Editorial Written by Kristen Ross
Spirit of the West – Lake Living on Vancouver Island [Part II]
Waking up to the call of loons soaring across glacial blue waters may seem to many like a far-off dream, but for those enjoying lake living on Vancouver Island this picture is an everyday reality. With an impressive number of freshwater lakes and mild Mediterranean climate, it’s no surprise more and more people are turning to these serene waterfront properties. Lake living presents an opportunity to live next door to nature without giving up the convenience of an easy commute to work, shopping, or other everyday essentials.
The Cowichan region is a particularly noteworthy slice of the southeast, including its stunning lake that shares the same name. Beautifully situated within the triangle that encompasses Victoria and Nanaimo, Cowichan is lively without being heavily saturated by residents. Famous for its fertile green valley, outdoor activities and quaint communities, Cowichan is the picturesque answer for those who want a calmer environment than what’s offered by its bigger neighbors. When asked how she feels about Cowichan, RE/MAX agent Sandy Stinson put it best, “The more I travel, the more impressed I am with my own backyard. Our water and beaches are pristine, we’re typically four to five degrees warmer than the rest of the island, and the gardening is extraordinary!” All those green thumbs have another benefit too – culinary adventures including food and wine festivals have grown exponentially in recent years. Visitors and residents alike can eat their way through local, award-winning restaurants with an emphasis on the sustainable growing practices now synonymous with the region.
Whereby coastal living on the mainland is financially out of reach for many, buyers will find that lake living presents a highly attractive alternative. Homes here typically sell for a fraction of the price in comparison, particularly in areas like Cowichan and Nanaimo, which are still far from overpopulated. After selling homes in her native community for over twenty years, RE/MAX of Nanaimo real estate agent Susan McGougan believes that residents enjoy a quality of life here not found anywhere else on the globe. She was also quick to point out that lake living differs considerably from being on the ocean. “It’s incredibly quiet and serene. When you’re in your living room, gazing out at the lake waters you feel like you’re a million miles away from everything; yet you’re only a short drive from airports, ferries and the rest of the world.”
A fine example of what’s on offer here is a property recently listed by Susan Forrest on Spider Lake. An idyllic, warm water lake just west of Qualicum Bay, this charming sandy beach and placid lake looks like an image taken straight from a postcard. Built by local, award-winning Camelot Homes, this property is situated amongst bucolic forest with the valley floor below. A cozy, wood-burning fireplace warms winter evenings and natural light floods in from all directions. This custom home offers a combination of rural charm with higher end details; the type of property we are likely to be seeing more of as discerning residents continue to make this extraordinary place home.
Vineyards and wineries, outdoor adventure, arts and culture, and an unprecedented quality of life – lake living on Vancouver Island seems to have cornered the market on living well.