Category Archives: luxury cottages

Mike Holmes: Getting ready for cottage season

If you’ve been dreaming of going to the cottage all winter, well, it’s almost that time. But before you fire up the grill, and take that first jump off the dock – you’ve got the task of opening up the cottage.

Here are a few of the major jobs you want to get out of the way that first weekend up north.

Start From the Top

You probably cleared the eavestrough before shutting down for the season – but one of your first tasks should be to clean out any debris that accumulated over the winter. You want to make sure that water can properly drain away from you home. While you’re on your ladder, it’s a good idea to check the roof for any signs of damage or intruders.

Animal Patrol

You want to be on the lookout for telltale signs of animals. I’m talking about obvious signs of entry – things like torn window screens, or holes in your soffits. Animals can even pull away siding, or find entry through your chimney or roof venting.

Even a seemingly harmless mouse can cause issues. They will eat away at wood in your home or chew through electrical wires. If you spot any chewed up wires or cords make a call to your local electrician. They need to check your electrical system and make sure it’s safe.

If any critters have taken up space as unwanted tenants, you will also want to bring in a professional pest control expert. Believe me, you want them evicted before they reproduce and cause an infestation.

If you find signs of mice, you will want to spray any area they’ve been with a disinfectant. It’s important to keep those dirty particles from floating around, because breathing in materials from their droppings or saliva can make you sick. Remember to wear a disposable mask and gloves to reduce the risk of contact.

Let Your Home Breathe

Once you’ve checked for signs of pests, it’s time to inspect the interior. Start by opening the windows. The space will need circulation, especially if it was locked up tight all winter long.

Trust your nose. If you notice a strong musty smell, it could mean a moisture problem – and that can lead to mould. You need to stop the source of moisture first, otherwise you’re going to be dealing with mould problems again and again.

For small areas, you can likely clean it yourself as long as you have the proper cleaning solution and safety gear (goggles, gloves, and a respirator or mask), but for large mould infestations, bring in a remediation expert.

Check the caulking around windows and doors and replace any damaged areas. Broken caulking leaves the perfect entryway for water to seep in, and it’s an easy fix. Same with the weather stripping around doors – if it’s damaged it’s simple to fix, but if left unrepaired, you’re leaving an open invitation for water penetration.

Bring Back the Power

When you turn the power back on, take things room by room. Make sure everything is working as it should, and be on the hunt for flickering lights, a burning smell from appliances, or any sparking fixtures.

Next, switch the water back on. Again, room by room, you want to be looking for any leaks. Finally, test your HVAC system, and change the air filter.

Inspect Your Deck

Before entertaining this season – make sure you are checking your deck thoroughly. The railings, steps, and ledger board (the piece of the deck that holds the structure to the building) all need to be safe and secure. You want to see that the decking material is still in good condition with no dry rot, or damage from insects.

Most home inspections will include a deck safety check, so if you’re unsure of what you should be looking at, a licensed home inspector can help point out areas of concern.

Your cottage is your home away from home during the summer – but just because you may only be there on weekends, doesn’t mean you can slack on your regular maintenance. Cottage season goes by so quickly, but treat it like you would your home – make it right, and make it safe.

Watch Mike Holmes in his series, Holmes Makes It Right, on HGTV. For more information, visit

Source: National Post – Mike Holmes | May 6, 2017

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Canada’s top-5 most expensive homes currently for sale


Canada’s top-5 most expensive homes currently for sale
Affordability is a major issue for many Canadians, especially those trying to buy a home in major cities. However, these properties – currently for sale and curated by online real estate company Point2Homes — are in an a class of unaffordability entirely their own.

#1: $42,000,000 — 4351 Erwin Drive, West Vancouver, BC

This 7 bedroom mansion in Vancouver offers oceanfront views of Stanley Park. It also boasts 10,000 square feet and its own private beach.

#2: $38,000,000 — 2106 SW Marine Drive, Vancouver, BC

This property offers views of the Gulf Islands, as well as its own private park and two golf greens on its 4.25 acres.

#3: $30,000,000 — 242004 Range Road 32, Calgary, AB

Making our way east, we find our first property outside beautiful British Columbia. Nestled in the mountains, this 160 acre property offers everything an outdoorsman – and woman – would want.

For those who prefer the indoors, the sprawling home contains a music conservatory (for the young, budding Beethoven, naturally), a two-storey library, and an indoor pool.

#4: $26,000,000 — 12133 No 3 Road, Richmond, BC

Unsurprisingly we’re back in BC, which is home to this five bedroom Tuscan-like villa. While it may not have its own winery, it does offer ponds, gardens, a swimming pool, and a tennis court.

#5: $25,000,000 — 76,84,91 Trail’s End, Lake Joseph, ON

This a dream-worthy cottage on Lake Joseph has its own bar.

But who needs a beer when you can crack a cold beer on that dock?

This is just small sample of the country’s priciest homes. To see the rest, check out the original report by Point2Homes, which includes the country’s most expensive listing: A three home package deal that will run you nearly $50 million.

Source: – by MBN 16 Mar 2017
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Muskoka now ‘Hamptons of the north’ for luxury cottage living

Wealthy buyers are looking to snap up luxury real estate such as Tokata, a home located on a nine-acre peninsula in Parry Sound, Ont. The property is listed for $4,750,000.

High-end Muskoka waterfront purchases were up 66 per cent in 2014 over 2013, much of it fuelled by the weak dollar and growing international interest.

Toronto Star

By: Business Reporter, Published on Fri May 15 2015

MUSKOKA—Tokata is one of those idyllic enclaves of waterfront real estate — spacious, gracious, packed with modern amenities and perched on a private peninsula jutting into quiet Silver Lake.

