- Updated On:
- July 30, 2021
Proudly owned by the same family since the 1960s, and lovingly cared for, Endswell offers numerous layers of value and provides an array of opportunities in one location that can be found in very few places—particularly so close to a large urban center. Located on the west side shores of Bowen Island, in British Columbia, this property is only a 20-minute ferry ride from Horseshoe Bay and the Mainland. This means you can work downtown in the iconic city of Vancouver and escape to your oceanfront oasis each evening.
As you depart the ferry on Bowen Island, after docking in Snug Cove, you are immediately calmed by the slower pace of life found on Bowen Island. Giant fir, hemlock and cedar trees hug the road, as you make the short 7-minute drive to the property.
When you arrive at Endswell, the trees give way to lush and open pasture with grazing sheep. It feels as though you have been instantaneously transported back in time. Entering into the farmyard (1461 Mount Gardner Road) there is a character farmhouse to your left and a large red barn directly in front of you. The barn has 3-box stalls, tack room and hay loft. Wrapping through the farmyard you will see equipment sheds, a heated garage/workshop, carports and various barns all connected by a tree shaded horse loafing area. Beyond the buildings is a thriving market garden. Listen for the clucking of laying hens and the bleating of sheep, as you navigate the functional farmyard. This is a true working farm well-known for their lamb, eggs, fruits and vegetables. All of the infrastructure is in place to continue the longstanding farming legacy on the property.
At various points in time, the farm has raised laying hens, ducks, geese, cattle, horses, sheep and pigs. In its current capacity the farm component of the property is wonderfully set up for equestrian pursuits in addition to the market garden. The pastures are fenced with page wire and there is a gentle stream, which dissects the pasture and provides water for livestock.
The main field/pasture below the farm is approximately 13 acres in size. This area excludes the actual farmyard, which adds additional fenced pasture. The pasture has excellent drainage with no visible flooding, or stagnant water. The farm area is surrounded by mature trees and gentle slopes, which serve as windbreaks for both livestock and individuals working in the fields.
The farmhouse was built in approximately 1910 but remains structurally sound. The home was renovated and upgraded approximately 12 years ago and the exterior was repainted in the summer of 2019. The home exudes character. With approximately 2,737 ft2 of cumulative living space, the farmhouse is an ideal place to run the farm business and raise a healthy family. There are 4 bedrooms (2 up, 2 down, plus a small bonus space/office upstairs), 2 full bathrooms (1 up, 1 down), dining room, kitchen with eating area and a large living room full of old character windows. The living room leads out to a covered west facing porch with views of the pastures beyond. An insert fireplace keeps the home warm and cozy on rainy winter days.
Presently, the farm area and farmhouse are rented. The tenant operates a vibrant market garden as well as raising sheep and laying hens, and utilizes the farmhouse primarily as their office. This arrangement provides revenue to the current owners as well as maintaining the property’s “farm status” for taxation purposes.
Elevated above the farm, on the wooded northern slope at the base of Mount Gardner, sits a flat bench with a further 9 acres of cleared grasslands. Accessible by vehicle, this flat area of the property provides additional grazing/hay options to an operator looking to expand their livestock herds. This open bench has astounding views of Howe Sound and the snow-capped North Shore peaks beyond. From this grassland bench, you can also see Gambier Island, the Sunshine Coast and Keats Island. This is one of many spots on the property ideal for a hike followed by a late afternoon picnic where you can relax and watch the sail boats float by on the horizon. On this same hillside is the maintained dam/reservoir, which serves as the water source for the property. Collecting clean, cool rain and runoff year-round the water is diverted to all three residences on the property. This forested portion of Endswell serves as an excellent privacy buffer for the farm and oceanfront to the north. It also provides subdivision possibilities. This southern portion of the property borders hundreds of acres of pristine Crown land adding to the property’s privacy and provide opportunity for exploration.
Moving westward through Endswell, and towards the ocean, you will approach the second driveway entrance to the property (1521 Mount Gardner Rd). This is the access point for the oceanfront home. The long, scenic driveway gently meanders past a tranquil duck pond, impressive rock outcroppings, mowed clearings and towering trees. Be sure to slow down at the pond and look for the Blue Herons, which frequent the pond in pursuit of frogs. As you continue along the driveway the high canopy allows intermittent rays of warm sunshine to penetrate the forest cover producing a dreamlike effect.
Upon reaching the main residence the forest gives way to a manicured yard and the ocean comes fully into view. Framed by several magnificent, solitary fir trees the ocean view is picturesque and appears as though you are staring at a wonderful painting rather than a physical landscape. The main home and yard rest upon an elevated bluff looking out over the ocean towards Keats Island, Langdale and the Sunshine Coast. The view is truly surreal.
