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To suggest that there’s an edgier reality beneath affluent Ambleside’s strolling attitude is to miss the point. There, in the heartland of scenic West Vancouver, village shops and a defiant lack of high-rises epitomize the suburb’s conservative planning. (Consider that Metro Vancouver’s population is growing more than four times faster than West Van’s.) If Mayor Pamela Goldsmith-Jones has her way, though, West Van will soon get its first taste of real density. The Ambleside Now project brings a flush of condos and public amenities to the rezoned neighbourhood. For years, West Van’s only real growth took place at the sprawling Park Royal Mall—which is a kind of border guard at the municipality’s furthest edge. Ambleside Now, inching steadily through the design and consult process, turns part of that energy (and commerce) inward.
The surge in residential density notwithstanding, Ambleside remains a community unconvinced by the hustle of modern life. Take this family business, now chalking up 34 years at its boardwalk-central locale. The business began in England, where the great-great-grandfather of current owner Nigel Malkin (pictured here with father Peter) started cleaning hats in 1910. Hat-buffing no longer being so lucrative, the business extends today to commercial laundry for most of YVR’s long-haul carriers. A block west, another Ambleside child carries on: LeslieJane, selling dresses and accoutrements from local and international designers, has held its location since 1978; Paul Giesbrecht, son of founder Leslie Jane Tyrell, now runs the shop.
The Home 3 beds, 2 baths, 1,396 sq. ft.
The Fine Print Perched at the western extreme of Ambleside, the 10 condos that comprise Parkview Place (built by local Linda Burger) range from a wee 788-square-footer to this second-floor unit with patio BBQ, vaulted ceilings, and custom millwork. The purchase price puts it nicely below the average cost of a West Van detached home ($1,795,000). That’s the good news. But sharpen your pencils, empty nesters! West Vancouver has significant municipal taxes ($1,400 a year higher on average than in the neighbouring District of North Van, and nearly double Surrey’s), and this suite requires monthly maintenance fees of $765.