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Collingwood – four seasons playground more than just a vacation destination

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Collingwood – four seasons playground more than just a vacation destination

Collingwood has long been a popular vacation destination, chiefly as a weekend winter getaway to tackle some of the best skiing in Ontario at The Blue Mountains. Summertime, too, has seen increasing activity, as residents from the GTA and elsewhere head to “Blue” for cycling, golf and many of the other activities and festivals in the area.

During non-COVID times, of course.

But there’s a lot more happening in this part of Simcoe County, situated on the Nottawasaga Bay at the southern Georgian Bay Region. A beautiful natural location will do that.

Transitioning for the future

Economically, it’s fair to say that Collingwood is an area in transition. The town’s traditional industrial base has been in decline for years, though the waterfront Collingwood Terminals grain elevators remain standing as a reminder of this heritage. Some view the massive grey structure, dormant for more than 25 years, as an eyesore for such an area blessed with natural surroundings. The Town is said to be considering selling, preserving or even dismantling the landmark silos.

All of this underlines the growing importance of Collingwood to maximize its potential as a fourseason recreation destination, blessed with mountains on one side and Georgian Bay on the other, while developing new economic opportunities. And to do it all at a pace and size that doesn’t result in the loss of greenspace or the “smalltown feeling” that residents and visitors alike have come to love.

In a July 2020 poll conducted by the Town, the overwhelming majority of respondents (63 per cent) believe the municipality should focus on growing the knowledgebased industry. There is already a strong and growing tech industry in town, including the only deuterium producer in Canada, the largest industrial glass manufacturer in North America, and a maker of advanced underwater communications.

The survey also revealed that just 29 per cent of respondents said job growth in Collingwood should focus on tourism, highlighting a local concern that the town relies too heavily on that sector.

Careful development

The survey also revealed that residents prefer any new housing development in the area focus on the multi-family category, such as condominiums and other mixed-use buildings on smaller lots, as well as Green housing.

Given the area’s popularity as a playground destination, real estate in Collingwood sometimes shows the fluctuations that typify the recreational property market.

Residential sales for the Southern Georgian Bay region jumped 57.6 per cent to 594 units in July 2020, compared to last year, according to the Southern Georgian Bay Association of Realtors. This was a new sales record not just for the month of July, but for any month in history.

Home sales in the Western Region, which includes Collingwood as well as Wasaga Beach, Clearview Township, The Blue Mountains, Meaford and Grey Highlands, jumped 70.8 per cent in July to 369 units from July 2019, again establishing new sales records.

Average prices, on the other hand, are showing different results. Detached home prices are up 26 per cent to $857,000 from $680,000 a year ago. Townhome prices are down 22 per cent to $515,000 from $659,000, while condos are off 28 per cent to $391,000 from $545,000.

Many recent buyers are residents from the GTA purchasing vacation properties, or cashing out their primary residences in the city and moving north for retirement, reflected in the older demographic in town.

Still, given the prized location and blessed natural abundance in Collingwood, it’s no surprise that new home development is taking place to cater to the growing demand. Streetcar Development Inc. is planning Harbour House, a collection of luxury lowrise condos, while Sherwood Homes has two communities planned: The Masters at Lora Bay, detached homes at The Blue Mountains; and Royal Windsor at Balmoral Village, featuring a pair of five-storey condo buildings.

Nature lover’s paradise

At any time of year, Collingwood is a nature lover’s paradise. Of course, there’s expert skiing at Blue Mountain in winter, as well as countless snowshoeing, snowmobiling or cross-country skiing options.

In the warmer months, hit the links at any one of the handful of championship courses in the area, from the semi-private Cranberry Golf Resort, to Monterra at Blue Mountain Resort, to the Georgian Bay Club and more.

Or book a breathtaking treetop canopy walk, or zipline adventure, or just hit the beach for a swim or canoe or kayak rental. And if you’ve never been, head over to Wasaga Beach, the world’s longest freshwater beach, a short distance away.

Festivals? You want festivals? Collingwood’s got lots of them, from Collingwood Whiskylicious, the Peak to Shore Music Festival, Keys to Collingwood Street Piano Festival and the famous annual Elvis Festival.

All, of course, COVID permitting.

Location, location, location

In Simcoe County, on the Nottawasaga Bay, at the southern point of Georgian Bay; population 21,793; 160 kms north of Toronto; 21 kms to Wasaga Beach.

Key landmarks

  • Blue Mountain Resort
  • Collingwood Curling Club
  • Collingwood Museum
  • Cranberry Golf Course
  • Creative Simcoe Street
  • Eddie Bush Memorial Arena
  • The Blue Mountains
  • Tyrolean Village Resorts

Select housing developments

Bridgewater on Georgian Bay
By Consulate Development Group
consulatedevelopment.com

Collingwood Quay Condominiums
By Fram + Slokker
collingwoodquaycondos.com

Harbour House Condos
By Streetcar Development Inc.
streetcar.ca

Royal Windsor at Balmoral Village
By Sherwood Homes
royalwindsorcondos.com

The Masters at Lora Bay
By Sherwood Homes
sherwoodhomesltd.com

Waterstone Modern Townes
By Nexus Developments
waterstonetownes.com

 

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Cover Story: Editor's Choice: Georgian International

Cover Story: Editor’s Choice: Georgian International

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Cover Story: Editor’s Choice: Georgian International

Creating remarkable communities

Gas-fired lanterns. A pumpkin patch. A Christmas tree farm. A baseball diamond encircled by corn stalks à la Field of Dreams. These idyllic features complement the farmhouse-style homes that make up the Braestone estate community, two hours north of the GTA in Horseshoe Valley.

