So you’ve finally decided to settle down. In that case, we better find you a family friendly neighbourhood that meets not only your needs, but also those of the family. Here are a few of the best communities Greater Victoria has to offer when it comes to raising your kids.
Featuring such sites as Estevan and the Uplands, Oak Bay is perhaps the most family friendly neighbourhood across all of Greater Victoria. Home to a number of public and private schools, Oak Bay is perfect for anyone looking to raise a family. In fact, half of the University campus can also be found in the area, and therefore contains a lively atmosphere throughout most of the year. Along with its access to education, Oak Bay includes countless parks, public facilities and other interesting landmarks, such as the Greater Victoria Public Library and the Royal Victoria Yacht Club.
Another fantastic option for any family is Sidney (both Northeast and Southeast), a vibrant community only 20 minutes out of downtown Victoria. With roughly 3.6 kilometers of waterfront, it truly is as scenic an area as they come. For young families looking to enroll their children in public or private schools, there are a handful of institutions to choose from. From Sidney Elementary to Parkland Secondary, you can trust that your children will be well educated. Other areas of interest include the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea (a not-for-profit aquarium and cultural learning centre) and the Sidney Museum and Archives. Avid readers/news residents will also be pleased to find out that Sidney is Canada’s only Booktown: meaning that there is a ton of new and used book stores right in the neighbourhood.
Although there aren’t any secondary schools in the immediate area, Fairfield is a lovely place to raise your kids in a comfortable, friendly setting. Bordered by Beacon Hill Park – a 200 acre nature reserve – there is no shortage of outdoor activity and splendid strolls. As Victoria’s largest community, it also one of its most dynamic, featuring the ever-popular Cook Street Village: a charming strip of amenities, coffee shops and locally owned businesses.
On the other side of Beacon Hill Park, you’ll find James Bay: otherwise known as the oldest residential neighbourhood on North America’s west coast (excluding San Francisco). Although one of the Island’s pricier points, James Bay is home to many parks, heritage homes, and other landmarks, including the Royal BC Museum and the world famous Fisherman’s Wharf. James Bay Community School and South Park Elementary will also serve families with young children.
Located on the southern tip of Esquimalt, Saxe Point is one of Victoria’s up and coming neighbourhoods. Surrounded by lush greenery and ocean, those that live here have a tough time getting away. Saxe Point Park also adds a little colour, as is perfect for those interested in getting out and about. With newly developed condo complexes, there’s all kinds of housing options to choose from.
Honourable Mention: Fernwood
Last on our list (but definitely not least) is ‘Funky’ Fernwood, an eclectic neighbourhood that features a ton of trendy shops, cafes and galleries. Although the area may be a bit more adventurous, it does house three vibrant schools with a number of extra-curricular activities.