Editorial Written by Kristen Ross
Colwood Blooms Amidst New Development
Along a glistening 5-kilometre stretch of ocean just southwest of Vancouver Island’s capital, lies the city of Colwood. With some of the most pristine parks and trails in the southern part of the island, this family-friendly community is preparing itself for a growth spurt over the coming years.
With its tremendous amount of prime waterfront real estate, Colwood is attracting some of the biggest names in developers today. One of its more recent projects is the Ocean Grove development, offering 1, 2 and 3 bedroom homes starting at $304,900. Purchased by Seacliff Properties, this magnificent property skirts the Esquimalt Lagoon and boasts colourful orchards and wooded areas with old-growth forest.
In addition to the homes already built, Seacliff Properties has unveiled plans for the remaining waterfront. This will include a larger and more diverse cast of housing units, totaling a proposed 870, which will be made up of single-family homes, townhomes and condos. In addition, a network of pedestrian paths to connect the community to its neighbours via Seafield, Lagoon, and Heatherbell Road (where Royal Roads University is located) is being incorporated into the plan.
Interestingly, Colwood’s beginnings were as a farm purchased by the Hudson’s Bay Company. Although a small number of hobby farms are still found in the area, more and more of the land is being used to build commercial projects.
This is in no way to say that Colwood is not big on the environment: in fact, quite to the contrary. In 2013, the Real Estate Foundation of BC (REFBC) voted Colwood as the year’s public sector winner of its Land Award, which recognizes outstanding work to promote sustainable land use in BC. The program—Solar Colwood—was a collaboration between Colwood and 14 organizations designed to help the community make hundreds of energy-saving changes that reduced costs and invest in renewable resources. In addition to this honour, Colwood was also a finalist in the World Wildlife Federation’s Earth Hour City Challenge the same year.
A small town with a population of 16,000, one of the most pleasant surprises about Colwood is its number of historic sites. From the elite Victorian set who occupied Hatley Castle (now Royal Roads University), to its still operational Fisgard Lighthouse—at one time a proud symbol for the Royal Navy, but now a National Historic Site—they each represent an important part of Colwood’s history.
Easily accessible by bus or car, Colwood prides itself on being a bike-friendly community. The infamous Galloping Goose Trail runs right through the heart of this town, making it an easy commute to Victoria and back. For those with families, Colwood has a lot to offer for its modest size. Currently there are 5 elementary schools, 2 middle schools, the Belmont Secondary School and, of course, the well-known Royal Roads University. In addition, the construction of a new high school has begun along the Royal Bay waterfront.
Poised for significant growth, with new developments and an increasingly number of businesses and services in construction, Colwood is an excellent option for those seeking small town charm with big city luxury.