University Endowment Lands

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University Endowment Lands
Unincorporated area
Location of University Endowment Lands within the Greater Vancouver Regional District
Location of University Endowment Lands within the Greater Vancouver Regional District
ProvinceBritish Columbia
Regional districtMetro Vancouver
 • MPJoyce Murray
 • MLADavid Eby
 • Total14.13 km2 (5.46 sq mi)
80 m (260 ft)
 • Total3,193
 • Density225.97/km2 (585.3/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC-8 (PST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-7 (PDT)
Postal code span
V6S, V6T
Area code(s)604, 778
WebsiteUniversity Endowment Lands

The University Endowment Lands (UEL) is an unincorporated area that lies to the west of the city of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, and adjacent to the University of British Columbia (UBC) and the lands associated with that campus. Pacific Spirit Regional Park lies within the UEL. The UEL is part of Metro Vancouver. Mail sent to the UEL is addressed to "Vancouver" rather than the UEL.

The UEL is administered directly by the province and landowners pay their property taxes directly to the provincial government. In a 1995 referendum, UEL residents voted against establishing a municipal governing body.[2]


The University Endowment Lands are located immediately west of the City of Vancouver. Statistics Canada reports a total land area of 14.13 square kilometres (5.46 sq mi). About half of the UEL is made up of Pacific Spirit Regional Park, a mostly forested land that was originally set aside for development which never materialized. Located on Point Grey, the UEL also boasts tall cliffs near the water, with steep drops of approximately 70 metres (230 ft) down to the beaches below.

Because of its isolated location and the nature of the steep cliffs next to the beaches, Greater Vancouver's only nude beaches are located in the University Endowment Lands, the best known being Wreck Beach, located near the western tip of the peninsula.


An aerial view of the University Endowment Lands, including UBC and Pacific Spirit Park
A University Endowment Lands welcome sign on Northwest Marine Drive

Because the UEL is close to seaside cliffs and the Strait of Georgia, above-average winds are common. Most of the winds come from the Strait itself, Howe Sound and English Bay.

Snowfalls are also more common than many parts of the City of Vancouver because of the area's higher altitude and the lack of an urban heat island due to less terrestrial development.

The UEL has higher humidity compared to other parts of Greater Vancouver because it is surrounded on three sides by water. Fog is common in the winter months, especially in areas near Pacific Spirit Park and the water.

Climate data for UBC, Vancouver
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 16.4
Average high °C (°F) 6.0
Daily mean °C (°F) 3.6
Average low °C (°F) 1.2
Record low °C (°F) −13.9
Average precipitation mm (inches) 162.7
Source: Environment Canada[3]


The territory was originally held by the Musqueam Indian Band which still lays claim to the area.[4]

The creation of the University Endowment Lands was first proposed after the passing of the University Endowment Act of 1907, in which the British Columbia provincial government agreed to set aside two million acres (8,000 km2) of British Columbia Crown land to be sold or leased to fund the creation of a university. This land was to be in the Cariboo region of the province's Interior, and consisted of mostly agricultural land. This idea was changed in 1911 when the provincial government passed the University Site Act, which set aside 175 acres (71 ha) in Point Grey for the university. This is where the UEL is located today.

"The Gates" monument at University Boulevard and Blanca Street, the intersection that straddles the border between Vancouver and the UEL

By 1920, it was realized that the Cariboo land did not have a high enough market value to generate the income needed for the university, so that idea was abandoned. This led to the British Columbia University Loan Act, which allowed the Lieutenant-Governor to sell 3,000 acres (12 km2) of Crown land on Point Grey for residential development. The money from the auction was put in the University Endowment Account for the university.[5]

However, a lot of the development that was planned was halted due to economic hardships stemming from the Great Depression. The university could not afford to prepare the land for development or to clear the forest land for development. In the 1930s, the university returned control of the land to the government. By the mid-1950s, over half of the undeveloped land in the UEL remained undeveloped due to the Depression and war shortages in the 1940s.

There have been many attempts to develop this land, which was then opposed by environmentally aware residents in the area. In 1988, the creation of Pacific Spirit Park was announced by the provincial Premier Bill Vander Zalm. The park currently makes up of over half of the UEL, acting as a greenbelt between the developed areas and the City of Vancouver. Development, in large part, is very limited; for any proposed developments in the UEL by the Greater Vancouver Regional District or the University of British Columbia, the following groups must be consulted beforehand: university students, university staff, university faculty, environmental groups, businesses, residents and the general public.[6]


Street signs are commonly used to identify UBC's boundaries within the UEL. To the left is a regular UEL street sign, and to the right is UBC's street sign.

In the 2021 census the University Endowment Lands had an official permanent population of 3,193.[7]

The University Endowment Lands' residential population is small and the non-university population includes mostly high-income professionals as the land there is very expensive. The other residents are mostly students living in the university's residences.

Government and politics[edit]

An unincorporated entity, the UEL has no mayor or municipal government. Rather, it is mostly governed by the University of British Columbia, the Metro Vancouver Regional District (MVRD) and the Province of British Columbia, and they control three entities: the University of British Columbia, University Hill and Pacific Spirit Regional Park. It is part of Electoral Area A of the GVRD.

