Vancouver Island Luxury and Waterfront Homes
Overview of Communities
Outside of the Lower Mainland, there might not be any one region in the province of British Columbia that includes as diverse a range of development areas as can be found on Vancouver Island. The Island, of course, includes the capital of the province and the region’s most populous city of Victoria; however, the purpose of this article on luxury real estate on Vancouver Island is to draw attention to the many other areas on the Island that appeal to the well to do. (Note: If you are interested in the luxury and waterfront neighbourhoods of Victoria, please click here to find more information.)
Whether you are looking for a high-end home located in a private ocean front corner of the Island or a condominium in a popular urban centre, the Island has something for you. Many of the communities on Vancouver Island are blessed with a wealth of recreational opportunities due to their proximity to the Pacific Ocean. From luxury estates to intimate cottages, there are numerous oceanfront properties for sale on Vancouver Island at any given time. Ofg course, this mean there are also a plethora of incredible ocean view properties for sale on the Vancouver Island as well. However, the Island also has its share of waterfront luxury real estate situated on freshwater bodies (both rivers and lakes). You can find lakefront and lake view properties as well as riverfront and view real estate for sale on Vancouver Island . And of course there is a wide variety of recreational property available too, from town homes developed along scenic inlets to sprawling estates and fishing resorts. Let’s take a closer look.
Victoria is where the legislative heart of the province beats and has long been the place where old and new money looks when it’s time to buy a home. The weather’s great and the whole city is within minutes of the Pacific Ocean. Some of Canada's finest oceanfront and ocean view estates for sale can be found in Victoria's luxury neighbourhoods. Some of the premier waterfront neighbourhoods within Victoria include the Saanich area (central, north and east Saanich) and Oak Bay (including the Uplands). For more detailed information on Victoria’s luxury neighbourhoods, please click here.
Nanaimo is the second largest city on Vancouver Island. It is known as Hub City as it is included as one of the points on British Columbia’s “Golden Triangle” (Victoria and Vancouver being the other two). Nanaimo sees millions of tourists pass through each year on their way to other spots on the Island or to take advantage of one of the city’s many hot spots.
As the gateway to the Island’s interior, Nanaimo’s main attraction is its proximity to the Pacific. For the water lover, Nanaimo offers both lakefront (Long Lake, Diver Lake, Brannen Lake) and oceanfront real estate opportunities. There are many of pieces of luxury oceanfront and ocean view real estate for sale in Nanaimo . Marinas, floating restaurants, and other unique attractions dot the water line. If you are looking for a luxury home apart from the rest, the Nanaimo neighbourhoods of Protection and Newcastle Island might be perfect for you. At low tides you can walk between the Islands, both of which include several beaches. You won’t find many houses on the islands, but residents share the unique benefits of small island living including privacy and a sense of community, while of being close to a major centre.
Although Nanaimo plays host to millions of people each year, the city itself is not too large and all neighbourhoods tend to be easily accessible. This means that popular destinations such as the Arts District and the Waterfront include easy access to some of the most upscale amenities around.
Located North of Nanaimo, the retirement community of Qualicum is one of the most manicured and carefully planned cities on the island. As you enter from the highway, you are immediately impressed by the prominent Arts & Crafts style luxury homes built along the main street and the meticulously cared for curbside gardens and trees. Qualicum features a beautiful golf course sloping down to an ocean side promenade dotted with hamburger stands, vacation accommodations and kayak rentals. The famous “Doctor’s Row” is due mention in the discussion of waterfront real estate in Qualicum. This street features fabulous estates with property on both sides of the street. Many of the large homes have small vacation homes, boathouses and entertainment areas on the other side of the road where their prime oceanfront property is located.
Just south of Qualicum, the city of Parksville is perhaps the most popular tourist destination for families visiting the Central Island. Parksville is home to some of the best swimming beaches on the island and features many deluxe and family vacation accommodation options. It is the perfect family destination with miles of white, sandy and warm beaches to explore in the summer months and outdoor fun such as a mini-golf and bumper boats. Offering a few more amenities than the smaller Parksville (more shopping, recreation facilities, etc…) Parksville is home to older as well as younger families and features living options for both including both luxury real estate and mid level options.
