Royal excitement puts spotlight on Saanich Peninsula 

click to enlarge Prince Harry and his then-girlfriend Meghan Markle at a wheelchair tennis event at the Invictus Games in Toronto. Sept. 25, 2017. - Photograph By NATHAN DENETTE, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
  • Prince Harry and his then-girlfriend Meghan Markle at a wheelchair tennis event at the Invictus Games in Toronto. Sept. 25, 2017. Photograph By NATHAN DENETTE, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

International attention has been focused on the Saanich Peninsula since the Duke and Duchess of Sussex decided to stay in a multimillion-dollar estate there, highlighting the area’s natural beauty — along with its restaurants and real estate.

Photos of the luxury waterfront home used by Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have been published by international media, and stories have been done on high-end properties for sale in case the family chooses to move to B.C.

The attention does not appear to be slowing down.

Catherine Holt, chief executive of the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce, said it’s wonderful that intense coverage of their vacation to the region, and their decision to split between their time between Britain and North America “has created interest in Greater Victoria as a destination.”

“There is an increased international awareness that we are truly a world-class city that is a safe community for raising a family,” Holt said Friday.

Denny Warner, executive director of the Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce, said a reporter from a U.K. newspaper called Thursday to get a comprehensive rundown on the area—everything from population to weather to local geography and how locals would treat visiting royals.

Recent interest has “certainly shone a light” on the area and may spark interest in real estate or boost tourism, Warner said.

Sandi-Jo Ayers, president of the Victoria Real Estate Board, said: “Obviously, any time we have international attention on Victoria, it elevates us on the world stage.”

She thinks it will help attract tourists to the region, something that can spur real estate sales.

Visitors have arrived as tourists, fallen in love with the area, and then decided to move here, she said.

Ayers said she does not expect the attention will affect real estate prices. Jack Barker, real estate agent with Newport Realty, would not be surprised to see more people interested in local homes by mid-year.

Barker, who often has listings for high-end Saanich Peninsula properties, said the area has historically attracted owners, many international, who appreciate the quality of life, and the ability to live in privacy and safety.

Real estate agent Peter Nash, with Macdonald Realty, who specializes in luxury listings, said he is being interviewed today by a Japanese television station for a special program on the royals and North Saanich. It’s too soon to say if attention on this area will translate into sales, he said.

cjwilson@timescolonist.com

This story originally appeared here.

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