I’m mostly a fair weather Bike to Work rider, and for the last few years I’ve suffered the start of my early spring rides with the cold wind tunnel of Cadboro Bay Road. Along the way I’ve frequently thought to myself ‘Ooohhh, the bus looks good now.’
But then, I’d pass Oak Bay High and approach the intersection at Foul Bay Road where I’d see work had been done on the garden bed there. This gave me cause to pedal on, for curiousity is a powerful motivator.
I would arrive at the traffic light, and get my first glimpse at this year’s creation. What would it be? A Crash Landed Alien? A Spider? A Cadborosaurus? A Fire Truck?
If I was early enough, and Oak Bay Parks Department Foreman Horticulturist Dan Bell was still there working on the beds with his coworker, I’d have my first crack at a guess. I’d usually snap a photo on my phone and take a few more as it changed over the days and weeks ahead.
It was fun. I loved guessing, as much as I loved how it was talked about on the bus, and got people talking to each other.
It was inclusive, inexpensive public art and it made me smile every day for months as I went by.
My kids especially loved the alien. We kept hoping he might return on the fire truck last year.
It’s not everyone that makes you smile every day, but Dan Bell certainly made an effort that will be missed. He retired this spring as Oak Bay’s horticulturist. I hope he enjoys as many smiles himself as he created for others.
He will certainly by missed, and deserves a very happy next chapter.
Michelle Kirby, councillor