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Search for affordable waterfront ends in Kingsville
— ‘This is a simpler, friendlier and kinder area ...’
BY BOB SIMONS
If you’re starting to read this article, you must promise one thing before going further: DON’T TELL ANYONE ABOUT OUR NEW EXPERIENCES IN KINGSVILLE.
Having moved here three weeks ago, we still marvel at the simpler, friendlier and kinder times we are experiencing.
My wife, Judy, and I “escaped” Toronto more than 35 years ago by moving to a small town called Barrie, Ontario. The population at that time was about 20,000 and it, too, provided a bucolic living experience. Flash forward 35 years and Barrie has become a bedroom community of Toronto with 150,000-plus people.
Half of our last 14 years were spent living on Lake Simcoe. The other half we lived on the golf course of a year-round resort.
The golf course provided an opportunity to meet people. If you were winter-inclined, skiing and the great COLD outdoors beckoned. The older I got, the less appeal the great COLD outdoors became. The snow arriving in October and disappearing as late as May became onerous. Cap this with missing life on the water, and we were ready for a move.
Through MLS.ca, we started looking at waterfronts on Georgian Bay and Lake Simcoe. In our seven years away from the waterfront, prices had more than doubled. To find a year-round home with reasonable amenities on a 100-foot frontage would cost more than $1,000,000. At our age, waterfront in Central Ontario became unrealistic.
MLS.ca took us farther and farther north or east. Prices became more realistic, but isolation and poor municipal services rose in lockstep. After more than a year of vicarious enjoyment on the Internet, we stumbled on the Wheatley/Amherstburg area.
The promise of less snow and a longer “enjoyment” season made the macro choice easy. We were lucky to be referred to an excellent real estate agent, Cindy Sorkopud, who spent more that a year working with us to find the perfect property. Cindy, via email, gave us all the “inside poop” on the area. Thanks to Cindy, we knew what we were getting into before the move actually took place.
Your real estate dollar goes much further here
Remember the prices we spoke about on Lake Simcoe and Georgian Bay? We purchased a home here in Kingsville on Lake Erie that met all of our criteria, for less than half of what we would have spent in Central Ontario. As a matter of fact, we bought our Kingsville property for below assessed value.
Take it from me, your real estate dollar goes much further here than anywhere else in Ontario. While no longer a real estate broker, I feel that I have a reasonable knowledge of prices in Central Ontario waterfronts, and after almost two years of looking here, also in Ontario’s “banana belt.”
For us, Kingsville is truly the Eden of Ontario. Judy enjoys cooking and there’s plenty of fresh produce grown locally for her to try her magic on.
Here, we’re living right on the shores of Lake Erie and once we got here, it reminded me just how much I missed the smell of the water. There’s nothing like it.
And the local wine! We’ve fallen in love with a Colchester Ridge Estate Winery (CREW) cabernet sauvignon. At $17, it’s as good as one of our old standbys, an Australian Wolfe Blass grey label, that costs $40.
We’ve joined the golf and country club and play golf all the time. We’ve introduced ourselves to some of the excellent local restaurants.
Kingsville still has that little-town atmosphere, and we love it. This is a simpler, friendlier and kinder area than we experienced in Central Ontario. People you’ve never seen before stop and say “Hi.”
In our first week here, a neighbour walked across the street and said “Hi, I’m so and so. Welcome to the neighbourhood. Bob lives just down that lane over there. We’re going over to split and pile some wood for him because he’s got a bad back. Give us an hour or so to get the work done, then come on over for a beer.”
In little Essex County, neighbours are old-fashioned and real. They open their hearts and greet you with open arms. From what I’ve seen in a 30-kilometre radius, our neighbours are the same as the other people we’ve met.
I could go on and on with examples of simpler, friendlier and kinder times. So please, if you absolutely have to, tell only your friends who are searching for what we call our new “little piece of Heaven.” Let’s do everything we can to continue the warm, friendly culture that’s indigenous to our area.
MyNewWaterfrontHome.com – June 2010