Category Archives: outdoor living

9 REASONS WHY I FELL IN LOVE WITH GRENADA

What makes Grenada so exceptional is not easily translated into words or even captured in pictures. Structures aren’t set up around the island for “cheesy” tourist photo ops. Even the most populated areas of the island still have a low-key, chill energy. There’s something so quaint and untouched about it, unlike any other island I’ve been to. An understated and simple beauty.

Discovering Grenada is almost like discovering an amazing boutique that your peers don’t know about, or restaurant that cooks food just like your late great-grandmother used to make, or a soul-inspiring music artist that you don’t want to become mainstream because of the fear of them watering down the product or raising prices unnecessarily. You want it to remain just the way it is: preserved, peaceful, perfect. It’s the kind of place you don’t want just anybody to visit or know about; only the people who you know can appreciate vibes. That’s the best way to describe Grenada, a vibe. Grenada is the reason two people fall in love, or how strangers who feel like they’ve known each other for decades become best friends. It’s that unexplainable “thing” that can’t be encapsulated but just is, and you can’t deny it when you feel it. As soon as you arrive, you feel the island loving you back.

Here are 9 reasons why I quickly fell in love with Grenada.

Grenada is Easy

Coming from New York City where everything is stressful and a hustle, my favorite type of vacation is one that puts me at ease. As soon as you touch down in Grenada, you feel it. The airport and customs was quick and easy. Very downplayed compared to many other islands, where as soon as you land, vendors are hounding you about booking a tour or excursion with them, or taxis are fighting for your business. I’ve even experienced islands requesting an unannounced entrance fee after an already chaotic customs line. Not Grenada. You walk up and handle your paperwork and you leave. I was already impressed by the simplicity.

The car brought us to our hotel. We dropped our bags and walked to Umbrellas bar, which is right on Grand Anse beach. I was immediately sucked into the kick-back energy. We had a few glasses of rum punch and some amazing wings. The beach view from Umbrellas had me distracted though. As everyone was talking and bonding, all I could do was look off into the clear, sea foam colored water and houses on the lush green hills.

I realized we didn’t put on beach attire to go to Umbrellas, but something about Grenada makes you feel free and that everything is good. I made my way down to the beach, took off my clothes and went right into the water in my underwear. This was totally unlike my character, but it just felt right. Everyone followed suit.

Amazing Beaches

As dusk became dawn, I swam in the calm waters of Grand Anse Beach. Every star seemed to be visible in the sky. The lights from the houses on the hills of the south coast of the island behind us made the experience absolutely enchanted. It was island life to the max. Already.

The water was so clear that even in the night with just the moonlight’s assistance, you could look down and see your feet while waist-deep in the water. Quite the beach experience! Maybe my favorite ever in life. We walked back onto the powdery sand, put back on our clothes and walked back to our hotel.

By day two, our biggest decision was whether to go to Grand Anse Beach, BBC Beach or Magazine Beach. We were in love. What’s even better? There is a rule in Grenada that buildings along the coast can’t be built up higher than the average coconut tree, so as to not obscure the view of the natural landscape of the island’s coasts. This adds to the low-key and untainted vibe of the island, because nothing seems too touristy and nothing is an eye sore.

Notes: There are 9 black sand beaches and 45 white sand beaches in Grenada. I feel like I barely scratched the surface!

Beautiful Hills

To close out our first night we went to a Mardi Gras themed party at a very nice home in an upper-middle class area of Grenada. Luckily we had some local friends to drive us around; otherwise I would absolutely have hired a driver.

The landscape of Grenada is mostly composed of hills. You can go from sea level to 800 meters above sea level in under 5 minutes driving. You can look down and see communities in valleys. It’s a really cool experience…from the passenger seat! Ha! I’m a great driver in the U.S., but the way local Grenadians handle the terrain is unmatched. They have speed and fearlessness, but also courtesy and common sense. They double honk and flash their headlights to communicate with each other when turning corners they can’t see around. It’s a driving language that I will leave up to them.

(This photo happens to be purple because of the tint of the car window, but I LOVE the way it came out. Beautiful mistakes.)

The beautiful part of Grenada being so hilly is the views. There are so many peaks that overlook different parts of the island. During the day you see the signature red-top houses on the hills, and at night the lights on the hills make it a very romantic drive.

