Finding the right home in a welcoming community
When Chris and Carly Dykstra sold their home in Victoria’s Oak Bay neighbourhood last spring, they debated what their next step would be. They had lived on the West Coast for close to 10 years, raising their three girls who are six, 10 and 11. But when push came to shove, the Dykstra family decided to move back to Calgary, where Chris had started his career and the couple’s two eldest girls had been born. They found their perfect home, one that would accommodate three children, three Golden Retrievers, a cat and a bunny – a 4,500-square-foot, open-concept, custom home in the family-friendly neighbourhood of Watermark in Bearspaw.
CREB®Now: What spurred the move from Victoria to Calgary?
Chris Dykstra: That’s an interesting question. It wasn’t work. I sold my company in Victoria in February, and we started talking about where we wanted to be. The real estate market in Victoria has lost its mind – there is a huge amount of push from Vancouver. There are a lot of people moving to the island and retiring early, thus pushing up prices to record highs. So, when we decided that we were going to sell our house, we started looking at where we wanted to be. We asked ourselves if we wanted to get back into the market in Victoria, and that really wasn’t top of mind. Vancouver wasn’t appealing either, nor was moving to Toronto. So we started looking at Calgary. You can just get so much home for the price compared to Vancouver and Victoria.
And, for me, one of the big draws of coming back to Calgary was the mountains. I’m a big skier and I love taking the girls skiing. I think that they have had more ski days this year than in their entire lives combined. Plus, I was excited about getting back to an economy that is in slow and steady growth. I wanted to play a part in that.
CREB®Now: What was on your must-have list?
Chris Dykstra: A sense of community – an actual community. A place where we felt comfortable with the girls growing up the way that we grew up – being able to walk to their friend’s house and not constantly being supervised. There is an air of comfort that Watermark provides.
I really wanted an acreage and Carly wanted something with more density. I’ll steal a line from Watermark’s marketing materials: they call it the “Goldilocks” of neighbourhoods. I absolutely agree with that. It’s not too big, it’s not too small. Everything is just right.
And we were looking for a new home. Although we would have loved to build, we ended up buying a spec home by Astoria Custom Homes because we needed a home right away. But we will eventually end up building in a later phase in Watermark, as the community pushes farther west.
CREB®Now: Now that you have been in Watermark for almost a year, can you speak to the sense of community?
Chris Dykstra: We moved in mid-way through May. The reception that we received was so overwhelming. It is a community largely composed of our peer group demographically – 40-to-50-year-old young professionals. We’ve made very fast friends here. Rarely does a weekend go by where there isn’t a dinner party at someone’s house. This is our sixth house in 10 years and never have we felt so welcomed and connected to a community.