Developers aren’t just creating modern lifestyle communities–they’re creating community events, and welcoming residents, locals and visitors to join in the fun. Here are a few to check out this spring.
By Steven Threndyle
Are you a joiner or a loner? A quiet, bookish introvert or the sort of person who doesn’t let anyone get a word in edgewise? Do you and your spouse share common interests, or pursue individual goals and aspirations? These are some of the questions that you might ask before exploring living in a lifestyle community.
Throughout B.C., adult living communities (geared to residents over 50) are becoming more and more popular. They don’t just offer a roof over your head, but also a built-in community of like-minded, active people to meet. For instance, Arbutus Ridge outside of Victoria offers more than 40 regularly scheduled activities, from Bible study to woodworking.
These six B.C. communities just must be the right size for your future residential and recreational housing needs. Pro tip: contact someone on the executive of the local strata or homeowner’s association for a chat about what it’s like to live there, before you sign on the dotted line.
With a marina, golf course, and a new state of the art wellness centre, 750-acre Fairwinds at Nanoose Bay on Vancouver Island has been 30 years in development, and is now like a town unto itself: it even has its own lifestyle magazine, Passions. While golf and sailing are part of the attraction, so too are Zumba, yoga and aquafit classes as well as that favourite racquet sport of baby boomers: pickleball. ACTIVITES: The Friends of Fairwinds organizes accessible activites, including no-cost gatherings like mindfulness sessions and board-game tournaments, plus wine-tasting, crafting and other courses for a small fee.
The Tower Ranch community north of Kelowna is comprised of Solstice at Tower Ranch, an adult age-restricted community, and the family-friendly neighbourhood developed by Dilworth Homes. Though it has always been a lively community, this summer, Cheryl Fraser of Dilworth Homes says, “This is the first year that the Community Association has committed to hosting a number of events.” ACTIVITIES: Catch painting workshops, outdoor movie nights and a community garage sale, among the planned activities.
Southeast of Vernon, Predator Ridge is pretty much the Okanagan poster child of B.C. lifestyle communities. Now in its 26th year, it consists of 700-plus homes located on a 1,000-acre ridge above Okanagan Lake. Summers are very busy for residents and guests alike and many activities still revolve around the golf course and tennis courts. ACTIVITIES: Wine tastings, cooking classes and specialty dinner nights are also popular; watch for a 5-kilometre fun run, an artisan night market and weekly outdoor live music in summer.
Skaha Hills near Penticton is one of the newer lifestyle developments in B.C. and promises resort-style living right outside your door: walking trails, golf, pools and fitness facilities all provide venues for getting together with neighbours and friends. There’s even a 12-acre vineyard and a restaurant right on the property. ACTIVITES: Homeowners can plan get-togethers this summer at their own private marina and beach.
To many Albertans, Shuswap Lake Estates represents the total Shuswap experience. It’s one of oldest planned recreational communities in the province: the first hundred lots sold in 1971 for just $5,000 to $7,000. At “the community around a golf course,” the original developers chose to design and build their clubhouse first, a place that would serve the entire community’s needs and provide social cohesion. ACTIVITIES: The community centre is still a busy hub for residents who love everything from quilting and ballroom dancing to summer music concerts and the famous annual chili cook-off.
But why be a slave to ferry-line-ups and Coquihalla snowstorms? Harrison Highlands is a three-phase master-planned community located in eagle country, where the Harrison River meets the mighty Fraser River. Marketing manager Patricia Lundquist says, “We are really trying to build our community from the ground up.” With just 70 homes pre-sold in Phase 1, Harrison Mills residents treasure solitude, yet find time to get together. ACTIVITIES: Residents organize community events at local coffee shops and craft breweries in the east end of the Valley, and last year created a photo calendar for 2020 and yes, there were photos of eagles.
IT’S A DATE
Consider these additional B.C. lifestyle communities with busy social calendars.
Bear Mountain, Victoria: Music on the Mountain nights, Friday Night Flights wine tastings plus the Bear Mountain Bike Festival and the Bear Mountain Canada Cup/BC Cup.
Spirit Ridge, Osoyoos: This resort-style community overlooking vineyards and lake is the ideal location for both residents and locals to celebrate events like the Osoyoos Oyster Festival every April and a Nk’Mip Festival of Trees in December.
Wilden, Kelowna: At this community, proceeds of Wilden Living gatherings go to support Blenk Family Fund in support of youth mental health. Annual events include a Creativity Festival and the Wild One Wilden Trail Run (with 5- and 10-kilometre distances, plus a dog run!) every fall.