Note: The hills make for interesting and challenging hiking excursions. If you choose to go hiking, go with a guide. 60-70% of the land on Grenada is privately owned, even though much of that land is doesn’t have buildings on it, but rather is left for crops. So you could be considering trespassing or picking someone’s fruit when hiking, in someone’s private land not realizing because it seems like just open land.

Greenz

One of the many nicknames for Grenada is Greenz. Partially because of the name shortening but also because the island is immensely green. At any point on the island, you look around and you are surrounded by lush green trees and grass.

And of course lots of green lands means that Grenada is great for natural vegetation. Grenada exports a lot of produce around the world, including its main export, nutmeg. Grenada is the second largest exporter of nutmeg in the world, which says a lot for such a relatively small island. We visited the Gouyave Nutmeg Factory for a quick tour and the scent that you get is so pure. I’ll never forget that smell. I even bought some nutmeg jam to take home.

Notes: For the true “green” experience, you should be sure to visit the preserved rainforest where if you’re lucky, you can see a mona monkey come out and play for a bit.

Did you know that nutmeg spray is also used to heal joint and muscle pain? You can find it in local markets in Grenada.

Party scene and drinks

We went to quite a few parties around Grenada and they were all so much fun. From open fields to fetes in restaurants, boat parties to private house parties in the hills, you can easily get your party fix in Grenada. Be sure to ask local, young people who live in town where to party. That will give you the best experience.

For the parties that we attended, the music was heavily soca & dancehall with a splash of hip-hop and EDM. At the time of my visit, a Grenadian soca song “No Behaviour/Shell Down” was a huge hit and made it’s way pretty big on the Caribbean scene in New York City, so I was excited to hear it at every party and take in the sense of high pride from local Grenadians. It actually became my favorite song of the summer. Congrats to Bigred & Melo!

Drinks are very affordable most places, nearly half the cost of parties in New York. Be sure to try local Grenadian rum when visiting the island, like Clark’s Court and River’s Rum.

Note: We did a local tour around River’s Rum distillery and saw the full process. River’s Rum still makes their rum the old fashioned way with no modernized technology. The result is a very clean tasting and VERY potent rum, some versions of which are not available in the U.S. because the percentage of alcohol is too high.

Good Eating

If you love Caribbean food and seafood then you will love the dining experiences in Grenada. I ate ‘til my heart’s content all over. Roti, lobster, crab, fishcakes. Be sure to check out my post on the best meals I had while in Grenada (coming soon.)

Because so much fruit is grown on the island, be sure to indulge in fresh mango, guava, avocado, guinnep, breadfruit, banana, plantain and other fruits that are easily accessed around the island.

Note: If you have the opportunity, be sure to ask around to see where you can get the national dish – Oil Down.

The People

The people of Grenada are warm and welcoming. Most West Indians know what it means to “lime.” For non-Caribbean people, liming is just hanging out or just enjoying the vibe. Grenada is like the epitome of liming. You can sit on the beach by yourself, and a perfect stranger could start talking to you and you end up chatting for hours. Not in a forced way, but in such a way that you are never alone in Grenada unless you want to be. The crime rate is significantly lower than other islands. You feel safe and you are able to let your guard down (obviously within reason.) People in Grenada have respect for other people, life, their surroundings, the police – all of which makes Grenada a great destination to travel solo if that’s your thing. That can’t be said for everywhere in the Caribbean, or many places around the world for that matter.

Snorkeling

Grenada has easily one of my favorite snorkeling experiences, EVER! Thanks to Seafaris Powerboat Adventure Tours, I was able to check off one of the top experiences on my travel bucket list – The Underwater Sculpture Park.

We snorkeled from the Vicissitudes better known as the Ring of Children (pictured here) to the newly structured Nutmeg Lady, to many other underwater sculptures, lots of exotic fish and other sea creatures. It felt like l swam in an aquarium. As a beginner/intermediate swimmer, our guide Albert Christopher made me feel extremely comfortable and safe as well. Huge plus! For the expert swimmers, you can dive down to each location as well.

Views

I know I’ve mentioned it before but Grenada has some of the best views I’ve ever taken in. There are so many places you can go to just take in scenery. As we were driving around, it literally felt like every turn made you want to release a sigh of happiness.

We checked out Concord Waterfall which was beautiful. Again simple, natural, stunning beauty. Other notable waterfalls include Annandale Falls, and Mt. Carmel Waterfall.

