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Public art, night market a boon to tourism

Summer tourism is booming for Oak Bay, according to Oak Bay Tourism and the Oak Bay Business Improvement Association.

Hazel Braithwaite, secretary of the Oak Bay Tourism committee, credits this to the variety of art and heritage buildings in the community.

“The arts in Oak Bay have garnered a lot of interest,” said Braithwaite, adding this includes the public art pianos and new standing art at the Oak Bay Marina.

“We have something for everybody,” said Braithwaite. “We have the most beautiful beach in all of Victoria at Willows Beach.”

Braithwaite added Oak Bay’s beaches are perfect for biking along, appealing to those who enjoy the outdoors.

A unique element of Oak Bay which Braithwaite says is a draw for tourism, is the urban stargazing park at Cattle Point.

“It is only one of two in Canada,” said Braithwaite. The other is in Saint John, N.B.

A key summer event in Oak Bay is the Oak Bay Night Market. Oak Bay Village becomes a bustling hub with food vendors and artisans on the second Wednesday of every month from June to September.

Last week’s market got hit with rain, but Elizabeth Smith, president of the Oak Bay BIA, said it was busier than ever.

“It was an exceptional turnout,” said Smith.

The Oak Bay night market has up to 100 vendors each month, and Smith said they do not intend to expand.

“We feel it’s fair for the visitors so they get a good variety, and also fair to the vendors so they’re making a good profit.”

There are no plans to make the Oak Bay Market a weekly event, said Smith.

She said she feels people are more likely to come to the market since they only get one chance every month, whereas with weekly markets, there is always another opportunity to go if something comes up.

The next Oak Bay night market is on Sept. 10 at 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

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