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Archive for October, 2014

Happy Halloween… Vancouver’s haunted places

Friday, October 31st, 2014

1) Orpheum Theatre, 884 Granville Street

Since it was built in 1927, the Orpheum has played host to a variety of performers, including an acrobat who fell to his death during a vaudeville act. Since then, he’s been a regular fixture at the theatre, with many sightings of him — mostly as an orb of light — reported by staff and performers.

2) Vogue Theatre, 918 Granville St.

Built in 1941, the Vogue Theatre was first established as a popular venue for concerts, plays and big-name performers. It’s also reportedly home to two ghosts, one of whom entertains and spooks guests with his footsteps and the opening of doors in the downstairs dressing room area. His pal enjoys shocking folks by appearing nonchalantly, dressed in a tux and bow tie, in the seating area. The ghosts have been spottedseveral times, including by a performer while on stage.

3) The Dominion Building, 207 W. Hastings

Opened in 1909, this 13-storey building was once the tallest in the British Empire, and Vancouver’s first steel-framed highrise. It’s now headquarters to many of the city’s young creative professionals who enjoy its well-maintained heritage character and affordable rent. A building of this stature deserved the big grand opening celebration it received. Sadly, the party was cut short for its architect, John S. Helyer. It’s said he either threw himself or fell down the stairs, and was killed. Since then, his spirit has been seen — and his footsteps heard — in the stairway between the seventh and eighth floors.

4) Hotel Vancouver, 900 W. Georgia

Cue the cheesy Chris de Burgh tune: The Hotel Vancouver’s resident ghost — the lady in red, as she’s known — won’t turn down your sheets. But she may scare the bejesus out of you when the elevator makes an unscheduled stop on the 14th floor, and there she appears, an elegant beauty floating along the hallway. Some stories have her walking on the window ledge. No worries; it’s not like she’s going to fall and die.

5) Beatty Street Drill Hall, 620 Beatty

Paranormal enthusiasts seem to enjoy hearing footsteps and voices in the basement, and watching books and wall hangings fall down for no apparent reason. A mysterious unknown man has been seen in the Officers’ and Senior NCO messes. In Officers’ Row, staff have reportedly heard footsteps, had the feeling of being touched and felt cold spots, and heard the ringing of unplugged phones.

6) UBC/University Boulevard

Sometime in the 1960s, while driving on University Boulevard on their way to UBC’s main library, a couple got into an argument (or so the story goes). The young woman got out of the car and started walking in the rain. She was hit by a car and killed. But death, it seems, didn’t keep her from hitchhiking along that road. She’s been haunting young men who pick her up out of the rain by giving them a piece of paper with the library’s address on it. If the man is alone, she’ll jump in the rear seat, and then vanish. Also, at UBC’s library itself, the ghost of an older woman in a dress has been seen.

 7) Hycroft Mansion, 1489 McRae Ave 

Hycroft Mansion was a stately home built for politician and war heroGen. Alexander Duncan McRae. Since his demise, it’s been the haunt, literally, of many honourable ghostly guests, including McRae (dressed in his First World War uniform) and his wife. The home was used as a veteran’s hospital during the Second World War, which makes the ghostly sounds of a crying man seem quite appropriate. Images of the head nurse have been seen, and apparitions of at least three war vets, in full uniform, would have made any visitor stand at attention.

8) Gastown, along Cordova and Water Streets

The five-block area along Cordova and Water streets, east fromWaterfront Station, includes some pretty creepy spots. Among the breathless tales: A man wearing a bowler hat was observed in the hallway of the Bodega Hotel. Another incident involved the manager of the card shop in the Hotel Europe, who was looking into a security mirror when she saw an eccentric looking man wearing strange clothes. These apparitions were dressed not like others of our time, but as they would have appeared in the late 1800s … about the same time as the Great Fire.

9) The Old Spaghetti Factory, 53 Water St.

A decommissioned British Electric streetcar trolley from the 1950s sits in the middle of the dining room, and in it sits a ghost conductor. Longtime employees have reported hearing their names called out and feeling the presence of the mysterious diner, while vintage photos in the restaurant show a shadowy figure in a seat in the streetcar. A second ghost has also been reported: a red-headed man who likes to surprise women in the ladies’ washroom.

10) Mushroom Studios, 1234 W. 6th Ave.

Diana Ross and the SupremesLed ZeppelinHeartQueensryche,Loverboy and Sarah McLachlan all recorded there. And numerous people who’ve worked at Mushroom Studios claim it’s haunted, perhaps by one Shelley Siegel, the man who helped Ann and Nancy Wilson make it big with tunes like Dreamboat Annie, which was recorded in the building. Siegel died in his early 30s from a brain aneurysm; his body’s buried at Forest Lawn Cemetery. His spirit, however …


Special to The Vancouver Sun

With thanks to Lorne Richard, director of operations at Vancouver Trolley Tours, which conducts tours of local sites of murders and hauntings.

