Lush, rolling lawns. Beautiful estate homes, winding boulevards, esteemed neighbours and good private schools. Vancouver’s geographic heart lies between Queen Elizabeth Park and Arbutus in the pristine residential neighbourhood of Shaughnessy.
Created as a premier residential subdivision in 1907 as competition for the West End, Shaughnessy has retained its significant heritage value and distinctive allure for over a century. Originally developed by the Canadian Pacific Railway when the provincial government gifted the CPR 6,000 acres of prime land in 1885, of which they chose Shaughnessy Heights as the best location for their high class subdivision. Stately homes, well-manicured grounds and generous lot sizes are neighbourhood trademarks. As is the absence of a real commercial presence. If it’s a true suburban feel in the middle of it all you’re searching for, then Shaughnessy offers the privacy you’re after among its elite neighbours. Bordered by the Arbutus shopping district, VanDusen Botanical Garden and bustling Cambie Village on the North East side, desirable amenities are never far, however.
Shaughnessy remains one of Vancouver’s best examples of a planned community. As it should be: the CPR spent over $1 million developing the site, which was above average for the day. Named for the CPR president Sir Thomas Shaughnessy, who in turn named several main streets in the area after CPR Directors (Angus, Marpole, Homer, Osler and Nanton), Shaughnessy is also home to two of the city’s most well-known properties: Hycroft Manor and Glen Brae. Hycroft was the largest and most expensive mansion in the city when it was constructed in 1909 and its owner, industrialist A.D. McRae hosted Shaughnessy’s annual social event of the year: the New Year’s Eve costume ball. Glen Brae is now known as Canuck Place, one of the world’s leading hospices for children.
The unanimous vote by city council last fall to designate Shaughnessy Vancouver’s first-ever heritage conservation area is an effort to preserve the area’s rich architectural history that ranges from Tudor Revival to Craftsman and Colonial Revival. Truly one of Vancouver’s gems, Shaughnessy’s rich history adds to the charm of living in one of the most beautiful neighbourhoods in the Lower Mainland.