Sunday, May 26, 2024

Island Market

Canada: Ontario’s Islands of Desire

For the stressed-out city dwellers of Toronto, a relaxing escape is just a few hours’ drive away in Ontario’s Cottage Country. The most longed-for retreat is undoubtedly a private island in beautiful Georgian Bay.

(Image of Rockstar Courtesy of Ojibway Realty)

Bay Street, regarded as Toronto’s answer to Wall Street, is an urban jungle of concrete and glass, filled with successful professionals who fantasize about a truly secluded escape. Many local business people of my own acquaintance, from investors and bankers to lawyers and developers, all dream of their own private isle, even when they already have a far-flung Muskoka cottage or country home north of the city. When it comes to objects of desire, nothing compares to an island in Georgian Bay.

The island excitement may be the highest in downtown real estate brokerages: private island listings, when sent out on the Multiple Listing Service wire, are eagerly passed around the office, tagged with notes; “This one’s mine!” With a climate that can be fairly inhospitable for much of the year, Ontarians can’t wait to make the most of their precious summers, breeding a culture that revolves around patios and porches, cook-outs and barbeques. What could be better than a private island for summer parties?

(Image of Knightsleigh Courtesy of Moffat Dunlap)

The sleepy port of Parry Sound is often considered the heart of Ontario’s Cottage Country, found a scenic two hour drive from the big city. Here, adventurers of all stripes stock up on weekend necessities, and often fuel their boats – and it’s a particularly important way station for cottagers lucky enough to have their own island. For those in the market, the nearby Knightsleigh Island may just fit the bill. Featuring a well-appointed three-bedroom home with a stone fireplace and incredible sunset views, Knightsleigh is a self-contained island paradise that would appeal to the individualist in all of us. According to the island’s broker, George Webster; “The island is best suited to the rugged Georgian Bayer who loves the big water and wants to be off the grid.” Listed at just under CND $950,000, more details can be found through local brokerage Moffat Dunlap.

(Image Courtesy of Ojibway Realty

Listed by Ojibway Realty for CND $1,195,000, the island simply known as “Rockstar” may also epitomize the perfect Georgian Bay isle.  Ontarians have no need for massive island mansions with pools and pampering staff – Cottage Country is a dressed-down, casual kind of place, where even the wealthiest want to avoid looking like a spoiled urbanite. All that’s required is something like this 3-bedroom cottage with a large deck and sweeping views – the island may be a mere 1.21 acres in size, but the entire wilderness becomes your backyard. Surrounded by forests and pure nature, hectic Bay Street couldn’t seem further away: but Toronto is just a 2.5 hour drive.

Many islands in Georgian Bay are even more affordable: a quick browse of broker listings turns up other gems like an island complete with a small cottage for CND $599,000, or a plethora of small undeveloped islands where you can build your own dream home for under $400,000. Many of the best islands in Georgian Bay, however, are sold as private deals before they even hit the market – it helps to be in touch with a few local brokers and get on their waiting lists!

While some people may be eager to own a slice of Ontario’s island paradise, others prefer a less commitment-intensive method of relaxation – many islands here are available to rent on a weekly basis. Check soon for a follow-up article that will profile a few of these perfect private island rentals!

Read about one journalist’s experience on a private Georgian Bay Island here:

Further information on Knightsleigh Island is available here:

Details on Rockstar Island are available here:

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