Thirsty BC Ferries passengers will have the chance to sip an alcoholic beverage on sailings between Vancouver and Victoria starting this fall.
Beer and wine will be available in the Pacific Buffet – a unique dining experience that is available on three vessels that service the Vancouver – Victoria (Tsawwassen – Swartz Bay) route. These three include The Spirit of Vancouver Island, the Spirit of British Columbia and the Coastal Celebration.
Photo: VANCOUVER, BC – JULY 23: A BC ferry between Vancouver and Vancouver Island on July 26, 2013. BC Ferries announced plans to build three new vessels on July 23, 2013 / Shutterstock
Operating on a trail basis, the pilot will launch in late October. The ferry operator originally proposed the idea in April, and stated that passengers would be able to enjoy an alcoholic beverage on board as early as the summer season.
This is the first time beer and wine will be offered on sailings linking Vancouver and Victoria. However, drinks are limited to one per customer, and they must be purchased with a meal. You must also be 19 years of age or older to purchase a drink, but people under 19 are welcome in the Pacific Buffet.
Looking for an escape to cottage country that’s more fun and less work? There’s plenty to choose from…
Cottage ownership is not all about enjoying precious summer weekends lounging beside clear blue lakes in the crisp unpolluted air. There are just as many weekends spent repairing rotting docks, painting decks or cleaning out the firepit.
For those who covet the recreational lifestyle, but cringe at the idea of maintaining a second property, there’s an ever-expanding supply of luxury highrise residences in cottage country that provide all the perks of lakeside summers minus the headaches of home ownership.
On Muskoka’s Fairy Lake at Huntsville, The Waterfront at Grandview combines convenience with quintessential Canadiana cottage charm. Property management takes care of the swim and boat docks, infinity pool, sandy beach and outdoor terraces, allowing owners to make the most of every summer minute. Resembling urban condos, The Waterfront at Grandview also offers concierge services, a fitness facility, electric car charging, heated storage and an events room for entertaining guests.
It’s far from the only condominium development popping up in Ontario’s popular Muskoka lakes region.
Edgewater, overlooking the famous locks in Port Carling, at the intersection of Lakes Muskoka, Joseph and Rosseau, offers luxury boathouse cottages with suites starting from $599,000 — although there are just two left. Condos have up to 1,560-square-feet of living space and include a private boat slip and patio. The largest units feature four bedrooms atop private boathouses and stone-clad gas fireplaces.
Cottage country’s new condo trend isn’t solely driven by time-strapped city dwellers. As baby boomers leave the workforce, they’re also looking to flee the big city and its suburbs. What used to be considered purely seasonal properties are now highly desirable, year-round permanent homes.
The trend has resulted in “robust demand for cottage, cabin and chalet-style retirement properties,” Phil Soper, president and CEO, Royal LePage, recently stated in a press release. “In Ontario and Quebec, this has resulted in exceptional demand and upward pressure on prices.”
In Muskoka, prices increased by more than 10 per cent in 2018, with average values reaching $1.65 million, according to Royal Le Page. And 2019 is forecast to be another year of “solid gains” for recreational regions.
It’s not just boomers looking for lakeside living. Cottage country has also seen demand from a new segment of the market — young prospective GTA homebuyers frustrated with skyrocketing Toronto home prices. Millennials are upending the traditional pattern of young buyers investing in a starter home and, instead, are setting their sights on a “starter cottage” while continuing to rent in the city.
According to a study by Toronto-Dominion Bank, millennials are twice as interested as the rest of the population in owning a recreational property.
While even five years ago, condos in cottage country would have been unheard of, developers have responded to the soaring demand with some of the area’s hottest — and tallest — new properties. For boomers and millennials alike, this has opened up some compelling new options for vacation property investments — that don’t involve slaving away on weekends.
The challenge, of course, is responsible development. And that’s what the Muskoka Lakes Association, which represents more than 15,000 cottagers in the area, wants.
“The Muskoka Lakes Association doesn’t believe that waterfront condominium development and proper lake stewardship can credibly co-exist,” Katie Edwards, general manager of the association, writes in an email. “There’s a finite amount of development, boat traffic and population that our lakes can tolerate from a carrying capacity and water quality perspective.
