By Caron Nightingale
Early in 2016 my husband and I decided that it was time to leave our home of five years in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and come home to beautiful British Colombia, Canada. We longed to breath fresh air, walk in the beautiful greenery of the forests, and enjoy the ocean and lakes, in this most beautiful part of the world. We were also looking for a community that offered a safe environment, with like-minded neighbours where we could put down roots and belong.
We were familiar with Active Adult Communities in the US but found it very difficult to find any in Canada. Until one day, while surfing the web, we discovered the Arbutus Ridge web site which provides a comprehensive description of the community and all it has to offer. It also offered the services of a Resident’s Tour to interested house buyers. Can you imagine sitting in Riyadh and finding paradise on Vancouver Island!
My husband was immediately excited with the beautiful surroundings, access to the ocean and the exquisite houses in the community, while I was interested in learning about all the clubs and activities. Residents can golf, hike, kayak, bike and fish just about all year, or enjoy gardening, swimming, shopping or just relaxing.
We immediately planned a trip to the Island to check out the surrounding area and meet with a resident who took us on a tour of the all the facilities and showed us some of the beautiful homes. We spent the next few months reviewing the properties for sale in Arbutus Ridge and coming up with a short list of homes to view with our Realtor. Imagine our shock when we arrived to find that homes were selling in a matter of days and inventory was very scarce. Luckily our dream home was still on the market so we snapped it up right away.
We have been here for seven months now, and after surviving the wettest winter in years, have settled in wonderfully. Arbutus Ridge is located in the Cowichan Valley (meaning “warm lands”), and is noted to have Canada’s only Maritime Mediterranean climate, mild winters and moderate summers. This was a little hard for me to believe initially, but now that we are into the summer months I can fully appreciating the warm temperatures, clear skies and cool ocean breezes.
I can’t believe how many new friends we have made and how welcoming the community has been. I have joined a number of group activities, there really is something for everyone! We are lucky to live on a first class golf course, have our own private marina, a swimming pool and tennis courts, as well as arts and craft activity rooms, physical fitness facilities, a hair salon, medical clinic and a large community room.
As important as the beauty of the area is the sense of safety we feel here. Living in a gated community, with 24/7 security coverage and very competent management group has greatly added to our quality of life. Without a doubt, Arbutus Ridge really is a world class, award winning, master planned community.
Our community gathered on Canada’s 150th Birthday to recognize the Veterans that live among us, and to share the joy of living in such a wonderful country. Next year we will be celebrating The Ridge's 30th Birthday as well as Canada Day. What an accomplishment! To have made this beautiful spot even better over the years, and to have fostered a generous and inclusive sense of community.
The Ridge is in close proximity to the City of Victoria. While Victoria is in itself a popular tourist destination it is also the gateway to many of Vancouver Island’s treasures, including world class restaurants, 40 golf courses, a vibrant wine industry, cultural attractions, sports event and historical destinations.
My husband and I are so happy to be a part of the Arbutus Ridge Seaside Community and to be living in one of the most beautiful places in Canada. We look forward to many happy years here. It sure is a long way from Saudi Arabia!
PS Be sure to visit www.arbutusridge.ca