The listing: 127 Welsh Lane, Prince Edward, Ont.
Asking Price: $1,499,000
Taxes: $3,399.50 (2019)
Lot Size: 202-foot-by-187-foot irregular lot; 88 feet of waterfront
Agents: Jen Tripp, HomeLife Realty One Ltd.
If you’re one of the estimated 650,000 people a year that visit Sandbanks Provincial Park in Prince Edward Country, Ont., at some point you may have thought something like “I could get used to this. I wouldn’t mind this year-round.”
Well, that’s what Debbie De Mille thought, too, more than 30 years ago when she began visiting her aunt’s cottage on a chunk of private land inside the park on a spit of sand that separates the East Lake from Lake Ontario. “I grew up in the county and my aunt had a piece of property and built there,” Ms. De Mille said. She and her husband purchased a cottage on long-term lease next to her aunt – Linda Thompson, who is also the broker of record for HomeLife Realty One Ltd. – and joined a very exclusive community. There are just 22 private cottages on the road, and where once there was a single owner, almost 10 years ago the community banded together to buy it all and transfer an ownership share to each lot.
The structure is similar to a co-op: the owners have an annual meeting, they jointly maintain the road which runs through all their properties, and the deeds run right to the water’s edge (a rarity in Ontario). There are rules for ownership of course: “No loud music at night after 11, no dogs off-leash,” and the most critical one for cottage hopefuls: No rentals of under three months. That means there are no AirBnb drop-ins on this stretch of the beach and no weekend warriors from Toronto or Montreal.
“Some people are putting new homes on the beach, since we were able to purchase them,” said Ms. De Mille (that’s what she did, five years ago). A fair number are at retirement age, so after a long-time of exclusivity, there are more chances to own.
“Over the 36 years I’ve been there, there’s been maybe six turnovers. They tend to get handed down generation to generation,” Ms. Thompson said. “When I think about it, there’s more grandchildren than children on the beach.”
“I had one for sale six or seven years ago, it had been 10 years before that,” Ms. Thompson said. There’s actually another cottage down the street for sale, too, also represented by Jen Tripp: 101 Welsh Lane for a similar price; a two-storey with a garage.
The house today
The configuration of the house and its lot is a little different: There is a shared road that runs between the houses and the beach, so the “front” of the houses are typically facing that road and the beach.
At 127 Welsh Lane, a vast 1,000-square-foot deck that’s more than the width of the house faces the beach, with two smaller sheltered sections with sliding glass door entrances on either side of a central wall of windows. Around east side of the house is the “front” door.
Just inside this entrance is the kitchen to the left, but the whole space is an open great room with a vaulted ceiling. The dining space is toward the back of this room, the living room closer to the window wall. Without furniture it would be a vast 22-foot-by-22-foot square, with more open space in the foyer and kitchen side.
“I wanted the open living room, so I can see what the kids are doing from the kitchen. When you’re eating, you’re looking out over the water, I get a great view,” Ms. De Mille said.
The kitchen is clean and simple: pale flecked granite counters, cream upper and lower cabinets, an electric range and oven, stainless steel appliances, a lake-facing window above the sink and a kitchen island with bar seating separating it from the great room. The floor is a durable wood-grain tile throughout.
The master suite opens onto the great room on the west side of the house, it has its own three-piece ensuite bath and a walk-in closet. It also has its own set of sliding doors onto the big front deck, the only private room with outdoor access.
To the rear of the house are the other three bedrooms in this four-bedroom cottage, each has a closet and a window onto the rear yard (sand and scrub and a treeline shielding you from the road leading into Sandbanks, though none have a private bath. There is a shared bath just past the stairs leading downstairs.
The bedroom closest to the bathroom also has a walk-through to a laundry room that also has a small kitchenette. A fridge, a sink and a toaster oven could make this into a nanny or in-law suite.
The basement is the same size as the upstairs floor plan, and with its own separate side entrance, but is as-yet unfinished.
Why leave the beach?
“I am on my own now,” she said, “I’ve gotta have two knees replaced. I’m getting a little older but when I get both knees done I want to do a little travelling.” These days she spends half the year in warmer climates and summers in Sandbanks. She’s ready to downsize, maybe to one of the new condos going up in the region.
Prince Edward County is also undergoing a lot of change, with new wineries and restaurants and increasing attention from Toronto-area buyers. “It’s so trendy and popular now,” Ms. Thompson said. Not that Ms. De Mille is fleeing hipsters and gourmands. “I really enjoy it there, because of the wineries and breweries and vegetable stands.”
She’ll still be able to visit Welsh Lane as long as her aunt stays (there’s another cousin on the strip too), but she’s ready to move on. “I really do enjoy it there and I will miss it,” she said.
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