Willows Beach attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every weekend from around the world and throughout B.C. (Octavian Lacatusu/Oak Bay News)

Oak Bay voted as best place to live in B.C.

The tiny district earned points for its scenery, friendliness, accessible transit and charm

Oak Bay is one groovy place to be in, after a recent study revealed the district is the best place to live in B.C. today.

In the study, conducted by moneysense.ca, Oak Bay also scored as top three best places to live in Canada overall, coming just behind Saint-Augustin-de-Desmaures, Que., and Ottawa Ont. North Saanich came in fourth, and the District of Saanich came in 11th overall.

Not bad B.C., not bad, but Oak Bay does outshine others in ways that are hard to match, scoring fairly high on criteria such as having a robust economy, high wealth and incomes, home affordability, low taxes, being transit friendly, health accessiblity, low crime and weather.

“I’m not surprised, because I do personally believe that it’s one of the best in Canada,” said Jason Binab, a local real estate advisor, adding that Oak Bay’s old school prestige, choice of luxury real estate and access to services is one delicious mix.

“We’ve got some of the best public schools in the country and in B.C., with Willows School, Monterey, Oak Bay High, Glenlyon Norfolk Junior Campus, St. Michael’s Jr. Campus, so it feels like a safe and practical place to raise a family.”

Most importantly though, it’s all connected, with nothing being too far away, including the world-renown Victoria Golf Club, one of the top golf courses in Canada.

“You’re in downtown Victoria in seven minutes, out of town to the highway in 15, 20 mins, you’re close to everything,” he said, adding that bike connectors such as Dallas Road can make for one scenic bike ride to home or work.

When it comes to ocean views, gorgeous sunsets overlooking the Juan de Fuca Strait to the south, or towards Mount Baker in the east come easy, while strolls past old beautiful trees in south Oak Bay can be a special occasion any day, let alone checking out estate-like homes with wide streets in Uplands, and of course, Uplands Park itself.

Oak Bay’s charming multi-million dollar homes also attracts buyers worldwide with the same elegance and prestige they did when built more than a century ago. Still, many are willing to pay for all that charm, considering much of the same magic is rapidly fading in bigger cities like Vancouver and Toronto.

“Vancouver is an amazing city, but the Vancouver sellers who come here as buyers understand that it is no longer the same magic city it was,” Binab said, adding last year, almost 40 per cent of buyers in Oak Bay were from Vancouver.

To date, Oak Bay is one of the 10 wealthiest areas in the country, with an average household net worth approaching $2 million, and while it’s once of the most expensive real estate markets around, it’s still cheaper than Vancouver’s market.

“Victoria is where Vancouver was 5 to 10 years ago, so even though we’re finding all the million dollar homes in Oak Bay expensive, those [$1 million] homes in Dunbar or Kitsilano area 10 years ago was considerably more daunting than it is now. Today $4 million is something that’s considered ‘decent’,” Binab said.

There’s also the realization that Oak Bay will automatically provide more bang for the buck, even if it costs the big bucks.

“The American dolllar is 30 per cent stronger, so you could sell a $15 million average condo in New York City and come here and have any piece of property you want,” he said.

For all its wealth, Oak Bay residents are well engaged and highly attentive when it comes to their community, something Oak Bay District Coun. Hazel Braithwaite is happy to be a part of.

“I have lived in and visited many places around the world, but I would honestly choose no other place to live than here,” she said. “We have it all, we have the the beach, the ocean, gorgeous streets, beautiful houses, and a lot of beautiful art, which adds to what people get out of living here.”

Just Posted

BC SPCA proposes fines for animal mistreatment, reduction in commercial trade

Animal welfare group’s ideas brought to Victoria councillors

After dark: Sandown construction goes overnight

Noise concerns from Sidney could stop nighttime work schedule

New Victoria graving dock will offer high-paying jobs

New facility will reuse and treat any water required for repair process

Duncan family says care home switched mom’s cat with robot cat

Staff alleged to have said they were taking cat for bath, then replaced her with robotic stuffed toy

Trial date delayed in case of slain Oak Bay sisters

Case of Andrew Berry, charged in deaths of daughters, will reconvene in three weeks

Photo gallery: Show us your Winter Wonderland!

User submitted photos from around Greater Victoria

All aboard! Job fair ports this weekend in Victoria

Find out about the hundreds of jobs in Victoria’s cruise ship industry

New charges against ex-Trump campaign associates

More charges were laid Thursday against President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman and his business associate

Sooke mom hopeful for funding to treat child’s debilitating arthritis

Jillian Lanthier ‘prays’ for $19,000 per-dose drug for her son

Man accused in death of Winnipeg teen Tina Fontaine not guilty

Raymond Cormier was accused of killing Indigenous 15-year-old and dumping her body in the Red River

Okanagan real estate agents brace for speculation tax impact

“There’s a real potential for a domino effect to hurt the market in Kelowna.”

Human remains found near Campbell River

Human remains were found in a rural area outside Campbell River, RCMP… Continue reading

Alberta drops B.C. wine boycott, Notley says Horgan ‘blinked’ on pipeline

B.C. government announces court reference on proposed diluted bitumen restriction

Tofino Bus will cover Victoria–Nanaimo route after Greyhound announces cut

Although its name says ‘Tofino’, this bus company serves all of Vancouver Island

Most Read