Thursday, 28 November 2019

Vancouver Island City Living

Living on Vancouver Island you have easy access to lots of rugged wilderness, large trees, amazing beaches and vast spaces. While these are definitely a big part of the appeal of island living, what people don't realize are just how many amenities Vancouver Island offers as well, making it an ideal place to live with the best of both worlds at your doorstep.

looking at downtown Victoria

The four main urban areas on Vancouver Island are (in order of population) Victoria (the Capital Regional District includes a number of smaller cities and municipalities which most visitors refer to collectively as Victoria), Nanaimo, the Comox Valley (including Courtenay and Comox) and Campbell River. All of these centres have major hospitals (Victoria has two), including new hospitals in both the Comox Valley and Campbell River, and vibrant downtown districts.

Vancouver Island has two universities and numerous colleges. The University of Victoria has been around for over 50 years and attracts students from across Canada as well as many international students. It is also a popular choice for students on Vancouver Island.  Vancouver Island University is based in Nanaimo. It was originally Malaspina College, and in 2008 was granted full university status under its new name. All the urban centres have local colleges as well as private colleges.

The Save On Foods Memorial Center in Victoria regularly features high profile music acts. The MacPherson and Royal Theatres in Victoria and Port Theatre in Nanaimo attract major stage and dance productions, while the Sid Williams Theatre in Courtenay and the Tidemark Theatre in Campbell River provide a nice variety of live entertainment for those communities. Victoria also boasts the world-class Royal BC Museum as well as an art gallery. There are many other places of culture, history and creativity throughout the urban centres and even on the smaller islands near Vancouver Island.

Empress Hotel, Victoria Inner Harbour

Both Victoria and Nanaimo have a number of indoor shopping malls, including The Bay Centre and Mayfair Mall in Victoria, and Woodgrove Centre in Nanaimo - all very popular with island residents. All the urban centres have a wide variety of shopping available.

Thanks to the mild climate, world-class sporting facilities and excellent recreation centres can be found on the island. Golfing is almost a year-round sport here, with a PGA tour stop in Victoria every year.

Westbay Marina across to Victoria's Inner Harbour

One of the appeals of living on Vancouver Island is that you really can have it all. Anywhere you live on the island offers amazing coastal beauty, while all the amenities needed or wanted are also available.

It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Live It!

Thursday, 21 November 2019

Southern Vancouver Island Trees

Vancouver Island is home to a number of different eco systems. Some of the most distinctive on Vancouver Island (and the Gulf Islands) are the Garry Oak and Arbutus forests on southern Vancouver Island.

A Garry Oak in Beacon Hill Park, Victoria

Garry Oak eco-systems are becoming quite rare, and are protected in many places on the southern islands. The system likes dry, partially meadowed areas, often along the seashore or on rocky hillsides. There are a few pockets of this eco-system on some of the more northern gulf islands, for example Hornby Island. The southern gulf islands have many of these meadow systems.

Arbutus trees are very common south of Nanaimo but they too have had stress, and in recent years have suffered from diseases that threaten to do serious damage. In smaller quantities arbutus are found in small pockets as far north as along the cliffs of Buttle Lake in Strathcona Park and on some residential properties in Campbell River and Courtenay/Comox.
Garry Oaks and Arbutus sharing space along the Westway walkway in Esquimalt

Both of these trees and their respective eco-systems are part of the magic that is the natural beauty on Vancouver Island.

It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Live It!

Thursday, 14 November 2019

A Typical Real Estate Day with BCO

When we try to explain to people, especially colleagues, what a typical BCO day is like, we often find ourselves at a loss to convey just how different our days are - even though we are selling real estate.

There are of course in-town real estate days where we tour with clients in the city or the small surrounding communities visiting houses for sale, or where we are listing a local residence. We love  Campbell River and very much enjoy being a part of this market. But then there are the other days, which are just as common and which are each so different. Some days it is driving all the way to the north end of the island to visit lakeside acreages at Alice Lake. Other days it is chartering a plane on the west coast to visit some remote properties with a buyer. And still other days it is getting in one of our boats to visit a coastal property on an island or even the on the central coast mainland.

Take the day last week as an example: it started with getting in the boat before the sun came up and heading north up to Johnstone Strait and into the islands off the coast of north-eastern Vancouver Island. We arrived at the property we were viewing for a potential listing with our gear in hand - gear that included tape measures, clipboards, cameras, bagged lunches and a rifle. Yup, a rifle. The owner had warned us that a grizzly bear was hanging out on the property near the dock, and we needed to be prepared for it. So Shelley had her rifle on her shoulder the entire time we were on the grounds.

We didn't see the grizzly, but we certainly saw evidence of it being there in the dug up ground (at this time of year they are hunting for grubs and roots, anything to add to the fat layers for winter). The caretaker and neighbouring property owner also told us of the bear.

After working on the property - taking photos, taking measurements, writing lots of notes - we left a sign behind (because making a repeat trip to put up a sign if and when we list the property is not an efficient use of time when the property is this far). After a bit more reconnaissance of the area we then boated back, arriving home in Campbell River on the boat around sunset.

We call this a "typical" BCO day, because any given day can find us out there at properties like this. We know that it is different to what anyone else does and certainly isn't what people think of when we tell them we are a real estate team. It is the very thing we love most about this job we have chosen and created for ourselves - the diversity and challenge of the properties we serve.

It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Live It!