Top 10 ghostly places in Vancouver

Whistler Ski Chalet for sale

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

Whistler ski chalet is the most expensive in the country




It’s big, it’s expensive, and it’s for sale.

For the person who has just about but not quite everything, Canada’s most expensive ski chalet is on the market in Whistler.

And it’s not your grandpa’s ski chalet — it’s actually two large exclusive homes clustered around a jaw-dropping outdoor pool and hot tub.

Need to ask the price? Let’s just say you probably can’t afford it.

Need to know the price? OK, it’s $13 million and a lot of change.

For that you get amazing ski resort views, a magnificent pool and hot tub, and enough room — 12,000 square feet — to sleep an entire ski patrol squadron.

“Look out over the lights of the village from Whistler’s most impressive estate,” gushes realtor John Ryan in his listing’s property description.

“This luxury family residence and separate guest house rest on the hill’s edge with exceptional outdoor living complete with infinity-edged swimming pool, oversized hot tub, wood burning stone fireplace and a stunning 40-foot waterfall.

“Black American walnut millwork and opulent limestone floors frame intimate and inviting spaces throughout the home featuring a gourmet chef kitchen, open concept dining area, stunning billiards room, temperature-controlled wine cellar and expansive gym.”

For those who aspire for The Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous vibe, the après-ski indulgence is there for friends and family to enjoy.

“Relax after a great day skiing in the spa-like master suite or accommodate your family and friends in one of the spacious guest rooms or self-contained suite,” Ryan writes of what’s essentially an ultra-luxurious compound.

“Separate living in the guest house includes 4 bedrooms, a housekeeper’s suite and state-of-the-art theatre.

“An easy walk to the village, surrounding lakes, and trails enhance Whistler’s finest property.”

The Treetop Lane estate was built in 2005 and features no less than 11 bedrooms and 9.5 baths — all for a measly $13,495,000.

The challenge of renovating a heritage castle in Moncton, N.B.,for less than an East Vancouver bungalow.

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

Castle Manor

A Vancouver owner who wishes to remain nameless has taken up the challenge of renovating a heritage castle in Moncton, N.B., that went on the market earlier this year for less than an East Vancouver bungalow.

Jay Tse is a Moncton-based, semi-retired contractor with family ties in Vancouver. Much of his family is involved with real estate and construction.

“That’s what we talk about — construction and how much real estate is in Vancouver and in Moncton — and the topic of the castle came up because at that time, it was for sale,” said Tse, noting media reports about the peculiar property had caught the eye of a Vancouver relative.

In January, The Province wrote a story comparing the price of East Van bungalows to the 107-year-old Castle Manor in Moncton, N.B.

While many B.C. bungalows were priced north of $700,000, the Moncton castle — with 54 rooms and 12-foot ceilings spread over 19,000 square feet — came in at under $700,000.

“By Vancouver standards, it was very economical and that’s how we all started,” Tse said.

A Vancouver relative then became interested in buying the castle and asked Tse to look into the property on their behalf, and to consider taking on the renovations.

“I think they found it very interesting because of the history and the tradition of the castle in Moncton, and they asked me to think seriously about it,” Tse told The Province.

“I discouraged them because it’s not an easy project, as you know. It’s a heritage building and there were a lot of issues associated with a project this size and the extent of renovations.”

Following the sale, Tse said it took a few months to clear up legal paperwork and secure the right permits for the renovations.

The local community has also grown attached to the castle, which Tse said has challenged him to find the right balance between honouring the history of the castle, while also moving forward with renovations that will “make it last at least another 100 years.”

“That was the first huge stumbling block, but after that, it’s just a beautiful old building that needs a lot of tender loving care,” Tse said, adding the municipality has also been very supportive of the project and has offered extensive help.

For the Vancouver owner, who has asked to remain anonymous, Tse said the castle represented more of a challenge than an investment property.

“If they wanted to make money, there were other things they could do that are much easier,” Tse said, noting the new owner was adamant about buying the castle.

Still, the new owner has no plans to live in Castle Manor.

“I doubt they will move to Moncton — they love Vancouver too much,” Tse said.

Instead, the castle — which used to be a care home but has sat empty for several years — will be converted into a planned 14 high-end market condo units. Tse said the finished product could be ideal for mature professionals at a nearby hospital, professors and mature students at the local university, or retirees in the surrounding area who are looking to downsize but wish to remain in the neighbourhood.

There are no plans to change the stone facade of the castle, other than possibly adding a few windows, and the rest of the designs are still subject to the heritage board’s approval.

