Terra Vita Place

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  • 3468 Terra Vita Place, Vancouver, BC
  • 868 Cassiar Street, Vancouver, BC
  • 3428 Adanac Street, Vancouver, BC

Terra Vita Place

Terra Vita Building from Cassiar
Building Information
Developer United Properties
Architect A.A. Cox/H.R. Hatch
Management Company Strata West
Number of Units 88
Number of Floors 3
Year Built 1997
Construction Method Wood Frame
Type of Roof Metal
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3468 Terra Vita Place, Vancouver, BC
Distance to Public Transit Less than one block
Region Vancouver
Municipality Vancouver
Zoning CD-1 (113)
Title of Land Freehold Strata



Terra Vita Place circa 1920

Terra Vita Place is a collection of 76 town homes and 12 apartments built around a heritage-designated 1914 building which was originally the Provincial Industrial School For Girls. The school was a home for so-called "wayward" and "incorrigible" girls who in most cases were committed to the institution by parents, or sometimes by the courts.

During its time, the school earned international acclaim as a strong working model for the rehabilitation of juvenile delinquent young women. The building was converted into a strata development in 1995, adding 76 town homes built in two phases commencing in 1995, featuring Adanac Street and Terra Vita Place addresses, while the original institutional building houses 12 condominiums at the site's original Cassiar Street address.


Terra Vita Place is located in the Hastings-Sunrise neighbourhood immediately East of the South end of the Cassiar Tunnel, just a few blocks West of Boundary Road, which serves as the Eastern border between Vancouver and Burnaby. It is conveniently situated just a few moments' drive to Hastings Street, the Trans Canada Highway, and to Boundary Road.

A number of east-west bus routes are available on Hastings as well as North-South routes on Boundary. The Kootenay Bus Loop is about a ten minute walk. Terra Vita Place is located in close proximity to the Pacific Colosseum, the PNE and Playland, as well as the great number of coffee shops, restaurants, pubs, banks and grocery and retail stores that extend along Hastings and Eastwards into North Burnaby.


Series of new town homes built behind the original 1914 building.

The 1914 structure was designed by noted Vancouver architect Alfred A. Cox and was built by Campbell & Wilkie Construction, a local general contractor of the day. Construction commenced in 1912 after the government received two sequential tenders, the first comprising twelve bids and the second comprising five. Tender prices ranged from $72,827 to $84,330. The building was inspired by the mission revival style of architecture popular in its day.

The building was built with concrete floors and a wood-frame roof finished with red asphalt shingles. The exterior walls were constructed as a two-wythe load-bearing masonry wall lined with a 2" thick clay tile, finished on the inside with plaster, and on the outside with concrete stucco.

After the school was shut the Ministry of Human Resources used the building as a library and training facility while the government considered the property's fate. After many proposals which included use as a private school, a separate proposal for a music school, another for a seniors' care home and others, the building and lot was finally sold to United Properties.

United Properties' plan was for a two phase townhouse development to be built behind the main structure, Eastwards along Adanac Street and behind the building on Terra Vita Place. These 76 new homes were designed by architect H.R. Hatch to blend in with the original structure, paying tribute to the original design without taking anything away from the imposing original building.

These new phases were built with a concrete perimeter, a wood frame, and finished with EIFS stucco. The new town homes were given asphalt roofs and painted in neutral earth tones.

At this time in 1995, the original red roof of the main building was replaced with a red metal roof constructed to maintain the appearance of the original shingle roof.

All units in both the original building and in the newer town homes had received their occupancy permits by 1997.

Remedial Work & Lawsuit

In 2002, remedial work was required on the newer town-homes to install a rain screen to address water ingress issues. While this work proceeded, a small group of owners who occupied the original 1914 building sued their own Strata Corporation believing that they should not be required to contribute financially towards the remediation of the newer homes, which the BC Strata Property Act requires.

The case, known as Coupal v. Strata Plan LMS-2503 was decided on November 4th, 2004 and sided with the Strata Corporation that all owners would pay, quoting the judge who had presided over an earlier case, LMS-1537 v. Alvarez stating: "you are all in it together."

Layout and Features

Located at Terra Vita Place and Cassiar Street next to Trans-Canada Highway in the popular Renfrew area of East Vancouver. A vibrant urban community filled with local amenities, entertainment venues, recreational facilities, schools, shopping and restaurants within a short distance.

Built in 1997, Its 89 units feature a spacious living room, in-suite laundry, gas fireplace, private fenced patio and storage. The complex also offers bike room, underground parking with garage door opener, security system, smoke alarm and club house. The entire complex was rain screened in 2003. Maintenance fees include caretaker, garbage pickup, gardening and management.

Floor Plans

Here are two videos showing the interior of two units at Terra Vita Place.

Images of floor plans are not readily available. Please see the Reference section at the bottom of this page for a video walk-through - [1]



Terra Vita Place features a clubhouse in the main building for the use of all residents with a nominal deposit

Storage lockers and secure bicycle storage is available


Terra Vita Place Bylaws
Rentals Yes
Pets Yes
Age No
Barbecues Yes

  • Terra Vita Place allows owners to keep up to two pets including dogs, without a weight restriction.
  • Rentals are restricted to 10% of the units at a time, which in the case of Terra Vita means 8 units or less.
  • There are no restrictions on an owner or occupants' age.
  • Residents are welcome to use barbecues.
  • Owners are free to use hardwood flooring, laminate, tile or any other hard surface inside their homes.


  • With the 12 suites refurbished inside the original 1914 structure, the main building at Terra Vita Place serves as an example of substantial renovation of an existing structure, which is an example of sustainable building practice. Terra Vita Place is a participant in Metro Vancouver's recycling program.
  • With their fenced-in backyard patios, some Terra Vita residents grow some of their own vegetables.
  • There are 16 nearby transit routes and many other local amenities within one kilometre of the complex, making walking an option for many day-to-day activities.
  • Bicycle storage at Terra Vita makes cycling an alternative sustainable option for transit as well.


The real-life Santa Barbara, CA Police Station
  • The original building was built between 1912 and 1914, and the first pupil to attend was accepted on February 28th, 1914. The Attorney General of British Columbia, William John Bowser, officially opened the school on April 3rd, 1914. As a side note, Bowser became Premier of the province the following year.
  • The Provincial Industrial School for Girls was moved to a new location on Willingdon Avenue in Burnaby in 1959. Between then and the redevelopment into Terra Vita Place, it served as a government library and training centre and briefly as the offices of the British Columbia Milk Board.
  • The original building is often used as a set location to represent the Santa Barbara Police Station (also a Mission Revival design) for the U.S. TV Show Psych.
  • The Flag pole on top of the original building was struck by lightning during a thunderstorm in 2006. The flag pole was repaired and restored.
  • For the units with Adanac Street addresses, "Adanac" is "Canada" spelled backwards.


  1. 53 - 3468 Terra Vita Place floor plan
  2. 47 - 3468 Terra Vita Place floor plan

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