The History of Sandpiper

The resort, previously known as Pretty Estates Resort, was renamed Sandpiper Resort in April 2016. It is now home to Rowena’s Inn on the River, Sandpiper Golf Course, and the River’s Edge Clubhouse. The Pretty family, including Charles Nelson Pretty and Rowena Elizabeth Peters, had a complex history. They had four children: Charles Watson, Rowena Charlotte, James Ivan, and Elizabeth Anne (known as Betty Anne).

The family purchased a 160-acre parcel of land in Harrison Mills from a widow named Mrs. Jackson. They traveled from Vancouver to their riverside home by train and canoe, making renovations and extensions over time. Since BC Hydro hadn’t reached the Fraser Valley at that time, Charles Pretty constructed a dam to generate electricity for their home and adjacent buildings, which is still in use today for the Inn.

Charles Nelson Pretty was involved in the Timber Brokerage business and continued the family business after his father’s passing. He also established a dairy farm on the property and acquired additional land from Indigenous Nations across the river. He developed a silvertip fox farm, and at one point, his logging company was considered the largest privately-owned logging company in British Columbia.

The family enjoyed leisure activities, including owning a 52-foot pleasure yacht called the “Voyageur III.” They would take trips along the river and Harrison Lake, mooring the boat at the front dock of their house during the summer high water season. They were members of the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club and had many memorable excursions.

In honor of their mother and sister, Betty Anne and Ivan decided to transform their home into Rowena’s Inn on the River. They realized their dream in 1995 and also created the Sandpiper Golf Course, an 18-hole course surrounding the house. Betty Anne’s nephew, Christopher Lepine, served as the General Manager until 2014. Betty Anne became the sole owner of the resort after buying Ivan’s share and remained actively involved until April 15, 2016.

Betty Anne eventually moved to West Vancouver, and her presence will be missed by those who knew her.

Who Sandpiper is Today

Nestled amidst the coastal mountains and set alongside the turquoise waters of the Harrison River, lies Sandpiper Resort – the cornerstone of the Harrison Mills community.

Featuring British Columbia’s only 1920’s colonial-themed inn, an 18-hole waterfront golf course, Canada’s only certified Salmon Stronghold, and home to the world’s largest winter bald eagle gathering, it is these natural wonders that make Sandpiper Resort a gift that should be shared with everyone.

Sandpiper Resort and Keltic Development, working in conjunction with the Fraser Valley Regional District and neighbouring Indigenous communities, are committed to the stewardship of the natural environment while ensuring the preservation of the lands and wildlife that inhabit the area.

Our vision is to bring modern amenities into harmony with historical and environmental preservation. Keltic Development understands the privilege and responsibility we all bear while occupying these sacred lands and is partnering with local stakeholders to ensure we exceed expectations. Our oath is to uphold these responsibilities while enhancing the natural surroundings to improve the way of life for all residents and guests alike.

Our Commitment:

  • Preserve and protect the ecosystem and natural habitats of the bald eagles, salmon, and other wildlife by working alongside key  stakeholders such as Indigenous communities & the Fraser Valley Regional District.
  • Work with organizations such as UC Davis & SeaDoc Society to educate the public about our local wildlife.
  • Provide accessible wildlife information to the public at the Bald Eagle Interpretive Centre – a space dedicated to bald eagle preservation.
  • Enhance the community by delivering modern amenities that create meaningful experiences for both residents and guests alike.
  • Provide low density housing options for seasonal and full-time residents.