“This is why, for decades, shoreline residential lots have generally had 200-foot minimum frontage requirements in Muskoka. We will continue to advance this position for proposed residential waterfront condos to ensure our shorelines and protect our lakes for all the values they are so famous for.”
In Huntsville, Treetops at Hidden Valley promises an eco-friendly four-season experience. The property arranges special membership packages for golfers and skiers at nearby clubs, along with private beach access and 2,000 kilometres of groomed snowmobile trails nearby.
In keeping with the delicate natural environment, Treetops uses geothermal heating and cooling, which eliminates carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions, while reducing the amount of electricity consumed.
In addition to relatively worry-free living, the new cohort of cottage condos also allows for relatively worry-free rental income. CanadaStays, Canada’s largest vacation rental marketplace, reports a rapidly growing demand for vacation rental properties in Canada. Rental management is often taken care of for condo owners as part of their annual fees.
The Touchstone Resort on Lake Muskoka near Bracebridge, markets its new Crescendo properties from the low $400,000s. On top of the standard lakeside docks and outdoor decks, Crescendo ownership includes access to non-motorized watersports equipment, an on-site spa and fully managed property rental services. Groundskeeping, even snow removal, are all provided. These aren’t your standard glass towers. On offer are treetop penthouses and beach house villas situated on a private beach.
Other recreational destinations are also seeing the arrival of condos. In Prince Edward County, approximately a two-hour drive from Toronto, Twelve Trees waterfront condominiums offers 30 boutique condo residences and six townhomes starting from the mid-$400,000s. Townhomes boast private garages, full basements and large outdoor terraces for entertaining guests. All suites enjoy a shared gas BBQ area, communal vegetable garden and boat launch ramp for canoes and kayaks.
On Lake Simcoe, Orchard Point Harbour offers floorplans from 800 to more than 2,000 square feet. Nine-foot ceilings, crown molding, chef’s kitchens, Colonial-style doors and designer brushed-nickel hardware are clearly meant to entice buyers used to urban abodes. The property’s Lakeside Club features a fitness club, yoga studio and a lakeside infinity pool and hot tub.
Outdoor amenities and inside finishes may vary from property to property, but one thing seems certain: cottage country condo prices will only go up from here. If Ontario’s north has ever called you, now may be the time to answer.
With the decline of the average B.C. home sale price seeming to flatten out in the latest monthly figures, the B.C. Real Estate Association is now forecasting that the average sale price over the year will be $697,000, down 2.2 per cent compared with 2018.
As consumer demand recovers, the average sale price of a home across the province will then rise 4.2 per cent year over year in 2020, to $726,000, the association predicted June 18.
At 71,400 units, total home sales across B.C. are expected to be nine per cent lower in 2019 than in 2018, but are forecast to more than recover that amount in 2020. BCREA predicted there will be 81,400 sales in 2020, a year-over-year rise of 14.4 per cent.
However, this would still be below the 10-year average for MLS residential sales in the province, which is 84,300 sales per year – and far below the 100,000-plus sales seen in the recent market boom of 2015 and 2016.
Cameron Muir, BCREA chief economist, said, “The shock to affordability from restrictive mortgage policies, especially the B20 stress test, will continue to limit housing demand in the province this year. However, a relatively strong economy and favourable demographics are likely creating pent-up demand in the housing market.”
Sales are predicted to rise in all 12 of B.C.’s real estate board areas in 2020, with Greater Vancouver – having seen the steepest declines – expected to see the largest recovery, with transactions forecast to jump 25.3 per cent in 2020 compared with 2019.
However, price changes tend to lag sales trends. All but one of the board areas are expected to see prices rise next year, but Victoria and Greater Vancouver’s forecast price recoveries are meagre at 0.3 and 0.5 per cent respectively. Chilliwack is the outlier, with its four per cent average price rises in 2019 giving way to a slight decline in 2020.
The IKEASell-Back Program
“Take part in creating a more sustainable everyday life at home with the IKEA Sell-Back Program. We’ll help you give your used IKEA items another life.”
IKEA Family Sell-Back Program
At IKEA, we believe the value of an IKEA product is a beautiful thing not to be wasted. We know that sometimes you need to part with a piece of furniture because it no longer suits your needs, and we want to give those products another life. IKEA Canada’s “Sell-Back” program is a smarter way to look at the value of your unwanted furnishings. When it’s time to say goodbye to the things that are outdated, unwanted or cluttering your home, we’ll buy them back from you in the form of an IKEA in-store credit. It really is that simple and easy! We’ll do our best to give another life to the items we buy back, so that you benefit, the community benefits, and so does the planet. Together, we’re making a more beautiful world.
