Ontario is a wonderful place to live. Here the modern blends in complete harmony with the natural beauty for which the area is known. It’s a place that attracts plenty of homebuyers and not only those native to Canada. Investors from all around the world buy homes here and for those just south of the border, it provides a location that is comfortably familiar yet invigoratingly new and exciting.
When it comes to lakefront homes for sale, Ontario offers some of the finest properties in Canada. Here, we’ll explore luxury living in Ontario lakefront homes and provide you with what you need to know as you look for a new investment or even better, a place to call home.
A Brief History of Ontario
Long before the arrival of French and British settlers in the 1600s, Ontario was home to Iroquoian and Algonquian-speaking Aboriginals. It is believed it is from here we get the name Ontario which means “beautiful water” or “sparkling water” in Iroquois.
The British took possession of Ontario, Quebec, and parts of the United States (then collectively known as Quebec) after the Seven Years’ War. The Constitutional Act of 1791 split Quebec into two with Ontario becoming known as Upper Canada while Quebec became Lower Canada. As Upper Canada, its first capital was Newark (known today as Niagara-on-the-Lake) before being moved to York (present day Toronto) in 1793. Toronto became Ontario’s first city in 1834.
Today, Ontario is widely considered to be the “Gateway to Canada” due to its proximity to the US and it plays a central role in English-speaking Canadian media, theatre, and professional sports.
Living in the Heartland Province
Ontario is a diverse and vibrant Canadian province. From the cosmopolitan city of Toronto and the national capital Ottawa to the cascading waters of Niagara Falls, it offers a wide range of experiences and lifestyles. With a unique blend of urban and rural landscapes, you’re certain to find a community that truly feels like home.
As one of Canada’s wealthiest and most prosperous provinces, Ontario’s industries include agriculture, mining, manufacturing, software design, and tech. It also holds another kind of wealth — its natural bounty is unrivaled with swathes of wilderness to the north and family-owned farms and fields to the south.
Then there are the gleaming lakes for which the province is known. These magnificent bodies of water are fantastic spots for fishing, boating, bird watching, nature photography, and many other outdoor activities. In addition, Ontario offers big city conveniences and luxuries, including upscale retail, vibrant nightlife, and a world-class dining scene.
Ontario has it all, providing people who live here all the amenities of modern world class cities while never being far away from some of the most spectacular natural beauty anywhere on earth.
Location and Geography
As the second largest province, Ontario encompasses over 415,000 square miles in east-central Canada. It borders the United States and is bounded by Hudson Bay and James Bay to the north; the St.Lawrence River and the Great Lakes to the south; the province of Quebec to the east; and the province of Manitoba to the west.
Located between the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River, Ontario serves as a vital link between the eastern and western portions of Canada. It is also an important transportation hub with many major highways and railways running through the province.
Ontario has two time zones — the boundary line between the Central and Eastern Time Zone lies west of Thunder Bay and runs north from the US border to Hudson Bay. Its northernmost communities are near the same latitude as London and Warsaw while its southernmost point is Middle Island.
The Great Lakes Province: A Guide to Ontario’s Lakes
Famously home to four of the five Great Lakes, Ontario is an outdoor destination like no other. Here you’ll find Lake Ontario, Lake Superior, Lake Erie, and Lake Huron. The province is also home to the Niagara Escarpment, which runs northwest from Niagara Falls all the way to the Bruce Peninsula and the southwestern edge of Lake Ontario.
If you’re unfamiliar with the area, it’s important to understand how much the lakes shape the landscape of Ontario. There are more than 250,000 lakes throughout the province, which collectively hold a fifth of the world’s fresh water. Manitoulin Island, located in scenic Georgian Bay, is the largest freshwater island in the world, encompassing 1,068 square miles.
Much of the province is a part of the Canadian Shield, also known as the Laurentian Plateau, which is rich in mineral ore. The Canadian Shield features rolling hills, forested terrain, bogs, and many lakes and waterways. There is a series of lake districts along the southern edge, including the Muskoka Lakes, the Rideau Lakes Chain, and the lakes of the Haliburton Highlands.
There are many advantages to living near or on a lake in Ontario:
- Natural scenery – Waterfront properties offer spectacular water views year-round. From idle summers to fall foliage and hauntingly beautiful winters, the natural scenery of Ontario’s lake communities will take your breath away.
- Outdoor recreation – Lakeside living offers numerous opportunities for swimming, boating, fishing, and other water-based activities. Many lake communities also provide access to hiking trails, waterfront parks, and picnic spots for more outdoor experiences.
- Sense of community – There are many tight-knit neighborhoods and communities in Ontario, where you can participate in local events, sporting events, and seasonal celebrations.
- Peace and relaxation – There is ample evidence suggesting that living near a body of water can have positive benefits for physical and mental health. These include a sense of peace and calmness as well as improved well-being and creativity.
- Space to entertain – A waterfront home is the perfect place to entertain friends and family. Whether you love hosting gatherings or even better, love having people over for the summer, lakefront living in Ontario will help you create memorable experiences.
- Property value – A luxury waterfront home is considered the ultimate luxury property. A lakefront home for sale in Ontario is a prime real estate investment and a worthy addition to your portfolio.
Lakefront Homes for Sale in Ontario
There are many lakeside towns, cities, and neighborhoods that offer luxury waterfront real estate throughout Ontario. Here are a select few that you should consider if you’re looking to invest or even set up residence in the state:
As the largest lake in the region, Lake Muskoka offers plenty of water surface for speed boating, kayaking, and other water sports. There are also nearby campgrounds for those who want to spend the weekend. Surrounded by gorgeous cottages and upscale resorts, the area offers a laid-back lifestyle with plenty of things to do. The nearby town of Gravenhurst offers an exclusive selection of lakeside mansions with large boathouses along a narrow channel.