Horne Lake, located just east of Qualicum, is a popular summer vacation spot for urbanites from Vancouver and Victoria. Although only slated for living 6 months of the year, the warm lake is home to many summer cottages and, since the last real estate boom, to many luxury lakefront homes as well.
One of the hotbeds of cultural activity on Vancouver Island would have to be the Comox Valley. This small valley includes one of the Island’s major cities, a popular town, and a beautiful village as well as several unincorporated settlements. The area is also home to the Island's main ski hill, Mount Washington. All of the areas in the Comox Valley include several luxury neighbourhoods; many of these neighbourhoods also include waterfront property.
• Courtenay: This city is the fastest growing municipality in the province, thanks in large part to the construction of the Inland Island highway. Courtenay boasts a wonderful mix of beachfront and riverfront as the Puntledge river runs through the city and its mouth opens up onto a bay/estuary with fantastic glacier views and plentiful wildlife (a bird sanctuary). Courtenay is also home to the well-known Crown Isle Golf Course and the adjoining luxury neighbourhood.
• Comox: The village of Comox is located just east of Courtenay. It also boasts several incredible luxury real estate opportunities, both at the waterfront and slightly inland.
• Cumberland: A former mining community and the third major centre of the Comox Valley, this village includes many cozy heritage homes and several new developments. Access to Comox Lake is a five-minute ride from town. Homes and cabins on Comox Lake are scarce, as private interests own the majority of the land. Comox Lake also serves as the water source for much of the Comox Valley
• Outlying areas. Residents of these communities surrounding the have a vast array of choices. Luxury Island living is available in the communities of Denman and Hornby Island (imagine being totally cut off, watching whales or seals pass between you and the ‘mainland’ as you sip wine in a hot tub overlooking the bay!). Union Bay, Fanny Bay, and Black Creek also include some luxury real estate, with ocean views and room to spare.
Slightly to the north of the Comox Valley, the town of Campbell River is guaranteed to take the breath and the heart of any real estate shopper. This community is truly one of the most beautiful in the province, with a distinctly local flavour which manages to avoid being parochial. Known as the salmon fishing capital of the world, this city includes waterfront real estate both along the ocean and along the river for which it is named.
As tourism continues to be the number one economic sector in the city of Campbell River, high end recreational opportunities abound. Campbell River luxury real estate for sale can be found along golf courses as well as on the beaches of the Pacific.
Western Island “The Wild Coast”
Along most of the coast, the western parts of the Island are mostly uninhabited. However, the town of Tofino includes some of the most sought after pieces of luxury real estate to be found anywhere on the Island. The isolated location of Tofino along with its access to the Pacific Ocean and its position at the borders of Pacific Rim National Park have made it a major tourist destination for many years and recent development has focused on recreational properties. Almost all are waterfront, and the styles include condominiums as well as huge stand alone luxury homes.
While rain is the order of the day most of the year on the western part of the Island, most residents prefer the opportunities afforded by isolation and the incredible natural beauty that defines this region. Residents and tourists alike enjoy whale watching, surfing, kayaking, hiking, and storm watching (in winter) as well as the occasional dip in the remotely located but must see Hot Springs Cove. Neighbouring fishing village Ucluelet is also becoming a community of interest to the luxury real estate buyer. As land in Tofino becomes scarce, developers have moved south to this town creating some outstanding luxury real estate opportunities.
As you might have guessed from the content of this article, many of the finest luxury real estate opportunities on Vancouver Island come in what we term “undefined” communities. This is particularly evident in the case of the Comox Valley, where the finest homes can be found in the unincorporated districts. This is the case up and down the Island; the proximity of the Pacific makes luxury development a real possibility no matter where you go and you will see many pieces of luxury real estate, and luxury amenities, all over Vancouver Island.
Get insider info on the BC recreational market with updates from The BC Waterfront Blog.
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