Thursday, June 7, 2007

The Seven Wonders of Victoria Real Estate

In honour of the CBC's Seven Wonders of Canada released today, we bring you the Seven Wonders of Victoria Real Estate. Thought we'd have a little fun with what this town has to offer and give you a change from the boring, old, cynical BS I usually serve up.

I won't number them. You can vote for your pick for top Wonder in the comments if you'd like.

Central Saanich Palace

Ever thought that a $14.5 Million property existed on the Island outside of Uplands or Land's End? Neither did I.

Uplands Hockey Hall of Fame

For $8.7 Million you can get a castle with a story. I've actually been inside this house. I've even slept there a few times. OK, well, not as it stands now. Before one of the Courtnall brothers picked this baby up for a fraction of what it's worth today, in our family's circle of friends this house was owned. We got to house sit on occasion. I can tell you it looked nothing like this then. I think the only thing they didn't change is that chimney.

The Condo That Started It All

OK, maybe they didn't build this one before the Songhees started the luxury-condo trend in Victoria, but this is arguably the finest example of harbour living in town. Shoal Point is heads above the rest, not for its height, but for its attention to sustainability and environmental responsibility. I'm not sure what that means, but I'm guessing that the people who built it and those that live in it do. My favourite part about Shoal Point? I can afford to rent there for the same price as it would cost me to buy a $235K condo in Quadra Village.

Ah, Rattenbury

Has anybody ever done more for Victoria Real Estate? Arguably the most recognizable building in town, The Empress boasts the best-paid and longest-tenured bell boys in the Fairmont chain. I know, I was one of them for 3 weeks years back. Some of them own homes in Broadmead, paid for with cash tips, usually in US$.

Where It All Happens

Another work of Rattenbury, and possibly the only other real estate in town more recognizable than The Empress, the Leg as we politicos affectionately call it is where it all happens. OK, that's a lie. Another thing I learned in my bell hopping days is that really it all happens in the Bengal Lounge across the street. But this is where it all comes public. Just how expensive is this land? A recent land claims settlement valued it at $31.5 million. And that's just the land, without the building, furnishings or art.

The Real Castle

Robert Dunsmuir put the money up for the buildings that may rival Rattenbury's work in town. He sired an eccentric boozer too, so bonus points for that. He may have been BC's biggest union buster, though after 2001, Gordon Campbell will likely take that crown. Regardless, its a big place, on a big property, in an expensive neighbourhood, and who knows how much its worth today. Though back at the turn of the last century, BMO picked it up for an unpaid debt of $300,000.

Where The Rich and Famous (read ex-hockey players) Live and Play Today

I've got a friend that works up on Bear Mountain. Apparently there is a "private club" within the private club that generates stories to rival Alexander Dunsmuir's drunken escapades. Not to say that gang are drunks, but I've heard they enjoy their fun. I'm sure they're enjoying their windfall winnings from Victoria's most recognizable environment-changing development. Some people bitch about the ruined views from the Mt. Finlayson hike today; I'm still bitter about the ruined mountain bike playground that used to be there. I guess you'd be pretty happy if you're a golfer though. Times change. All said, you can't argue its wonderment.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

I vote the Leg building as the first wonder of Victoria real estate.

I mean, come on. They strung lights all around it and lit it up.

S2

hhv said...

if that's all it takes, then those houses around town at xmas count too then right?

VG said...

The Leg is a pretty cool building,got to see a few areas the public will never see,was very interesting.

On a another note it looks like easy street is coming to an end and all those high flying speculators may soon not be able to just renegotiate as easy as in the past when the ole negative cash flow bites them bigtime.
As I have said over and over,this is going to end in a very ugly manner.

When Bill Gross changes his outlook 180 degrees,look out.

http://tinyurl.com/yw8dp3

Anonymous said...

Yes, but Christmas is only once a year and the Leg is lit up year round and then, of course, lit up in lovely green and red at Christmas time too.

S2

Anonymous said...

Excellent work and thank you.

greg said...

My vote is for Craigdarroch Castle, I mean, the crazy cost of finding a castle in the UK, disassembling it, shipping it to the far side of the world - reassembling it, so 100 years later nobody lives in it but they shine rosy lights on it at night - that's pretty cool.

On second thought, Government House is also pretty cool, and people actually live in it on occasion, including the Queen.

Can't beat that Rockland address....

vg said...

Agreed greg, the castle is pretty awesome architecture, I see it alot in my travels and it always amazes me the intracite moulding work of steel and iron and the stone work is incredible.

hhv said...

I'm surprised that we've got two votes for castle... it's spectacular for sure, but The Empress is astounding. Copper roofs, ironwork, brick, and the wood work in the Bengal Lounge and Empress Room... heck, I'll buy any of you or all of you a pint in there one night just to prove my point.

greg said...

hhv -

I worked as a bar cleaner in the Empress back in the late 80s, the library bar was even nicer than the Bengal, but it's long gone. I guess the romance of the Empress kind of goes by the wayside, when you've worked in the back as a dishpig....

That being said, I'd be happy to have that pint sometime.

Maybe we could hold the first Victoria Bears convention in there. The staff could get confused though, and think it's a Bear Mountain convention....

vg said...

Great idea, when we hit the first 10 % correction we'll toast one in the Bengal Room. I used to go there way back in my early bar days, they made these deadly rum drinks called a Khyber Pass,you only needed one,if you had two your takin a cab ! lol

Yes hhv, the ole girl is a classy place too,the Spa is a nice place to treat yourself and your significant other.


greg,
Did you see any of the ghosts lurking that place ? I had a friend work there a few years, he got spooked a few times on the midnite shift.

hhv said...

I worked a couple of graveyards as a bell boy... delivering papers on the 7th floor to guest rooms at 5am gave me the shivers without fail. I was told never to look into mirrors as you walked down hallways for fear you'd see the "lurkers" behind you.

vg said...

Just remembered my buddy worked there as a night watchman for awhile when the hotel was shutdown for the major reno back in the 90's and the place was all gutted out. He didn't see anything but he said he had the creeps most of the nite as he was warned about the "lurkers".

greg said...

I saw a few ghosts lurking in The Beaver....

Anonymous said...

So this 10% correction we are going to toast to...in condos? houses? or across the board?

Nothing like a good Taylor Fladgate or a Glenlivet.

S2

hhv said...

look at you people eyeing up the expensive drinks... I'm still a student for another couple of months eh... I may have to invite you all down to the beach and we can toast with a 15 pack of kokanee... :)

Anonymous said...

Oops, I see you said first 10% correction. Condos first I say.

S2

Anonymous said...

I think we should start a betting pool to see which one of us bears will be the first to jump into the real estate pool after the correction happens.

S2

vg said...

"I saw a few ghosts lurking in The Beaver.... "


Ahhh, The Beaver... now that was quite the ole haunt. I consumed a few "spirits" at that place,more then I want to remember,probably why I hardly drink now....lol.

vg said...

"So this 10% correction we are going to toast to...in condos? houses? or across the board? "

We can toast on each one,could be a lot of hangovers coming up this next 2 years. :)




"I think we should start a betting pool to see which one of us bears will be the first to jump into the real estate pool after the correction happens. "


After the market tanks we'll have to pool our cash and build our own Bear Mountain with a golf course and call it Bull Mountain,lol....boy would that piss them off. :)

Anonymous said...

Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.

S2

Anonymous said...

You are idiots

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