A Landmark Victorian Hotel
Discover Our Rich History
Tucked along the shoreline of the Pacific Ocean and surrounded by pristine off-shore islands is one of Victoria’s best-loved local landmarks, the Oak Bay Beach Hotel. This English Country Manor House-inspired hotel is rich in family tradition.
The original Oak Bay Beach Hotel was built on this site in 1927 by Major Merston and was the most celebrated hotel of its time. Unfortunately, that building was completely destroyed in a fire on October 14, 1930, although an exact replica was promptly rebuilt on its ashes. That building, with all its old world charm, became “the place to be, and be seen” among locals and guests alike. Distinguished guests would dress up in their finest for their grand appearance in the Dining Room each night.
In the 1950’s, some rooms which had housed Major Merston’s young family during World War II, were converted by the hotel’s new owner into Victoria’s first neighbourhood pub, The Snug. The popularity of this local haunt became legendary, with the personal mugs of the regulars hanging around the bar, ready for their next visit. Its clientele could often be surprising: one might find the local “Bobbie” nipping in for a quiet pint during his nightly round, the Vicar stopping in for his evening sherry, or perhaps other notables meeting for a clandestine rendezvous.
A later owner, Mrs. Macdonald, was an avid antique collector and dealer, and her travels outfitted the Victorian hotel with many priceless antiques, many of which have been restored to their former glory.
In 1972, the resort was purchased by two businessmen from Winnipeg, Bruce Walker and Glenn Anderson. Having grown up working alongside his father and grandfather in the Oak Bay Beach Hotel, Bruce’s son, Kevin Walker, and his wife Shawna, decided to continue the family’s hotel legacy, by purchasing it in October of 1995.
Despite constant updating and renovations, the old building eventually reached the end of its functioning life. Kevin and Shawna came to the difficult conclusion that if the Oak Bay Beach Hotel was to continue its history, it would need to be rebuilt. So, in 2004, they began the ambitious process of re-inventing Oak Bay’s beloved hotel and “community living room.” In late 2006, the doors to the old hotel were ceremonially closed… and then subsequently removed to be re-installed in the new incarnation of the Oak Bay Beach Hotel in Victoria, Canada.
The old hotel was carefully decontruscted over many months, preserving many physical elements of the old building and its furnishings to be re-used in the new hotel. In the end, 95% of the old building was either saved for re-use or recycled, resulting in only 5% ending up in the landfill… an extraordinary feat for a building of that era.
Today, the Walkers have created a new era of hospitality at the Oak Bay Beach Hotel and continue its rich history. Years of careful planning and meticulous attention to detail have maintained the hotel’s rich traditions at this landmark site.
The Oak Bay Beach Hotel is once again the talk of the town, the place to be seen, and the setting for unforgettable memories. The beloved Snug pub has returned, the elegant Grand Lobby feels very familiar, and the warm, inviting hospitality of the Walker Family not only invokes memories of its past, but is inspiring new memories for many years to come.
We look forward to welcoming you.