Short History of Oak Bay High School

Oak Bay High School is renowned for its outstanding academic, artistic and athletic accomplishments – a tradition of excellence that has been built over many years by the talents and efforts of students, teachers and administrators. Many Oak Bay students have distinguished themselves in business, the arts, the professions and public service.

Oak Bay’s first high school was built in 1915 on Oak Bay Avenue where the Municipal Hall is now located. By 1919 it was clear that the premises would soon be much too small. The Cassanave farm on Cranmore Road, where the present school is located, was purchased for future expansion and, in the meantime, used for sports. It wasn’t until February 1929 that construction of a frame building with 12 classrooms, an auditorium, lecture halls, science laboratories and an art room was completed. The principal, Mr. J. M. Billings, had the honor of moving 250 pupils into the new building — one we still use today.

In 1951 more space was needed, and construction of a junior high school with space for home economics and industrial education was begun across the field from the 1929 building. When it opened in 1953, there were 252 students enrolled in grades 7 and 8. As the population grew – reaching 2,000 by 1967 – additions were made to both buildings: a new wing and gym were added to the senior school, and an auditorium and gymnasium to the junior high building. The construction classes from three Victoria high schools built the band room outside the junior school in the 1960’s

As population growth slowed, the number of students attending the schools declined and, for this reason, the two schools amalgamated during the late 1970’s. At present, the school enrolls about 1350 students in grades 8 – 12, with all grades using both buildings. It is the largest high school in Victoria. Included in the student body are about 80 International Program students who board with local families and pay tuition in order to attend Oak Bay.

The school has been through many changes, but one aspect has remained the same: Oak Bay High School is still committed to excellence.

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