The historic neighbourhoods in Canada known as The British Properties
bring an overcast of beauty with its winding stories that portray a different atmosphere about West Vancouver. This residential area, located in British Columbia, was developed from land that was owned by the syndicate A.R. Guinness for The Guinness Brewing Company.
A.R. Guinness or Br. Pacific Properties developed the location which was known as the Capilano Estates
, but the locales in the area referred to this area as The British Properties. This was the beginning of upward development for this locale as it was transformed from a ferry access only beach resort, to a modest suburban community. Roads, parks, shopping centres, and all of the necessary, important items needed for a robust suburbia was created and developed because of The British Properties.
The Lion’s Gate Bridge that opened in 1938 helped to foster in a new era for The British Properties as the population started to grow and develop more land around the area. Originally designed by The Olmsted Brothers, the same company that was responsible for designing Central Park in New York and other locations, took it upon themselves to build up and create something new for The British Properties. The Guinness Family focused on building something out of this location by keeping the market for this area in demand.
The upper border of neighbourhoods comprising The British Properties homes for sale stops at an elevation of 1200 feet. The City Of West Vancouver doesn’t allow building beyond that point. The bottom or lower border is marked by The Upper Levels Highway. Driving up Taylor Way from Park Royal Shopping Center displays multiple views of mature, growing firs, hemlocks, and cedars making the area appear as if it were nestled deep within the forested locations of Beverly Hills.
“The Beauty of BC was more taken for granted back in the 50s,” says Mike Courtney of British Pacific Properties back in 1999. During this time, development of the area was still progressing, but many other companies began to take up the designing of The British Properties after The Olmsted Brothers stopped. Whitby Estates was the next developing project that was accomplished by British Pacific Properties.
Afterwards, the next locations to be completed were Canterbury and Chartwell. During this time, after the completion of these two properties, ideas about The British Properties changed as people took more time to appreciate the area and its view. Homeowners had decided to keep landscaping development under twenty-five feet allowing people to take pleasure in the view they would get from their homes. This can be seen in the following statement made by British Properties Resident Jess Ketchum, President of Ketchum Communications.
“What was important to us was the view and being near the forest.”
Jess Ketchum, who is also Chair of The British Columbia Cancer Association and The West Vancouver
Community Center, along with his wife, live in the area that is near the place where The British Pacific Properties began designing after the reign of The Olmsted Brothers. Thoughts about trying to keep the location modest regarding landscaping seemed to be the new trend as homes continued to develop as stated by Mr Ketchum.
“These are great homes.” "I think you’re going to get real people living in them, that's our experience.” “Everyone knows that when you’re in a BPP home, they’re your next-door neighbours.” This response came after BPP helped the Ketchums with repairing their garage door.
“Everyone knows that when you’re in a BPP home, they’re your next-door neighbours.” This response came after BPP helped the Ketchums
with repairing their garage door.
“They found me the repairman, and he was here that day,” stated Mrs Ketchum. “This is six years later, mind you after we bought our house from them.” “There’s nothing that says they have to do that.”
In the summer of 1930, to further the investment potential of The British Properties, The Capilano Golf Course and Country Club built by The British Pacific Properties, invited several London financiers to Vancouver’s North Shore. During that time, discussions surrounded the potential for property investment as well as the history of The Guinness Family and their brewing success with their company in the area.
After the meeting, when the investors returned home to England, they decided to place their interests into The British Pacific Properties, and the company became incorporated.
During, The Great Depression, The Lions Gate Bridge was built. It was funded by The Guinness Family to boost the potential of their property, and it employed hundreds of Vancouverites.
Ed Richardson, an engineer in West Vancouver, was hired to design and develop the bridge for The Guinness Family in 1940. He also designed the building that would be The Park Royal Shopping Center, the first type in Canada. Mr Richardson was a primary component for developing The British Properties and found the work to be quite enjoyable while employed by The Guinness Family.
“They’re the best people I’ve worked for,” states Mr Richardson. “Did they know how desirable their land would be someday?” Mr. Richardson is also a resident of the area and didn’t expect that the potential for The British Properties would be so lucrative and valuable. He purchased his land in 1950 for 300 dollars and never thought it would grow this much as he states in this phrase. “Everybody hoped, but nobody knew.” “I didn’t know, or I’d have bought more!”
By the time of 2007, land parcels were selling for a higher price after only seventy years of development from the first groundbreaking. It was at this time that new ways of administrating The British Properties houses for sale became a precedent for The City Of West Vancouver. The 4,700 acres of land had only been halfway developed as the focus for the area centred on diversity, density, and sustainability. The Rodgers Creek Area Plan was in charge of ushering this new ideology into The British Properties as the next 195 acres were being discussed for development. The charter for this plan can be seen in the West Vancouver office of British Pacific Properties.
As time moves on into the future, new stories will unfurl for this location as new residents seek a place to call their own. Recently, the Ketchums were made an offer above market value for their home from individuals arriving from China, a new trend that has come to the area. This will begin a new saga as The British Properties, one of Canada’s most prestigious neighbourhoods moves into a new era of property growth and increased stability. It is sure to delight any new resident or residents who may find an interest in purchasing a home in The British Properties.