Thursday, 1 December 2016

BCO Calendar, Year Two

Creating a calendar was on the list of projects for years, and last year was the first time we put it all together. This year the process was a little easier to go through although we still have divided opinion on choosing the final 13 photos.

last year's calendar and some of this year's options

We make our own calendar because we believe that the places we get to visit and market are some of the most astounding places around. The BC Oceanfront Team loves the coast and we want to share that love in any way we can.

preparing for mail out

We consider the BCO calendars a labour of love, and hope that those of you who receive one enjoy the pictures throughout the year.

It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Live It!

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Vancouver Island Living

Living on Vancouver Island you have easy access to lots of rugged wilderness, large trees, amazing beaches and vast spaces. While these are definitely a big part of the appeal of island living, what people don't realize are just how many amenities Vancouver Island offers as well, making it an ideal place to live with the best of both worlds at your doorstep.

looking across the water to Victoria, from Esquimalt

The four main urban areas on Vancouver Island are (in order of population) Victoria, Nanaimo, the Comox Valley (including Courtenay and Comox) and Campbell River. All of these centres have major hospitals (Victoria has two) and vibrant downtown districts.

Vancouver Island has two universities. The University of Victoria has been around for 50 years and attracts students from across Canada as well as many international students. It is also a popular choice for students on Vancouver Island. The second university is Vancouver Island University, which is based in Nanaimo. It was originally Malaspina College, and in 2008 was granted full university status under its new name. All the urban centres have local colleges as well as private colleges.

The Save On Foods Memorial Center in Victoria regularly features high profile music acts. The MacPherson and Royal Theatres in Victoria and Port Theatre in Nanaimo attract major stage and dance productions, while the Sid Williams Theatre in Courtenay and the Tidemark Theatre in Campbell River provide a nice variety of live entertainment for those communities. Victoria also boasts the world-class Royal BC Museum as well as an art gallery. There are many other places of culture, history and creativity throughout the urban centres and even on the smaller islands near Vancouver Island.

Empress Hotel, Victoria Inner Harbour

Both Victoria and Nanaimo have a number of indoor shopping malls, including The Bay Centre and Mayfair Mall in Victoria, and Woodgrove Centre in Nanaimo - all very popular with island residents. All the urban centres have a wide variety of shopping available.

One of the appeals of living on Vancouver Island is that you really can have it all. Anywhere you live on the island offers amazing coastal beauty, while all the amenities needed or wanted are also available.

It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Live It!

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Remote Property Field Trips

Ed and Shelley ventured out to the West Coast this week to visit a couple of properties. This is definitely a fun part of their job when the weather cooperates, but it also requires a lot of planning and preparation.

For remote properties that can take several hours by boat to get to, answering all the questions they can in the first visit is important. Unlike properties in town or that are easier to access, they cannot go back to the property whenever they want to answer questions. So paying attention to all the details and knowing ahead of time what information is still needed is crucial. Things like power supply, waste water management, house size, moorage, heating, where the key is located, access, etc are all questions they may need to answer.

Before they head to a property the BCO office assistants along with Ed and Shelley have spent time going through information and photos provided by the seller (or sometimes already in our reference files) and have created a list of questions. They have also prepared mapping so that Ed and Shelley can be sure they are at the correct property (these visits are often done when no owners are at the property).

While on site Ed and Shelley try to take notes on everything, taking measurements where needed as well. Another technique is to take photos of all of the infrastructure and anything else they think may be useful (for example the front of a woodstove so we know for sure the maker). These photos won't be used in our marketing but will be kept as reference and used to prepare our marketing materials as well as to answer questions from potential buyers down the road.

Field trip days such as this week's to the west coast can be a nice break from the office, but they are still a lot of work!

It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Live It!

Thursday, 10 November 2016

BCO Coastal Gems: Minstrel Island

Minstrel Island is situated off the north-west tip of East Cracroft and adjacent to the entrance to world-famous Knight Inlet, a 70-mile long glacial fjord. Located on the southern central BC coast, this area is one of the most spectacular on the mainland coast and offers a great variety of outdoor recreation opportunities such as fishing, shellfish harvesting, wildlife viewing, yachting and kayaking. 


