Paul Liberatore

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Best of Vancouver...

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Best neighbourhood you may not have seen

Wesbrook Village at UBC

On the south side of UBC’s Point Grey campus, a new walkable neighbourhood has emerged in a wooded area. It has all the amenities for daily living, including a new community centre, and it’s on the edge of Pacific Spirit Regional Park. For craft-beer lovers, there are 120 options at Biercraft. Think of Wesbrook Village as UBC’s version of the Olympic Village, minus False Creek but with a lot more trees.



Best new green office building

Telus Garden

There’s only one office tower in Vancouver with almost 300 rooftop solar panels. Telus Garden, which was developed by Westbank, continuously draws in fresh air from the outside to circulate inside. The building also draws heat from Telus’s nearby data system on Seymour Street to keep workers warm. There’s even a vegetable garden.


Best condo marketing

Strathcona Village

In a bygone era, homes would be sold on the basis of their features—i.e., the number of bedrooms, quality of appliances, and views. Rennie Marketing Systems turned that formula upside down at 900 East Hastings Street by focusing on all the nice people in the area, including Gourmet Warehouse owner Caren McSherry, J J Bean Coffee owner John Neate, and Les Amis du Fromage co-owner Joe Chaput. The marketing campaign also emphasized low prices in messages that looked more like they were coming from a big-box retailer than from a condo marketer. The units quickly sold out, with most of the buyers living within 10 kilometres of their new homes.


Rennie Marketing Systems reinvented real-estate marketing at Strathcona Village.

Best new condo name


The name of Onni’s project captures the spirit of the city’s newest arts hub. It’s on the edge of the yet-to-be-completed Emily Carr University of Art + Design’s campus at the corner of Great Northern Way and Thornton Avenue. Canvas is also in an area with several galleries, including Catriona Jeffries, Monte Clark, and Equinox.


Biggest real-estate haircut

According to some Shaughnessy property owners, Vancouver city council shaved almost $1 billion off the value of their homes by creating a heritage district in the area bounded by Oak Street, West 16th Avenue, Arbutus Street, and King Edward Avenue. It’s a parting gift from Brian Jackson, the general manager of planning and development, who retires at the end of this year. Council’s move will undoubtedly enrich the law firm that ends up fighting this measure in B.C. Supreme Court.


Cressey's Kings Crossing is the latest change coming to Edmonds Town Centre.

Best neighbourhood renewal

Edmonds Town Centre in Burnaby

Once upon a time, the corner of Edmonds Street and Kingsway was known as a rough neighbourhood. The elites in Burnaby would cluster around Capitol Hill, secure that they were far away from the riffraff. Nowadays, housing prices in South Burnaby exceed those in North Burnaby, thanks to the transformation of Edmonds Town Centre. The next big project is Cressey’s Kings Crossing, which will make many people forget that Value Village ever existed across the street from the Tommy Douglas library branch. The addition of the Edmonds Community Centre, which includes the Fred Randall Pool, shows how shrewd municipal planning can spur urban renewal.

Downtown New Westminster offers bargains unavailable anywhere else.CHARLIE SMITH

Best real-estate secret in the region

Downtown New Westminster

Condo prices are far lower in the Royal City than in Vancouver and Burnaby. New West has five SkyTrain stations in a city that only had 66,000 residents in the 2011 census, making it possible to live there without a car. There’s also been a stunning transformation of the waterfront, not to mention great dog-walking at Quayside Park. The city plans to tear down 40 percent of the Front Street Parkade, which will create a jazzy new streetscape. New West is also developing better cycling and pedestrian connections linking neighbourhoods to the riverfront. It all sounds magnificent for first-time buyers.


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