Neighbourhood profile: Arbutus

One of the most desirable neighbourhoods in Vancouver, Arbutus is a tight-knit community with tree-lined streets, popular neighbourhood parks, beautiful homes and impressive views of English Bay and the North Shore mountains. 

Located in the middle of Vancouver's west side, Arbutus residents enjoy easy access to local beaches, the shops and restaurants of Kitsilano, plus just a short drive to UBC and Downtown Vancouver. 

Arbutus History

While not an extensive history, Arbutus Ridge does have an interesting one.

Developed in connection with neighbouring areas such as Dunbar, Shaughnessy and Kerrisdale, the community was, however, on a different course due to the swampy nature of the area, and the CPR (Canadian Pacific Railway).

In 1888, the province turned over 2,100 hectares of land to the CPR, including a large portion of what is now Arbutus Ridge. The community's uplands area (now known as Mackenzie Heights) was the first to see a residential settlement, and between 1912 and the 1930s these were filled with large middle-class homes.

Development continued with the introduction of B.C. Electric's interurban railway line, which connected Steveston with Vancouver in 1905. The railway was replaced with trolleybuses in July 1952.

During the 1940s and 1950s, sand was brought in from False Creek allowing the low lying areas to be developed with houses, schools and shops.

Many homes from Vancouver’s early settlement years remain in Arbutus. For a better look at these Heritage Homes take a drive down 37th Avenue, where you’ll see some great examples of English Arts and Crafts Style homes designed and built by prominent architect G.L. Thornton Sharp in 1912.


Families moving to Arbutus have an abundance of top-performing elementary and secondary schools to choose from including Trafalgar Elementary School, Carnarvon Elementary and Kitchener Elementary all within a short distance.

Prince of Wales Secondary School plus several independent and private schools including York House, Crofton House, Vancouver College, Little Flower Academy and St. Georges are all within a short drive too.


Arbutus is primarily made up of large single-family detached homes, but as the community grows so does the access to newer townhouses and some low-rise and high-rise apartment buildings.


Not only do Arbutus residents enjoy the proximity to the beaches, parks, locally-owned shops and restaurants, but they are also only a short drive to the Downtown core plus all major routes providing easy access to other parts of the Lower Mainland.
The public transportation to and from the area is well served.

Did you know?

  • In the 1920s, residents of Point Grey and Kerrisdale referred to the future Arbutus Ridge area simply as "Asthma Flats." The future neighbourhood was a huge swamp that could only be crossed via a three-plank sidewalk.

  • Former Prime Minister Kim Campbell attended Prince of Wales Secondary School in Arbutus.

  • Valley Drive dates from the 1870s when its route was cut through the forest to provide the right-of-way for B.C.'s first logging railway. The street is one of the few streets in the community not oriented to the regular street grid.

For more information on the Arbutus neighbourhood or any homes for sale in Arbutus, please feel free to reach out. I’d be happy to help.