To build our home

Five and a half acres of woods and rock in Pemberton, British Columbia.202120202019201820172016

Renders to reality

During the design process, our architects did a substantial amount of both exterior and interior rendering work. This tool was used throughout the process – from early conceptual sketching through to final detailing. We would pass files back and forth, working through variations and layers of detail as the building emerged.

Now that we’ve been living in the house for some time we went back to those renders to compare them to the final result. We were not disappointed.


“Just so you know, a cougar took one of the alpaca from the farm next door last night,” our neighbour texted us one afternoon. “Keep those kiddos safe.”

A week later we learned a donkey had been taken from another nearby pasture by the cat. This spurred us to reacquaint our children with the importance of staying close, not lingering near the tree line, and making noise when outside. We rehearsed what to do in case of a confrontation with a cougar: don’t turn your back, don’t run, get big, and talk firmly and loudly. We made sure they had their whistles with them – while imagining the reality of a 150lb cat and our pint-size 5 and 3 year old boys.

We also accelerated our latent search for a family dog. We had been waiting until the boys were a bit older (so they could do more of the minding) but now we realize we need a large dog that can help discourage cougars and bears when we’re in the forest or hiking.

Within a few days of the second livestock attack, the conservation office set a trap, caught the cougar, and shot it. The neighbourhood breathed a sigh of relief. I felt some of that same relief, but also a discomfort with the reality of the cougar’s death.

There are an estimated 4,000 cougars in British Columbia, and the predator is listed as yellow (least concern) by the BC Conservation list. However, over the last several centuries the cat has been eliminated from huge swaths of its former range (which once spanned the entirety of the Americas), and is now found primarily in mountainous, unpopulated regions. In BC you can legally hunt a cougar for a $24 license fee (though most hunters pay local guides up to $10,000 USD to claim a trophy male).

Fatal attacks on people are extremely rare (5 in the last two decades in all of North America). But livestock hunting is frequent, and attacks on dogs, children, and solo hikers are commonly reported in mountainous areas.

How can these cats survive in the long run? Big cats have not fared well under the ever-expanding human footprint of which we are on the frontier. When will 4,000 dwindle to 2,000 or 1,000? What will the cougar’s place in nature be in another 100 years?

Here is the SLRD’s Cougar Awareness guide.

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