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.
Squamish — a nation, a language and one of the fastest growing communities in B.C. Located halfway between Vancouver and Whistler, Squamish was once a town where daytrippers would come off the Sea to Sky Highway for a coffee break and not much else. But today, it’s a destination on the up with world-class tourist attractions and vibrant new neighbourhoods drawing visitors and prospective residents alike.
Squamish’s main draw is arguably its location, perfectly situated where the Coast Mountains meet the serene waters of Howe Sound, a Unesco Biosphere Reserve. The Stawamus Chief, a huge granite monolith, looms large over the town and helps paint a picture of the area’s thousands of years of indigenous history. Mount Garibaldi, a dormant volcano, frames the landscape in the other direction and serves as an invitation for visitors to explore the thousands of kilometres of nearby trails.
The town of Squamish has seen a surge in residents in recent years, with a 22% population increase between the national censuses of 2016 and 2021. That’s led to new neighbourhoods being built, new businesses opened and a growing sense of community amongst people who know they live in one heck of a special place.
Welcome to Squamish
Located on the traditional territory of the Skwxwú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation), today’s town sprung up on the banks of the Squamish River and along the coast of Howe Sound. This is now the site of the downtown core, with vibrant shops, restaurants and breweries dotted along Cleveland Avenue.
Other neighbourhoods have developed along the Sea to Sky highway corridor, including ValleyCliff, Brackendale, Garibaldi Highlands and University Heights. Other entire communities are under construction, such as the Sea And Sky development that will have a direct link to downtown.
With views of both The Stawamus Chief and Mount Garibaldi, downtown Squamish is a colourful blend of commerce and community. The area has allowed densification, resulting in more townhomes and condos.
"From 13 years ago to now, there are a lot more buildings, a lot of condos,” says Vazquez. “Plus we have the Farmer's Market. It's very nice to be downtown because you can walk everywhere."
Good news for prospective residents — more housing is on the way to meet rising demand.
Construction is well underway for this 53-acre master-planned community located just east of the downtown core. Developer Bosa Properties is hard at work building over 1,200 properties, with a mix of townhomes and condos making up the bulk of listings.
Once completed, the neighbourhood will be linked to downtown by a pedestrian bridge across Howe Sound’s Mamquam Blind Channel. There’s also a proposal for a new marina next to the bridge, where residents can take to the waters in their kayaks or paddle boards.
Our final stop in Squamish takes us to University Heights, Vazquez’s favourite neighbourhood. She might be biased, however, as she was the third person to ever call the community home, back when it was still under development.
Surrounded by nature and with countless hiking and biking trails nearby, University Heights is a favourite for families looking for more space, both inside and out.
"Instead of living in North Vancouver or Coal Harbour in a condo, [Vancouverites] can afford to buy for the same amount of money a detached single-family house here," Vazquez explains.
Vazquez is a woman motivated by love. It’s why she moved to Canada and settled in Squamish. And it’s what makes her a great realtor. Her love for her community is infectious and it helps her find the right home for the right families.
Vazquez grew up in Baja, Mexico before working as a computer engineer in Mexico City. She moved to Squamish 13 years ago and became a realtor in order to spend more time with her children.
“For the first time in my life when I moved to Squamish, I heard the sound of silence,” she tells Tadgh in RealTours. “In Mexico City, there's always a buzz, there's always ambulances, noise, light — it's very busy. When I moved here, the first night I felt like I had headphones on. It was so silent that I was attentive. I was like, what is that? And it was silence!”
Today, she’s sold more than 250 properties with Engel & Völkers Real Estate and says she still uses her engineering background to “analyze and determine the best strategy and competitive advantage for each client’s unique needs.”
Vazquez believes Squamish is a great place to live, play, work and invest. New developments are adding townhomes and condos to this hot market, while detached homes are still available in neighbourhoods outside the downtown core.