Sponsored Content

Peace of Paradise

With a focus on community, Tsawwassen Springs provides residents with the best of indoor and outdoor living

Creating a successful master-planned community in any region is a considerable challenge. Not only does it have to be true to the spirit and heritage of the surrounding neighbourhood, but it has to be unique unto itself and provide a bracing lifestyle experience.

Tsawwassen Springs has been successful in its first two years of life, and all indications are that it will become an icon of thoughtful local development when it’s completed five years down the road.

Shato Holdings Ltd.’s vision was to create a resort-style community; it did so by purchasing 137 acres of land near the threshold of Tsawwassen’s downtown core and renovating an existing golf course on the property, thus ensuring that residents would be surrounded by lush greenery. With 20 more detached houses to be completed in 2014 and the second of four proposed condominiums recently finished with 70 per cent sold, many factors could be cited for success.

Another factor is the unwavering focus on making Tsawwassen Springs a genuine community. A 32,000-square-foot clubhouse is taking shape on the eastern part of the property, providing residents with immediate access to a fitness centre, physiotherapy services, a restaurant and bar, a wellness centre, a specialty meat store and a café.

But arguably, the success of Tsawwassen Springs as a vital component of the larger neighbourhood is really due to Shato Holdings’ managing director Ron Toigo being a long-time resident of Tsawwassen. A community activist in the best sense of the word, he has demonstrated his passion for the region by building quality homes for the past 30 years.

“It would be an understatement to say that he loves Tsawwassen,” says Sarah Toigo, Ron’s daughter and Tsawwassen Springs’ director of sales and marketing. “We all grew up here and cherish the fact that this is a boutique town full of mom-and pop businesses and festive events—a haven for Vancouverites who seek peace, but also close proximity to the city. With Tsawwassen Springs, we’re creating an opportunity for new residents to enjoy a peaceful lifestyle on freehold land that provides remarkable value for their investment.”

All told, Tsawwassen Springs will consist of 296 condos ranging from 750 to over 2,300 square feet, all with oversized decks; and 194 houses from 1,300 to over 3,000 square feet. So far, over 140 homes have been sold.

A brief tour of a two-bedroom (plus den) condo reveals luxurious touches such as granite countertop kitchen islands and stand-alone master bathroom tubs.
Outside, an inspection reveals elements of the coveted Arts & Crafts movement (a style that has intrinsic beauty and economy of materials) that informs Tsawwassen Springs’ architecture. Unadorned wood abounds, as do mortise and tenon joints on the prominent eaves that harken back to the days of traditional carpentry when nails and screws were not used.

The Arts & Crafts inspiration came from Ron Toigo, who was captivated by the style during a trip to Torrey Pines in San Diego. He conveyed his enthusiasm to architect Wayne Fougere, who in turn determined how it could be applied to Tsawwassen Springs. “We’ve got the distinctive big overhangs, the extensive use of wood and stone… all very spacious with 10-foot-high ceilings and open-plan great rooms,” says Fougere. ”But it’s mainly in the details that we’ve expressed the craft look.”

The new 18-hole, par-70 public golf course was designed for year-round use and exhibits qualities normally found only at private clubs. While the course is the most obvious example of Tsawwassen Springs’ appeal to outdoor recreational enthusiasts, ironically only 10 per cent of the buyers to date actually play the game. “They came instead for the peace and the views that the course provides,” says Toigo.

The outdoors appeal of Tsawwassen Springs is augmented by the climate in this peninsular corner of Delta, which many locals refer to as providing “half the rain and twice the sunshine” of Vancouver. According to The WeatherNetwork, Vancouver gets 1,438 mm a year of rainfall on average, while Tsawwassen receives only 929 mm.

The development and construction manager responsible for Tsawwassen Springs is Talisman Homes, whose principals Ross Clouston and Phil Yee have been constructing upscale townhomes, condos and single-family units in Metro Vancouver since 1995. “We’re a boutique home developer and builder,” says Ross. “We don’t do cookie-cutter. We concentrate on one project at a time and do it right, and this project with all its variations in home sizes and types is perfect for us.”

Yee adds, “We’ve been able to really stretch what we do here. The condos have oversized decks that you simply don’t see anywhere else. They come with built-in natural gas barbecue hookups and even hookups for outdoor heaters. Our homes offer seamless indoor/outdoor living, complete with the spectacular golf course and mountain views.”

Tsawwassen Springs’ appeal is about to be enhanced by other factors, beginning with regional highway system upgrades that are nearing completion (currently it’s less than a 30-minute drive into Vancouver’s downtown core, only 15 minutes into Richmond and YVR, and of course just a few minutes to BC Ferries’ Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal).

New shopping facilities are being built north of the development, and with the impending start of the Southlands project near Boundary Bay, locals will eventually have access to over 80,000 square feet of commercial space, including a massive market square with walkable streets connecting agriculture with the community.

All of these elements are expected to enhance Tsawwassen’s appeal, which the Toigos are promoting just as enthusiastically as Tsawwassen Springs itself. “There’s a real connection here with the beach and sea,” says Sarah Toigo. “Locals go crabbing off Centennial and Tsawwassen beaches, and they come back saying they saw orca or pilot whales just metres from the boat.”

Toigo goes on to remark that to the north, Ladner “shares that same sense of community as Tsawwassen; and Point Roberts is our own five square miles of U.S.A.” Additionally, nearby Westham Island is a place where farm-fresh honey and herbs can be purchased at roadside stands, and 23 kilometres worth of dyke trails starting on the western and eastern shores of Tsawwassen encompass a sizeable portion of the Delta plains.

As construction continues on, Sarah Toigo is busy catering to a steady stream of potential buyers coming to see what all the excitement is about. “We’ve hit the right notes in planning, design and execution,” she says. “This is a master planned community with almost a Palm Springs feel. But it’s distinctly Tsawwassen, and we’re proud of it.”