VIDEO: Here’s what it was like to drive on the Pat Bay in 1966

VIDEO: Here's what it was like to drive on the Pat Bay in 1966
Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure
Highway 17 in 1966

It was a year of Vietnam protests, colour broadcasting in Canada, the Star Trek TV show debut and a very different Highway 17.

The latest video in the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure online series BC Road Trip Time Machine takes viewers from Victoria to Swartz Bay in the spring of 1966.

The project uses old photo-logs to create digital videos that show what driving on B.C. roads 53 years ago would have been like. The photo-logs were collected by rigging a camera onto the dash of a car that took still images every 80 feet or so and then running them all together as a single film.

Highway 17 is two separate highways, one on southern Vancouver Island and the other on the Lower Mainland. The highway on the island is known as the Pat Bay Highway and runs between Victoria and the Swartz Bay ferry terminal.

The video shows how much the route changed.

Before the current alignment separating northbound and southbound traffic via the Blanshard extension, which opened in 1978, the highway started on Douglas Street near Carey Road. And before the highway was officially numbered in the 1960s, it was called East Saanich Road along part of the route.

Viewers will be able to see McKenzie Avenue was a small rural street that was not connected to Highway 1. Instead, traffic travelled alongside the Swan Lake/Christmas Hill area, then across McKenzie Avenue, towards Royal Oak. Students can be seen on either side of the highway.

Quadra Street also joins up with the highway in the video. The current Quadra Street overpass, which connects with the Royal Oak shopping centre, won’t be built until the 1970s.

The Highway 17 and 17 (West Saanich Road) junction is in the video. This route went to the Butchart Gardens, as well as the ferry across the Saanich Inlet to Mill Bay. 17A was a formal alternate route through the peninsula.  Highway 17A was designated in 1962 but lost its designation in 2000.

And before the divided highway that drivers travel on today, Highway 17 ran directly in front of Beaver Lake Park, along what is now called Elk Lake Drive.

Other road trip time machine’s available for Vancouver Island include:

Highway 4 Ucluelet, Tofino, Port Alberni and Parksville in 1966

Duncan to Parksville circa 1966

Parksville to Campbell River, 1966

Campbell River to Kelsey Bay 1966

Malahat 1966


Alexa HuffmanAlexa Huffman

Recent Stories

Send us your news tips and videos!