101 Things to Do in James Bay
Photo by Doreen Gee
By Robert Hawkes
We moved to James Bay a few years ago, and I have come to treasure the richness of this wonderful community. There is so much to see and to do, and much of it is free or low cost. I thought it would be fun to make a list of things to see and do. I mainly included activities that are noncommercial, and almost all are free. I tried to include ideas for all ages. Perhaps you will post this and see how many of these you and your family can complete over the next year? The list is not in any particular order.
Visit the sxʷeŋxʷəŋ təŋəxʷ James Bay Library and sign out some books, music or videos.
Walk the Ogden Point Breakwater and sit for a few moments on the benches at the end.
Spend a few quiet moments with the incredible Moss Lady natural sculpture in Beacon Hill Park, sitting on the chesterfield etched out of the huge log.
Visit and interact with vendors and listen to live entertainment at the Community Market some Saturday.
Watch a cruise ship back into its berth at Ogden Point ̶ and you thought parallel parking was hard!
Read some Robbie Burns poetry while visiting his statue in Beacon Hill Park. The statue has had a few interesting times in the past ̶ can you find information on that?
On a half-full kind of day visit the Half-Full Sculptures at Holland Point Park and play on them if you are of the right age!
Visit some benches along the various paths in James Bay, read the inscriptions, and try to imagine the people they honour.
Visit one commercial establishment in James Bay that you have never been in before.
Take a free tour of the legislative buildings, and, if in session, observe proceedings from the public galleries.
Take a book and give a book at one of the many tiny free libraries in James Bay ̶ or better yet, visit as many as you can find - there are at least seven.
Watch our elite James Bay Rugby team in action when in season at MacDonald Park.
Spend a few moments in the Premier’s Rose Garden beside the Legislature.
Even if you don’t have a dog, go visit the off leash area in Holland Point Park and marvel at the friendly energy of our canine friends.
Visit Helmcken House and statue on the Royal BC Museum grounds, and read about Helmcken’s contributions to British Columbia.
Watch a softball game at MacDonald Park some summer evening.
Walk the Irving Park Labyrinth, and perhaps learn about its history and significance.
Visit the pollinator garden in front of New Horizons or maybe even help with it.
Take a class or activity at James Bay Community School Centre, New Horizons, or James Bay Community Project.
Play chess or checkers on the boards at the tables along Menzies Street.
In front of the legislature, near Belleville Street, is a huge tree (decorated for Christmas each year). Read the plaque about how high it is, what type of tree and the age. Around the back of the legislature is a huge copper beech tree ̶ read that plaque to learn how old this tree is and who it honours.
Perform at least one random act of kindness in James Bay.
Attend Symphony Splash in August.
Use the adult outside fitness equipment at the far side of Beacon Hill Park near Cook Street, or, if you are a kid, there is lots to do including the zip line.
Take a few moments to thank someone who makes James Bay a better place to live.
Take the historic properties James Bay self-guided walking tour.
Visit the tall totem in Beacon Hill Park, and think about who it honours.
Sit near Laurel Point and watch harbour activity for a little while ̶ so much to see!
Count the turtles on the log in Beacon Hill Park some sunny summer day.
Be at the Beacon Hill Petting Farm for the running of the goats some morning or late afternoon.
Borrow a putter and some balls from a friend and try out the free putting green at Beacon Hill Park.
Listen to a free summer concert in Beacon Hill Park.
Watch fireworks on the inner harbour on the night of Canada Day.
Visit the amazing fairy gardens along Pilot Street.
Attend a meeting of the James Bay Neighbourhood Association.
Hear a speaker at New Horizons.
Walk the Dallas Road beach at low tide to see what you can discover.
Enjoy the cherry trees in bloom on James Bay streets in spring.
Find out who the gold statue is of at the very top of the dome of the BC Legislature.
Write a letter to the James Bay Beacon about something important to you.
Volunteer in James Bay and help make this an even better place!
Visit the Marilyn Bell plaque in Holland Point Park, and read about her accomplishment.
Kids, sign up for the GVPL Summer Reading Club, and adults/families, take part in the Library Challenge. Everyone, why not read at least one book by a James Bay author?
Visit the tribute to the victims of the Montreal massacre (not far from the model boat pond), and think about how we can all work to eliminate violence against women.
Walk amongst the tall trees near the Cook Street and Dallas Road corner of Beacon Hill park, cool even on a warm summer day!
Do your part to keep James Bay clean by picking up some things on streets or along walks or beach and properly recycle or dispose.
Visit the kiosk in Beacon Hill Park and learn about the park’s history.
Read online some past issues and stories from the James Bay Beacon.
Write a letter to a member of council. Perhaps it can be on an issue, idea or to thank them.
Walk the inner harbour in summer and talk with some performers and vendors.
At the sxʷeŋxʷəŋ təŋəxʷ James Bay Library enjoy their newspaper and magazine collection as you watch the world go by in the ‘living room’ section of the library.
