A Guide to 55+ Active Living Communities in British Columbia
Embrace the Outdoors During Your Retirement in British Columbia
There are few retirement destinations that offer more opportunities for 55+ active adults to experience natural beauty than in British Columbia. Mountains, lakes, beaches, and hot springs are plentiful and invite retirees to explore the great outdoors.
While British Columbia gets snow in the winter, the area experiences relatively mild seasons compared to other areas of Canada. This is especially true in the Southwest and Thompson-Okanagan regions of the province. These areas allow seniors to fish, hike, hunt, canoe, and golf year round.
British Columbia has a very diverse population and is known as a welcoming location for retirees of all races and belief systems. Within the Vancouver region, it’s common to hear people speak Mandarin, Cantonese, or Punjabi. However, like most of Canada, the majority of residents speak English or French.
The province also has a deep rooted Indigenous population. Extending to the remote regions of the province, the culture, history, and heritage is celebrated with museums and cultural sites throughout.
The variety of the province also extends into local lifestyles. Some residents prefer to live in the mountains surrounded by the wilderness, while others prefer cities like Vancouver for shopping, entertainment, and festivals.
Empty nesters looking to downsize or ‘right-size’ will be pleased to find that there are many new home communities for 55+ active adults such as golf course communities, manufactured home communities, luxury apartment rentals, and condominium communities. Many of the best master planned communities are gated and include onsite management, snow removal, and year-round grounds maintenance.
The Many Regions of British Columbia
If you’re thinking about retiring in British Columbia, consider the unique qualities of each of its regions. Residents of the province lead varying lifestyles, from the quiet mountain towns to the fast-paced cities along the Canada/United States border.
Beach and ocean goers will love the Vancouver Island/Coast area! Boating, fishing, and water sports are popular with active seniors that retire in the area.
Explore the Old City Quarter galleries and shops of Nanaimo, or check out the restaurants and botanical gardens of the capital city of Victoria.
The Mainland/Southwest region is the most populous region of British Columbia. It contains some of the largest cities in the province like Vancouver, a diverse metro that overlooks the Burrard Inlet that connects to the Pacific Ocean.
Other notable towns in this region include Abbotsford, a rural farming zone with many natural wonders, and Chilliwack, which features views of mountain ranges and river rapids.
Alongside natural landmarks like the only desert in Canada and the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies, Thompson-Okanagan is known for its world famous vineyards. Many wineries can be found around Lake Country, Kelowna, and Penticton, which are also full of forests and waterfront communities.
The mountainous region of Kootenay is filled with waterfalls, rivers, and lakes. It’s home to outdoor attractions like uncrowded mountain bike trails, perfect for 55+ active adults who love the wilderness. The village of Nakusp is known for its hot springs with natural mineral water.
Sharing its name with the nearby mountain range, Cariboo is perfect for seniors looking to relax during retirement. Its natural beauty is complemented by a vibrant cultural scene. The area also features local history and art museums.
British Columbia’s North Coast has ports that connect to cruises that depart for destinations around the world! Nature sites in this remote region include Haida Heritage Site and Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve.
Ranches and hiking trails are tucked between mountains and glaciers in Nechako. The region has a large Indigenous population, with many historic sites and natural wonders.
Northeast British Columbia is a remote area that lies along the Rocky Mountains, not far from the Yukon. Active seniors can lead a peaceful life among the region’s rivers and mountains.
Staying Active at 55 and Over
If you’re interested in staying active with an abundance of outdoor and winter activities during your retirement, then British Columbia may be the perfect location for you!
The Benefits of Senior Community Living
Many of British Columbia’s 55+ communities include onsite management, property maintenance such as snow removal, and on-property activities designed with active seniors in mind.
Senior communities are typically golf cart friendly with dedicated walking trails. Many waterfront communities offer boat storage while others include onsite RV storage.
Visit the Clubhouse & Fitness Center
Spend time with like-minded neighbors at the local community clubhouse.The clubhouse is a convenient meeting place for a regular game of cards or a regularly scheduled craft group. It’s also perfect for cheering on the Canucks, Whitecaps, and BC Lions with your neighbors. Some clubhouses have community kitchens where celebratory meals can be conveniently prepared and served.
Stay active at the well-equipped fitness center which may include treadmills, free weights and resistance bands. Fitness centers also makes getting together with friends to do group yoga and crossfit classes a regular event. Being able to exercise without leaving your community is helpful when the weather isn’t conducive for outdoor activities.
Retire to a Low Maintenance Property
Like much of Canada, British Columbia can experience snow and other inclement weather. 55+ active adult communities often include onsite maintenance teams to rake leaves in the autumn and clear snow in the winter. Spring keeps them busy planting annuals amongst the emerging bulbs. Summer mowing is no longer a chore that you have to be responsible for either. Low maintenance communities are prized by the active older adult.
