Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Biggest Adventure Playground in the World; the Royals Are off on Tour. Homes in Sporty British Columbia Are Great Value, Finds Cathy Hawker

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Biggest Adventure Playground in the World; the Royals Are off on Tour. Homes in Sporty British Columbia Are Great Value, Finds Cathy Hawker

Article excerpt

Byline: Cathy Hawker

WHEN the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge decided to take the children on royal tour from this Saturday, they could be confident George and Charlotte would appreciate British Columbia's family-friendly nature.

Canada's westernmost province is an outdoor playground for all ages. Vast mountains, mirror lakes and endless pine and fir forests make it a big-sky region of exceptional beauty. For active families who like to get outside whatever the weather, British Columbia provides thrilling year-round opportunities.

Calgary and Vancouver are the main entry points, eight or nine hours' flight from London and with a similarly hefty time difference. Yet a growing number of European home buyers are won over by natural beauty, affordability, solid rental returns of up to 10 per cent, snowsure winters and year-round appeal. "Homes are well-built, substantial and far more affordable than comparable homes in the Alps," says Thomas Joyce of Pure International. "A four-bedroom house of 2,700sqft in the ski resort of Kicking Horse is PS437,000."

ROCKY MOUNTAIN HIGH The mountain resort of Fernie, an hour from Cranbrook airport and 40 minutes from the US border, gets 37ft of snow a year and is encircled by the Canadian Rockies. Thirty minutes from British Columbia's lake district, it has 3,500 acres of skiing up to 6,500ft, including heli-skiing. Summer activities include camping, fly-fishing and hiking. There are excellent children's programmes and six miles down the mountain, Fernie Town has museums, hospitals and good restaurants, making it a true year-round resort. Pure International has apartments, townhouses and detached villas, from PS204,000 for oneto three-bedroom flats of 600-1,000sq ft. Plots for detached two- to four-bedroom homes start from PS140,000.

GET YOUR KICKS In Kicking Horse, the ski resort above the small town of Golden, challenging, north-facing slopes have an excellent winter snow record and a top reputation for heli-skiing. …

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