In an effort to introduce more of our little town to public transit and perhaps alleviate some of the traffic at summer events, Squamish Transit will offer free rides on weekends and holidays from June 16 to Sept. 2 – the bill for this venture will be assumed by the Sea to Sky Gondola….so get out there and get exploring!
The Metro Vancouver housing market saw increased supply from home sellers and below average demand from home buyers in February.
The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential home sales in the region totalled 1,484 in February 2019, a 32.8 per cent decrease from the 2,207 sales recorded in February 2018, and a 34.5 per cent increase from the 1,103 homes sold in January 2019.
Last month’s sales were 42.5 per cent below the 10-year February sales average.
“For much of the past four years, we’ve been in a sellers’ market. Conditions have shifted over the last 12 months to favour buyers, particularly in the detached home market,” Phil Moore, REBGV president said. “This means that home buyers face less competition today, have more selection to choose from and more time to make their decisions.”
Shop for trusted brands now redesigned to be smarter and waste free.
Loop is a circular shopping platform that transforms the packaging of your everyday essentials from single-use disposable to durable, feature-packed designs.
Not so long ago, the milkman delivered reusable bottles and later picked them up to be refilled. Loop is the milkman re-imagined – honoring our past from a modern perspective. A revolution in design from your favorite brands – your everyday essentials are now available in durable, functional packaging that’s beautiful enough to display. No more hassle from trash and recycling – simply drop your used empties back into the Loop Tote and schedule a free pick-up from your home.
Instead of getting a box every month, we’ll automatically replenish the products you send back so that your favorites are available as you need them, in the first subscription model that manages itself.
Loop hygienically cleans and sanitizes the empty packaging you send back so they are ready for reuse, instead of ending up as waste after a single use.
The Loop tote is a breakthrough zero-waste delivery system that eliminates wasteful single use shipping materials (say goodbye to that stack of cardboard boxes and ice packs).
Durable packaging enables innovative features and unparalleled design, so that you experience everyday products in a brand new way.
Loop is launching in Spring 2019 in the United States and France….Join them as they change the world from disposable to durable – register on their website to join the waitlist.
KidORCA puddle boots is the brainchild of a BC family with twins – in search of reliable waterproof footwear that will securely keep children’s feet dry while they’re splashing in the water – in city puddles, wood creeks, or by the ocean beaches.
In KidORCA kids’rain boots you get the best of wader’s functionality and the benefits of conventional rain footwear. This innovative combination is particularly nice for active puddle jumpers. Generally, KidORCA kids’rain boots are taller, the waterproof upper securely covers the leg above the knee, providing the maximum protection from water ingress and elements. The premium quality textile is lightweight and soft, it doesn’t impede your child’s mobility. When unused, the collar may be easily rolled down. In addition, the breathability level of the fabric facilitates the air-circulation inside the boot.
Although some conventional rain boots may have a drawstring fastener on top, the seam between a textile and a boot is not commonly waterproof-sealed making them prone to leaking water. Unlike KidORCA kids’rain boots. The junction area in our boots is tightly sewn, glued and sealed.
Our R&D department was fortunate to develop a complex technology that keeps this seam 100% waterproof. We have intentionally refused from using easy-welding but toxic PVC in our production and implemented a new approach to joining rubber and polyester at a desirable waterproof level.
And finally, cushioning fleece lining makes your child’s feet happy and supported in the rainy season. Scored high in the water resistance and comfort categories, KidORCA kids’rain boots are absolute necessity for your little explorers.
Click here to visit their website and get a pair for your kids!
We are happy to be working on this new development in the beautiful community of Malahat, BC….just a short 5 minutes away from Shawnigan Lake – a popular destination known for its plentiful opportunities for serenity and adventure. Only a 19 minute drive to bustling Langford City Centre, and just 30 minutes to downtown Victoria.
With lots starting at only $179,000 and finished homes at $399,000
your new home is closer than you think!
Call Shawn Wentworth 604-379-6731 for more information!