2017 Foodies of the Year: Jayne and Suzanne Bradbury
These island sisters represent a new wave of landlords, curating a foodie community with their tenants.
Owners, The Fort Common, Victoria
On Jayne and Suzanne Bradbury’s company website, a succinct credo, courtesy of Winston Churchill: “We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.” The joint owners of Fort Properties, a three-generation property management company in Victoria, refer to it often. “That quote touches every part of the work we do,” says Jayne (seen above, left, with Suzanne). “Our built environment affects us in so many different ways. It’s really that intersection of place and well-being.”
When the sisters assumed leadership of the company in 2012, they embarked on a long-term revitalization of their flagship properties known as the Fort Common District, slowly transforming a hodgepodge of four buildings fronting Broughton Avenue and Fort and Blanshard Streets into the city’s buzziest food and dining area. Among their tenants: Fishhook, Chorizo and Co. and Be Love, plus recent arrivals Farm and Field Butchers, a shop that sources its meats and products directly from Island farmers. Suzanne says supporting that farm-to-table economy is an important part of their business model: “We love to eat and our passion is great food, but we take a very holistic approach to building the whole system, wherever we can.”
Last year, the Bradburys made their boldest building improvements to date, adding new indoor and outdoor space for both Discovery Coffee and the Livet restaurant, and turning the once-underutilized brick carriage yard at the back of the site into an atmospheric venue for outdoor events, lit by strings of lights overhead. As tech offices and condos enter the scene, taking over the antique shops that once dominated the area—there’s a metaphor in here somewhere—the city’s mayor has called Fort Street’s revitalization “a microcosm of the kind of economic ecosystem we are trying to build in Victoria.” We call it simply good taste.
ONE QUESTION INTERVIEW
What defines a good restaurant?
“It can be a hole-in-the-wall joint or a beautifully designed room, but that feeling of soul is what I really seek out.”