You can watch the sun rise from its stunning granite-and-wood Muskoka room facing the east deck, and the sun set from the elegant Great Room overlooking the west deck.

If you can pass the extensive background check, the phone interview and the three-page questionnaire setting out house rules, all this and more can be yours — for $12,000 per week.

Personal chef and yoga on the dock are optional.

In the quest to make Muskoka a manageable experience, Sotheby’s realtor Ross Halloran created a “Take your dream home for a test drive” rental program, now headed into its second summer.

It aims to help the growing number of wealthy buyers looking for luxury waterfront real estate navigate their way around cottage country’s Big Three of Lake Joseph, Lake Rosseau and Lake Muskoka, plus dozens of others.

“We’re seeing a renewed interest in Muskoka,” says Halloran, echoing a recent Christie’s International Real Estate global luxury white paper. It noted a 66 per cent increase in high-end Muskoka waterfront purchases in 2014 over 2013, much it fuelled by the weak dollar and growing international interest from the wealthy of the world.

“People view Muskoka as the Hamptons of the north and it’s definitely a destination that’s now known internationally. This is a region in transition,” adds Halloran.

View from the private boat launch at Tokata.


View from the private boat launch at Tokata.

Muskoka sales — and prices — started rebounding dramatically last spring and really took off in the fall, with sales for properties over $2 million hitting record levels by the end of 2014, says Christie’s Canada CEO Chris Kapches.

Some of the grand “old Muskoka” landmarks, built by American industrialists back in the 19th and early 20th centuries, have been coming on the market for the first time in decades as families age out, grow too big to share all that history or simply realize the costs — which can be $20,000- to $70,000-plus in taxes alone — are unbearable for a two-week summer get away.

“We went through a few years after the last recession where buyers’ and sellers’ expectations were not in sync — buyers were just not prepared to pay what sellers were asking — so we had some properties that were on the market for three seasons with price reductions year in and year out,” says Kapches.

The Lakelands Association of Realtors, which represents Muskoka, Haliburton and Orillia, says this January through April has been the best start to overall waterfront sales since 2010, with total transactions up 44.8 per cent over the same four months in 2014.

Muskoka-area realtor Storey Badger thinks this year could set a new record: As of May 12, 27 waterfront properties have been sold on Muskoka’s Big Three lakes, including a $7.5 million Lake Joseph property this week. That’s up from 17 waterfront sales, year over year.

Halloran, like other realtors who focus on the Muskoka market, are suddenly seeing renewed demand from GTA buyers, long-time cottagers looking to move up, ex-pats living overseas but longing to give their families quintessential Canadian summers and international buyers looking for a serene and safe place, ideally with a sunset view, to park a few millions.

Halloran started the luxury rental program because he realized it was difficult for even the most savvy of investors to navigate Muskoka’s dozens of lakes, given that the Big Three of Rosseau, Joseph and Muskoka are daunting all in themselves.

Some are good for fishing, others for golf and socializing, so the program, which now features some 30 luxury waterfront properties throughout Muskoka lets vacationers and, more importantly potential buyers, try out a lake for a while.

Not all the properties, like Tokata are up for sale.

There are many where the owners are simply looking to fill some empty time and recoup a few of the costs of having a pricey house in the woods where they only have maybe two weeks a year to just sit and relax on the dock.


Lap of luxury: Four luxury Muskoka properties on the market

You can grab a game of tennis at the courts at this Lake Joseph home has six bedrooms. (Chestnut Park Real Estate)


You can grab a game of tennis at the courts at this Lake Joseph home has six bedrooms. (Chestnut Park Real Estate)

List price: $14.7 million

Where: Lake Joseph

Lot size: 8.5 acres, 744 feet of water frontage

Size: 7,600 sq. ft., six bedrooms

This “personal waterfront resort for the buyer seeking seclusion and privacy” is gently nestled in granite galore. It features tennis courts and a two-slip boathouse with its own guest suite and super-sized entertaining deck right at the water.

This Bass Island home sits on a private island.


This Bass Island home sits on a private island.

List price: $11.8 million

Where: Bass Island, Lake Muskoka

Lot size: 11 acre private island

Size: 8,500 sq. ft., six bedrooms, four bathrooms

Just finished last year by its European owners, this “elegantly designed architectural masterpiece” offers panoramic sunsets and a lake-water plunge pool — inside — so you can avoid the black flies after your hot tub or Finnish dry sauna.

Enough room for all your friends: This home has 18(!) bedrooms. (Chestnut Park Real Estate)


Enough room for all your friends: This home has 18(!) bedrooms. (Chestnut Park Real Estate)

List price: $5.3 million

Where: Beaumaris area of Lake Muskoka

Lot size: 4+ acres on private Marco Island

Size: 7,000 sq. ft., 18 bedrooms including boat house and guest residence

This rare offering is as “old Muskoka” as it gets, right down to its guest residence, six-slip, four-bedroom boat house and wicker furniture. It was once owned by Donald Hunter, son of the co-founder of Canadian communications giant Maclean-Hunter Ltd.

Modern meets traditional at this 4,000-square-foot home. (Cody Storm Cooper for the Toronto Star)


Modern meets traditional at this 4,000-square-foot home. (Cody Storm Cooper for the Toronto Star)

List price: $4.75 million

Where: Silver Lake

Lot size: 9-acre gated peninsula, 2,990 feet of water frontage

Size: 5600+, four-plus bedroom home with tennis courts

This 10-year-old, four-plus bedroom property, called Tokata, is design perfection, offering a modern spin on age-old Muskoka traditions like the screened-in Muskoka room and Great Room with fireplace. A 4,000 square foot, wrap-around deck offers sunrise and sunset views.