Skip to main content

B.C. government provides $48M toward purchase of former Quest University campus

Squamish, B.C. -

A former university campus in Squamish will welcome students again next year, after a new owner acquired the land with a multi-million-dollar assist from the provincial government.

Capilano University is the new owner of the former Quest University campus. Quest announced in February that it would be shutting down operations at the end of its spring semester, citing financial difficulties

The campus has been on the market ever since, with a Realtor telling CTV News in March that there had been "quite a bit of interest" in the site.

Primacorp Ventures purchased the full 55-acre site (which includes the Quest campus and undeveloped land) in 2020 when Quest filed for creditor protection. The purchase price at the time was in the “mid-40s,” meaning somewhere between $40 million and $50 million, according to the Realtor

On Wednesday the B.C. government announced the 18-acre campus had been purchased for $63.2 million, with the province providing $48 million in funding, more than three-quarters of the purchase price. The province confirmed to CTV News that the purchase does not include the roughly 38 acres of undeveloped land, which is still owned by Primacorp.

"As a university that serves Vancouver’s North Shore, the Sunshine Coast, the Sea-to-Sky region and beyond, we are excited to open a new Capilano University campus in the District of Squamish," said Paul Dangerfield, the university's president, in a statement.

"The Sea-to-Sky region is growing quickly," added Selina Robinson, B.C.'s minister of post-secondary education and future skills, also in a statement.

"Capilano University's purchase of the former Quest University campus in Squamish will provide post-secondary education opportunities closer to home for people living in the area, which is fantastic news for local high school students and those who want to go to university at any age from the Squamish, Whistler and surrounding areas."

The former Quest facility already includes academic spaces, a library, an athletic centre and sports field and a "cultural and creative activity area," according to Capilano.

These amenities will allow the new owner to begin serving students "relatively soon," Capilano University said, adding that registration for classes at its new Squamish campus is expected to start early next year, with classes beginning in fall 2024.

CTV News reported Capilano's interest in acquiring the Squamish campus last week, though details of the purchase price and the province's involvement were not yet known. 


Recently released audits by the Canada Revenue Agency raised fresh questions about the financial history of Quest. In March, CTV News revealed that Quest is connected to a large network of charity foundations, all registered to the same downtown Vancouver office.

At the time, at least five foundations had had their charitable status revoked. In almost all cases of revocation, the CRA alleges there was a “failure to devote resources to charitable activities.”

As of July, 2023, two more charity foundations with connections to Quest have also had their charitable status revoked for the same reason. In one audit of the Eden Glen foundation, the CRA reveals a real estate transaction involving “Lot 12 and 58 in Squamish” (the previous legal title names for portions of land within the Quest University campus). The CRA alleges that sale resulted in a “private benefit” and does not “fulfill a charitable purpose.” As a result of that sale, and other financial dealings by the foundation, the CRA is proposing penalties of more than $23 million.

The CRA’s allegations regarding these foundations have not been tested in court.


During Wednesday’s news conference announcing the sale, Robinson was asked whether there was a desire from the provincial government to understand what went wrong with Quest.

She answered, in part, with: “You’ll have to speak with Quest, they’re a private institution.”

Two other elected officials say there is a desire to investigate further, including Patrick Weiler, MP for West Vancouver - Sunshine Coast - Sea to Sky Country.

“These are very serious allegations that have been brought forward and these are the type of allegations that speak to the integrity of our tax system,” Weilier said.

Asked if he would advocate for the investigative process to speed up, he responded: “This isn’t a political matter. The CRA (and) RCMP operate independently and it’s important it stays that way.”

Similar concerns were expressed by West Vancouver - Sea to Sky MLA Jordan Sturdy, who did question the speed of the investigation, wondering why it took so long for the CRA audits to be completed, and then made public.

“How there can be investigations into the charities and then the results of those investigations are not made public for a decade?” Sturdy said, “As a taxpayer in this country, I don't think this charitable structure (the network of connected charity foundations) serves Canadians.” Top Stories

Stay Connected