Victoria City Tour
Beach Drive – Oak Bay

The Bowker Gates at the entrance to Willows Beach Park were designed by architect Samuel Maclure in 1913 and originally stood a few block east near 1931 Bowker Place. The gate was moved to this location when the Bowker estate was subdivided in 1932.

The Bowker Gates were listed on the Canadian Register of Historic Places in 2004. The Bowker Gates are also listed on the Oak Bay Heritage Register.

 

Here is a map showing the location of Willows Beach and Willows Park:


The Oak Bay Heritage Commission describes the historic and heritage significance of the Bowker Gates as:

“The gates, now located at the Beach Drive entrance to Willows Park, were originally part of the garden landscape at 1931 Bowker Place, home of the Bowker Family.

The property, known as Oak Bay Farm was the home of John Sylvester and Mary Tod Bowker – a wedding gift from Mary’s father, John Tod. The land was part of John Tod’s 200 acre holding, purchased from the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1851.

A row of Austrian pines, still lining the 1900 block [of Beach Drive] and remnants of the granite wall, define the western boundary of the original estate. While not on their original site, the gates still define the area of Oak Bay Farm and relate historically to the Tod and Bowker Family’s residence in Oak Bay.

Samuel Maclure designed the gates in 1913, as part of a major renovation and landscaping scheme for the Bowker farmhouse, commissioned by John Sylvester Bowker Jr. The iron entrance gates and stone piers were moved to their present location when the property was later subdivided in 1932.”

The Canadian Register of Historic Places also describes the Bowker Gates as an important example of landscape design by architect Samuel Maclure.

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