Try one new (to you) sport or activity that you can do in James Bay.
Visit the Signs of Lekwungen that honour the art, history and culture of the Coast Salish people who first called this area home. In James Bay they are located at Laurel Point, the entrance to the Royal BC Museum, at inner harbour in the former mudflats, and the Beacon Hill lookout. Perhaps visit all 7 in the Victoria area.
Visit the Japanese friendship bell sculpture on the David Foster walkway in Inner Harbour, or sit in the friendship structure just past Laurel Point. Look up some information on our twin city in Japan.
Visit the Centennial Garden of Canada (constructed in 1967) and the fountain near the corner of Menzies and Belleville. Pick a province or territory and as a family learn more about it.
Visit the Terry Fox sculpture near Mile 0, and learn about this inspirational Canadian.
Visit Mile Zero and learn about when the Trans Canada Highway was built, and its route across Canada.
Visit the fountains both in front of and behind the Legislature. While there get your picture taken in front of the Legislature, and feel like a tourist!
Explore holiday lights at the legislature, in the harbour, and at Huntingdon Manor.
Walk a path you have never taken before in Beacon Hill Park to explore a new place.
Visit a James Bay street you haven’t walked in a long time, and truly enjoy the historic homes.
On social media compose your list of the top ten things you treasure in James Bay, and share it using hashtag #MyJamesBay.
Take a photograph of a favourite place in James Bay and share it on social media with hashtag #MyJamesBay.
Have a picnic at one of the parks or other public places.
Visit the native plants garden near the Royal BC Museum.
Visit Thunderbird Park and marvel at the totems. Sit for a few moments on one of the benches in this special place.
Write a poem about a place in James Bay maybe even share it with the Beacon!
Listen to a street performer near the main corner in James Bay.
Capital Park is one of the largest and most complex construction projects in our area. Spend a little while watching the skilled workers at the site.
Walk, bike or ride a path that draws out some shape on a map (see Cycleangelo article in the May Beacon).
You see lots of modes of transportation in James Bay. Safely try one you have never used before!
Some days you need a little dose of happiness. Go to MacDonald Park playground; sit on a bench, close your eyes, and listen to the voices of happy children playing.
Learn to identify some of the varieties of trees we have in James Bay. For example, several streets have ginkgo trees ̶ can you find them?
At the sxʷeŋxʷəŋ təŋəxʷ James Bay Library go to a section you don’t usually visit, and expand your reading horizons.
How many different pieces of public art can you find in James Bay? There are a lot!
Cheer on the runners at one of the several running events that goes through James Bay each year. Dallas Road is a great place to do this.
There are 11 parks in James Bay (more depending how you count them). Over the year, or on one long walk, visit them all!
Have your children or grandchildren (or friend’s children) experience both the huge watering can at the Douglas Street entrance and the water spurting area in the Beacon Hill Park playground.
Watch the herons high above during nesting season at Beacon Hill Park.
Some Friday night visit the Breakwater Barge.
How many public sundials can you visit right here in James Bay?
Visit the rose garden in Beacon Hill Park at the right time of year.
Cross all of the bridges in Beacon Hill Park.
Use the weather information from the station at James Bay Community School, available online at http://www.victoriaweather.ca/station.php?id=11.
Visit the community edible herb garden at Fisherman’s Wharf Park.
On the Victoria Day weekend watch the Parade of Bands and Drum Off in front of the Legislature grounds.
Spend a few minutes enjoying Quadra Park, and learn more about the explorer it is named after.
Get a bird book and learn to identify types of birds. Keep a list as the year goes by of how many different species you see right here in James Bay.
This one is for the kids. How many different types of playground equipment can you climb on in James Bay playgrounds? How many different swings can you use?
Keep a list of all wildlife you see in James Bay over the course of the year.
On that rare occasion when we have snow, make a snow figure.
Over the year take your child (or grandchild or a friend’s children) to all six parks with playground equipment in James Bay.
Visit but don’t pick what you see your neighbours growing at the community gardens along Niagara and Montreal Streets near the back of MacDonald Park.
Contribute to the Victoria flower count in early spring.
See some lost cruise ship passenger? Help them and welcome them to our community.
Sit for a while high on the lookout at Beacon Hill Park. Enjoy the distant mountains and the coastline.
Sit on a bench at Fisherman’s Wharf Park, and enjoy the view and all the activity.
Visit the Emily Carr statue near the Empress and Emily Carr House on Government Street, learn about her life, work and home here in James Bay. On Simcoe Street you can also walk by her House of all Sorts. Get a copy of the book by the same title to learn about her experiences there.
Visit the smallest park in James Bay, Lewis Street Park, for a few quiet moments.
On a windy day go to Holland Point Park and watch people flying kites or wind surfing.
Do (at least) one James Bay activity not on this list!
We look forward to getting letters with suggestions you think should be added to this list. Enjoy this special place we share!