Rock Bay – One of Victoria’s Best Kept Secrets

Rock Bay Mural Project

When it was first built in the early 1860s, Point Ellice House was a semi-rural estate, located quite a distance from the very small downtown of Victoria. In the many years since, the other grand homes and residences around Point Ellice House have disappeared. Today, the house and gardens are an oasis in the midst of urban industrial activity.

When residents of Victoria think of Rock Bay, gravel piles, dump trucks, and waste transfer stations are likely the first images that come to mind. Of course, Rock Bay is also home to many thriving businesses, local artists, and interesting heritage buildings. Rock Bay is likely not the first Victoria neighbourhood residents and tourists think about visiting for the day, and with the Point Ellice Bridge closed in one direction until at least October 2019 it is proving difficult to encourage people to visit this unique part of town. However, don’t let a minor delay convince you that Rock Bay is a bridge too far – there are many ways to visit that don’t involve getting into a car!

Victoria Harbour Ferry
Whenever Point Ellice House is open (Saturdays and Sundays, 12pm to 4pm) you can take the water taxi to our dock. Consider making it an afternoon – after a visit to our historic site stop in for a snack, drink, or lunch at one of the many businesses in the area. When you’re ready, come back to Point Ellice House and ring the water taxi – they will come pick you up!

The right side of our dock has a spot for your canoe, kayak, or stand up paddle board. Throw your wallet, camera, and a pair of shoes in your dry bag and stop in for a visit as you explore Selkirk Water and the Gorge Waterway.

BC Transit
Despite the bridge closure, detour routes for the #10 and #14 busses will get you close to Rock Bay. The #10 will drop you off at Bay Street and Government Street. The #14 will drop you off at Tyee Street and Bay Street in Vic West – Rock Bay and Point Ellice House are just across the bridge. During construction, the bridge is open to pedestrians.

With protected bike lanes open on Pandora and Wharf Street, getting to Point Ellice House or Rock Bay on your bike or skateboard has never been easier. Just cross over the Johnson Street Bridge and take the Galloping Goose Trail to the Point Ellice Bridge. Cross over the bridge and Pleasant Street, where Point Ellice House is located, will be the first street on your left.

Walking is a great way to see the city and there are a number of ways to get to Rock Bay. You can take the Galloping Goose Trail from any direction and cross over the Point Ellice Bridge; or, walk up Government Street and turn left down Bay Street. Walking is one of the best ways to experience Rock Bay’s Concrete Canvas mural project.

If the history of Rock Bay is of interest to you, join us on September 21st for a walking tour of the neighbourhood led by Vancouver Island Local History Society President Dr. Patrick Dunae.

There’s plenty to see and do in Rock Bay and there are many ways to visit; whether you jump in the kayak or hop on a bus, we look forward to showing you around one of Victoria’s best kept secrets.

– Kelly

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