The area offers a wide range of waterfront homes from rustic cabins and modern villas to waterfront lots and private islands. Georgian Bay is located near fantastic golf courses, ski resorts, and walking and snowmobile trails. In short, Georgian Bay has it all.
This vibrant city offers an excellent mix of lakefront bungalows, waterfront lots, and inland homes. Some of the largest and most desirable waterfront homes in the area feature walkout basements, observation decks, dockage, and wet slip boat houses.
There are several luxury waterfront communities and villages on the shores of Lake Simcoe, such as Big Bay Point, Innisfil, Oro-Medonte, and Shanty Bay, offering an authentic lakeside experience with cottages and dockage.
The City of Barrie features a marina and waterfront trail for outdoor recreation. Kempenfelt Bay is connected to Lake Simcoe and is a great spot for ice fishing. In Barrie, you’ll find single-family homes and apartment buildings with exquisite red brick exteriors, and of course, waterfront homes on spacious lots.
Prince Edward County
West Lake in Prince Edward County is known for its stunning waterfront cottages and luxury properties. The community provides access to Lake Ontario, making it a popular choice for boaters. It is located near Sheba’s Island, a 60-acre community with summer cottages.
Lake of Bays
This picturesque township in northeastern Muskoka offers gorgeous lakefront cottages with spacious viewing decks, gazebos, and docks. Lake of Bays shares its name with one of the largest lakes in the region and adjoins Algonquin Park, which is a popular spot for lake trout and brook trout fishing.
An Overview of the Ontario Real Estate Market
The Ontario housing market has shown strong overall appreciation over the last 3 years. The median price of a home sold in December 2020 stood at $480,000. In November 2023 the figure was $650,000. This means that in a little under 3 years the median home value has risen by $170,000 or by 30%.
It is true that mid-2023 saw a slight dip to below the $600,00 figure however since then there has been the usual steady growth the region has enjoyed in recent years. This growth is projected to continue through into 2024 and beyond, so if you’re looking to invest in lakefront homes for sale in Ontario, the earlier you get into the market, the better. This will enable you to begin accruing equity in this steady but growing market.
Buying Luxury Waterfront Property
If you are a little more advanced in your interest and are preparing yourself to invest in a lakefront home for sale in Ontario, here are some things to keep in mind.
Crystalize your purpose for buying a waterfront home
From the start, you should be clear about your reasons for making the purchase. Are you looking for a second home? Do you plan to rent it out for passive income and possibly use it as a retirement home later on? Is your interest predominantly about fishing or enjoying other water sports more often?
Clarifying your reasons will narrow your search parameters and help you make a smarter decision more quickly. If you’re a boating enthusiast, you’ll want a waterfront home with dockage. If you want to spend time on the property fairly regularly, consider looking into waterfront locations that are easily accessible.
Learn about the surrounding body of water
Conduct in-depth research into the surrounding body of water. If you’re a boat owner, research the depth of the water and determine whether it is suitable for your watercraft. If you’re interested in fishing and swimming, look into water quality, marine life, or beach access to determine whether or not you can enjoy these activities in the immediate area.
Choose suitable features and amenities
Luxury waterfront homes are all about the lifestyle. Choose one with features and amenities that enhance your day-to-day life. Whether it’s a gourmet kitchen with a spacious island or an observation deck with sunset views, the Ontario housing market offers a wide range of amenities to suit all preferences and tastes.
Get ready for the home purchase
Once you know what you’re looking for in a waterfront property, it’s time to get ready for the purchase. If you’re taking out a mortgage on the property, gather the necessary documents and find a lender. Of course, if you’re paying in cash this will expedite the process as well as save you money on interest payments.
This is an excellent time to learn about the insurance requirements for waterfront property and search for an insurance provider in the area. A robust insurance policy will help safeguard your investment.
It is also important to consider the different maintenance requirements of a lakefront home during this time. Set a budget for seawall maintenance and other preventive measures to keep your waterfront property in top condition.
Conduct a home inspection before committing to the sale
A thorough home inspection will help you detect any potential issues with the property. Check with the home inspector for water intrusion and other major issues that can cause a huge amount of stress and costly repairs down the line. You can request an independent inspection of the seawall, outdoor pool, dockage, and other structures on the property.
Get to know the neighborhood
When buying a home, you’re also investing in the community it’s in. Before committing to a purchase, get to know the waterfront community by exploring and talking to other homeowners about their experience in the area. This will provide insight into potential issues and the overall quality of life in the area. This will also help you determine whether or not the community truly suits your needs and reflects your values.
Partner with a trusted Realtor
A real estate expert can help with all the tips above and more, making the whole process smoother, less stressful, and with more chance of landing you with an ideal waterfront property. Begin your buying journey strong and get yourself the best help you can.
Find Lakefront Homes for Sale in Ontario with the Experts
Ontario offers prime real estate for outdoor enthusiasts and savvy investors. Find the perfect lakefront home in this ever-evolving market with the help of local real estate experts. We at The Golfi Team would be more than happy to assist you.
Under the leadership of Rob Golfi, we generated over $450 million in sales in one year alone. Our team of top producers has ranked #5 among all Canadian brokerages and #7 among all RE/MAX brokerages worldwide. A testament to the service we provide is that repeat customers account for a substantial portion of our business.