City life, even for the most devoted urbanites, can be challenging these days for a myriad reasons. Think traffic congestion, rising property and rental costs, increasing population density, even social isolation.
Lately, there has been a growing trend of urban exodus across Canada, with people seeking out smaller, friendlier and more affordable communities.
Just up north on the Saanich Peninsula, a mere 30-minute drive from Victoria, is one such place.
More famously known as a quaint, upscale retirement community, the town of Sidney is experiencing a shift in demographics that is moving the average age of its residents decidedly lower while ramping up the vitality factor.
"Sidney is much more diverse now," asserts Siobhan Newton, head of sales for two new condominium developments.
"It's not just in the people walking around, but also in the restaurants and in the building [that's happening]. It's still like being in a village, and it has that community feel, but it's more eclectic than it used to be."
A high proportion of purchasers at Breeze, the development ready for possession in April, are first-time buyers, supporting that claim.
Only 11 out of 37 units remain, and the division between downsizing buyers and new homeowners is about equal. This reflects the wide appeal of both the community and of the Breeze project itself.
Located right in the centre of town, Breeze is perfectly situated for outdoor activities, amenities, schools, public transport and bustling Beacon Avenue.
"It has excellent accessibility for everyone," says Newton. "If you are older and you're at the point where you can't drive, there are three major grocery stores, a theatre, wine boutiques, a liquor store, clinics and a hospital five minutes away.
"It's not like being in a small place where, if something happens, you wonder 'how am I going to get somewhere?'"
The thoughtful bonus of a carshare membership, which comes with the property purchase, at Breeze, makes transportation more convenient and affordable for both young families and retirees.
The exteriors and interiors of both developments, the Breeze and the Aura (just one block away from Breeze and completing in February 2022), reflect a modern, West Coast aesthetic purposely crafted for residents to experience a seaside lifestyle fully.
Each unit, whether a one-bedroom, two or three, is designed to maximize light and airiness with nine-foot-high ceilings and expansive windows in the common areas.
"We have units that are 535 square feet but feel more spacious because of the way they've been designed," says Newton. "Every square inch is utilized perfectly."
The finishes—sleek wood veneer cabinetry, wide plank laminate flooring, quartz countertops and premium appliances—create harmonious, contemporary, stylish interiors. The kitchens boast design details such as under-cabinet lighting, cutlery drawer inserts and timeless subway-tile backsplashes. Bathrooms feature rain showerhead in the walk-in showers and luxurious underfloor heating.
Every suite has its own private patio that comes with a gas barbecue connection, facilitating the experience of multi-season, seamless indoor-outdoor living.
"The Aura, with its larger but fewer suites, has more of a boutique feel," Newton says.
Aura is Breeze's more sophisticated sibling, which is reflected through details such as engineered hardwood floors, hot water on demand, gas cooktops, spacious decks and gas fireplaces.
Both buildings are pet friendly, allowing two dogs or two cats with no size limitation. Long-term rentals (minimum 30 days) are also permitted, and both residences are non-smoking.
"With one-bedroom units starting at $365,990, the two bedrooms starting at $559,900 and three bedrooms starting at $749,900, the Breeze is the opportunity for affordable seaside living," Newton says.
Aura, which is already 50 per cent sold, has one-bedroom condos starting at $459,900, two bedrooms starting at $669,900 and three bedrooms $879,900, with GST included in all prices for both properties.