Park Marine

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1930 Marine Drive, West Vancouver, BC

Park Marine
Park-Marine-Van-Exterior.jpg

Park Marine - Exterior
Building Information
Developer Boris Netipsky
Architect Peter Kaffka
Number of Units 44
Number of Floors 9
Year Built 1964
Construction Method Concrete
Type of Roof Asphalt
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1930 Marine Drive, West Vancouver, BC
Distance to Public Transit Less than a block
Region Vancouver
Municipality West Vancouver
Zoning RM2
Title of Land Strata


Contents

Background

In 1912, West Vancouver separated from North Vancouver to become its own municipality. However, even as its own body, West Vancouver didn't grow much beyond cabins and dirt roads until 1938, when the Lions Gate Bridge opened to traffic – and connected “West Van” to the city’s downtown core. Until then, the only way across the inlet had been by ferry.

A West Vancouver cabin, circa 1942. Photo by William McPhee.

On the heels of the Lions Gate Bridge, West Vancouver experienced the first, the longest lasting, and still the largest real estate boom in its history. There are still some homes in West Van that date back as far as the late ‘20s and early ‘30s, though the majority of buildings went up in the late 1970s and ‘80s.

This puts Park Marine in a very special class. Firstly, it was built in 1964, which makes it one of the oldest buildings in the area. Secondly, it’s always been a residential development. Never a short-stay hotel. Never a factory, or anything else. Park Marine was and is a purpose-built structure.

It’s also self-managed. Which means that, over the decades, the only people responsible for keeping Park Marine as fresh, clean and modern as it is today have been the condominium owners themselves. Given the history of West Vancouver, this seems only appropriate. As one of West Vancouver’s first condominium developments, Park Marine may be minutes from the downtown core and the best that Vancouver has to offer, but like the whole of West Van, it has a pace of life – a quality and dependability – entirely its own.[1]


Location

In the 1930s, the 1900 block of Marine Drive was pretty quiet
Police officers, Charles Hailstone and Frank Colpitts in their Chevrolet police car on the 1900 block of Marine. Note the construction site of the West Vancouver War Memorial Public Library - photo ca. 1948[2]

Memorial and Ambleside Parks, the West Vancouver Seawall, Park Royal Mall, and the center of West Vancouver’s commercial district on Marine Drive. The Park Marine condominiums have been steps away from the heart of of West Van living since before there was a heart of West Van living.

Park Marine is situated right beside the West Vancouver Public Library, founded in 1950. A small stream runs through the back of the property, a rarity these days as most municipalities tend to bury open streams. Across Bellevue Avenue, on the back side of Park Marine, is another one of several accesses to West Vancouver's famous Seawall. This 15 block walk along the seaside affords strollers with spectacular views of the ocean and on a clear day, Vancouver Island in the distance.

Even today, long after the Lion’s Gate Bridge first connected West Vancouver to the city’s downtown core, the area has its own distinct personality. It’s a multicultural, multilingual marriage of water, green-space, and the most modern of amenities.

However, for a change of scenery, Park Marine residents are roughly ten minutes by transit from the Lions Gate. This makes the Ambleside neighborhood that Park Marine calls home an ideal base for those looking to separate work and life by means of the short commute to downtown. Where public transit is concerned, there are multiple routes to downtown and the rest of West Van virtually across the street from Park Marine’s front door.[3]

Construction

Modern condominiums meet sea and green-space along West Vancouver's seawall, near Ambleside Park.
Park Marine's bridged entrance walkway, featuring the same metalwork that appears on the balconies.

Park Marine is a concrete building constructed in the traditions of modern architecture. With only 44 apartments over its nine floors, it offers spacious open-plan suites with large double glazed windows, and prominent private balconies.

When Park Marine was first built, it featured a bridge leading to the front door and the lobby. It was dressed with Grecian pillars, both on the bridge and in the lobby. The way was lit with real gas burning lamps. Today, the lamps are no longer gas burning, but the pillars still stand.

Some of the building's more unique structural aspects include a bridged front entrance that’s finished in mosaic stone, and a common terrace that rings the roof rather than occupying the whole space. Many of the private balconies also feature beautifully simple metalwork railings while, back on the ground, Park Marine’s 2012 face lift saw a new level of focus on exterior green-spaces and landscaping.

Layout and Features

Since Park Marine is self-managed, there isn't the typical overarching interior design concept that's present in many newer condo developments. For the most part, the individual suites are as unique as their owners.

In terms of the practicalities, units are available in open-plan layouts ranging from studio to two-bedroom, with either single or master-and-guest bathroom arrangements. The majority of apartments also have en-suite storage and/or flex spaces. Finishes run the gamut from lush carpet, to laminate, to hardwood in the main areas. Bathrooms are commonly done in either tile, or stone. In the kitchen, worktops vary: butcher block, quartz stone, and marble are usual for the building.

Floor Plans

A one-bedroom floor plan.

Floor plans for Park Marine are difficult to come by. However, at the right is a sample of a one bedroom layout.

Future updates to this page should garner a wider array of plans as they become available.

Meanwhile, also see the reference section at the end of this article for a link to a "virtual open house" -- a short slide show meant to showcase an example suite and its overall layout.[4]

Amenities

A view of the city from one of Park Marine's private balconies.

Amenities at Park Marine include:

  • Rooftop deck
  • Parking for both residents and visitors
  • Shared laundry
  • Storage lockers (en-suite storage also available in select units)

Bylaws

Park Marine Bylaws
Rentals No
Pets No
Age No


  • Pets are not permitted at Park Marine.
  • Suites are available for purchase only.
  • There is no age restriction on residency.


Sustainability

Vancouver as a whole is on a quest to become "the world's greenest city" by the year 2020. Contrastingly, Park Marine was built in 1964, long before words like "carbon footprint" and "sustainable living" carried the weight they do today.

That said, residents at Park Marine have been renovating and remodeling their suites for almost 50 years. The building's most recent "update" saw the majority of suites outfitted with low-flow appliances and low-energy fixtures. As well, the whole building now has double glazed windows throughout for better insulation and heat management.

Should they choose to continue renovating in the future, residents are encouraged to use locally sourced materials and low-VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) paint in order to continue improving Park Marine's overall sustainability in a city that takes its greenness very seriously.

For more on Vancouver's green initiatives, and environmentally conscious home renovation, see the reference section at the end of this article.[5][6]

Trivia

Park Royal Mall, circa its opening in the early 1950s.

PARK ROYAL MALL

Minutes from Park Marine, Park Royal Mall in West Vancouver is still among the city's upper-scale shopping centers. More interestingly, it was also the first "covered mall" (as opposed to open air, or strip malls) in all of Canada.

Park Royal opened in the early 1950s with Woodward's as its anchor store. Its original developers were none other than the same Guinness family made famous for their prowess as brew-masters. They built Park Royal as part of their nearby British Properties Development, and named it after the London suburb that was once home to a Guinness Brewery.

The Guinness family sold the property in 1986, and it's since expanded to include two more separate structures: The South Mall and The Village. Taken together, Park Royal is both Canada's first covered mall, and one of its biggest.[7]


References

  1. West Vancouver Historical Society - A Timeline
  2. West Vancouver
  3. Walk Score
  4. Park Marine: A Video Open-House
  5. How Stuff Works - Low-VOC Paint
  6. Vancouver 2020: A Bright Green Future
  7. Park Royal on Wikipedia


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