The oceanfront home offers approximately 3,000 ft2 of living space, lots of natural light and a calming atmosphere. This is the site of the property’s original log cabin, which was built in the 1890s—one of the island’s earliest residences. The historic home has been restored and incorporated into the more modern (1980’s) additions with bedrooms, bathrooms and a large art studio added to create a unique and spacious family home. The location is bright and sunny with sunsets over the ocean each evening.
You can enter the house through either the main courtyard front door or the mud room; both lead into the kitchen. The mudroom is perfect for shedding wet and muddy clothes before entering the house/kitchen. The kitchen comes complete with all of the amenities you require to cook and clean both daily meals and meals for large family gatherings. There is ample counter space for both food prep, serving, and an eating area.
Off of the kitchen is the original log cabin. This cozy corner of the house, which serves as the living room, features painted log walls, vaulted ceilings, a dining room with large sideboard, free standing wood stove, a large open fireplace, library style book shelving and a quiet reading/TV corner. Another door exits out onto a covered porch providing a beautiful seated westward view of the ocean and lawn.
Moving past the kitchen, into the newer segments of the home, there is a 4-piece bathroom and laundry room. Across the tiled hallway, past the bathroom, there is a bedroom with seated reading nook area. This room provides a view of the creek running through native ferns and trees behind the house. There is an overhead loft area in this room, which provides an additional bedroom space as well as closet storage.
Past this bedroom is a den with an incredible ocean view. Further along is a large independent art studio room. Sky lights in the vaulted ceilings help illuminate the art studio permitting sunshine to cast a cheerful glow on the room. On the right-hand side of the hallway there are full-height glass windows and sliding glass doors, which grant ocean views across the lawn and through the landscaping and foliage. There is additional deck space on this portion of the home, with roofing coverage, allowing you to enjoy all four seasons. At the end of the hallway to the right is the entrance to the guest bedroom with en-suite, fireplace and an additional westward ocean view.
Moving upstairs you will find the master bedroom. The master is spacious with vaulted ceilings, a private deck and unrivalled views of Keats Island and the Sunshine Coast. Imagine yourself sitting by the bedroom window reading a book, relaxing next to the fireplace with the sights and sounds of the expansive ocean below you. There is a 4-piece en-suite bathroom off of the master bedroom and a dressing area with closets. Walking past the master you will find additional sleeping quarters in the overhead loft for both family and guests. This is a great house for family sleepovers and for parties.
The home is rich in character and still offers much in terms of utility. The exterior boasts a country charm and sits gracefully within the landscape as though it belongs there. With ample outdoor living space and striking accents and architectural features the home perfectly crowns the elegant bluff above the ocean. Attached to the home, and in the adjacent yard, are several carports and covered storage areas where you can stack a winter’s supply of firewood. There are also two enclosed heated rooms for protected storage.
From the main home you can walk through a small orchard of apple and crab apple trees towards the private beach. At full bloom these trees provide a delightful aromatic experience when combined with the fresh ocean air. In the late summer and fall the apple trees are excellent contributors to home-made pies and pastries. Upon reaching the beach you are greeted with spectacular views.
Accessible only through Endswell, the beach offers approximately 300 ft of shoreline in a halfmoon crescent. At the beach’s entrance is a gentle seasonal creek, which flows from the hillside feeding into the ocean and adding to the symphony of sounds produced by the gentle waves. The beach has a very gentle grade, which permits you to slowly wade out into the bay and escape the warm summer sun as you bask in the cool water. As you enjoy the beach, you can look out over the water to see the eagles and seagulls soaring overhead amidst a backdrop of blue ocean, tree covered islands and imposing snow-covered peaks. The sights, sounds and smells are astounding.
Once the driveway has brought you to the main house, you can turn slightly to the right and continue downhill to the secluded guest cabin. This quaint green guest cabin, repainted in 2019, offers approximately 500 ft2 of living space elevated up off the ground on wood pilings. There is a wooden deck, which extends out in front of the home. The deck provides two distinct ocean views (one west towards Keats and Pasley Islands, the other northwest towards Hutt Island) and catches the sun’s warm rays throughout the entirety of day. The warm ocean breeze, ample sunlight and surrounding forest envelop the guest home in unique micro-climate increasing the hours of enjoyment you can spend outside on the deck.
