Editorial Written by Kristen Ross
Spirit of the West – Lake Living on Vancouver Island
Sailing the Salish Sea – it sounds like the title of an epic adventure novel. Made up of a network of waterways, its shimmering blue waters include the Strait of Georgia, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and Puget Sound, which hug both the south and east coast of Vancouver Island. Largely shielded from the Pacific Ocean and home to some of the most abundant marine life on the planet, the options for lake waterfront properties here are some of the finest in the world.
Amongst the most attractive features of lake living on Vancouver Island is the sheer scope of choices that are available. From remote properties offering privacy and a serene setting to more accessible locales with greater access to the city and its amenities – here, everything is possible.
One of the first lakefront communities that come to mind because of its close proximity to Victoria is Prospect Lake. Just 18 km northwest of Victoria, this stunning community benefits from all the advantages that come with being close to the city, while preserving the retreat ambience its become known for. Prospect Lake Golf Course is a nine-hole scenic course that skims its way around the lakeshore. Situated with views of a majestic mountain backdrop and coastal forest worthy of a photographer’s lens, the scenery competes only with the beauty of the lake itself. Largely a wooded area, properties range from new subdivisions to large family homes and lots on rural acreage. Those looking for tranquility while remaining close to downtown Victoria would do well to look into this peaceful lakefront neighbourhood.
Northwest of Victoria is Shawnigan Lake, a larger but fairly shallow lake in the Cowichan region of Vancouver Island. Shaped like a Y, this community boasts a population of around 8,000 that can swell to double its size in summer months when visitors abound. Bordering Cobble Hill and Mill bay, residents benefit from access to shopping, dining and schools found in these nearby communities. Largely undeveloped on the south end, residents enjoy tranquil hiking trails, mountain biking terrain, rural farmland and rustic scenery as a result; waterfront homes, condominiums and luxury real estate here are complimented by attractive summer cabins vacationers’ enjoy in the warmer months.
Sailing northwest of Shawnigan Lake we come across Lake Cowichan. Its town is located on the east end, with a vibrant and growing community whose modest population hovers around 3,000. A little over an hour from Victoria’s inner harbour and just 20 minutes from Duncan, it has become a major recreational destination famous for its spectacular vistas, pristine hiking trails, fishing, and countless water sports. The infamous Trans Canada Trail borders the western side of the lake, injecting the community with a unique energy from visitors who take to the trail throughout the year. Potential residents can find a variety of options ranging from condominiums and modest homes to cozy cottages and splendid lakeshore homes with acreage.
Continuing northwest towards the Pacific Rim National Park we come across the impressive Sproat Lake. With 300 kilometers of shoreline and clear fresh water, the area offers an incredible opportunity to build a dream home on a private lakefront among old-growth forests and superb wildlife. Luxury estates and quaint bungalows can also be found in the area. Known for its warm waters and beaches, residents and vacationers can enjoy water skiing, windsurfing, paddling, and kayaking year round.
Whether looking to invest in a summer property or purchasing a year-round home, lake living on Vancouver Island truly embodies the spirit of the west.