It is the only pub on Oak Bay Avenue and one of only two pubs in Oak Bay.
When the Penny Farthing received Oak Bay council’s preliminary approval in June of 2000, there were more supporters at Oak Bay council than there were dissidents. The pub was voted in unanimously. In the months before it was approved, the Oak Bay News ran a mail-in campaign with readers to share their thoughts.
In 2000 the Oak Bay News asked readers what their thoughts were on the proposal for a Penny Farthing pub, calling it “controversial.” Eventually the pub earned council’s unanimous blessing and now 20 years later the pub has a 77-foot long patio on Oak Bay Avenue. What do you think? (Black Press Media Archive)
The previous application for a pub in the village had been denied in 1989. So there was little precedent at the time that owner Matt McNeil would succeed. There were also the cries of opposition stirring the controversy that patrons would exit the pub at closing and disrupt the peace in Oak Bay.
Forty-two people spoke to council in the Garry Oak Room of Monterey Recreation Centre, 32 in favour and 10 opposed. Concerns of the day centred around potential safety problems and excessive noise at closing time.
Twenty years later, the Penny Farthing has broken into new territory again, this time with the addition of restaurant patio seating along Oak Bay Avenue.
Oak Bay council approved a temporary bylaw amendment on May 21 that allows the use of sidewalk space and street parking stalls as patio space. To make it work, the province’s Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch is temporarily approving the expansion of square footage. The permit expires Oct. 31.
So far the patio for the Penny Farthing and Vis a Vis has been successful, filled with patrons far more often than not. The same goes on Government Street.
With the Victoria mayor reporting that businesses there would like to make their temporary patios permanent, the Oak Bay News wants to hear from you and devote space in an upcoming issue to your thoughts regarding Oak Bay’s on-street patio.
Send your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org.