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.
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.
- 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
Collingwood Quay Condominiums
By Fram + Slokker
Harbour House Condos
By Streetcar Development Inc.
Royal Windsor at Balmoral Village
By Sherwood Homes
The Masters at Lora Bay
By Sherwood Homes
Waterstone Modern Townes
By Nexus Developments