Under the Hood: James Bay

Stately and pristine, Victoria’s best neighborhoods are always on display. Broadmead, Ten Mile Point and the Uplands are top drawer. A leaf has only to flutter towards the ground to have a rake equipped gardener move to scoop it up before the local ratings take a negative plunge.

Other Victoria neighbourhoods are significant in their own right. One though is special. It is the oldest residential neighborhood on the west coast of North America, north of San Fransisco. Like an old doll dressed to the nines heading out for a day of shopping, a little tipsy, hat askew, ankles in ill fitting hose and heals, tottering along, it’s character and textures well earned. That’s the “Hood”, James Bay.

James Bay has been home to sailers, gold panners, loggers and some whose past is somewhat nefarious. Its homes have stood resolute against the ravages of weather and the passage of time. Many date back to the late 19th century.  

Dallas Road Beauties by Rick Thomas

Getting ‘under the hood’ reveals its timeless beauty. Houses, large and small, front onto narrow streets originally designed for horse and buggy traffic. Some have been refurbished, others torn down and replaced by more modern structures. Most though, remain. Pealing, faded paint adds to the overall ambiance.   

Rickety fences contain small front yards. In some, small urban farms flourish. Chickens, ducks and geese, their scent unmistakeable, mingle amongst bushy rows of herbs and vegetables. English style gardens their flowers protruding through fence pickets splash colour on the scene.  

The interpretive style of Victoria artist Rick Thomas brings life and character to the homes of the James Bay neighborhood. His sketch above of two old Dallas Road beauties is indicative of his work in ‘the Hood’. 

I think of his work when I meander through the streets and lanes of James Bay. My challenge is to photographically represent the character of ‘the Hood’ as Rick has done through his sketches.

Street Side Flowers





This entry was posted in My Work, Travel.


  1. jim and cathy December 3, 2017 at 7:16 pm #

    Are the two sketches those of the homes in front of our son’s place on DockSt, Stu?
    I love those sketches AND those houses!
    They have done an amazing job of refurbishing them whilst retaining their exterior charm.
    We look forward to a tour with the owners of the larger of the two (and whom you and we have all met and have come to count as new friends, too!) upon their return from the desert!

    I spent a lot of time as a youngster in my aunts’home on McKenzie St, just off Moss St. in a house much like your pnoto, though much less grand. The simple, stately beauty of these homes has stuck with me and sometimes I dream about living in one …but then we remember how much work a house is!???
    Thanks for sharing these lovely recollections once again.
    Looking forward to a coffee with your best girl on Wed before she heads back your way???

    • Stu Dale December 4, 2017 at 7:02 am #

      Yes, They are the homes on the corner of Dock and Dallas. Rick’s sketches of homes in the ‘Hood’ are amazing.

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