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From an exclusive – and expensive – strip of coastline on Vancouver Island and the shores of Lake Winnipeg to a Nova Scotia property with breathtaking ocean views, here are five listings that will have you living on the water.

British Columbia

You’re paying close to $3-million because it has a huge deepwater dock that couldn’t be built today.Handout

5957 Sooke Rd, Sooke, B.C.


If you’re in British Columbia and you want to be on the water, why not go all the way and find yourself of the Pacific coast? Easier said than done, according to listing agent Scott Piercy with Engel & Völkers Vancouver Island. He said there’s only about 1,900 waterfront properties you could own in the Victoria area and only 134 with a dock.

To be sure, some of the sites on the ocean are multimillion-dollar mansions. “We sold one out here last year for $23-million – the highest ever,” said Mr. Piercy, noting that there had only been six sales in Victoria over $10-million at that point. But a little further west along the Juan de Fuca Highway to Sooke, B.C., you can get essentially a million-dollar discount on some unique properties.

The house at 5957 Sooke Rd. is in good shape inside, but you’re paying close to $3-million because it has a huge deepwater dock that couldn’t be built today.

“In that Sooke Basin area, there’s no more development on water for docks,” said Mr. Piercy. The current owner uses it to run his chartered fishing business (a post-retirement hobby, which he is now retiring from) and it’s about seven minutes by boat to some of the best fishing grounds on Canada’s West coast.


The house on Ateah Drive is one of the larger ones on that stretch of waterfront.Maria Boschmann/Handout

30 Ateah Dr., Alexander, Man.


Listing agent Eddy Noll helped his client buy this cottage on Lake Winnipeg just last year, but changing circumstances put it back onto a rapidly changing marketplace.

“Last year, the hype was a little bit greater,” he said of the four-season cottage that’s been on listed for sale for more than a month now. “Some of us have been in the business a little longer. … It’s not always been five people fighting for every listing. Sitting 30 to 100 days, that’s the way it has always been.”

The recently updated five-bedroom house on Ateah Drive is one of the larger ones on that stretch of waterfront, and it’s one of the higher-end prices you can expect to find about an hour away from Winnipeg. The lot is thickly wooded, except for a landing-strip of a lawn that provides clear views to the water from the vaulted screened-in porch (and the four-season sunroom behind it). There’s no dock on the rocky shore, but there’s a two-level viewing platform/deck for entertaining.

Even if the market for recreational homes is off its frenzied peak, Mr. Noll is still fielding calls from out-of-province buyers regularly – much more than he did prior to the pandemic – and has one client in B.C. waiting to sell their house before they settle on a final budget to search for their own Manitoba waterfront dream.


The single-level cottage is clad in planed-log siding and the interior has the proportions of a mid-century-modern bungalow.Sabrina Groomes/Handout

23 Magnet Rd., Magnetawan, Ont.


The weather is still warm in Ontario’s cottage country, but the sales prices have finally cooled a little.

“As of four months ago, getting on the water for less than a million dollars felt impossible,” said Melissa Bradbury a broker with Peryle Keye Real Estate in Bracebridge, Ont. It may have felt that way, though the Lakelands Association of Realtors reported in July that the median sale price of a waterfront property was $860,000 – 4.4-per-cent lower than the same month in 2021 but which is still way up from 2019, when the median price was $556,000 in July.

There are also fewer sales in a region that had unprecedented demand just a year ago: sales of waterfront properties were down 39 per cent compared with the same period in 2021, slid 46-per-cent below the five-year average and slumped 45-per-cent lower than the 10-year average.

That doesn’t mean that people are no longer buying, but rather that they take their time shopping for properties, like the family cottage outside Magnetowan, Ont., that went up for sale in July.

“You have what I would call a peninsula property,” said Ms. Bradbury, with more than 250 feet of shoreline that wraps around the main building.

The single-level cottage is clad in planed-log siding and the interior has the proportions of a mid-century-modern bungalow, but with more recent décor. Even if Ms. Bradbury doesn’t see as many remote workers relocating to the country, there’s always a purely recreational buyer keen on woods and water.


This is one of just 25 cottages on the 2.5-kilometre long lake.Drone Axe/Handout

Lac Canot d’Écorce (private lane off chemin du Lac-Poisson), St-Zénon, Que.


Minnesota brags about the fact that it is a land of 10,000 lakes on its vehicle licence plates, which is frankly amateur hour compared with Quebec, which has more than a million lakes, ponds and streams. Quebec also has a unique layer of community management for huge tracts of wildlife areas known as “zone d’exploitation controlee” or ZEC, which took over from the private fishing and hunting clubs that controlled access to close to 78,000 square kilometres of the province until the 1978 reforms. In 1999, Quebec allowed ZECs to foster other types of economic activity than just wildlife management, after which Chantal Mireault obtained a lifetime land lease from the ZEC des Nymphes for a piece of the lakefront on Lac Canot d’Écorce about two hours north of Montreal in the Laurentian Mountains.

At first Ms. Mireault built what you might call a hunting camp, a cottage barely 14 feet by 14 feet. “We did everything from scratch there was no road: we had to cut the trees and bulldoze the land, and had to carry stuff in by boat,” she said. Then, in 2019, she embarked on a major renovation adding a two-storey structure with three bedrooms and converting the old space into a large kitchen that open onto a new main-floor living room with sweeping views of the water. Filled with natural- and painted-wood surfaces, big windows, a stone path down to the lake (with dock for kayaks or pontoon cruiser) and rebuilt to be self-sufficient with solar and propane power Ms. Mireault intended to live there full time. Instead, she now wants to travel and is selling the home (one of just 25 cottages on the 2.5-kilometre long lake) and its transferable land lease with Quebec’s do-it-yourself listing service DuProprio.

Nova Scotia

The owner says the setting is like a page out of a children’s storybook.Handout

2 Mary Lane, Sandy Cove, N.S.


After starting with the Pacific coast, it’s only right to end with an oceanfront property on the Atlantic.

“Anything on any kind of water, ocean, lakes – they don’t last at all. If it’s got a brook on it, it’s worth more,” said Andrea Smith of Re/Max Banner Real Estate.

She sells a lot of waterfront property on the north cost of Nova Scotia, so she’s seen it all (and she’s also got a converted lighthouse for sale, if that’s more your speed). She said locals tend to be keen on inland lakes, but if you’re “From Away” the salty shores seem to beckon more strongly.

According to the owner of the three-bed, two-bath cozy cottage that sits on the top of the point at Sandy Cove on St. Mary’s Bay (itself an inlet in the larger Bay of Fundy), the setting is like a page out of a children’s storybook. It’s said it was built by a sea captain in 1860, and there are two almost identical homes built for his two sons that still exist elsewhere on the same cove. Exposed beams, wide wooden plank floors and a huge fireplace give it the period charm, but it was refitted with wood and pellet stoves, duct work, a heat pump and other modern amenities a little less than 20 years ago. It was even used as a bed and breakfast for a time.

There’s no direct access to waterline on the edge of the bluff unless you felt compelled to build a dock (and why bother when down below the house is a local wharf – a commercial marina mainly used by lobster fisherman but with space for pleasure craft too). But a short stroll to the gazebo out on the edge of the property, which is connected to electrical power for light and heat, gives you a breathtaking vista of the cove and the bay. It’s the kind of view only Maritimers could get used to (and they just dropped the price by $50,000).

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