Talon Thompson

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Spotlight on Victoria Neighbourhoods: James Bay

"One hundred seventy years ago, this beautiful peninsula area was one of the most sought-after pieces of land in the Victoria region, and many years later, it still is today!"


When looking for homes in Victoria, people often inquire about the best neighbourhoods in which to live. Fortunately, with Victoria, that's an easy answer. Most regions in the Greater Victoria Area are lovely places to live, work, and raise a family. They're lower on crime than the average Canadian city, and Victoria is home to an excellent school system. People living in this city have a high quality of life in general.


With that said, though, one of my favourite neighbourhoods within this city is James Bay. Situated just on the outskirts of the downtown area, James Bay is a particularly beautiful place to live. One of the fascinating aspects of this neighbourhood is its rich history.

James Bay: Deeply Canadian Roots

The neighbourhood that is now known as James Bay has deeply Canadian roots. What we now call James Bay was originally home to the Swengwhung indigenous people. They looked out over the water and cared for the land. Their descendants form the present-day Songhees First Nation, who are near the townships of Esquimalt and View Royal, here in Victoria.

While James Cook was the first European to land on our beautiful island in 1778, it wouldn't be until much later that James Douglas, one of the most influential people in BC's rich history, would step foot on Vancouver Island. In 1842, Douglas chose the site for Fort Victoria, and in 1843 he supervised its construction.


In 1849, Britain leased all of Vancouver Island to the Hudson's Bay Company, with one condition: they had to form a colony there. Douglas elected to move the headquarters of the western part of HBC to Fort Victoria. The next year, he signed the Douglas Treaty with the Swengwhung people that would put the land firmly under the control of the HBC. Sadly, this treaty is a reminder of the great injustices that happened during this era. Douglas had a personal net worth of over £5,000 at the time, yet for all this land, the Swengwhung people received just £75.


The James Bay Penninsula, which derives its name from James Douglas, was pristine farmland, and after the signing of the treaty in 1850, the government subdivided the land for this use. All of the modern-day James Bay neighbourhood sits atop an area that the earliest settlers used to feed and nurture what would eventually become modern-day Victoria.

The More Things Change, The More Things Stay The Same!

People frequently use that expression to show how, even though change is constant, there are always some consistencies that never waver. James Bay is living proof of that. One hundred seventy years ago, this beautiful peninsula area was one of the most sought-after pieces of land in the Victoria region, and many years later, it still is today!


Residents of James Bay love the amenities. Fisherman's Wharf is a fantastic place to spend a relaxing evening or afternoon. There are lots of beautiful parks (Beacon Hill Park and Holland Point Park), for example, that are perfect for families. Of course, the food in this section of Victoria is also excellent, with options that will delight everybody!


If you're looking at moving to or relocating within Victoria and want to consider James Bay as the location for your next home, please contact me! I would love to show you the available inventory and find the right home in this timeless, classic area for you.

NOTE: MLS® property information is provided under copyright© by the Victoria Real Estate Board. The information is from sources deemed reliable, but should not be relied upon without independent verification. This website may only be used by consumers for the purpose of locating and purchasing real estate.