They exist in all communities; the locals and the incomers. After almost a decade, I still sometimes feel like an incomer. No surprise, then, when I was asked recently asked by a local to tell her what I appreciate about Oak Bay.

The immediate things that come to mind – climate, air quality, good drinking water and the awesome natural landscape.  I don’t miss the haze of car exhaust, drinking only filtered water, or long commutes to get out of the city.  I appreciate just how fortunate I am to live in this environment.

I am still learning about our rare and endangered ecosystem; a significant treasure in the broader global community.

Safety ranks pretty high on the list of things I appreciate. I love feeling safe enough to explore the trails and parks in Oak Bay on my own. I’m still aware of personal safety, but not with the same vigilance that I experienced in big cities. I’m happy that crime in Oak Bay is mostly bike thefts or vehicle break-ins.

What I love most is the sense of ‘cultural refinement’ that exists in Oak Bay. By that, I mean, the quality of the character of the community. It’s not about the value of the real estate, but about the value that residents place on their community. Streetscapes, neighborhoods, and public spaces tell the story of a community that has matured, not just aged. Residents support and nurture a myriad of community events. Volunteers contribute countless hours to keep community spirit alive. There is a sense of permanence, character and community – cultural refinement.

The advantage of being an ‘incomer’ is that, by comparison, I know that Oak Bay is a wonderful place to live.

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