Many people are thinking about making changes to how and where they live these days, as working from home, a healthier lifestyle and more space become more important to them.
Norfolk County, a 90-minute drive from Toronto, is increasingly attracting new residents, both as part-time and full-time property owners. A large region best known for being on the shores of Lake Erie, the area encompasses charming lakeside towns like Port Dover, and stunningly beautiful parkland like the Long Point National Wildlife Area.
Cindy Pichette, broker of record for Gold Coast Real Estate, has lived in the county for more than 25 years. “I came here on a day trip over two decades ago and I fell in love with it,” she says. “I found a real sense of community – one where people really care about one another.”
Others looking for cottages or a new permanent residence are likely to discover that as well, plus so much more. For vacationers, Norfolk County is an ideal alternative to northern locales such as Muskoka, Haliburton and The Kawarthas.
“Things don’t close up here for the winter,” explains Pichette. “We’re an affordable, four-season destination. You can get lakeside properties for much less than you would in other places. And a short commute means you won’t be stuck in traffic for hours trying to get there.”
There are some great properties available for sale, she adds, whether you’re looking for a homey cottage or a family compound spacious enough to accommodate guests. Notable listings worth considering include:
• (2870 Front Road). Just an hour from Hamilton and 90 minutes from Toronto Pearson International Airport, this hidden gem, with plenty of privacy over 47 acres, offers many possibilities to pursue those lifestyle dreams, whether it’s opening a winery, operating an agro-tourism business or just having enough room to accommodate and relax with family and friends. The secluded retreat includes a 3,000-square-foot, three-bedroom home and a charming two-bedroom guest cottage, coupled with 1,600 feet of picturesque Lake Erie shoreline. Located near Port Ryerse, it’s a one-of-a-kind property, surrounded by nature and sure to please those who desire waterfront living and privacy.
• (2790 Front Road). This gorgeous swathe of partially forested land covering 48 acres is a blank slate, just waiting to become something truly remarkable. Perhaps it’s a secluded family four-season retreat, or a spacious getaway spot with a modern cottage, or a smart investment. The property includes more than 1,700 feet of prime Lake Erie shoreline – a rare parcel of land with so much to offer. Turkey Point and Port Dover are 10 minutes away – handy for shopping and dining, while Toronto is an easy, 90-minute commute. It’s not difficult to imagine yourself here – taking a swim in the warm water, fishing off the shore, or hopping into your boat, just steps away from home, to explore this scenic spot.
• (2720 Front Road). Forget fighting the north-bound highway traffic to open and close a cottage each year. At this spacious 18-acre property in Norfolk County, you’ll be able to visit or live all year round, thanks to the region’s moderate temperatures. The highlight of this elegant family estate is the fantastic lake view, visible throughout the house. Imagine dinners on a deck that stretches along the entire length of the home, which boasts almost 5,000-square-feet of living space with plenty of room to grow. Outside, the landscaping may remind you of Muskoka, but this area offers greater affordability for lakeside living without the crowds or the traffic, ideal for families and for those who desire a more leisurely pace of life, including sitting back with an ice-cold beverage and taking in the glorious sunsets.
“People come to Norfolk County for the lifestyle it offers,” says Pichette. “Those who are tired of big cities like the abundance of space, peace and security, and the ability to enjoy an active life.”
That could include birdwatching at Long Point (home to more than 400 species), boating, golfing, year-round fishing, walking on the beach, ziplining, festivals, farmers’ markets, biking and hiking on converted rail trails, and touring artisan studios. “Life here is reminiscent of a simpler time,” she adds. “I call it ‘small-town adorable.’”
Although the pre-pandemic allures of Toronto are not too far away, many people in this picturesque region can find everything they need locally, including topnotch food and drink options.
Norfolk County is also known as Ontario’s Garden; thanks to the sandy soil and longer growing season, it produces most of Ontario’s asparagus, tart cherries, strawberries, pumpkins and squash. For people who appreciate everything from craft beer to free-range eggs, homemade pies and field-fresh produce, it’s a foodie’s paradise. It’s also becoming more of a well-known wine region, with nine booming wineries and the popular “Toast the Coast” wine trail.
With that in mind, why not give yourself a treat and take a day or two to explore the possibilites.
Advertising feature produced by Globe Content Studio. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved.