British Pacific Properties: West Vancouver History and Giveaway


Wednesday, March 25th, 2015 — 10:54am PST
Comments 172

The Lions Gate Bridge is one of Vancouver’s most recognizable landmarks. Its green towers and suspension cables, adorned with brilliant bulbs, has been the main connection between West Vancouver and the rest of the Lower Mainland since 1938. Almost as well-known as its silhouette is its story, at least the part where the Guinness family is concerned. The family, of Irish stout fame, funded the construction of the bridge through a syndicate, British Pacific Properties, and forever changed the local landscape.

Lions Gate Bridge Just After Sunset
Photo credit: James Wheeler on Flickr

British Pacific Properties

British Pacific Properties (“BPP”), typically referred to as British Properties, is the well-known residential area situated on the North Shore of Burrard Inlet between the Capilano River and Howe Sound. Properties here, on West Vancouver’s south-facing slopes, are much sought after for their panoramic views and unique topography. The British Pacific Properties moniker is also synonymous with the company that has owned and been developing the land for more than 80 years.

lions gate1
Photo courtesy of BPP

Owned by the Guinness family, British Pacific Properties owns all the land in West Vancouver above the Upper Levels Highway from Taylor Way to Horseshoe Bay. Totalling some 4,000 acres, the land was purchased from the municipality during the Great Depression, when residents were unable to pay their property taxes and the local municipality was threatened with bankruptcy. In turn the Guinness family — led by the Rt. Honourable Walter Guinness, Lord Moyne — committed to funding $1 million in local municipal improvements over a five-year period and constructing the Lions Gate Bridge connecting West Vancouver to the city for the first time.

This purchase proved the catalyst for a whole new chapter in the area’s growth and development. In the 1930s, Lions Gate Bridge construction was a vital employment booster in exceptionally difficult economic times, while projects such as Park Royal (one of Canada’s first shopping centres) and Capilano Golf Club contributed significantly to growing and modernizing West Vancouver. Meanwhile, many of the neighbourhood’s early residential homes were defining a whole new West Coast architectural style.

PR sign guys
Photo courtesy of BPP

Also vital to the area’s evolution was the Guinness family’s decision to hire the Olmsted Brothers, a renowned firm of U.S. landscape architects responsible for such distinctive city landmarks as NYC’s Central Park and Montreal’s Mount Royal Park. Determined to create a remarkable subdivision featuring pleasant parks, winding, treed streetscapes and spectacular vistas, British Properties was designed as an exclusive sanctuary from the stresses of city living. This set the tone for the area’s future development while establishing the unique character and values of an emerging community.

Today, beyond residential development, BPP is a vertically integrated company that builds roads, trails, parks and public amenities. Over the years it has contributed more than 200 acres to the District of West Vancouver (at a value of more $100 million) and given to many different local endeavours, such as the West Vancouver Streamkeeper Society.

Aston Hill Aston Hill

One of BPP’s latest developments is Aston Hill, a limited collection of twenty residences featuring spectacular water views.

Win a West Vancouver Prize Pack

To promote its history and celebrate its continuing legacy, British Properties has offered up a West Vancouver prize pack for me to give away to one lucky reader.

This includes a copy of the hardcover book Lions Gate by by Lilia D’Acres and Donald Luxton that features some fantastic historical photographs, and a $150 gift card to The Beach House Restaurant located at Dundarave Park and recently voted Best North Shore Restaurant in the Georgia Straight’s Golden Plate Awards.

Here’s how you can enter to win:

  • Leave a comment naming your favourite place or space in West Vancouver (1 entry)
  • Post a photo of the Lions Gate Bridge on Instagram and follow/tag @BritishPacificProperties + @Miss604
  • Post the following on Twitter (1 entry)
RT to enter to win a $175 West Vancouver #BritishProperties prize pack from @Miss604 http://ow.ly/KNoYz

I will draw one winner at random from all entries at 12:00pm on Wednesday, April 1, 2015. Update The winner is Janet!

Current contests on Miss604.com

172 comments

  1. Debbie F says:

    I like to visit Ambleside park

  2. Gregory says:

    Whytecliff Park

  3. darci paice says:

    I love The capilano bridge

  4. jessica eapen says:

    i like Lighthouse Park

  5. Chista says:

    Whytecliff Park and Cypress viewpoint

  6. Sabrina says:

    Lighthouse Park!

  7. Jason says:

    Ambleside Park!

  8. Vesna says:

    The Seawall!

  9. Leanne Scherp says:

    Whytecliff Park is awesome. There are some great viewpoints there.

  10. Lloyd says:

    Ambleside Park is a great place to play soccer.

  11. Rachel says:

    Ambleside Park is great!

  12. Emily says:

    Ambleside Park! ( and Park Royal too! )

  13. Tanya H says:

    The Brother’s Creek Trail leaving from the British Properties is really beautiful!

  14. Stephanie says:

    Ambleside Park is my favorite!

  15. Linda Webster says:

    Dundarave Park is my favourite place to visit and Dundarave Village is my favourite place to shop.

  16. Donna says:

    Ambleside park is a beauty!

  17. meredith says:

    Ambleside is so beautiful on sunny evenings

  18. kay says:

    Love park royal for shopping

  19. Maria says:

    I love Ambleside park!

  20. Janice says:

    Whytecliff Park

  21. Nick B says:

    Ambleside Park ☺️

  22. Christine W says:

    Whytecliff Park is absolutely beautiful, and we try to go there as often as possible to try to get a glimpse of seals (very likely) and harbour porpoises (a bit more tricky).

  23. Ruby BB says:

    Ambleside Park for nature time & Park Royal Mall for shopping

  24. Renee Lauer says:

    It is a toss up between Ambleside, Whytecliff or Lighthouse Park! But if I really had to pick just one I would go with Lighthouse Park.

  25. Alex says:

    My favorite space is the dog park at ambelside right across from the pitch and putt (even though I don’t have a dog). It is close to the bridge, has great views, and is so relaxing!

  26. Stacy B says:

    Love Ambleside Park

  27. Jacqueline Fleischer says:

    Definitely Ambleside!

  28. carol says:

    I love Ambleside Park.

  29. Gabrielle D. says:

    Ambleside or Lighthouse parks, hard choice!

  30. Darcy says:

    Lighthouse Park

  31. Diane To says:

    Lighthouse park!

  32. Amy says:

    Lighthouse park

  33. Jennifer K says:

    Lighthouse Park!

  34. Diana says:

    Ambleside park 🙂

  35. David says:

    Add me (and my 5 year old) to the Whytecliff list… love it there.

  36. Bettina says:

    Park Royal for shopping!

  37. Andrea says:

    The small beach at the foot of Radcliffe, facing English Bay anchor #19. Without doubt, ‘The Best’

  38. Margaret Buttner says:

    My favourite spot in West Vancouver is Dundarave Beach. I grew up a block away and spent so much time there as a child. During the summer evenings, my dad would walk us down to the beach and sit with the other dads while we all played in the surf. One of my brothers worked at Peppi’s (the pre-cursor to the Beach House) and we all went to school with the family that owned the restaurant. My roots are there for sure!

  39. maria says:

    Park Royal mall

  40. Karen Dyck says:

    Ambleside – sitting there on a Sunday evening watching the cruise ships leave the harbour.

  41. Alison Noon says:

    Dundarave Beach always

  42. Hannah says:

    Lighthouse Park!

  43. Tim says:

    I gotta go with Lighthouse Park for photographic reasons.

  44. Elizabeth B says:

    Ambleside Park is very nice, and second choice is Park Royal (for obvious reasons!) 😉

  45. Natalie says:

    I love Dundarave! What a nice walk!

  46. Blair says:

    Whytecliff Park

  47. Chelle says:

    The off-leash dog area at Ambleside Park

  48. Lighthouse park – hands down. so many amazing summer memories there!

  49. Don McQueen says:

    The seawalk by Dundarave

  50. Mike B says:

    Park Royal is nice 🙂

  51. rob bagshaw says:

    Cypress Falls Park where I grew up 🙂

  52. kath grace says:

    Sandy Cove!

  53. Rick Rake says:

    Ambleside Park is cool.

  54. Carol McCann says:

    Ambleside for sure

  55. Laura says:

    Dundarave pier!

  56. Steve v. says:

    I’d say the house I grew up in for sure,.. but they tore that down 🙁

    Probably driving or biking the low road (Marine Drive) between Dundarave and Horseshoe Bay.

  57. Ambleside Park is lovely.

  58. Marcy Oakley says:

    Love love love Ambleside Dog Beach !