Minstrel Island is home to a small community, and has a government dock. There are a number of floating fishing lodges in the vicinity. In the past it was an active logging and fishing centre.

Just a short distance to the south are the waters of Johnstone Strait and Robson Bight, home to some of the largest populations of resident and migrating orca whales. Lagoon Cove Marina is located a short distance to the east, providing convenient access to fuel and other amenities.
It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Live It!

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Salmon Spawning Season

When the rain starts to fall in October on Vancouver Island and the rivers are filling up, that is when the salmon arrive in large numbers. Spawning season is well upon us here on the island, with the local rivers being popular with fishermen, photographers, tourists and wildlife - all coming to see the salmon.

Up and down the island school children are going on fieldtrips to the local river or hatchery to get a lesson in salmon lifecycles and the ecology of island forests. Seeing this up close is a wonderful experience and one that forms part of the west coast psyche. 

Walking along the Campbell River in October, especially along the spawning channels which are shallower and narrower than the big river, one doesn't know whether to watch the trail for decomposing fish dropped by bears and birds, or to watch the river in awe as the surviving salmon struggle their way upstream.

The cycle of the salmon has helped create the amazing natural wonder of our rich forests, as their decomposing bodies enhance the soil - nature's best compost. We never take for granted this show that nature puts on - it is just another reason to love living on the island and a great reason to visit in the fall.

It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Live It!

Thursday, 27 October 2016

What Is the Coastal Lifestyle?

At BC Oceanfront, we talk a lot about the coastal lifestyle. For us, a coastal lifestyle means finding the balance between life and work so that we can enjoy to the fullest this amazing place where we get to live.

Campbell River and Discovery Passage

Big Picture, this has meant Ed and Shelley finding a way to get some time away in the summer especially, but really all year round, for fishing/hunting/camping. This may mean one is out of town while the other is covering the office, or it may mean Ed is at his cabin in Quatsino fishing in the mornings and working remotely in the afternoons and evenings.

On a smaller scale, the coastal lifestyle means week-ends outdoors, and often evenings as well. It means stopping and looking out the windows when someone thinks they spot whales, or an interesting boat is going through the passage between Quadra Island and Campbell River.  It means that during client meetings talk about fishing takes as much time as talk about properties. It means Monday morning any one of us, or all four of us, uploading photos of week-end adventures to share on social media. It also means that when Shelley and Ed show clients a property they share in the delight a buyer feels upon seeing the wonder of the coast for the first time. After years of living and working on the coast, that feeling of awe and wonder hasn’t gone away.

Vanisle 360 race from the BCO office window

Discovery Passage

The coastal lifestyle doesn’t mean you just live on the coast. It means every day you appreciate that coast and the lifestyle it allows you to enjoy. It means you relax a little more often than if you lived in the big city, and you get outside.

Walking the Campbell River seawalk

We believe in it, we live it and we love to share it.

It’s a Coastal Lifestyle … Live It!

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Arbutus and Garry Oak Eco-Systems on Vancouver Island

Vancouver Island is home to a number of different eco systems. Some of the most distinctive on Vancouver Island (and the Gulf Islands) are the Garry Oak and Arbutus forests on southern Vancouver Island.

A garry oak in Beacon Hill Park, Victoria

Garry Oak eco-systems are becoming quite rare, and are protected in many places on the southern islands. The system likes dry, partially meadowed areas, often along the seashore or on rocky hillsides. There are a few pockets of this eco-system on some of the more central islands, for example Hornby Island.

Arbutus trees are very common south of Nanaimo but they too have had stress, and in recent years have suffered from diseases that threaten to do serious damage.
Garry oaks and Arbutus along the Westway walkway in Esquimalt

Both of these trees and their respective eco-systems are part of the magic that is the natural beauty on Vancouver Island.

It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Live It!