So here we are back in December of 2011. We had been internet house hunting and had found a little place in the South Gulf Islands of British Columbia that had caught our eye. Now when I say we had found a little place , I mean a LITTLE place. 400 square feet to be exact. Tiny but we could afford it. The building measured 20 feet by 20 feet and was one bedroom and one bathroom. One might think it was a teeny bit on the small side for a family of seven, but we are a flexible bunch and were pretty sure we could make it work with a little bit of creativity. We phoned a realtor, got all the property’s details, and made plans to drive over the mountains to see the place after Christmas. We planned, we packed, we didn’t go………..avalanches….day…..after…..day.
Winter settled in for good. We watched the temperatures dive into the -20’s, then -30’s, and just to really test us the -40’s. The real estate listings were checked online daily and the little place remained on the market. We thought a lot of how we could make 400 square feet work for our family as a holiday home, and this in turn resulted in a lot of trips to Ikea. Where else can one look at a whole home that is 364 square feet. We’d wander the display homes in Ikea, cram all our kids in, and make remarks like “it’s cozy”, “we’re a close knit bunch”, or “we’ll spend most of our time outside anyways”. We were optimistic and we were waiting for good weather to be able to check out this property and this island.
Did I mention we had never been to this island, well any of the Gulf Islands actually. We had camped in Tofino and visited Victoria on Vancouver Island but that was it. So we were looking to buy a property on an island we had never been to.
February came, the weather improved (well for Alberta, in February), the place was still on the market, and we decided to head west. Over the mountains we went, the seven of us packed tightly in our minivan. We passed snow so high you could barely see the peaks of the roofs in the mountain passes, we saw beautiful frozen waterfalls, and as we approached the Fraser Valley we saw the most amazing thing ….grass (in February!).
We spent a fun day in Vancouver seeing belugas and totem poles and standing on (to quote my daughter) “real grass”, then we were off to board the ferry to the island with the little house.