Tsawwassen meant "facing the sea" to the area's original Musqueam inhabitants, and the description couldn't be more apt. Surrounded by sea on two sides (the U.S. border forms the third), Tsawwassen caters to middle- and upper-income earners attracted to its numerous beaches, parks and golf courses. The area has beautiful ocean views to the west, spoiled only by the ferry causeway, and of Boundary Bay to the east. Boundary Bay Airport, for general aviation, is just ten minutes away.
Tsawwassen is divided up into a grid laid out by the British Royal Engineers in the 1850. The streets run north/south while avenues run east/west, with 1st Avenue closest to the Canada-US border. Tsawwassen provides the only land access to Point Roberts, Washington, which is US territory south of the 49th Parallel. Tyee Drive/56 Street is the western-most border crossing on the 49th parallel between Canada and the USA.
The Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal to Victoria and Vancouver Island was built (back in 1959) at the end of a 3 km-long causeway that juts out into the Strait of Georgia to get past a long shallows. Highway 17 links the Tsawwassen ferry terminal with Highway 99 to Vancouver (heading north) or the US Border (heading south). The Roberts Bank Superport is also located in Tsawwassen. Ferry traffic is heavy on weekends and holidays, and on weekdays, the rush-hour bottleneck is the Massey Tunnel connecting to Richmond.
Tsawwassen is serviced by TransLink, which runs the buses, SkyTrain, and SeaBus routes in the Greater Vancouver area. There are a number of busses that connect right into downtown Vancouver, ending at the Burrard SkyTrain Station. There is also a bus connecting the ferry terminal to Vancouver International Airport via Ladner.
Tsawwassen has a mix of older wood-frame cottages and bungalows reflecting the community's vacation resort legacy. There are new smaller homes, and also senior-executive homes and palatial waterfront estates. Low-rise condos and townhouse subdivisions can also be found close to the town centre.
Homes in Tsawwassen run $624-673,000; with waterfront homes around $100,000-2 million and up; you can buy condos for $110,000-230,000; and townhouses will cost in the $318-356,000 range.
English Bluff, the area along English Bluff Road, has many of the most expensive homes, with superb ocean views. In Stahaken and Tsatsu Shores neighbourhoods, where houses built on land belonging to the Tsawwassen First Nations Tribe, and is leased for 100 years, with the current leases expiring in 2089. On the southeast side of the peninsula in Boundary Bay, are some 1890s era seaside resort cottages. Many have been renovated and updated, and the area has a number of modern contemporary single family homes and some waterfront architectural masterpieces.
Tsawwassen schools are part of the Delta School District #37. Tsawwassen has 6 elementary schools, a French programme at Ecole Du Bois-Joli, and South Delta Secondary School. There are also the private L-12 Southpointe Academy, Ladner's Sacred Heart Elementary School (offering a Catholic private education), and the Delta Christian school, also in Ladner. Kwantlen College has its campus in nearby Richmond's core with two satellite campuses in Surrey, and offers a variety of two-year programs to an average of 4,000 students.
56th Street is the main entrance to Tsawwassen from Highway 17, and is home to most of Tsawwassen's commercial areas, including three malls and the supermarkets clustered around 12th Ave (commonly referred to as "downtown Tsawwassen").
Tsawwassen has beaches on the west and on Boundary Bay to the east, both with splendid views and great weather. Boundary Bay Regional Park (home to Centennial Beach) is run by the GVRD and is the recreational focus of Tsawwassen. The community also has two golf courses. Diefenbaker Park has a nice hill, and is popular for sledding during rare snow falls.
A large, mostly undeveloped agricultural part of northwest Tsawwassen is part of the Tsawwassen (Coast Salish) First Nation who are developing their land with a condominium development (Tsatsu Shores), the Tsawwassen First Nation Reserve longhouse, the Splashdown Waterslide Park, F440 Grand Prix Race Track, and an RV park.
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