There are few neighbourhoods in Canada that parallel the exquisiteness and luxury of West Vancouver. An area rich with expansive private estates, waterfront homes, upscale condos and elegant apartments, this neighbourhood has become an icon for fine living.
However, West Vancouver came from much humbler roots. Originally property of the municipality, 4700 acres was sold to a syndicate controlled by the Guinness Brewing Company. The syndicate A.R. Guinness Br. Pacific Properties developed an area called Capilano Estates but Vancouverites nick named it British Properties.
The new estate was initially accessible only by ferry. Its development was slow until the completion of the Lion’s Gate Bridge in 1938. The new bridge offered easy access to the community and it quickly rose tto become the palatial neighbourhood it is today. There are still a few homes that date back to the 1920s and 30s, but most of the current dwellings are from the 1970s to the present.
The community stretches across 28 km of shoreline and up the lower slopes of Hollyburn Mountain between the Capilano River Valley and Horseshoe Bay. It is a short 20 minute drive from Downtown Vancouver but light years away from the hustle and bustle of a busy metropolis. Instead it is a quiet, mostly residential neighbourhood with enviable marina facilities, golf courses, fine dining, parks and shopping.
A 25 block strip of Marine Drive serves as a commercial district featuring shops, small offices, restaurants and spas. A key attraction is the Park Royal Shopping Centre, Canada’s first shopping mall. Originally built in 1950, the Park Royal has been a commercial hub of the community and continues to maintain that status with recent renovations and the addition of high end retail stores. It also happens to be the location of the Blue Bus Terminal which services all of West Vancouver.