Hot property: Area Information: Vancouver Island

Vancouver Island

Population of approximately 747,281 (2011)

BC, Vancouver Island


Community Links:

Campbell River

Comox Valley



Parksville Qualicum

Port Alberni/Tofino

Port Hardy



Despite being a herd animal and inherently gregarious, we humans also instinctively yearn for our own bit of green, a bit of sod, privacy. It is one of the major factors behind the race for Penturbia - the fifth wave - the escape from the suburbs to smaller towns.

And yet no one wants to be "too far" out of touch from the urban amenities and - of course - roughing it 20th Century style does not necessarily mean having to give up sushi, the health, educational, recreational and cultural facilities, the selection and prices of regional shopping and 'big box' retailers modern North American urban dwellers have all become used to. What better area in the world to achieve this dream than Vancouver Island.

Vancouver Island West Coast TrailWith its pleasant climate and lifestyle, the "Island" once was generally regarded largely as a retirement haven. No longer! Today there is an overwhelm desire and demand by people wanting to escape big city crime, frenetic bustle, and congestion (or the "Freeway to Frustration" as the Vancouver sun dubbed it recently), in favour of sometimes lower-paying jobs or self-employment, but certainly a better lifestyle in smaller communities. Technological advances in communication and computerization are aiding and abetting this growing desire and is permitting a greater mobility in today's workforce.

In a recent survey, the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB), found that 19% of land purchasers cited retirement and lifestyle as the reason for coming to the "Island." The island is blessed with sweeping vistas, fishing, swimming, golfing, skiing mountains etc. All of the major communities, Nanaimo, Parksville, Qualicurn Beach, Comox, Courtenay and Campbell River have benefited from this strong inflow of people. A lot of the newcomers have brought their jobs with them. Canadian Superstore, London Drugs, Costco and many other super stores also followed the escapees in turn creating many new economic and employment opportunities. The retirement set hasn't stopped coming either and the mix has shaped different settlement patterns along the central east coast of the Island.

The island highway's 320-kilometre route from Victoria to Campbell has made it easier to travel around the island. For instance, the infamous "Colwood Crawl" just outside Victoria and the equally-squeezed section between Courtenay and Nanaimo has opened up due to the access the highway provides. Satellite communities such as Qualicum, Ladysmith, Shawnigan Lake are commuter communities feeding into Nanaimo, Duncan and Victoria.

The forestry sector will continue to be an important part of the Vancouver Island economy, but the associated labor force will have significantly different and fewer jobs than in the past. There will be greater emphasis on value-added products and increasingly automated processes." Health and personal services will also grow as newcomers are both older, well educated and relatively wealthy. Turner:" Tourism is very much a 'build it and they will come' industry on Vancouver Island." And with its great climate, closeness to the great outdoors, fishing and boating, championship golf and skiing, tourism is just beginning. "

Vancouver Island house prices in 1989 were less than those in any of the centres from which in-migrants were coming. However by 1994 with nearly 80% price increases, house prices on the island exceeded those in all Canadian centres but Vancouver, Victoria and Toronto, adding pressure to affordability.

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