RealTours is the breakthrough new series from REW.ca that brings you Canadian real estate like you’ve never seen it before. Join us as we embark on an adventure through the Lower Mainland’s most sought-after neighbourhoods, guided by British Columbia’s best realtors.
Chilliwack - the city that’s fun to say and, despite popular opinion, is also fun to visit. Situated about an hour east of Vancouver in the lush Fraser Valley, the Wack, as it's affectionately called, is a community on the up.
As one of the warmest cities in Canada, Chilliwack comes into its own as an outdoor recreation destination. Surrounded by mountains, lakes and rivers in all directions, locals are spoiled for choice when it comes to hiking, biking and boating.
Stereotypes about endless farmlands (and farm smells), highway traffic jams and boring nightlife are being replaced with new stories about the revitalized downtown core, exciting local businesses and vibrant community developments.
Welcome to the Wack
Chilliwack is split across the middle by the Trans-Canada Highway. On the north side is the historic downtown core and the newly re-developed District 1881. Heading south is the urban core of Sardis, with the popular Garrison and Webster neighbourhoods. Sports fields and greenspace are in abundance here, with large single-family detached homes and big lots being the norm. There’s a bit more hustle and bustle north of the highway, but head to the south if it’s peace and quiet you’re after.
Right in the heart of downtown Chilliwack sits this revitalized cultural hub on the site of the former Five Corners intersection. The neighbourhood boasts distinctive, historic architecture, walkable streets and alleys filled with loft-style apartments and a ton of locally-owned restaurants and shops.
"You feel like you're in Europe,” says Legault.” You have all of these neat boutique-type stores and restaurants. You can go get ice cream and a coffee and meet your friends. This is really a destination for people within the city to come and meet their friends, do some shopping and have something to eat."
South of the highway in the Sardis-side of Chilliwack, you’ll find the relatively newer area of Garrison. As the name suggests, this used to be a housing area and training ground for Canadian Forces stationed in the area. The area was redeveloped in the early 2000s to create a pedestrian-friendly community with family housing and local businesses all within a short walk of each other.
Legault describes it as one of the top places to buy in Chilliwack. "The reason this is my favourite neighbourhood in Sardis is because they kept all these old growth trees. And you actually have architecture and style and it has this European flair to it."
Our final stop in Chilliwack is the neighbourhood of Webster, also south of the highway. With homes around 4,000 square feet on average, the lots tend to be larger than in nearby Garrison. Possibly the area’s biggest selling feature is that it backs onto the Vedder River and the famous Rotary Trail, a beautiful eight-kilometre route along the river, popular with walkers, joggers, cyclists and anglers.
Kristina Legault is a realtor who really knows the Lower Mainland. And she should - she’s lived all over it. Born in Richmond with stops in Kitsilano, Burnaby, Port Moody, Surrey, Cloverdale and Langley along the way, Legault now calls Chilliwack home.
When Legault talks about Chilliwack, she paints a picture of a tight-knit community where residents look out for one another. She’s taken that same philosophy for her business, where her focus is on building long-term relationships with clients.
“The way I base my business is community,” she says. “It's focused on the client, on the person, what their needs are, where they need to move, what's going to go with their lifestyle.
Legault believes now is a great time to invest in Chilliwack, especially as house prices continue to rise in the area. Detached homes currently account for the vast majority of homes for sale. The remaining listings are an even split between apartments and townhomes, available at a wide range of price points.