Falling for the west coast in this charming Vancouver Island community.
On a crisp but mild winter day sunshine winks through the mist, falling in beams over the back of the ocean. Clouds, stretched long and tissue thin—as if being pulled across the sky on an imaginary string—punctuate the horizon. It’s a scene fit a postcard (or, nowadays, Instagram), but for the friendly locals here in James Bay, rubbing shoulders at neighbourhood coffee shops or out walking the windswept beaches, it’s pretty much business as usual.
With a history that dates back further than any other on Canada’s glinting west coast, this stunning residential community takes root along the southern side of Victoria’s downtown Inner Harbour and is flanked by inky ocean waves on three sides. Home to many of Victoria’s most historical landmarks, some of its more magnificent attractions are the capital’s stoic Parliament buildings and the Royal BC Museum, as well as the bustling cruise ship port-of-call at Ogden Point, Beacon Hill Park, and Fisherman’s Wharf. In light of this, it seems redundant then to point out the obvious—this place has a lot going for it.
Comprised with what local realtor, Kyle Kerr of Coldwell Banker Slegg Realty describes as, “A healthy mix of many different kinds of properties,” James Bay has everything from single-family homes and condos to townhomes, lots, character homes, and oceanfront property. And although they’re often looked at more as a photo op than a housing opportunity, James Bay is also home to an extraordinary and colorful assortment of houseboats. “It’s a place where everyone can find something they like,” Kerr says confidently.
With more and more people looking to buy here, there is no doubt that James Bay has become one of Victoria’s most desirable areas. Because of its density, new developments tend to make the most of what space is available with the majority going for multi-level homes. Frank, an exclusive project of 6 townhomes from ARYZE development and construction, is indicative of what one might find from newer homes in the area. Straightforward with open concept floorplans and built using natural or reclaimed materials, Frank has a good understanding of what is desirable to Victoria residents.
Joining the action, Dallas Pointe townhomes—another recent development from Homewood Constructors Ltd—is as close as one can get to the ocean without actually purchasing waterfront property. Located on a quiet street off Dallas road, these homes feature contemporary design and sophisticated interiors already installed by award-winning firm, Nygaard Interior Design Ltd.
Perhaps one of the most exciting new developments in the area however, is Capital Park. Described on their website as the “vision” of Concert and Jawl Properties—both of whom are BC based developers with significant expertise in Victoria—Capital Park is almost an entire city block (close to 6 acres in total) with a land parcel owned by the provincial government. Now home to parking lots, commercial buildings and five unoccupied heritage homes, “vision” is the only way to describe what these developers have in mind for the area. After restoring and relocating all heritage homes currently on-site, over 100 new suites (a combination of both family-friendly and single person residences) will be built, as well as a public library, fitness facility, and plenty of opportunity for retail amenities. With abundant green spaces and a network of plazas, courtyards and pathways, “Capital Park will be a gathering place that encourages exploration.”
One of the most walkable neighbourhoods in Victoria, James Bay embraces all that anyone would expect from the west coast: a friendly community made up of diverse demographics, a mix of contemporary and historical architecture, with accessibility to nature and activity (quite literally) at one’s doorstep.
Homes & Land Volume 10, Issue 4 — January/February 2016