Grand Etang lake is a tranquil getaway that would be perfect for a secluded date, family picnic, or just a solo trip to center your thoughts.

Note: grab some bread to toss breadcrumbs into the water to watch the koy fish scurry to the top.

One of my other favorite locations were the waterfronts that are referred to as The Lagoon and The Carenage. Grenada is huge on yacht life, so you get to see some sexy yachts and boats, have some great meals along the waterfront, and just soak in the French and English influence.

A HUGE THANK YOU to the Grenada Tourism Authority for helping me make this experience everything that it was. Nisha McIntyre & Roger Augustine, you have given me the true Grenada experience in my short trip.

Grenada, I will be back, SOON! And I already have an agenda which includes visiting the sister island of Carriacou (part of the country of Grenada,) more FOOD, the aquarium, immersing myself more in the yacht culture, finding some tamarind balls to eat – a childhood favorite treat that I missed this time around – and of course, LIMING on the beach.

Source: SoulSociety101.com  August 24, 2015; by Rondel Holder

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U.S. buyers flock to Canadian vacation homes – The lowly loonie means U.S. buyers get a 20% discount

vacation homes

TORONTO – Real estate agent Priscilla Sookarow rang in the new year in a novel way, brokering the sale of a $3-million vacation property in B.C.’s Okanagan Valley to a family from Texas.

In addition to the region’s natural beauty, the buyers were lured by the low value of the loonie relative to the U.S. dollar, said Sookarow who, along with realtors elsewhere, says an increasing number of vacation property buyers are coming from south of the border.

“When you buy a $3-million property with U.S. dollars you’re saving a fair bit,” said Sookarow, an agent with ReMax Vernon.

Sookarow isn’t the only agent in the recreational property market to report an influx of U.S. clients. Realtors in B.C.’s Gulf Islands and Ontario’s Muskoka and Niagara regions say they are also observing the trend.

“In all of my offices we’re seeing more U.S. inquiries,” said John Jarvis, a ReMax agent in Ontario’s Muskoka region. “Americans are definitely shopping more than they have been in the last three or four years.”

For U.S. buyers, recreational properties north of the border represent a good deal, said Jarvis.

“They’re getting a 20 per cent discount, roughly,” he said, noting that the loonie has been hovering at around 80 cents U.S. in recent weeks.

Americans also perceive Canadian lakes as being cleaner and “more pure” than those south of the border and believe that Canada’s economy is stable and strong, said Jarvis.

Meanwhile, many Canadian buyers who went south to pick up properties when the loonie was around par are now looking to return home, according to a number of agents.

Janet Moore, an agent at Royal LePage Nanaimo Realty, says many Canadians raced south between 2007 and 2011 to snap up vacation homes in places such as Palm Springs, Calif., Phoenix, Ariz., and Hawaii.

Rising property values and the rally in the U.S. dollar have allowed them to make a profit, said Moore. Now, they’re looking to use those profits to buy vacation properties north of the border.

Realtors say these trends are likely to continue.

“As long as the dollar stays this way, we anticipate more of the same,” Sookarow said.

Source: Money Sense by; by Alexandra Posadzki, The Canadian Press  June 25th, 2015

Beware that metal barbecue brush

Melinda Gay Mouldey had to have surgery to remove a bristle from a brush similar to this one, used to clean a barbecue.

Melinda Mouldey felt a piercing pain in her throat as she took the last bite of her hamburger at a friend’s barbecue.

“Oh my gosh, a piece of rosemary just stabbed me,” the 39-year-old Brantford woman exclaimed before starting to throw up so violently she ended up in the emergency department. But it wasn’t the herbs her friend used in the May 22 meal that caused a serious health issue requiring emergency surgery to treat.

The culprit was the newly bought wire brush used to clean the grill. An 11.3-millimetre metal bristle snapped off, landed on the grill and ended up in Mouldey’s burger. Impossible to see, it lodged deep in her throat as she took that last bite.

Sound like a fluke? Doctors at St. Joseph’s Healthcare want you to know it happens every barbecue season.

Last year, there were about a dozen surgeries of varying complexities at St. Joseph’s to remove wire brush bristles that can cause serious internal injuries. The Canadian government and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have also issued warnings.

“The further down it goes, the more damage it can cause,” said Dr. Natasha Cohen, a resident training to be an ear, nose and throat specialist. “It’s one of those things that’s preventable if you raise awareness.”