Residential and commercial taxes are paid directly to the provincial government.

UEL residents are eligible to vote only for school board trustees in City of Vancouver municipal elections.

For provincial elections, the UEL falls under the Vancouver-Point Grey electoral riding. The current Member of the Legislative Assembly is David Eby.

For federal elections, the UEL is in the Vancouver Quadra electoral riding. The seat is held by Joyce Murray.


The UEL is made up of four neighbourhood areas:[1]

  • Area A is bordered by Chancellor Boulevard, Acadia Road, University Boulevard and Wesbrook Mall.
  • Area B lies between Chancellor Boulevard and NW Marine Drive.
  • Area C is between Blanca Street, West 6th Avenue, Tasmania Crescent and College Highroad.
  • Area D is bordered by University Boulevard, Agronomy and Toronto Roads, Wesbrook Mall and includes Block F.


Pacific Spirit Regional Park, at the eastern end of the Endowment Lands, creates a physical buffer between the University and the adjacent Vancouver neighbourhoods of West Point Grey and Dunbar. Because of this, there are only five roads leading from Vancouver into the UEL: North West Marine Drive, 4th Avenue/Chancellor Boulevard, 10th Avenue/University Boulevard, 16th Avenue, and South West Marine Drive.

However, the large number of students and staff commuting to UBC on a daily basis means that the area is easily accessible by public transit. UBC Exchange is the western terminus of many TransLink bus routes, and the bus system is heavily used due to a discount bus pass system called U-Pass. The following routes service the UEL and UBC:

A typical bus for the 99 B-Line, one of the UEL's bus rapid transit services


The UEL is largely a residential neighbourhood, and most economic activity is centred at the University of British Columbia and the area around University Village and University Marketplace. UBC's stores are located mostly in the Student Union Building ("the SUB"). The Village and Marketplace, located next to each other near the intersection of University Boulevard and Allison Road, are located off-campus and home to a food court, several restaurants, some shops, some medical clinics and some services.

The University Village, as seen from University Boulevard

The eastern end of the UEL is home to the University Golf Course, which is one of the original developments in the non-campus portions of the UEL.

Wreck Beach is also a popular area for locals and tourists alike due to its reputation as one of the largest clothing optional beaches in North America. A thriving market in food, drink, clothing, personal services and various recreational substances has prospered on the beach for decades.

Commercial centres[edit]

University Village[edit]

The University Village is the first commercial structure built on the UEL. Its main level mostly includes a convenience store, a McDonald's restaurant, a photocopying store and a florist.

The second level is home to a Japanese restaurant, a salon, a pizza parlour and a discount textbook store (which is in direct competition with UBC Bookstore, located on campus).

The University Marketplace, as seen from Western Parkway

The basement level is entirely dedicated to a multicultural-themed food court, including Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Middle Eastern, etc.

University Marketplace[edit]

The University Marketplace[8] is a mixed commercial-residential structure completed around the late 1990s to the early 2000s. The main floor is home to Rogers Wireless, Staples Business Depot, Starbucks, several restaurants, some cafes and others.

The second floor of the Marketplace contains mostly offices and medical clinics. Some professors from UBC (especially those in the medical field) have offices located there, likely due to the proximity of the science buildings and UBC Hospital.

The upper floors of the Marketplace contain mostly residential apartment housing.


The Vancouver School of Economics's Iona Building

The UEL is adjacent to the University of British Columbia (hence the name "University Endowment Lands"), the Vancouver School of Theology and Regent College.

In addition, the UEL is served by the Vancouver School Board and is zoned to University Hill Secondary School and University Hill Elementary School.

Emergency services and public safety[edit]

Surrounding municipalities[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "UNIVERSITY ENDOWMENT LANDS: Present & Past" (PDF). Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development. Retrieved May 22, 2018.
  2. ^ "University Endowment Lands". Greater Vancouver Book. Vancouver, BC: The Linkman Press. 1997. p. 109.
  3. ^ "Canadian Climate Normals 1971–2000 – Vancouver Harbour CS". September 2011.
  4. ^ "Home - Musqueam Indian Band". Musqueam. Retrieved May 12, 2022.
  5. ^[bare URL PDF]
  6. ^ "University Endowment Lands". Archived from the original on March 25, 2006. Retrieved March 2, 2006.
  7. ^ Government of Canada, Statistics Canada (February 9, 2022). "Profile table, Census Profile, 2021 Census of Population - University Endowment Lands (UEL), Unincorporated place (UNP) [Designated place], British Columbia". Retrieved May 12, 2022.
  8. ^ Vancouver's most luxurious rental condominiums. University MarketPlace. Retrieved on 2014-04-12.
  9. ^ "Detachments in B.C." Archived from the original on March 3, 2007.
  10. ^ "UBCH Urgent Care Centre - Vancouver - Hospitals - Health Facilities - VCH". Archived from the original on October 18, 2007.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 49°15′29″N 123°13′41″W / 49.258°N 123.228°W / 49.258; -123.228