Now that I’m faced with imminent departure from both this apartment and this neighbourhood, it’s probably time to focus on the positive things that I’ve experienced about living here rather than the negative. (Yes, we hear that a couple of people are interested in moving into our place as of Oct 1, leaving us homeless for a month before we move into our new house.)
So I thought I’d recap one of the many great things that I’ve loved about this neighbourhood. As of this year, it’s known as the Centennial Trail.The Centennial Trail has likely existed for many years but just this year got a name, in honour of the 100th anniversary of the municipality of Oak Bay. Officially, the trail starts at Foul Bay Road at Brighton Street, and runs along Brighton and some rough, no-car pathways down to Windsor Park. However, Brighton Street actually begins at Richmond (which is not in Oak Bay, but in Fairfield, so it’s not ‘technically’ part of the Centennial Trail), so this is the best place to start and longest possible walk of the trail. Start at Richmond and Brighton and continue walking east until you hit Windsor Park. Along the way you can look for the green and white striped trail markers on street posts at crucial corners to make sure you’re going in the right direction. Check out the neat views. It’s one of the nicest urban walks in the city (well, it’s one of the only ones I’ve been on, so I think it’s nice!): When you hit Windsor Park you must take a left, on Windsor Road, and stop when you hit the water. This is the view you’ll see there:
If you go to the right along the water’s pathway, this will take you to the Oak Bay Marina, and the Turkey Head Walkway. It’s a small looping path that has a fantastic view of the water. Stop for a coffee at the Marina coffeeshop if you want to – they serve Starbucks. If you have time, the Marina also has a great restaurant. We ate dinner once there for Valentine’s Day, looking out on the water, and it was divine! (Especially the smoked salmon with creme fraiche and dill … yum!)
The Marina is on Beach Drive so you’ll have to go back the way you came to head back to the trail. (Don’t forget to turn left on Windsor Rd, and right on St. Denis Street which gets you back on track.) On the way back is a neat view of someone’s very cool gates. The house itself looks very Tuscan – it’s one of my favourite houses along this walk. (I didn’t take a picture of it in order not to look weird or stalker-like that morning! Don’t need a visit from the Oak Bay cops while I’m walking the trail…) Walk your way back west on Brighton and do some mini-hiking up and over the rough trail parts. Brighton is a very cool street in that it’s a no-through street and intermixed with dirt trails that people can walk through on. Some very beautiful house-watching happens naturally along the way.
Before you get to Richmond Street is the turn to get to my house. The whole walk takes about 45 minutes to an hour, depending on how much I linger at the Marina.
It’s the trail I’ve been walking for almost a year now since we’ve lived here. After we move, I may not walk it much again – we’ll have at least two new trails to discover, both of them being biking/walking trails – a whole new adventure!