Mouldey had never heard of barbecue brushes causing medical emergencies before it happened to her. She thought nothing of her friends using the wire brush.

“He brushed off the grill, she brought out the burgers and he started grilling them,” she said. “I ate my last piece of the burger and when I put it in my mouth and swallowed, I got stabbed.”

She immediately started vomiting, but went home instead of going to a hospital because she thought a piece of rosemary was caught in her throat and would dislodge itself eventually. She went to bed and made breakfast for her four kids in the morning.

“If I stayed still and didn’t talk, I wouldn’t throw up,” she said. “If I moved, I would start gagging.”

When she started vomiting blood, the McMaster University research secretary contacted a gastroenterologist colleague, who told her to go to the emergency department. She still didn’t realize the serious trouble she was in.

“I thought it was going to be quick,” said Mouldey, who had her 17-year-old son drop her off. “I thought I’d call him when I was done.”

But her blood pressure was high, and within 15 minutes she was sent to a priority area in the emergency department, where a general surgeon was called in while X-rays and tests were done.

She was admitted to the hospital May 23, but it took a CT scan on May 25 for doctors to realize it was a wire brush bristle lodged in her throat behind the jaw, just above where an Adam’s apple would be on a man.

“It was horrible,” she said. “I couldn’t eat anything, I couldn’t talk, and if I turned my neck, it would stab me.”

On May 27, the hospital sent Mouldey, with her husband, to an otolaryngology specialist to remove the bristle. When the doctor couldn’t get it out at the office, the couple was sent to St. Joseph’s Hospital. She was in emergency surgery by 11 p.m.

It was the third time Cohen had removed a wire brush bristle in her three years of training.

“It happens often enough that all of the residents have seen it,” she says. “The bottom line is that it’s not about avoiding the barbecue or not cleaning your barbecue. It’s about knowing this can happen and being extra careful.”

Mouldey’s family now has a brush with bright red plastic bristles that can’t be used during cooking. Other friends use a piece of wood. She knows others who run an onion over the grill after using a wire brush as an additional cleaner and to pick up any stray bristles.

“There are a lot of alternatives out there,” said Mouldey, who doesn’t want anyone else to go through a similar trauma. In the end, she was in hospital from May 23 to May 28.

“It was very stressful,” she said. “It was the worst week of my life.”

Source: Joanna Frketich Hamilton Spectator, Published on Tue Jun 30 2015

Mike Holmes: Don’t kick back in your backyard until it’s got the all-clear

Smart backyard planning and landscaping can help you protect your home, as well as cut cooling costs.

We’re heading full force into summer, and for many of us, the idea of a great summer starts with a great backyard. But more than just a place to have some drinks, enjoy time with the kids and friends, it’s important that your backyard works for you — by that I mean it helps protect your home and save you money.

What’s the first thing we should look at when checking out a backyard? Grading — that’s the slope of the property surrounding the house that helps direct water away from the foundation, not toward it. This helps protect against basement leaks. For every foot away from the foundation wall, the ground should drop at least half an inch. So over a six-foot span, you should have at least a three-inch drop.

If you ever want to test it, you can do a hose test. Get the garden hose and point it horizontally to your foundation wall, about five inches away from it. Turn the hose on and as the water runs, check the direction of the water flow. It’s a quick way to make sure water is moving away from your home.

That’s also why I don’t like plants and shrubs right up against the foundation wall. Every time you water them, you would be driving water directly to your foundation. Any tiny cracks will allow water to penetrate through, and if your basement is finished this could require an expensive fix.

When they get bigger, shrubs against your foundation wall and exterior can also trap moisture against your home’s exterior, which could lead to mould, termites or other insects. You’re better off moving those garden beds and shrubs away from the house.

What about trees? I love them, and they can help block the summer’s heat and sunlight from entering your home if planted in the right spots. But again, don’t plant them too close to your home.

The extra foliage will direct water and precipitation to your home’s exterior and roof. This can increase the chance of a leak; it will wear down your exterior siding faster, and when the leaves drop in the fall they could end up in your gutters, potentially clogging them.

Ideally, you also want to keep trees away from any sanitary lines, too.

