surprisingly colourful and fragrant.
Now, the best of the best are the walking trails which are actually hidden and can be easily missed if not paying attention. Off of Brighton Avenue, near Victoria Avenue, there is an ordinary looking garage/shed. There happens to be a little public trail right beside it which turns into an alleyway. It is so close to this shed that even after years of walking it, I still feel like I am somewhat trespassing. The entrance to another trail is located just next to the base of the stairs off the Centennial Trail at Hampshire Road. It is somewhat camouflagued with its overhanging tree branches, which also makes for a whimsical entrance/exit-way. Last, but definitely not least, there is a walkway which connects Falkland Road and Mountjoy Avenue and is extremely easy to miss. It is narrow and lined with trees which create a canopy over part of it. I always feel like I am entering some sort of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ realm when I go through there. It doesn’t hurt that one of the yards this trail passes by is filled with these fantastic toilet garden pots. It is just such a fun little area.
These are just some of the walking trails which I have enjoyed over the years. There are many more which I have yet to try, both in Oak Bay and the rest of Victoria. I am especially looking forward to finding more of the secret ones.