Tse and his crew — many of whom have worked with him for 25 years — begin their work on Tuesday, by conducting support-beam and sound- proofing tests. A completion date of Oct. 1, 2015 has been set.

“It’s a challenging but interesting project,” Tse said.


Whats Brewing around Kamloops

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

Kamloops’ downtown is home to many great watering holes. With some new tasty additions over the season, we thought we’d take you on our new Brew Tour! ‪#‎ExploreKamloops‬

Comparative Analysis by Property Type – Monthly – October 2014

Sunday, October 19th, 2014

October 2014

Kamloops and District
Median Residential Price:
(includes all areas, not just Kamloops, does not include
condominiums or mobiles)

Kamloops only
Median Residential Price:
(does not include condominiums or mobiles)

Most Residential Sales By Price Category


$280,000 -$319,999    27 sales

$320,000 -$359,999    26 sales

$360,000 – $399,999   21 sales

$400,000 – $439,999   20 sales

$240,000 – $279,999  16 sales


With a total of 214 residential sales in October, up from 183 residential sales in September


Kamloops Residential Sales by Sub-Area September 2014

Sunday, October 19th, 2014

September 2014

Kamloops Residential Sales by Sub-Area – Monthly – September 2014

  1. Sahali                           21
  2. Brocklehurst               20
  3. South Kamloops         19
  4. Aberdeen                     19
  5. Westsyde                     16
  6. North Kamloops         11
  7. Sun Rivers                     6
  8. Juniper Heights            5
  9. Batchelor Heights        3


SOURCE: Kamloops and District Real Estate Association

Kamloops Residential Sales by Sub-Area – Quarterly – July-September 2014

Sunday, October 19th, 2014

Top 7 Areas

Brocklehurst          74 Sales

Sahali                      72 Sales

Aberdeen                65 Sales

South Kamloops   64 Sales

Westsyde                53 Sales

North Kamloops   40 Sales

Juniper                    26 Sales

Total Sales in Kamloops 3rd Quarter 565

Is staging still important in a hot market?

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

by Olivia D’Orazio15 Oct 2014

Today’s super-heated market is making home staging a tough sell, say agents, nonetheless arguing that it’s  essential to winning maximum sale price.

“If you spent $5,000 staging your home, it could get you another $50,000 on offer night,” David Fleming, a Toronto real estate agent and author, wrote on his

His advice comes even as CREA reports home sales climbed 10.6 per cent in September, with the average sale soaring 5.9 per cent to $408,795. That’s not traditionally the market that recommends staging, say agents.
But the fundamental reasons for staging are the same, regardless of market conditions, say advocates.

“You stage a property in order to drive buyer traffic and show the maximum potential of the space,” Chandra Bradley, CEO of Home Staging Visuals, tells REP. “As a result, you tend to sell faster for higher.”

Staging also helps potential buyers to see the space in a better light. For example, if potential buyers walk into an empty bedroom, they might not believe that a queen-sized bed can fit in the space, Bradley explains, but if that bed is in the room, they can see that.

Staging is also a reflection of the lightning-fast decision making of clients, who are increasingly inclined to place bids on a property before even seeing it in person. It’s for the same reason that staging the outside space is important.

“With landscaping, you need to think about colour and the exterior being well groomed. You also need to think about function in the backyard,” she says. “You want to romance the buyer, so you’re really selling the lifestyle.”

Housing market off to solid fall season

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

by Jamie Henry15 Oct 2014

Canada’s housing market – including condo sales – is off to a solid start this fall, with new data pointing to a near 11 per cent rise in sales for September compared to a year ago.

Nationally, sales for all property types rose 10.6 per cent to 42,151 units, led by significant gains in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. New listings rose eight per cent, thanks to growth in the Maritime provinces, while the average price increased almost six per cent, to $408,795.

Calgary realized the greatest rise in sales, up 31.2 per cent to 488 units sold in September, while the average price rose 8.8 per cent to $318,913. In Toronto, sales rose 20.2 per cent to 1,976 units with average price hiking 7.1 per cent to $366,588.

That increase in activity is being felt on the ground.

“A lot of people start looking for homes, or take up their search again, so I’m not surprised that sales are up,” says David Fleming, an agent with Bosley Real Estate in Toronto. “[September] is one of the busiest months of the real estate calendar.”

In terms of prices, Vancouver experienced the greatest rise, up 11.3 per cent to $476,498. During the month of September, 1,191 condos were sold in the West Coast city.

September’s performance is largely in line with industry expectations.

In August, CREA’s chief economist Gregory Klump accurately predicted no slowdown to Toronto’s housing market. “That’s because there’s a shortage and there will be a shortage because the city is trying to densify,” he said.

The data included on this website is deemed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed to be accurate by the Kamloops Real Estate Board. The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS® and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.