New Westminster has the distinction of being the oldest city in western Canada. In addition, the city's name was chosen personally by Queen Victoria which has earned it the nickname of the “Royal City”. Justifiably the residents and authorities of New Westminster are proud of their heritage and history and the city is well known for its high number of heritage homes and buildings. However, in recent years a strong program of redevelopment has led to an increasing variety in the types of housing available in New Westminster. From those traditional dwellings, to modern, luxury condo developments, New Westminster has a lot to offer for those searching for homes in Vancouver. The city is located on the Fraser River and the waterfront is a particular focus for many of the innovative new residential and business developments.
New Westminster is particularly well served by local and national transport networks, another reason that it is increasingly popular for those searching for homes in Greater Vancouver. The city lies adjacent to the Trans-Canada Highway, which connects it directly to Vancouver to the west and also eastwards with the rest of Canada. Commuting to Surrey, Richmond and Delta is facilitated by the Alex Fraser Bridge. The SkyTrain service operates three stops in New Westminster making Vancouver accessible via a short 25 minute commute – SkyTrain also links the city with Burnaby and Surrey and planned extension to the network will link New Westminster with Coquitlam and Lougheed by summer of 2016. For more information on transport links see the Translink and SkyTrain websites.
Schools and Universities
New Westminster is served by School District 40 which currently provides eight elementary schools, two middle schools (with an additional middle school set to open in 2016) and one secondary school. As the city is rapidly expanding an extensive program is being undertaken to increase school facilities and to replace older buildings with state of the art facilities. Further information on these improvements can be found on the District's website. Privately run educational institutions are also available in the city (see the FISA website) while post-secondary institutions operate within the city – Douglas Community College and the Justice Institute of British Columbia.
Recreation and Facilities
New Westminster offers a wide range of facilities and offers a long established, vibrant and diverse range of recreational and shopping facilities. The popular Westminster Quay Public Market offers a range of individual, unique shops and an excellent range of pubs, restaurants and food outlets. Other locations within the city also offer plenty of small shops to serve day-to-day needs while in the Uptown area, major shopping outlets can be found, including the Royal City Center Mall which offers all the services of a major city mall. There are a wide range of opportunities for leisure and entertainment within the city which is host to seven indoor recreation facilities, including two ice-rinks and the excellent Canada Games Pool. In addition, there are ten public parks plus the attractive waterfront esplanade and a number of smaller local community parks. With history and culture being a strong focus within the city, a wide program of events is held throughout the year and, in addition, the city hosts three theaters at Douglas College, the Massey Theater and the Vagabond Playhouse.