UPDATE: Tom and Katherine Gutenberg, the owners of Bradian, have tentatively accepted an offer on the town.
It’s often assumed that ghost towns are far from civilization, in remote areas difficult to get to.
Just two hours from Whistler, however, is the ghost town of Bradian. A former suburb of the gold mining town of Bralorne, it has over 22 houses still standing in reasonable condition. It has power lines, phone lines, and the 50 acre site is already zoned rural residential.
And it can be yours for under a million dollars.
“It’s all ready to go,” says John Lovelace, the town’s Realtor.
“You’d have to do some work on the infrastructure, and the plumbing, but it’s there.”
PHOTO GALLERY: The ghost town of Bradian. Photos courtesy John Lovelace
Lovelace is selling the town for Tom and Katherine Gutenberg, who bought it in 1997. The two have spent the ensuing years upgrading the town, putting proper roofs on all the remaining buildings and bringing their children up every summer.
“It’s been really great bringing up the kids here. They have had such a tremendous exposure to something most children would never have in their entire life,” said Katherine when they decided put Bradian up for sale.
“We’ve done what we could do as a family. It’s time to pass it on to someone who would do a bit more with it,” added Tom.
That was in 2010. In the ensuing years, Lovelace has had people inquire about Bradian every month, but nobody has committed to a deal. It’s currently on the market for $995,000.
“I wonder continually why that property hasn’t been sold. If I was 20 years younger, I would have been involved,” said Lovelace.
“It’s beautiful, it’s right in the middle of these snow-capped mountains, there’s houses and lakes nearby, but when it’s really comes down to it, you have to spend time and money to bring it up to speed.”
WATCH: Global first reported on Bradian in 2010
He should know. Lovelace visited ghost towns from coast to coast when he produced “Wings over Canada”, a TV Series that explored some of the most unique spots in the country. It was during the show that he learned of Bradian, and became good friends with the Gutenbergs after filming a segment on the town.
“I’ve think I’ve looked and walked and talked on more Ghost Towns than any other person in Canada, and I’ve done this for years and years and years, and I can say that it’s the closest to a major city than any other area,” says Lovelace.
“Kitsault’s in the middle of nowhere. This one in the summertime, it takes just 3 or 4 hours to get to.”
Lovelace knows there are challenges with finding a buyer for Bradian. The town is only accessible through Lillooet for seven months of the year, adding three hours to the drive from Vancouver, and the sewage needs upgrading.
GALLERY: More photos of Bradian
Then there’s the question of how some one would make money if they seriously invested in the property. Lovelace is confident though.
“There’s a lot of money to be made there. If you build it, people would come…it’s the best snowmobiling in B.C.,” he says.
“The thing is, you have lots of snow, but you have snow everywhere in Canada. But the temperature range in those mountains is relatively mild. The environment and temperature and snow conditions are identical to Whistler – you don’t get minus 30 and 40, you get minus 5 and minus 10. That gets your winter covered. And in the summertime, you’ve got the Bradian Pass, and beautiful lakes.”
Most ghost towns are all about the past. But Lovelace believes Bradian has a future for someone who wants their very own place on the map.
“There’s lots of opportunities, and I think it’s just the matter of the right person with the right dream and time on their hands.”
“Ghost Town Mysteries” is a semi-regular online series exploring some of the strange sights from B.C.’s past.
© Shaw Media, 2014