The Oak Bay News asked members of the Oak Bay community to share their memories of the annual Tea Party, which returns May 31 to June 2.
Oak Bay Police Deputy Chief Ray Bernoties
About five years ago we moved to Oak Bay and our two young boys were, as one might expect, unsure about our big move to this new community.
We took possession of our house the night before the Tea Party Parade. We had, unknowingly, bought a house on the parade route. The next morning as we unpacked we noticed crowds forming along our street and soon discovered the parade going by. My boys couldn’t believe that hundreds of people were walking by our house throwing candy to them.
They seemed to believe that we had landed in paradise.
We broke the news to them that this wouldn’t happen daily but that didn’t phase them as they had already seen kids, sports teams, bands and friendly neighbours so they knew they were going to love Oak Bay.
By the next year, we were participating. My oldest son joined me in the parade as I biked with the Tour de Rock team and he went on to accompany Mayor Jensen, in his bike trailer, and throw candy to kids. The Tea Party brings this community together and is a reminder to all of us of how lucky we are to live in such a friendly and community-oriented place.
Oak Bay Fire Chief Darren Hughes
My favourite memory of the Oak Bay Tea Party is my participation in the Floating Tea Cup Challenge last year. It was an exciting and very unique experience to be rowing in a teacup off the coast of Vancouver Island with the Mayor of Oak Bay and the Deputy Police Chief. We had a lot of fun leading up to the race and it is a memory that always brings a smile to my face.
Oak Bay Mayor Kevin Murdoch
While the Tea Party has been part of my life for over 40 years, my fondest memory is when I took my children for their first visit. Their eyes wide with wonder at the treats, rides, smells, noise, heat, crowds, bumping into school friends, and amazing beach-based events (a helicopter!); it was all so exciting and fun for them, and a joy for me to share.
Oak Bay Coun. Hazel Braithwaite
My first memory is from 2017 when I was asked to go in the Mayor’s Tea Cup race. Originally it was supposed to be then-mayor Nils Jensen and the current chair of the Tea Party board Sandy Germain, against the former mayor Chris Causton and the former chair Bill Murphy Dyson. Jensen was unavailable and asked me to step in as acting mayor. I have to say I was quite nervous about doing it as I did not want to tip my cup (as I had seen so many others do).
Twenty minutes before the start of the race, Bill and Chris showed up on the beach wearing tuxedo jackets, shirts, ties and shorts. Not to be outdone, I raced home and grabbed a red sequin dress and a blue sequin dress, with fascinator hats, for Germain and I to race in. I was actually winning for quite a while….until the wind and current caught me and the RCMP boat had to come to the rescue. My tea cup dragged in such a way that the saucer filled with water and I tipped over into the water in slow motion.