Livability Ranking: 8/10
Horseshoe Bay is a picturesque village situated at the Western tip of West Vancouver. This gorgeous village is home to a little over 1000 residents but bursts to life in the summer as a primary BC ferries port. It is also the entrance to Howe Sound as well as the start of the Sea-to-Sky Squamish/Whistler highway.
Take a stroll along Bay Street and you’ll encounter some great Village eateries including Bay Moorings (with their fantastic ocean facing rooftop patio), Troller Ale House for pub food and a local feel or the iconic Troll’s Restaurant. Moving inland you’ll also find a ton of local and tourist oriented shops, restaurants, craft stores and art galleries (featuring First Nations art at the Spirit Gallery)
Horseshoe Bay is a beautiful area and I would love to live there. The only reason this little village doesn’t merit a 10/10 is its distance to Downtown Vancouver (only 30 minutes) and public transit accessibility (bus only no skytrain). However, if you live and work on the North Shore or remotely from home, this place is a paradise and an unbelievable gateway to Vancouver Island, Bowen Island, and the Sunshine Coast.
Arts, Community & Family
Horseshoe Bay is serviced by Gleneagles community Centre. A very short 3 minute drive or 20 minute walk from the centre of the village this modern family oriented recreation facility boasts an adventure park, art studio, large children’s play centre, beautiful 4000 square foot gymnasium, café, numerous activity rooms, a fitness centre and even a pottery studio!
Aside from this main community hub the village offers lots for families and kids. Their seaside playground gives parents a chance to relax in large deck chairs while kids play. You can go on a Sea Safari or rent a boat at the marina. Whytecliff Park, a beautiful swimming beach with a playground, picnic area and tennis courts is a 30 minute walk, 10 minute cycle or short drive.
Docs on the Bay is a traditional family practice in the heart of the town open Monday to Saturday and Horseshoe Bay also sports the well reviewed Bay Pharmacy on Bruce Street. They also take care of your therapeutic needs with a massage clinic and Wellness Centre a short drive up the highway to Caulfield Village.
Although not close to a skytrain line Horseshoe Bay is serviced by very frequent bus services due to the ferry port. If you’re an Island Hopper or love to travel this is a fantastic jumping off point to many of the more isolated British Columbia Sunshine Coast and Island Communities.
Walk on ferry fares are quite affordable and you can jump on a boat for a quick day trip to Bowen Island or take a longer scenic journey to Nanaimo or Gibsons.
Gleneagles Elementary School is close to the heart of Horseshoe Bay near the corner of Rosebery Ave and Keith Road. Rockridge High School in Caulfield is the closest secondary school approx.. a 7 minute drive from central Village.
Bowen Island also offers a unique perspective on education with an amazing experiential learning school, Island Pacific, which requires a 25 minute ferry commute each morning for “off-island” students (which comprise approx.. 50% of the student body)
Tourism & Adventure
Adventure starts in Horseshoe Bay and taking to the High Seas is their specialty. If you love ocean adventures there is no better area to live. Fishing Charters top our list of outdoor adventure activities with Predator and Mongoose being the two most well reviewed companies. If highway driving is more your cup of tea be sure to visit Scenic Rush – a quick 2km jaunt – which rents high end vehicles for driving excursions up the Sea-to-Sky highway. Want to downsize? Take the ferry to Bowen Island for Zoom Zoom Bowen Island Scooter Rentals.
Finally, Horseshoe Bay is a quick hop up the highway to Cypress mountain. Cypress is a mecca of skiing and downhill mountain biking.