Mayor Kevin Murdoch, Martin Cownden of the Oak Bay Business Improvement Association and Robert Taylor of Oak Bay Heritage unveil the new historical wrap on the utility box at Clive Drive on Oak Bay Avenue. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

Oak Bay hydro box wrap captures community history

Image shows what early homestead on The Avenue looked like

Oak Bay has its first historical image wrapped on a BC Hydro box and it evokes a time pre-Oak Bay when the idea of a District was gossip during Sunday’s post-sermon tea.

The wrap encompasses all four sides of the hydro box and depicts a mother and her two children playing in the yard. The photo was taken from the south side of Oak Bay Avenue looking across to a homestead that is now replaced by the Clive condo building.

READ MORE: Sidney needs new artists for utility box makeovers

“When someone stands at that location and views the picture and the current view simultaneously, it is like going back in time,” says Robert Taylor, Oak Bay Heritage Foundation and the heritage liaison on the project. “We were very excited when the BIA approached us about locating a historical photo at that spot.”

It’s a partnership of Oak Bay Heritage and the Oak Bay Business Improvement Association, who acquired the image from Oak Bay Archives. The 1900 photo is of Clive Phillips-Wooley’s Woodhall mansion, designed by Francis Rattenbury and built in 1899.

“After the Clive (condo) was built, and the hydro box was installed, someone approached the business association and suggested there is an empty canvas there, and that we should do something with it,” said Martin Cownden of the Oak Bay Business Association.

BC Hydro offers instructions and guidelines for municipalities who wish to put a wrap on a hydro box.

The Oak Bay Avenue wrap follows the Community History Project that covered several boxes in Victoria with historical images. They can be found at the intersections of Gorge and Jutland, Bay and Government, Burnside and Douglas, Hillside at Douglas and Gorge, and on the Galloping Goose Trail in the Burnside Gorge area.

The Clive building and Clive street are named after Clive Phillips-Wooley.

BC Hydro will soon add warning labels and necessary content on the wrap now that it is installed.

READ MORE: Victoria’s mural project wraps with a brewery party

reporter@oakbaynews.com


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