Inside the guest cabin is a basic kitchen, bathroom with a combo tub/shower, two bunk bedrooms and a bright living/dining room. A brick fireplace casts a warm glow on the occupants of the living room as you sit and watch the weather slowly roll in off of the ocean.
Westward from the cabin, you can continue to walk towards a large bluff with incredible waterfront views or turn to the right to access a second private beach, island, ramp and dock. The Island can be accessed by foot at low tide, but becomes its own landmass while the tide is in.
Jutting out into the ocean the little island is crowned with arbutus trees, salal and unique topographical features. Sea birds use the island as a resting spot adding their boisterous cries to the overall ambience. The island is a very unique feature that children love exploring. It is also a wonderful place for picnics and to look out for passing whales. From different points on this island there are unobstructed views to Pasley, Keats, Hutt and Gambier Islands, as well as northeast towards the Sea-to-Sky Highway.
Beside the island is the counterbalance ramp system and dock. The dock area is sheltered by the island ensuring debris and weather do not damage the structures. This system allows you to moor your boat during your stay, so that you do not need to trailer the boat in and out of the ocean after each use. The drop-off in front of the bluff and by the dock is sharp, which is good for swimming/diving and sailors docking their boats.
A second halfmoon cove sits on the northern side of the island providing additional private swimming options and lovely views to Hutt, Flower and Gambier Islands.
Words cannot do justice to the many beautiful features of this property. There is nothing that compares to Endswell, especially in such convenient proximity to an iconic city like Vancouver. A complete masterpiece from farm to forest to ocean.
This property is located on the northwestern shores of Bowen Island British Columbia at 1461 and 1521 Mount Gardner Road.
The property is reached via the ferry departing from Horseshoe Bay, which connects to Snug Cove on Bowen Island. The ferry takes approximately 20 minutes, departing approximately every hour (return transportation costs are included in the initial ticket purchase). A frequent traveler card is available through BC Ferries for cost savings (BC Ferries Experience card).
Upon arrival at Snug Cove, you travel 0.75 km on Grafton Road until it intersects with Mount Gardner Road. Turn to head north/northwest on Mount Gardner Road for approximately 3 km at which point you will have accessed the eastern boundary of the property. If you continue heading north on Woods Road, you will skirt the eastern boundary of the property. Continue on Mount Gardner Road, which dissects the northern and southern portions of the property. Both the driveways to the farmyard and oceanfront home will be on the north side of Mount Gardner Road.
Bowen Island is considered part of the wider Metro Vancouver area. The island is located approximately 3 km from the Mainland at its closest point and it is approximately 12 km long and 6 km wide. Bowen Island has an intricate road network making most areas of the island accessible by vehicle.
The Bowen Island Municipality is the main governing body responsible for zoning, development, bylaw enforcement, parks/recreation and water conservation. The municipality also manages community recreation programs including a teen center. Their municipal office is located just inland from Snug Cove.
With a population of approximately 3,680 residents, Bowen Island is still very much a relaxed bedroom community. The population number can increase by as much as 1,500 residents during the warm summer months, as residents from the Mainland look to escape the stresses of daily life. Each day the island sees many residents travel to the Mainland and back for both work and school.
Schools on the island fall under the West Vancouver School District. There is a public elementary school on the island called Bowen Island Community School. This school is located inland from Snug Cove at the intersection of Grafton and Mount Gardner Road. Once students reach grade 8, they typically continue their high school education on the Mainland; school buses transport students from their homes to the ferry on Bowen Island and to/from their school back to the Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal (at no additional cost). There is a private middle school on the island (grades 6-9 with one class per grade and a maximum of 18 students per class). There are independent preschools, a day care center and a Family Place. A new community center is currently under construction.
Snug Cove is the commercial center of Bowen Island where you can find grocery stores, a post office, pharmacy, pubs/restaurants, cafes, various services and the main marina. Nearby Artisan Square offers a blend of retail, food, fine art and wellness options. Tourism is certainly a main driver of commerce on the island, but the film industry has also utilized Bowen Island for its scenic location.
Endswell has an impressive collection of old growth trees throughout its expanse. There are giant firs, cedars and arbutus trees to be found throughout the property. The forest floor has been wonderfully maintained in a parklike state. It is very easy to navigate amongst the ancient forest without tripping on deadfall and undergrowth. The largest tree on the property registers at an astounding 26 ft around.
In terms of recreation, the possibilities are endless. Both the property and the wider region are renowned for their indoor and outdoor recreational opportunities. From art exhibits to salmon fishing there is always a myriad of activities available to you.
