Sun­shine Coast’s charm ir­re­sistible

Scenic towns of­fer great get­away in­vest­ments for Al­ber­tans

Calgary Herald - Calgary Herald New Condos - - Recreation & Investment Properties - JOSH SKAPIN

Along B.C.’s scenic Strait of Ge­or­gia, a stretch of com­mu­ni­ties of­fers the mild cli­mate, re­cre­ation op­por­tu­ni­ties and cul­ture that many look for when buy­ing a va­ca­tion home.

Many Al­ber­tans are flock­ing to the Sun­shine Coast for their get­away. The Sun­shine Coast in­cludes the towns of Gib­sons, Sechelt and Pow­ell River, along with a num­ber of smaller cen­tres strung like pearls along 86 kilo­me­tres of ver­dant coast­line. Other com­mu­ni­ties in this re­gion in­clude Pen­der Har­bour, Roberts Creek and Lund.

“What people find here as far as life­style is just the abil­ity to re­lax, drop their shoul­ders and breathe,” says Russ Qureshi, a real­tor with Pru­den­tial Sus­sex Realty on the Sun­shine Coast. He says there’s been a de­mand from Al­berta buy­ers for property in and around these com­mu­ni­ties.

“The story I hear from the Al­ber­tans com­ing out for the ex­pe­ri­ence you get out here, your dol­lar goes a lot fur­ther,” says Qureshi. “There’s a lot avail­able here.”

That trans­lates to ev­ery­thing from daz­zling wa­ter­front homes for un­der $1.5 mil­lion to in­land op­tions for much less.

Qureshi says for a ru­ral ex­pe­ri­ence “but never too far from ameni­ties you can go as low as $300,000 to $350,000 and get some­thing that’s more than worth com­ing out from Cal­gary or Ed­mon­ton for,”

The area of­fers a bit of ev­ery­thing. It’s got all the ben­e­fits of laid-back coastal life but big city liv­ing is only a quick ferry ride away in Van­cou­ver.

“The air is clean and fresh and there’s tons of re­cre­ation,” says Qureshi. “It’s one of those ar­eas in Canada that never gets too cold or too hot. There’s al­ways some­thing of in­ter­est that al­lows people to fill their days.”

For many res­i­dents and vis­i­tors, time on the Sun­shine Coast is spent on the wa­ter.

“It’s per­fect for standup pad­dle board­ing, sail boat­ing and you see the wind surfers out reg­u­larly in cer­tain ar­eas,” says Celia Robben, pres­i­dent of Sun­shine Coast Tourism. The re­gion boasts more than 30 mari­nas.

“Lots of people own boats and lots of people visit here tak­ing their two-week boat­ing hol­i­day up to Des­o­la­tion Sound,” she adds.

Des­o­la­tion Sound is the largest ma­rine park in B.C. and lo­cated in the up­per-half of the Sun­shine Coast. But for a quicker pace, try your hand at rid­ing the wa­ter at Skookum­chuck Nar­rows Provin­cial Park, says Robben.

“That’s the fastest tidal rapid in North Amer­ica — guys go out and surf or can kayak the rapids,” Robben adds. “They get white wa­ter raft­ing in the ocean be­cause of the way the rapids work. It’s a re­ally nar­row inlet and they can get up to 16-knot waves.”

And of course, there’s am­ple op­por­tu­nity for an­glers.

“People come over to fish. You can go out in a char­ter boat that will take you out and sup­ply all your gear or many people take their own boat out,” says Robben.

Fish­ing along the coast is known to pro­duce trout, cod, var­i­ous shell­fish and of course sal­mon.

“Def­i­nitely home to lots of sal­mon,” Robben notes. “And there are sal­mon runs through­out most of the year. There are two sal­mon hatch­eries so you can learn about the en­tire life cy­cle of sal­mon and how im­por­tant they are to the coast.”

With great fish­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties comes a mouth-wa­ter­ing op­por­tu­nity for seafood fans. Out of the wa­ter and on the grill.

“You lit­er­ally walk down to the docks and can buy fresh seafood in any of the com­mu­ni­ties,” says Robben.

And let’s not for­get land lovers. With scenic golf cour­ses, hik­ing trails and the re­gion’s bur­geon­ing arts scene, the coast reaches many in­ter­ests.

“Ev­ery­thing is bloom­ing right now,” noted Robben, dur­ing a re­cent in­ter­view. “Whether you’re hik­ing, strolling along the beaches or moun­tain bik­ing, it’s the time to be out­side.”

The Sun­shine Coast Trail, cre­ated in 1992, stretches 182 kilo­me­tres.

“It’s Canada’s long­est hut-to­hut hik­ing trail,” adds Robben.

Al­ber­tans with a sec­ond home on the coast are of­ten in­ter­ested in the abun­dance of wildlife in the area. Am­a­teur pho­tog­ra­phers have plenty to point their lens at, both on land and in the wa­ter.

“Es­pe­cially up in Pow­ell River and Pen­der Har­bour, you can see sea lions,” says Robben. Seals are also com­mon sight­ings in the area, she adds. “And ea­gles. Ev­ery day, you can see an ea­gle.”

Through­out the year, com­mu­ni­ties across the coast host fes­ti­vals de­voted to ev­ery­thing from jazz and the writ­ten arts to sand­cas­tle com­pe­ti­tions. Artists feel right at home on the coast. In fact, the Sun­shine Coast is home to more artists and crafters per capita than any re­gion in Canada.

“Our rugged moun­tains over­look­ing the Pa­cific Ocean coast­line, the deep blue wa­ters of the fjords, the rich­ness of the rain­for­est, and the close­ness of the whales, ea­gles and bears are deeply in­spir­ing. Our re­laxed, ru­ral ‘live-and-let-live’ life­style at­tracts artists from around the world to live and work on the Sun­shine Coast,” says Robben.

Sun­shine Coast Tourism

Kayak­ing is one of many pop­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties for res­i­dents and vis­i­tors on B.C.’s Sun­shine Coast. The laid-back life is only a quick ferry ride away in Van­cou­ver

Colleen De Neve/For the Cal­gary Herald

Over­look­ing the har­bour in Gib­sons, B.C. along the Sun­shine Coast of Bri­tish Columbia.

Colleen De Neve/For the Cal­gary Herald

Roberts Creek, B.C. at low tide is per­fect for ex­plor­ing tidal pools.

Van­cou­ver, Coast & Moun­tains Tourism

Much of the lure of the Sun­shine Coast is the wa­ter. Pow­ell River, above, is one of the favourite spots to fish for trout, cod and sal­mon.

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