A tree’s roots can grow to be two to three times wider than its canopy, and the roots can wreak havoc on your plumbing and weeping tile, especially if your home still has clay pipes. If there’s a tiny crack in the plumbing underground, the leaking water will attract tree roots to it, because roots seek out water, and then they can grow into the pipe itself, causing a blockage and potentially a sewer backup in the basement.

Related

It’s one thing to protect your home, but it’s also important to make it work efficiently. One way is by helping block out heat so you don’t have to crank up the air conditioning as often (which saves you money). There are a couple of backyard projects that can help do that.

As I mentioned, you can strategically plant trees around your home to block out the heat, but you can also install awnings on your windows. Awnings are an old-school solution that can reduce heat gain by about 55 to 77 per cent. In some areas, awnings can save homeowners as much as 25 per cent on their energy bills.

You could also hire a pro to build a pergola on the sunny side of your house.

Pergolas are those wooden exterior structures, usually in the backyard against the house, that have vertical posts supporting large crossbeams and joists. (If the pergola is free-standing it usually has four support posts. If it’s built off the side of a house it will have two.) Pergolas are great because they can help block out the heat and cut cooling costs, and they look good, too.

Your backyard should be your sanctuary; the place where you can kick back and relax. But to do it right you have to plan it right, because what you do on the outside of your home will always have an impact indoors.

Source National Post Mike Holmes, Special to National Post | June 12, 2015 

Watch Mike Holmes on Holmes Makes It Right on HGTV. For more information visit makeitright.ca.

Mike Holmes: How to sand and stain your deck — the proper way

If you've got massive decking, you're going to want to do it right the first time so it stays looking nice.

Mike Holmes, Special to National Post | May 23, 2015 | Last Updated: May 23 8:32 AM ET

I’ve heard a lot of talk about outdoor wood structures and maintenance. Some people might tell you that if you go with something expensive, like cedar, that you don’t need to stain it — that it weathers to a natural grey-looking colour. But I know I wouldn’t want my wood going grey, especially not after spending so much money on it. Before it does, make sure you protect it properly.

I’ve spoken to a lot of pros over the years and they all agree on one thing: If you have wooden structures on your property, whether that’s a deck, shed or fence, they require maintenance, no exception.

All wood, except manufactured products like composite wood — even pressure-treated lumber — need to be sanded and stained. If you want it to last, you have to put in the time and some elbow grease.

Here’s how the pros handle their wood:

1. Start with a pressure washer. If you’re working on a softer wood, such as pine, spruce or cedar, be careful with the pressure washer setting (you want to use the wide fan) and how close you hold the wand to the wood surface, because a pressure washer can damage a softer wood. Test it out first on a spot that’s hidden. If you see that the wood fibres start to lift, back off.

If the wood surface has a lot of old product on it, you might need to use a stain or paint remover. Follow the instructions and use protective gear if you go this route, but try to avoid using harsh chemicals if you can. This is also a good time to use an anti-mildew treatment. Go with one that’s biodegradable. After it’s been washed, let the wood dry for at least a couple of days.

2. The next step is sanding, but make sure there is no chance of rain. If the wood gets wet after it’s been sanded, but not before it’s been stained or painted, it’s back to square one — you’ll need to wash and sand it again.

Some homeowners will want to rent a big floor sander to do a large wooden surface like a deck floor. Don’t do that. These machines are heavy and they won’t be able to reach the entire surface of most wooden planks. Floor sanders can only sand surfaces that are perfectly flat, and deck boards are slightly curved. That means it will take off too much in some sections and not enough in others.

Unfortunately, the only way to do it right is by hand with a belt sander, palm sander and sanding sponge — not to mention the proper safety gear, too, such as safety eyewear and respirators. If you can’t do it safely yourself, hire the pros.

Pros start with a belt sander using a heavier grit belt (something like 50) working backwards on the boards. Then they’ll use a palm sander for the areas the belt sander couldn’t reach; followed by a sanding sponge wrapped in sand paper for the areas the palm sander couldn’t reach. Then they’ll repeat that process using a lighter grit (60/80). This leaves a nice, smooth surface that will take the stain consistently.

3. Finally, it’s staining time. The general rule is the thicker the stain, the better the protection.

Clear coats provide no protection; so don’t waste your money. Translucent or semi-transparent stains are also very thin; you will need to reapply every year. For smaller structures, such as an arbour or a pergola, it might not be a big deal, but for larger surfaces such as a wooden deck, you’ll want to go for something thicker that lasts longer.

