The communities of Ambleside Beach and Dundarave Village are on the traditional and unceded territories of the Coast Salish people. Since before recorded history, the people of the Squamish First Nation inhabited this area, where they hunted, fished, traded and built remarkable totem poles throughout villages along the coast.

Vacation Destinations

As Vancouver grew in the 19th century, residents from the city began to cross the Burrard Inlet on rowboats. Ambleside Beach was originally a popular summer picnicking and camping area, while Dundarave Village was a favourite place for vacationers seeking seclusion and striking scenery. Both areas grew with the construction of shoreline cottage communities. In 1868, John “Navvy Jack” Thomas was the first pioneer to settle in the area permanently. In 1873, he built a home in Ambleside Beach, which still stands today at 1768 Argyle Ave.

Opening the Pier

In 1914, a pier was built at 25th Street, helping Dundarave Village flourish. It was named after Dundarave castle in Loch Fine, Scotland, the former home of an early resident. The opening of the Clachan restaurant and hotel provided a gathering place for residents, beginning Dundarave Village’s passion for food culture. Today, the Clachan has become the Beach House Restaurant, and it remains a popular destination for locals and tourists alike.

Building the Bridge

The communities began to grow rapidly after the construction of the Lions Gate Bridge in 1938, the first fixed crossing to Vancouver. Ambleside Beach was the first major development near the bridge, built as a subdivision with a commercial strip along Marine Drive. By the 1940s, shops opened and the population grew to 9,000 people. In the following decades, the area became known for its innovative West Coast Style architecture, inspired by the stunning surrounding landscape.