The Case For Windsor-Essex as a Cottage Destination

There was a great article in the Globe and Mail this weekend (  Being as it was Victoria Day Weekend, they ran a story on perils of cottage commuting for GTA residents. The article suggests alternative means to get to cottage country including rediscovering the lost of art of map reading and backroad driving, using the train and even chartering a small jet.  But here’s another suggestion – why not re-think the notion of a cottage destination all together. The Leamington and Windsor-Essex region has a lot to offer those looking to get away from the congestion and you don’t need a plane to get here!  Here are just a few reasons to consider this area as an alternative to Muskoka, Barrie, Kingston and the Kawarthas as a place to spend your recreational time.

Geographic Location;

  • Windsor-Essex is the southernmost region in Canada and shares the same latitude as Girona Spain, The Island of Corsica in France and Cape Cod Massachusetts in the United States.
  • The region is completely surrounded by the temperature moderating influences of Lake Erie, leading to the region’s designation as the 100 mile peninsula.  The area enjoys not only great boating but also some of the best perch and pickerel fishing around.
  • Every spring, travellers from all around the globe flock to the region and Point Pelee Nation Park in particular to experience some of the best birding in North America. Many return in the fall to catch the monarch butterfly migration.
  • The region has seen an explosion in agri-tourism over the last few years.  Essex County has the largest concentration of greenhouses in North America.  Fruit stands dominate the rural landscape here and as such it is tough to find fresher tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers anywhere.  Vineyards are also a big part of this industry as wineries of the Lake Erie North Shore (LENS) are gaining a global reputation.
  • At 350km from Toronto, the region is closer than you think.  As you might soon discover, the traffic volume is much lighter the further west you get from the GTA meaning you spend more time driving rather versus getting stuck in a traffic jam.

Real Estate Market;

  • Simply put, your recreation dollar goes a lot further here as the region has some of the most affordable housing in the entire country.  A study by a local retirement recruitment group shows has put together a nice comparison on where the region ranks in terms of affordability. (
  • Waterfront properties cost a fraction of what they do in more traditionally defined cottage locations.  For the price of a small condominium in Toronto you can own a waterfront property with views that rival some of the nicest in the province.
  • Treed lots and hobby farms are also in strong supply meaning you can own a piece of the country for less.

In summary, if you’re from the GTA or places in between and are looking for a cottage retreat but are unwilling to pay the price of Muskoka real estate or to fight the traffic to cottage country, why not consider the Windsor-Essex region?  Give our office a call at 519-326-6154 or fill out the contact form below.  We’d love to host you on a tour of the area to show you why we think it is an undiscovered gem.

The boardwalk at Point Pelee National Park.

A Scarlet Tanager perched on branch.


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Backyard Birding

Birding season is upon us and by just spending a relaxing lunch in the backyard, it becomes quickly evident why so many people from around the world flock to Leamington and Point Pelee this time of year.  Here’s a quick example of some of the birds you might encounter … if you’re quiet enough.

A cardinal perched in a maple tree.

An Oriel sitting on a fence.  Wonder if he’s headed to Baltimore…..


A Red-Winged Blackbird enjoying a snack.

For more information about birding in the Leamington area, please visit .

April Real Estate Market Data

Market data for the month of April from the Windsor Essex County Real Estate Board was released on Tuesday.   It shows a continued momentum from the gains made in the first quarter of 2012.  Total inventory remains relatively flat with YTD listings down only 0.50%.  As of the end of April, there were 3195 listings compared to 3211 in 2011.  YTD sales tho ugh are up 12.38% and YTD average price is up 8.26% at $170,839.  In sum, we see a slightly declining inventory coupled with increased sales and higher average price.  This is a positive indicator for those considering placing thier home on the market.

Delving a little deeper into the figures, it is worth noting what type of home buyers have been looking for.   YTD, the highest number of homes have sold between $140,000-$179,999.  In the month of April, more buyers looked to ranches and raised ranches than other design types.  However, the sale of 2 storey homes increased 76% from April of last year.  This type of home also brought with it the highest average sale price in  April 2012 at $254,411 which is a 24% increase over the same period in 2011.

To view the interactive data provided by the Windsor Essex County Real Estate Board please click the link provided.  To view some of the more detailed data the board provides us or to discuss what this data means for your propery, please fill out the contact us form provided or call our office at 519-326-6154.