ew Urbanism is dedicated to complete, connected communities, and looks for ways to transform the landscape. This design movement also adheres to a belief that there is no better way to build community than through shared experiences.
Century Group’s vision for its newest master-planned community, North Surrey’s Century City Holland Park, takes that tenet a step further, into the realm of an agrarian lifestyle for its residents. The award-winning developer’s goal is to create an extraordinary community that encompasses distinctive homes, food-focused hubs, educational programs, and recreation.
“The Century City project embraces food and agriculture as a social activator for people who will live and work at Century City,” says Bob Ransford, vice president of development for Century Group. “From our Market Food Hall and Central Bar, to Century City Holland Park’s presentation centre, which is housed in a commercial-grade greenhouse, to our orchard, which will grow four apple varietals, Century Group is community-building around good food.”
The onsite Market Food Hall will feature multiple food stations, a central bar and grill, and a greenhouse to grow organic produce that will end up on the plates of guests dining in the hall and the bar lounge. In addition, each home in Park Tower 1, a 39-storey tower featuring one and two-bedroom homes, will be equipped with a kitchen grow shelf for fresh, personal produce.
Century Group will operate the Market Food Hall itself, starting with the opening of COMBINE—a social bar around food and drink in the lobby of the rental building. The dishes served at COMBINE and its additional culinary outlets will come from produce grown at Southlands: the developer’s master-planned agri-hood community in Tsawwassen.
“Once sales wrap up, the massive commercial greenhouse building will be relocated to Southlands. However, we will have a smaller greenhouse in Century City’s planned permanent courtyard amid the four towers that will be centred around the fruit trees,” says Ransford. “The idea, though, is to grow enough produce at Southlands for both communities.”
In keeping with this food-centric focus, anyone who visits the site’s presentation centre will go home with a collection of recipe cards curated by Century Group’s food and beverage operations team. They include recipes like King George’s Queensborough (a refreshing cocktail using local gin), and butter chicken.
It’s yet another means of encouraging residents to engage with the culture and process of growing food in a dynamic and sophisticated village ambience. “The recipe cards really tie in with the whole philosophy behind this community,” says Natalie Costanzino, senior marketing manager for developer services at Rennie Group, which is working on the marketing for the project. “Rather than people simply walking away with a brochure, the idea was to pool elements from Century City. What better way than to showcase what this community is about than with delicious recipe cards?”
It isn’t a surprise that Century Group has a strong culinary component. Its president, Sean Hodgins, spent many holidays on his grandparents’ farm, which gave him a real appreciation for agriculture; his parents grew up on farms, too. Family-owned for more than six decades, Century Group operates eight kitchens, from the Coast Tsawwassen Inn and Browns Socialhouse in South Delta to the Civic Hotel’s Dominion Bar + Kitchen in Surrey. In addition, the company owns and operates kitchens in four senior residences, with all of the kitchens manned by the company’s very own roster of experienced chefs and cooks.
“Food is the great equalizer,” says Ransford. “This community, like Southlands, brings hometown values, fresh-grown vegetables, and neighbours knowing neighbours back to us.”