  59. Kirsty says:

    The Capilano Pacific trail from Ambleside to Cleveland Dam.

  60. Linda says:

    Savary Island Pie Company

  61. Sharon says:

    Definitely Ambleside Park. I lived in West Van for 10 years and have many happy memories of time spent at that park as a child.

  62. KittyPride says:

    Park Royal has some great shops to explore.

  63. Nancy says:

    Lighthouse Park

  64. Eileen says:

    Love Ambleside Park

  65. Vania says:

    Hard one to pick… I will go with Horseshoe Bay.

  66. wen says:

    lighthouse park

  67. Kam says:

    Love the duck/swan area at Ambleside Beach!

  68. Greg says:

    Lighthouse Park

  69. Brenda says:

    The Dundarave shops

  70. Cliff says:

    Lighthouse park

  71. Michelle Linhart says:

    Temper Pastry in Dundarave Village!

  72. Lori M says:

    Ambleside Park

  73. Tracy says:

    Ambleside Park

  74. Dilara says:

    Whytecliff Park

  75. brandon forsyth says:

    Lighthouse park

  76. Ryan G says:

    Ambleside!

  77. Jeffrey Dean says:

    Beach House Restaurant is my favorite location to eat and view our great city for over 20 years. Great place to take a visiting guest and impress them to bits!

  78. Aaron B. says:

    Ambleside Park!!

  79. Grace says:

    Whytecliff Park!

  80. Kate Whyte says:

    Been walking the sea wall from Ambelside to the pier for years. It’s a special walk full of walking groups that have been doing it for over 25 years.

  81. Katieborrett says:

    whytecliff park

  82. jan says:

    Old Brewis trail

  83. dee says:

    Baden-Powell trail

  84. Lisa G says:

    Lighthouse park! We love to walk through the park and then sit on a quiet cliff side overlooking the water to picnic!

  85. Alex says:

    Lighthouse park!

  86. Alex says:

    Dundarave Pier! 🙂

  87. Janet Y.J. Kong says:

    Ambleside Park is my favourite place to visit (also like to venture into Dundarave Village area).

  88. Nancy says:

    John Lawson Park!

  89. Kendall says:

    I love taking a walk at Ambleside. The view is incredible!

  90. Andre says:

    Ambleside park

  91. Albert says:

    Park Royal here!

  92. Roberta says:

    The dog park at Ambleside 🙂

  93. Terry says:

    That driving range over by Park Royal

  94. Issa says:

    Ambleside Seawall =)

  95. Emilia says:

    Dundarave Village

  96. Bonnie Van Durme says:

    Ambleside Park

  97. Velma Sandry says:

    Since childhood it’s Ambleside Park.

  98. Carla says:

    Brunch at the Truffle House (Benny served on a croissant!), followed by a stroll at Whytecliff Park.

  99. Joyce says:

    The seawall! We Saw a sea lion there last time!

  100. Katherine says:

    Ambleside Park

  101. Carol Anne says:

    The Seawall is definitely one of the best walks in West Vancouver from one end to the other…and it ends at the Beach House, sporting the best view in town especially when the Cruise Ships come in.

  102. Betty says:

    On a sunny day I drive to Park Royal, then walk the seawall from the mall to Dundarave Pier, return. The views along that seawall are second to none…I am grateful to live in such beautiful surroundings!

    When I return to Park Royal, I sit with a cup of tea or coffee and enjoy the ambiance of Park Royal Village. Whole Foods in the village, is my last stop before returning home.

  103. Amanda says:

    whytecliff

  104. cathy says:

    I love the seawall and walk between ambleside dog park and dundarave

  105. norris smith says:

    ambleside dog park

  106. pat smith says:

    ambleside dog park

  107. Linda says:

    Lighthouse Park

  108. John says:

    Ambleside Park is great.

  109. Timothy Dy Guani says:

    Love hanging out in Ambleside

  110. Ursula says:

    Ambleside park

  111. Iain says:

    any of the dog parks

  112. leanne says:

    I like Ambleside.

  113. Erin W says:

    Lighthouse Park!

  114. Taryn says:

    Lighthouse Park–it’s a great place for a walk.

  115. Danae says:

    Picking one is hard. The Seawall, Lighthouse Park, Whyteciff Park …

  116. Donald says:

    Salmon House now that the Cannery is gone.