Developed by multi-faceted company Georgian International, the 229 homes sit on 556 acres in the Township of Oro-Medonte where these ingredients, known as “remarkables,” further entice prospective buyers.

Mike Parker, vice president, sales and marketing for Georgian International’s real estate division, says they release homes in phases and, after selling out in the initial first two releases, another 22 properties will be available this fall.

Bringing a unique approach to Ontario real estate is a hallmark of the company’s mission. “What we’re doing is not what other developers are doing,” says Parker. “In the planning process, we came up with community features that will enhance people’s lives, which will be part of their active lifestyles.”

For example, a toboggan hill is a family-friendly add-on, and a sugar shack can teach residents about the age-old practice of tapping maple trees.

“Braestone buyers are typically nature lovers and enjoy being outdoors,” Parker notes, “and that’s why we created remarkables like a skating pond and a berry patch.”

Parker adds that they are holding events for the community with the intention that the traditions will continue long after the development is built out. Summer corn roasts with live music, a pancake breakfast fundraiser and horse-drawn sleigh rides are just of few of the happenings planned for Braestone.

Besides successful sales, Braestone’s eye-catching offerings and impressive amenities are getting noticed by the industry. It was recognized as Best New Home Community of the Year in 2016 by the Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA), and its Discovery Centre (aka sales HQ) was named 2016 Best Lowrise Homes Sales Office in Canada by the Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA).

Interior flourishes make the Braestone homes visually appealing, to say the least: floors come complete with tongue-and-groove maple or oak and porcelain tile is found in the bathrooms, foyers and mudrooms. Master bathrooms showcase an island-style soaker tub.

WINDFALL

But Braestone is not the only development Georgian International is known for in Ontario. Windfall, project of the year as recognized by the Simcoe County Home Builder’s Association, is a 609-home project at the base of Blue Mountain, which attracts buyers who want “comfort, character, culture and community with a relaxed way of life,” says Parker.

He notes the “it’s a place where nature and neighbourhood are in perfect balance, with community trails, Georgian Bay on one side and the Niagara Escarpment on the other, the beauty of the natural landscape is simply amazing.”

In the heart of the community will be The Shed, a barn-inspired gathering place that will form the hub for residents to network, socialize and relax. Cold-and-hot-water outdoor pools are planned to further promote relaxed living.

The semis and detached homes differ from the look of Braestone units with more mountain-like colours and shades, Parker remarks.

But both will feature a trademark flourish for Georgian International developments: gas-powered lanterns.

“There’s a romantic feel, an ambiance, to lanterns that is special and not done by anyone else,” Parker says.

Buyers can select from well-appointed standard features or upgrade interior design packages that co-ordinate interior finishes, including flooring, cabinetry, countertops, lighting and other fixtures.

MOUNTAIN HOUSE

Plans are also underway to release the first units of the highly-anticipated Mountain House, adjacent to Windfall. The 230-unit Mountain House will be built in two-, three-, and four-story buildings. The terrace suites will boast a chalet-style and are complemented by a community building, a bike repair station, a sauna and relaxation room, hot and cold pools and an idyllic setting.

“We will be releasing our initial units this year and, like all our projects, the standard features — such as full, glass-walled showers and exterior gas lanterns — go above and beyond expectations,” says Parker.

Huddled close to Windfall and Mountain House are the historic areas of Collingwood, Blue Mountain Resort and Wasaga Beach, as all three regions are “remarkables” onto themselves.

Nearby activities include boating on Georgian Bay, fishing, snowboarding, ATV trail tours, water parks, golfing, sleigh rides and guided snowshoe hikes.

Georgian International is not just carving its own path in the real-estate business, which began in 1985. The diverse company’s divisions include Georgian Chevrolet Buick GMC and Air Georgian, which operates as an Air Canada Express partner where it carries upwards of one million passengers annually.

With Toronto home prices continuing to rise and other communities such as Hamilton seeing similar increases, you can imagine why some Ontarians might look at living in pastoral communities such as Georgian Bay or Oro-Medonte. To be closer to nature, and farther from the concrete jungles, can harken us back to a simpler time. And for a company like Georgian International, they want to give people that sense of a home ensconced among mountains, lakes, Christmas tree parks and skating ponds.

And if that isn’t being Canadian at its most grassroots, we don’t know what is.

GEORGIAN HOMES

Braestone

Located at 3288 Line 9 North, Oro-Medonte, the Discover Centre and Model Homes are open Monday to Friday from noon to 4 p.m. and Saturday, Sunday and holidays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

705.727.5656
Braestone.ca

Windfall

Located at 104 Yellow Birch Crescent, Blue Mountains, the Sales Centre and Model Homes are open Monday to Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.

705.293-0954
WindfallAtBlue.com

Mountain House at Windfall

Go online to register for information.

MountainHouseWindfall.ca



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