Neighbourhood resurgence on West Oak Bay Avenue

More people and more stores are moving into the west end of Oak Bay Avenue, where a rejuvenation is underway.

The vitality is evident in the growing number of pedestrians, thanks to new condominium projects and as existing stores relocate to the strip, west of Foul Bay Road.

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Top of mind for many is the Red Barn Market set to open in January, said co-owner Ashley Bourque.

Jayne Bradbury, owner of Fort Properties Ltd. which owns the Red Barn and neighbouring Home Hardware property, is excited about what it happening on the avenue. “West Oak Bay Avenue is fast becoming a walkable, amenity-rich neighborhood.”

The strip of Oak Bay Avenue west of Foul Bay Road is becoming more of a destination as it extends the reach of the existing Oak Bay Village to the east.

Many businesses complement each other, such as GardenWorks and Home Hardware,.

This westerly section of the avenue is filled with diverse shops and services offering toys, baby clothes, consignment goods, home decor, bicycles, coffee shops and antiques. There’s a travel agency, dental care, salons, service station, and restaurants.

Buddies Toys, a 26-year-old business, moved to 1831 Oak Bay Ave., in May from Estevan Village. “We’ve realized what an exciting and dynamic time it is for upper Oak Bay Avenue,” Buddies’ website states. “Opening up between businesses like Harry’s Flowers, which has been around for generations, and the complementary Abbey Sprouts [a children’s store], we are enthusiastic to be in such good company.”

At 1968 Oak Bay Ave., there’s Faith Grant Connoisseurs Shop selling antiques. That family business spent 72 years in its previous location at 1156 Fort St.

Victoria’s Abstract Developments is bringing new residents to the area.

The company recently completed its Village Walk condominium project, with ground-floor commercial space, at the corner of Oak Bay Avenue and Foul Bay Road. Next on its agenda is the 22-unit condo project the Maddison, at the corner of Oak Bay Avenue and Richmond Road.

Elizabeth Cull, owner of Dig This across the street from Village Walk, credits that development with increasing pedestrians.

She joined the Oak Bay Business Improvement Association to promote the area. “I’m very excited about the possibility now of the other part of Oak Bay Avenue going through a bit of a rejuvenation. There’s always new businesses coming and going on Oak Bay Avenue. It’s not like it’s static anymore.”

cjwilson@timescolonist.com

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