  117. Tiffany says:

    The Lions Gate bridge at night is my favourite. I love all the little white lights.

  118. Linda says:

    Ambleside park!

  119. Anne says:

    Capilano bridge

  120. Gabriella Schmidt says:

    Park Royal Shopping Centre!

  121. Brenda says:

    Park Royal Mall

  122. Rebecca says:

    Ambleside Park

  123. Amanda says:

    North Van is so nice, I would have to say I love the peacefulness of lighthouse park

  124. Holly says:

    Waving at the train, anywhere along the track.

  125. Lorena Grande says:

    Love to cycle over the bridge into the beach area and walk on the sea wall

  126. Jen says:

    Dundarave!

  127. Jeremy says:

    Ambleside park

  128. Mike says:

    ambleside park

  129. angela says:

    Lighthouse park

  130. Siobhan S. says:

    Park Royal. The Winners there is great!

  131. Jas says:

    Ambleside park

  132. Deb says:

    Ambleside Park

  133. Raihan says:

    I like to visit lighthouse park with my loving wife! So relaxing and beautiful scenery!

  134. Aimee says:

    lighthouse park

  135. Karen says:

    Seawall between Dundarave and Ambleside

  136. Mike Robertson says:

    I loved cliff jumping at Parthenon as a kid back in the day. Those of you that remember “peg” will never forget.

  137. I like walking through Dundarave village, shopping in Park Royal, and taking a break at the Savory Island Pie Company.

  138. Kim says:

    Dundarave Village and beach area

  139. Bonnie R says:

    Ambleside Park

  140. Renfrew says:

    The cliffs at Lighthouse Park

  141. Helen says:

    Ambleside Park

  142. Haley Evans says:

    The cliffs at Light House Park

  143. tracy says:

    park royal mall!

  144. Luc says:

    Ambleside beach and Lighthouse Park

  145. Mary says:

    Lighthouse Park

  146. Alex says:

    A little secluded beach called Sandy Beach!

  147. Gary says:

    Ambleside

  148. Ariel C says:

    i like Ambleside Park!

  149. Gary says:

    Ambleside park

  150. Winnie says:

    Ambleside Park!

  151. Sarah M says:

    Ambleside Park!

  152. Jen S says:

    Ambleside!

  153. Janet says:

    Peppis Restaurant in the 80s was what got me coming to this beautiful part of the lower mainland. Fabulous food and memories!

  154. Lindsay says:

    Ambelside!

  155. Michelle says:

    One of my favourites that is not already mentioned here is Memorial Park, which ‘bookends’ my visits to the WV library.

  156. Calum Miller says:

    Lighthouse park is breathtaking. To this day the entrance to it remains tucked away which i love, it’s a hidden “gem”

  157. Anne B says:

    Lots of great spots to pick from! But I have to say Hollyburn Lodge.

  158. Amanda says:

    I like to go to Lighthouse Park with my husband! So relaxing and beautiful view!

  159. Michelle W says:

    Ambleside Park!

  160. debbie wile says:

    West Vancouver has many lovely features, but our favorite activity is during the winter months when we can take our snowshoes and hike up to the old historic Hollyburn Lodge. The hike in is so peaceful and the reward at the end of the walk is arriving at Hollyburn Lodge nestled in amongst the trees. It is so unique with it’s slanting floors and pot belly stove. A great place to warm up and have a delicious homemade lunch. It is so wonderful that this old Lodge has been maintained so that we can still enjoy it after all these years and we hope it will still be available for use for many generations to come, so that the enjoyment will be continued….

  161. Heidi says:

    Ambleside walkway

  162. Connie says:

    Baden Powell hiking trail

  163. Chad Nehring says:

    Ambleside

  164. jackie says:

    My gramps took me to CHAD as a kid: Capilano, Horseshoe bay, Ambleside, and Dundarave!

  165. wondergirl says:

    Ambleside park

  166. Nate says:

    The beach at Dundarave, essentially in front of the beach house. Having worked at the old Peppi’s restaurant, one of my favorite things to do at the end of the night was just sit at the beach, sometimes the pier and look out over the water.

  167. Kevin says:

    My favourite is Ambleside Park!

  168. diana says:

    lighthouse park 🙂

  169. catherine says:

    Park Royal!

  170. Alison says:

    Light house park❤️

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