For maximum protection, use a solid stain or paint, at least on the surfaces that get the most wear and tear. Then you can have a more natural-looking stain on the other areas.

And always use a proper stain brush!

How often do you need to do this? It depends. I’d say at least once every two years, but Mother Nature has her own agenda. If the next time it rains, water beads and pools on the wood, that means it still has some protection. If it doesn’t, it’s time for some maintenance.

Watch Mike Holmes on Holmes Makes It Right on HGTV. For more information visit makeitright.ca.

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.

CODY STORM COOPER FOR THE TORONTO STAR

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)

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.

SOTHEBY’S

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)

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)

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.

5 Great Summer Parks in Mississauga

The birds are chirping, the sun is shining…can you feel it? Summer might actually be on its way (though, with the bitter cold Mother Nature teased us with last week, maybe I won’t hold my breath)! Regardless, you should get out. With winter finally over, Mississauga is in full bloom and if you take a closer look at some of the city’s parks, you’ll see why.

Mississauga is home to some of the most beautiful parks and if this at all shocks you, please put the TV remote down, grab your running shoes and take a walk down at least one of my top five.
5.) Take me out to the ball game!
The Mississauga Valleys is also a great way to get out there and have some fun. Not only are there a couple of nice trails to walk, but there also always seems to be a ball game going on and who doesn’t love watching some good ol’ fashioned baseball (after all, The Valley’s is home to the Mississauga Majorsbaseball team). Better yet- bring your own hot dogs and make a picnic with the barbecues the city has placed throughout the park. If things get to hot, there is also a small splash pad available to run through and cool off!


4.) Rattray Marsh
This hidden gem is in the heart of Clarkson with entrances to the trails in the middle of a residential neighbourhood. It’s so hidden that I felt like I was searching for freaking Narnia and everyone I asked for directions steered me wrong. However, when I finally did find the Rattray Marsh, it was so worth it. Never have I felt so much like I was back at my old home in Victoria, B.C., blanketed by this veil of nature. The plush, greenery of this forest trail made me feel like I was in another world, outside of Mississauga. Surrounded by nothing but trees, you really start to forget you’re still in the city!

Take a hike through this wooded wonderland; you won’t be disappointed.

3.) Lakefront Promenade Park 
Okay…so I’m not a kid anymore, but I’m still young at heart and this next place is a blast for the youngsters. Lake Promenade Park is a great place to bring the kids to cool off on a hot day. There’s a full splash pad waterpark that is sure to entertain your little monkeys on those hot summer days.

*Attention all Mom’s out there* -I know you work your asses off and trust me when you need a break, Lake Promenade (Waterworks) is a great place for your kids to burn some energy while you relax in the shade- you can thank me later.

Beside the splash pad is also a full park/play structure/sandbox…ahh splash pad then sandbox-every kids dream…

Take a little walk along the boardwalk and you will almost always find someone fishing, feeding the ducks, or sailing their miniature sailboats.

Listen for the sounds of the ice cream truck putting around the park as 9 times outta 10 there’s one lurking in the parking lot by the time you leave…smart little buggers.

2.)   Feed the Swans at J.C. Saddington Park
My next favourite spot in outdoorsy Mississauga is also along the Lakeshore (it must be the water). With fountains, ponds, wildlife, and an amazing view of Toronto across the lake, J.C. Saddington Park is a great place to go for a walk on a nice, sunny day. Find a nice zen zone on the big rocks by the water away from the crowds and you can literally feel yourself de-stress. Bring bread and you will become BFF’s with ducks here…just watch the geese, they get a little greedy. There is a paved trail for bikers, runners, rollerbladers, etc. Summer is almost here so strap on those rollerblades and get your workout on, because this is a great spot to do it! The water is right at your side, so there is also a nice breeze coming off the water at all times. This place is a little slice of heaven…

1.)   Lakeshore Harbor Front (Port Credit)
Walking the harbor front in old Port Credit always gives me this great nostalgic feeling. Maybe it’s because it has just been there forever but there is a feeling of comfort in seeing the old lighthouse; a staple in Port Credit.

Grab a latte from the corner Starbucks and take a little walk along the lake. Take a seat at one of the benches aside the water and just listen. I promise you that the sounds of the seagulls, the water, and the bustle of people will soothe you. It’s very calming. Our days are too fast paced so I love to come here to unwind and slow down.