Feel Safe in a Gated Community
Much of British Columbia’s master planned senior housing is located within gated communities.The gates serve multi-purposes for the community.
First, the gates around an age-restricted community defines the property’s boundaries. Only people authorized to be on the property are allowed through the gates. This helps to keep unwanted solicitors from knocking on your door.
Second, gated communities typically have lower crime rates. Knowing that access into and out from the community is restricted, is a proven deterrent for crimes of opportunity.
Finally, gated communities offer private amenities like a pool, gym, and pickleball courts. The gated golf course communities have the added indulgence of a members-only golf course!
Off-Property Activities Around British Columbia
British Columbia offers seniors an abundance of outdoor activities to enjoy during retirement. Hiking, fishing, and boating are popular in rural areas while shopping and dining are favorites in metro areas such as Vancouver.
For those who like to gamble, casinos in British Columbia include the Hard Rock Casino Vancouver and the Casino of the Rockies.
There are festivals and carnivals celebrating the arts in every season. The Victoria Film Festival, Rossland WInter Carnival, and the High On Ice Winter Festival give residents the opportunity to enjoy both indoor and outdoor art displays. In the summer, Jazz Fest Victoria is a 10-day extravaganza featuring artists from around the world. In the spring celebrate the return of the whales and the art they inspire at the Pacific Rim Whale Festival. Autumn days are filled with festivals celebrating the natural cycle of the season. The Fall Okanagan Wine Festival marks the end of the harvest. The Headbanger Festival celebrates the beginning of the rutting season of the native Bighorn Sheep. The ski resorts start getting ready for the winter crowds by hosting multi-day festivals framed by the naturally beautiful autumn colours.
Traverse the Trails
Some of the best walking and biking trails in Canada are found in British Columbia.There are endless hiking and mountain biking trails throughout the province that cater to every level of ability.
For scenic views and less challenging trails, check out Gold Creek Falls and Cypress Provincial Park. For more adventurous trails, 55+ active adults can take on the seaside section of the Sunshine Coast Trail, which is the longest trail in the province. If glaciers and hot springs are on your hiking to-do list, Kootenay National Park has both!
Golf with Fellow Seniors
There are over 300 golf courses within British Columbia offering 55+ active adults of all skills levels an opportunity to play a round of golf. Some golf clubs even hold local amateur tournaments for seniors.
Year round golfing is available in the southwestern region of the province, where temperatures remain mild in the winter.
Senior Friendly Water Sports
Water sports are perfect for seniors looking to stay active during retirement! Spend a day at the lake boating, canoeing, or rafting down a lazy river. Sail between islands of the coast. Or indulge in British Columbia’s premiere sport of fishing.
There are opportunities to fish in every region ot the province. Freshwater fishing in the lakes and rivers may reward you with a sturgeon. On the coast, Pacific salmon, steelhead, and halibut are waiting to be caught by novice and professional anglers alike!
Why Active Retirees Love British Columbia
British Columbia offers seniors practical reasons to retire in the province including the benefits of free healthcare and low property taxes. Another selling point is the region’s relatively mild weather, even during the colder months.
The province offers seniors a variety of ways to stay active during retirement. These include indoor activities like gambling at casinos, as well as outdoor activities like hiking, fishing, and golfing. RV excursions and boating adventures are also senior friendly activities that make the province a popular choice for retirement.
55+ Active Adult Communities in British Columbia
British Columbia’s premier master planned communities for active seniors range from seaside waterfront communities to active adult communities near the city. Check out the various options for your new home in between bouts of traveling and wilderness exploration!
Golf Course Communities
Retiring with a new home in a golf course community ensures the avid golfer can maximize time on the course.
Golf course communities are often gated and can include a driving range, putting green, private on-property dining, and more!
Manufactured Homes Communities
Choosing to retire in a manufactured home community means affordable prices through land lease programs and minimal maintenance requirements. Options in the province range from traditional trailers to renovated modular homes.
Luxury Apartment Rentals
Luxury apartment rentals offer active seniors amenities such as a private fitness center, indoor heated pool, lounge, and stocked game room. They also include updated appliances, ‘right-sized’ floor plans, and private outdoor spaces.
The best luxury apartment rentals are often gated and found near British Columbia’s largest cities, affording outstanding views, and convenience to shopping and public transportation.
Condos are the perfect size for seniors who are looking for housing within a budget that still offers community amenities such as a pool and fitness center. HOA’s cover building and property maintenance, allowing seniors to lead a low maintenance lifestyle.
Utilize Free Healthcare for Seniors
Canada’s nationwide free healthcare ensures that all seniors receive medically necessary treatments regardless of finances.
British Columbia has excellent healthcare facilities, including Vancouver Coastal Health, Providence, and Fraser Health. Rehab and home health services are available through CBI Health. The region is also serviced by the McKesson pharmaceutical and medical supply corporation.
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