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The Bowker Gates

2200-block Beach Drive, Oak Bay, British Columbia, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2004/08/23

The Bowker Gates, Oak Bay, 2005; District of Oak Bay, 2005
view of gates from Beach Drive
The Bowker Gates, Oak Bay, 2005; District of Oak Bay, 2005
view of gates from Willows Beach Park
The Bowker Gates, Oak Bay, 2005; District of Oak Bay, 2005
pier and gate

Other Name(s)

The Bowker Gates
Bowker Place Gates
Willows Park Gates

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2014/07/11

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Bowker Gates, located at the entrance to Willows Beach Park in Oak Bay, British Columbia, are a set of two gateposts of rock-faced granite blocks, joined to curved apron walls of rock-faced polygonal granite blocks, and terminating in rock-faced granite block piers. Each gatepost is capped with a single granite capstone. The wall and outer piers are topped with alternating blocks and rustic crenellations, with a mortar capping in the centre. The two attached wrought iron gates have an oriental Arts and Crafts motif.

Heritage Value

The Bowker Gates are valued for their historic association with the early settlement of Oak Bay and their association with the noted architect Samuel Maclure.

The property, known as Oak Bay Farm, was the home of John Sylvester and Mary Tod Bowker (daughter of John Tod) and later their son J.S. Bowker Jr. The land was part of John Tod's 406 acre holding, purchased from the Hudson's Bay Company in 1851. A row of Austrian pines dating back to the Maclure landscape plan, and the partial remains of a stone wall with entrance gateposts at 1881 and 1891 Beach Drive still define the western boundary of the original property. The gates were originally located on the Bowker estate (house extant at 1931 Bowker Place) and were designed by architect Samuel Maclure in 1913, as part of a major landscaping scheme for J.S. Bowker Jr. They were moved to their present location on Beach Drive when the estate was subdivided in 1932.

The gateposts and wrought iron gates are valued as a rare example of the work of noted architect and landscape designer Samuel Maclure.

The Bowker Gates are valued as a landmark defining the entrance to Willows Beach Park and for their contribution to the character of the streetscape.

Source: District of Oak Bay

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the heritage character of the Bowker Gates include:

- Two granite stone piers with stone supporting apron walls
- Symmetrical design and elegant proportions
- Two rare wrought iron gates with oriental Arts and Crafts motif, designed by Samuel Maclure
- Landmark location on Beach Drive



British Columbia

Recognition Authority

Local Governments (BC)

Recognition Statute

Local Government Act, s.967

Recognition Type

Heritage Designation

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1932/01/01 to 1932/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design

Function - Category and Type


Park Fixture



Architect / Designer

Samuel Maclure


J.S. Bowker Jr.

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

District of Oak Bay, Municipal Hall

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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