The property itself provides the following opportunities. This list is far from exhaustive:
Birding/wildlife viewing Mountain biking
Or simply relaxing and enjoying the serene ambiance
Despite Bowen Island’s laid-back nature, there are many activities and adventures to undertake. Bowen Island Golf Club offers a challenging 9-hole course with scenic views of Vancouver. There are many hiking trails including Crippen Regional Park, Dorman Point Lookout, Killarney Lake and Mount Gardner. For a more cultured experience, visit one of the many local art galleries and workshops to view some of the local talent. For food enthusiasts Snug Cove and Artisan Square offer several dining options if you do not feel like cooking one evening.
A 20-minute ferry ride away, back on the Mainland, you are 25 minutes from downtown Vancouver where you can take in a hockey game, enjoy some of the finest dining and nightlife in the world or simply explore this great city.
Heading north on the Sea-to Sky Highway, from Horseshoe Bay, you can quickly access the adventure towns of Squamish and Whistler. The opportunities are too many to enumerate but a short list includes:
Inland salmon fishing on the rivers around Squamish
Unlimited hiking to one of the region’s many alpine lakes
Skiing/Snowboarding Whistler-Blackcomb Ski Hill
Golfing Fury Creek Golf Course
Relaxing at the Scandinavia Spa
Rock Climbing the Chief Mountain
If you choose to boat over to Gibsons and the Sunshine Coast your recreational options are opened even wider with breweries and fine dining options available immediately on the water. The Sunshine Coast deserves a full weekend of discovery and exploration.
To possess the rural solitude and sense of security found at Endswell, so close to the city, combined with the eclectic mix of recreational, cultural and dining opportunities is simply amazing. Nowhere else in the world can you enjoy an experience like Endswell combined with the recreational opportunities found across the wider region.
Endswell has had only a few owners since the land was first claimed under a Crown grant in the late 1800s. In the 1940s and early 1950s, Dr Wallace Wilson and his wife, Ethel (the acclaimed writer), called the property “Little Rock.” Ethel worked on some of her novels and essays in the original cabin. The property was given to UBC in 1955 and 10 years later it was sold privately to the family that holds it to this day.
Bowen Island was originally a seasonal hunting ground of the Squamish peoples who lived and travelled throughout Howe Sound. Snug Cove is one area of Bowen Island that was utilized as a hunting and gathering camp by the Squamish peoples. In the Squamish language the name for Bowen Island is Nexwe’lexm.
The Spanish arrived on Canada’s west coast in 1791. They named many land features including Bowen Island, which they called Isla de Apodaca. However, in 1860 George Richards, with the British Navy, renamed the island after Rear Admiral James Bowen.
The late 19th century saw homesteaders building permanent homes along with a brickworks factory on Bowen Island, which supplied material to the growing city of Vancouver. Different industries continued to grow on Bowen including logging, milling and some mining. Despite Bowen Island’s industrial past, it has very much become a bedroom community with no heavy industry.
Oceanfront home (approx. 3,000 ft2): 4 bedrooms, 3 full bathrooms (2 en-suites), mudroom, kitchen with table/sitting area, laundry area, den, studio, log cabin living room, dining room and sitting/TV room; 3 fireplaces (main living room, master and guest bedrooms); 3 airtight stoves
Farmhouse (approx. 2,737 ft2): 4 bedrooms (2 upstairs, 2 downstairs), 2 full bathrooms (1 up and 1 downstairs), small bonus area upstairs can be used as an office, kitchen with seated eating area, dining room, living room, covered back and front porches, 1 insert fireplace, lots of old character windows
Guest cabin (approx. 500 ft2)
3 storage structures (2 with fully enclosed rooms)
60 ft x 30 ft
66 ft x 28 ft
55 ft x 32 ft
2 barns (one with heated tack room) and overhead hay lofts
45 ft x 20 ft
50 ft x 32 ft
Heated garage and workshop
Page wire fencing around main pasture
Counterbalance dock (Some TLC, replacement of some boards but is fully functional) and anchored float
RR 1 – Bowen Island Municipality
The farm component of the property is in Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR). This equates to approximately 28 acres of designated ALR lands. The Bowen Island Official Community Plan has the non-ALR portions of the property labelled as R (Rural) and RS (Rural Residential). RS designated property is permitted to contain subdivided lots as small as 1 hectare in size (after first having been rezoned in accordance with local zoning guidelines) while R designated property is permitted to possess lots as small as 4 hectares in size. Hence, there is the possibility of subdivision on the property if you wanted to separate the farm from the ocean frontage and those portions of the property on the north facing hillside. Please speak with the Bowen Island Municipality for further information.