A walk­a­ble com­mu­nity where side­walks are twice as wide, with out­stand­ing green spa­ces


It was never Sa­muel Lau’s in­ten­tion to live alone in his new home. But life be­ing what it is, as he sto­ically ad­mits, that’s the way it has turned out.

Sev­eral months af­ter he and his wife, Jane, pur­chased a town­house in Brook­field Res­i­den­tial’s Ivy devel­op­ment in Univer­sity Dis­trict last year, she was di­ag­nosed with cancer and died in the spring.

“Jane had a vi­sion for a home in this com­mu­nity. She se­lected all the in­te­ri­ors, like the colours and types of sinks and what­not.

“She knew we needed to get new fur­ni­ture to match the mod­ern decor, but never had a chance to pick it out,” Lau says. “We’d been look­ing for a place that was re­ally invit­ing, for gath­er­ings. The home we chose in the Ivy was per­fect, in a com­mu­nity that we loved. A ‘feet first’ com­mu­nity where the side­walks are twice as wide with out­stand­ing green spa­ces.”

Lau, in his mid-40s, took pos­ses­sion of his home in Septem­ber and has adopted a prag­matic out­look — that the home was a fi­nal gift from Jane.

“That’s what she’s left for me and ev­ery­one else in her life. She was a pas­tor in chil­dren’s min­istry and she had a lot of friends,” he says.

“One of the things Jane was par­tic­u­lar about was hav­ing room for guests. Any­body who needed a place to stay could stay at our home.”

Lau, who works down­town as a soft­ware-project man­ager, moved to the Ivy in Septem­ber from a sin­gle-fam­ily home in nearby Dal­housie.

“I was down­siz­ing and dis­cov­ered I had a lot of clut­ter. Mov­ing made me think about what I needed in life,” he says.

Be­fore tak­ing up res­i­dence in the Ivy, he hired in­te­rior de­signer Kim Purvis to choose fur­ni­ture based on In­sta­gram pho­tos that Jane had col­lected. He isn’t shy about declar­ing his home to be more beau­ti­ful than Brook­field’s show suite in the Univer­sity Dis­trict’s Dis­cov­ery Cen­tre.

The Laus pur­chased a court­yard­fac­ing end unit in Ivy.

Of the 127 units planned for the devel­op­ment, 34 are end units. He and Jane chose the Reseda, a 1,712-square-foot, three-bed­room, 2.5-bath­room home with a dou­ble garage and a spa­cious ter­race. With the ter­race’s depth of 8.5 feet, there’s enough room for a full-sized pa­tio ta­ble and chairs, he says.

“I also love my bright and spa­cious kitchen, but my favourite part is just en­ter­ing a home that feels in­stantly wel­com­ing with many gath­er­ing areas that are invit­ing and com­fort­able. That’s en­tirely cred­ited to Brook­field Res­i­den­tial for cre­at­ing the floor plan and the bright in­te­rior se­lec­tions my wife chose. It feels very re­lax­ing and peace­ful, which con­firms that the town­house pur­chase was the right de­ci­sion for me,” he says.

The Reseda, with a two-bed­room op­tion, is the sec­ond largest floor plan in the Ivy, next to the Lau­rel, which is fully sold out, says Justin Castelino, mar­ket­ing man­ager for Brook­field Res­i­den­tial.

“A num­ber of our build­ings are sold out, with build­ings 1, 10 and 11 yet to be re­leased. We have 25 homes avail­able for pur­chase right now, with a mix of im­me­di­atepos­ses­sion homes and some a few months to even a year away. It de­pends when peo­ple are look­ing to move in.”

Homes ready to go in­clude the 1,185-square-foot Virid­ian, start­ing at $493,000 and the 1,591-square-foot Olivine, priced from $585,900.

Sev­eral Reseda model homes are cur­rently un­der con­struc­tion.

As Univer­sity Dis­trict is a LEED Plat­inum com­mu­nity, the Ivy has fol­lowed suit as a Built Green gold reg­is­tered devel­op­ment, re­flect­ing the eco-con­scious as­pect of the area.

The north­west neigh­bour­hood con­tin­ues to take shape with com­ple­tion of the north pond, walk­ing paths and two large off-leash dog areas.

The North Com­mons Park with an ac­ces­si­ble play area has re­cently opened and com­mer­cial dis­trict con­struc­tion is well un­der­way with Save- On-Foods and Ana­log Cof­fee con­firmed as ten­ants.

Lau says the dog park that opened in July is so ap­peal­ing that peo­ple don’t be­lieve it’s a dog park.

“It’s bet­ter than some hu­man parks. And the North Com­mons Park that re­cently opened has a huge play­ground. I have a fiveyear-old niece who’s go­ing to be all over that and giv­ing me re­views when she tests it,” he says.

Lau is tick­led that he’s close enough to com­mute down­town com­fort­ably by bike and to live within 15 min­utes walk­ing dis­tance of Mar­ket Mall. He’d like to vol­un­teer some­day at the nearby Al­berta Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal and, as a half-marathon run­ner, will uti­lize the path­ways and the abun­dant green space.

“Just hav­ing all th­ese com­mon spa­ces helps peo­ple get out and so­cial­ize.”

And the North Com­mons Park that re­cently opened has a huge play­ground. I have a five-year-old niece who’s go­ing to be all over that …


Sa­muel Lau loves how well the Univer­sity Dis­trict is planned, and the open­ness of his new home. He also loves the style choices made by his late wife, Jane.


Sa­muel Lau re­laxes in his open-con­cept liv­ing room, fur­nished ac­cord­ing to his late wife, Jane’s, taste.

A bright and spa­cious kitchen, as well as many gath­er­ing areas, make the town­home a wel­com­ing place to live and visit.

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