Real Estate

The eastern cottage region where you might still score a deal

Sunset on Lac du Poisson Blanc (Whitefish Lake) with canoe on the shore of the lake. This regional park is located in Outaouais region of Quebec (Canada) Photo by Pernelle Voyage/Shutterstock

Have you been dreaming about owning a waterfront property in the Outaouais region? A short drive from the nation’s capital, it offers cottage owners (and renters) vast outdoor spaces, waterways, recreational activities and access to cities and towns. 

The Outaouais is a year-round destination. In the winter, it’s home to ski resorts, in the summer months, cottage rentals are popular, and the beaches can be busy. The area is 33,000 square kilometres in size and has more than 15,000 lakes and about a dozen rivers. This makes the opportunity for waterfront property seem even more accessible, although it also means buyers have had to act quickly to buy property because of demand. 

The Outaouais area has seen significant growth in a hot market. John Macintyre, a veteran Century 21 real estate agent in Chelsea, Que., knows the region well. He noticed the increase in demand even before the pandemic, but it continues to grow. “Those nice properties that everybody wants on the big lakes, with the good waterfront and the great views, those places are always scarce,” he says. “So even going into the pandemic, the market was very strong.”

And while the location is accessible from Montreal, Kingston, and even Toronto, most buyers are from the Ottawa-Gatineau area. Most buyers are looking for a property within an hour and a half or less. Are you willing to drive up to two hours? Mcintyre says you’ll have more options. 

These properties don’t last long, so decisions are being made quickly.  “It doesn’t matter how motivated you are. The property is likely going to sell in three days. The logistics of trying to get here and look at a property are tough,” says Macintyre. “People buy recreational properties first with their heart and then with their head. They fall in love with the view, the waterfront, the privacy, the connection to nature somehow.”

We can’t overlook that the pandemic has caused the increased demand. “Lifestyle is a big driver. People don’t have to commute to work, and they can spend more time at their recreational property.” He added that the lack of vacation and travel options in these recent pandemic years are a factor as well.

Whether you’re just visiting or thinking about buying in the area, here’s what to do in the Outaouais:

Visit Parc Omega

With over 2,000 acres of land, Parc Omega is a living museum, home to Canadian wildlife in their own habitats. Drive through, take a walk through the trails, or visit the historic farmstead.

Go golfing

Break out the clubs and hit the greens at one of the local golf courses set against the area’s scenery. Some are within minutes of downtown Ottawa. 

Hit the slopes

Ski resorts are inviting for novice and experienced skiers alike during the winter months, and there are no shortage of après-ski opportunities to enjoy as well.  

Relax at Nordik spa

The Nordik Spa in Old Chelsea, Que. features heated outdoor pools, cooling tanks, saunas, fireplaces, and lounge chairs. After you relax, grab a bite to eat at one of their on-site restaurants. 

Enjoy the beach

There are beaches and lakes to enjoy throughout the Outaouais area. Choose a quiet spot or find a bustling beach filled with activities, such as kayaking or beach volleyball. 

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