To kick off our tour of Maple Ridge, Shymkiw takes us…out of Maple Ridge. Osprey Village is technically in neighbouring Pitt Meadows but it’s an iconic neighbourhood in the Ridge-Meadows area and homes here are in high demand.
That might be because Osprey Village is strangely familiar, like somewhere you’ve been before. Well, if you’ve seen many Hallmark movies, there’s a good chance you’ve caught one with Osprey Village as the backdrop.
The picturesque main street is lined with independent shops with homes above them. Nearby, you’ll find townhomes and row-housing, with detached homes a bit further out from the centre. But you have to move fast if you’re interested in moving to the village.
"Anything that hits the market, unless it's grossly overpriced, is turning over quickly, with low turnover in general," Shymkiw says.
Silver Valley’s forested hillsides are home to one of Maple Ridge’s fasting-growing communities. It might be the proximity to the trail networks of Golden Ears Provincial Park or the creeks and rivers bursting with salmon, but Silver Valley feels a world away from downtown Vancouver.
Most homes have been built within the last 15 years and range from around 2,800 to 4,000 square feet, giving lots of space for the families who live here. One of those families is Shymkiw’s, who moved to the area six years ago.
"You have amazing views of Golden Ears, and even Vancouver in the sunset from a lot of these homes," he says.
Another common feature in the area are mortgage-helpers, with many homes offering basement suites as rental units.
Our final stop takes us to the riverside community of Albion, a slightly older neighbourhood than Silver Valley but with similar sized homes. Situated in the southeast corner of Maple Ridge, Albion is a haven for sports-obsessed families. Within a short walk, you’ll find the Albion Sports Complex, Planet Ice - Maple Ridge and the Albion Bike Park.
"We're seeing a lot of families come out here to grow,” Shymkiw explains. “And that brings good walk scores, very good elementary schools, very good high schools. All of that is complemented with the trails systems and the parks that we have, that ties all these families together."
Growth is happening in Albion, too. The nearby Kanaka Springs development, built by Epic Homes, is a master-planned community with single-family homes and townhomes on offer.
"Out here, you're getting a lot more of the nature surroundings as opposed to just views,” Shymkiw’s partner Jeremy McCarthy tells us. “Here you get a bit of everything. You’re close to parks and lakes, it’s a good place to raise your family. It's not as small town as it once felt like."
Chase Shymkiw & Jeremy McCarthy
Royal LePage - Brookside Realty
For the last decade, McCarthy and Shymkiw have been selling homes together in the Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows area. They know the area as well as anyone, and they should - Shymkiw was born and raised here and McCarthy has called it home for most of his life.
The pair are both living the Maple Ridge dream. Shymkiw grew up on the sports fields and ice rinks of Albion, playing baseball and hockey at a high level. McCarthy follows similar passions, coaching and playing a variety of sports over the years.
Together, they’ve sold hundreds of homes and built a loyal customer base looking for that family-friendly life in Maple Ridge.
I have a family now. I've always pictured me growing up, raising my family here on the same streets that I used to play road hockey on.
Royal LePage - Brookside Realty
Agent’s Pick: Crest Development
Shymkiw and McCarthy believe now is the time to embrace the Maple Ridge lifestyle.
We stop at the Crest Development, an enclave of single-family homes in the Kanaka Springs master-planned community. Built by Epic Homes, these 3,4,5 and 6-bedroom properties offer a chance for families to make the move to this sought-after area.
My number one takeaway from my time in Maple Ridge? A hockey puck hurts like hell when you take it straight to the gut! Pucks aside, Maple Ridge, above all the communities we visit on our series, most resembled the town I grew up in back in Ireland. It’s similar to Chilliwack in its rural vibes but with a more off the beaten track feeling.
Silver Valley and Albion are both examples of the Canada I thought I’d be moving towards when I first landed. Friendly, family-orientated and close to that gorgeous nature that BC is famous for. Eating lunch on the side of the street in Silver Valley with Golden Ears in the background was so cool, and it’s very exciting to see how these communities are planning to grow over the coming years.
Developers out this way seem to understand the communities they are building in, catering to the growing needs of locals, as well as potential newcomers to the neighborhood. While Chase and Jeremy are confident that the Ridge will never lose its traditional charm, I’m less certain. Communities like these are destined to grow and with growth comes change. That being said, change can be a good thing!