The quiet residential neighbourhood and small business community of James Bay, British Columbia is the oldest neighbourhood in Victoria on Vancouver Island, located close to downtown Victoria and Victoria’s Inner Harbour, which is actually James Bay.
James Bay still boasts many pristine older residences that have retained their original Victorian splendour, many of which were owned by the original settlers of the Victoria area. The eastern end of James Bay was reclaimed in 1903 for the construction of the Empress Hotel.
Heritage James Bay incorporates the area south of the Inner Harbour to Dallas Road, between downtown Victoria and the Juan de Fuca Strait, including the BC Legislative Buildings, Fisherman’s Wharf, the Cruise Ship Terminal, and Ogden Point. The northern boundary of James Bay is the waterfront along the Inner Harbour, which boasts many of the most prestigious hotels in Victoria.
James Bay Village is the hub of James Bay, with a grocery store, pharmacy, liquor store, hairdresser, coffee shops, banks, and other interesting shops.
Location: James Bay is located in Victoria, immediately south of the Inner Harbour and the downtown core of Victoria. Access to James Bay is along Belleville Street, Government Street and Douglas Street.
Emily was born here in 1871, a scant six months after British Columbia moved from British colonial status to become a province of the world’s newest nation. She used her brushes and pens to proclaim her pride in this part of Canada for the rest of her life. The house is near Victoria’s central Inner Harbour, at 207 Government Street, only a 10-minute walk south from the Royal B.C. Museum and the Legislative Buildings. The house is open to the general public from mid-May to mid-October, every day from 10 am to 5 pm. Admission fees are in effect. Special openings are scheduled at other times of the year, especially in December.
If there’s a quintessential image of Victoria etched in the memory of all who visit the city, it must surely be British Columbia’s Legislative Buildings. At night the building takes on a magical quality, adorned with 3,333 light bulbs. Take a free tour of the Legislative Buildings and learn about provincial history and government.
The Royal British Columbia Museum is one of the finest of its kind in the world, offering dramatic dioramas of natural landscapes and full-scale reconstructions of Victorian storefronts. Features outstanding displays on the province’s history and culture, as well as national and international touring exhibits. Of particular interest is the northwest Coast Indian exhibit, rich with spiritual and cultural artifacts.
Helmcken House, built in 1852 for pioneer doctor J.S. Helmcken, is the second oldest residence on its original site in BC. Dr. Helmcken’s library, medicine chest, and medical instruments make up one of Canada’s finest 19th century medical collections. Today fascinating audiotape tours will guide you through a house full of intriguing legacies.
The Robert Bateman Centre displays the definitive collection of Robert Bateman’s work. Through their collections, research, exhibits, and programming the centre encourages experiential learning, observation and dialogue, and inspires people of all ages to find their place in Nature. Experience the magic of nature through the eyes of Robert Bateman, one of Canada’s most celebrated artists and conservationists. His work brings attention to the beauty and destruction of our planet. The Robert Bateman Centre is located at 470 Belleville Street, in the Steamship Terminal on Victoria’s Inner Harbour.
Historic James Bay Inn is the third oldest hotel in Victoria, preceded only by the Dominion Hotel and the Empress Hotel (1908). Opened in 1911 it has operated continuously as a hotel with only a brief interlude during the war years. From 1942 to 1945 the hotel was purchased by Mother Cecilia’s religious order and operated as St. Mary’s Priory. It was during this period that the hotel welcomed its most famous guest. Canadian artist and author Emily Carr was a patient at the Priory in her final illness, dying there on March 2, 1945.
For spectacular views of the Olympic Mountains, enjoy a seaside stroll in historic Beacon Hill Park on the eastern boundary of James Bay. Watch for “Mile Zero”, starting point of the Trans-Canada Highway! A delightful quiet envelops this sunny spot, where walking trails link with neighbourhood streets that lead down into the busy hum of commercial activity. Beacon Hill Park was the site of a village that had been inhabited for thousands of years prior to the arrival of the colonial settlers in the 1840s. In 1956, renowned Kwakwaka’wakw artist Mungo Martin and his team raised the world’s tallest free-standing totem pole – at 38.8 metre (128 foot) located in Beacon Hill Park.
Beacon Hill Children’s Farm is a hands-on petting zoo in Beacon Hill Park, enjoyed by kids and adults alike, with lots of baby animals, potbelly pigs, African pygmy goats, miniature horses, alpacas, rabbits and guinea pigs, a goat-petting area, and many other critters to meet and pet. Don’t miss the famous daily Goat Stampede at closing time! The farm is open seasonally.
Carriage Rides: Relax in a horse-drawn carriage and capture the romance of an era when tall ships moored alongside the wharf. Fabulous horse-drawn carriages have been delighting visitors with rides through Victoria for over 100 years!
A great waterfront trail along the breakwater wraps around James Bay, stretching from the Ogden Point Breakwater all the way to Ross Bay Cemetery, providing great walking, jogging, biking and roller blading, with great views out over Juan de Fuca Strait.
Diving: Located in James Bay is the Ogden Point Dive Centre, one of the premier scuba diving facilities in British Columbia, catering to weekend dive charters, scuba diving holidays, and daily dive trips to all lower island sport dive locations – including dives off the Ogden Point breakwater. The dive centre also houses a popular restaurant for dive patrons and visitors.
The Cruise Ship Terminal at Ogden Point caters to cruise ships on the Alaska Cruise route. Cruise ships dock in Victoria allowing passengers to enjoy an exciting stop in Victoria and explore the many attractions the City of Gardens has to offer.
Fisherman’s Wharf: Just around the corner from Victoria’s Inner Harbour and the Ogden Point cruise ship terminal, Fisherman’s Wharf is a hidden treasure waiting to be discovered. This unique marine destination offers eco-tour adventures in the heart of the working harbour, including whale watching and wildlife-viewing tours, kayak rentals and fishing charters. Wander down the docks with your lunch, buy seafood fresh off the boat, see moored pleasure vessels and float homes, and watch as fishing vessels unload their catches.
Ogden Point: The breakwater at Ogden Point in James Bay, at nearly 800 metres long, extends into the ocean and offers a unique opportunity to walk out to sea and enjoy great views in all directions. Completed in 1916, and named after Peter Skeene Ogden, a noted 19th-century office of the Hudson’s Bay Company, the return walk takes about 40 minutes. With no railings on either side, the walkway is not recommended for those suffering from vertigo, and parents should monitor young children. Winter storms conditions demand additional caution.
Macdonald Park in James Bay is the recreational centre of the community, with 2 fastball diamonds (1 skinned) and 2 slopitch diamonds in spring and summer, and 2 rugby fields in fall and winter, home to the James Bay Athletic Club. Fisherman’s Wharf Park also provides a slopitch diamond in spring/summer, and a soccer pitch in fall/winter.
Golf: The Victoria area boasts 8 championship golf courses in close proximity, including Cordova Bay Golf Club, Olympic View Golf Club, Gorge Vale Golf Club, Royal Colwood Golf Club, and Bear Mountain Golf and Country Club. Nearby Oak Bay has the Victoria Golf Club and Uplands Golf Course.
Victoria Golf Vacations.
Vancouver Island Golf Vacations.