5 reasons to downsize and move to Lake Simcoe. It’s Scott, here! Downsizing for retirement can be an exciting time; however, deciding where you’ll move to begin this next chapter of your life can be stressful. If you’re looking to make the move away from the GTA. Then Lake Simcoe is a great place to start your search.
A while back I took my wife, Chris, and our pup, Steve, on a tour around Lake Simcoe to discover the eight best retirement communities in the area. Now I’m back with five reasons Lake Simcoe could be the place for you when downsizing your home for retirement!
The area has a large 55+ community
There’s no doubt that starting over in a brand-new place can be intimidating. Especially if you don’t know anyone in your area. Luckily, the townships around Lake Simcoe are largely made up of those 55+. In fact, of the total population of Simcoe County (479,650), those 55 and older make up over half of the residents (252,000). Further, many of these people relocated from the GTA. So it’s easy to find like-minded people around Lake Simcoe. Many of the townships also offer a small-town feel, which naturally means friendly neighbours and a sense of shared community that you can’t always get from the city.
New Tecumseth’s demographic is it’s #1 feature according to Maclean’s customizable ranking of “Canada’s Best Communities,” meaning that more and more people are coming to the area—and for good reason! Lake Simcoe is the perfect place for empty nesters and retirees. New residential buildings are popping up all around Lake Simcoe. While they do cater to the 55+ lifestyle. The fantastic amenities around them are also a huge draw for visiting family and friends.
Lake Simcoe has great retirement communities
Now’s the time to do the things you enjoy doing in a place you really love! With so many boomers in the area, Lake Simcoe offers some fantastic retirement communities that really cater to the wants and needs of the 55+ demographic. Further with a great variety of bungalows, townhomes, and condo apartments available. It shouldn’t be hard to find a home that’s the right fit for you!
Maple View Park—Barrie
Here is a new development of over 900 homes is coming to south Barrie. This development is only three minutes away from the South Barrie GO Station and five minutes from Lake Simcoe. Which means you’re never too far from the beauty of the lake or the bustle of the city. With prices starting in the high $500,000s, these homes are much more affordable than what you might find in the GTA. Phase two is sold out, but register here to be notified of their next rollout!
Briar Hill –Alliston, New Tecumseth
Briar Hill is true resort-style living. With the stunning Nottawasaga Inn Resort mere minutes from your front door, you have access to a whole host of amenities. Its two golf courses and 70,000 sq. ft. fitness club, which includes; an indoor pool with sauna and whirlpool, racquetball courts, and massage and salon services, is yours to explore! Briar Hill is just 15 minutes off the Highway 400. So residents have easy access to both Toronto and cottage country.
Bradford is the perfect balance between the great outdoors and urban living. Scanlon Creek Conservation Area is a beautiful spot to take your dog for a walk, hike the 500 acres of walking trails, and enjoy nature just minutes from downtown. There are convenient shopping opportunities within minutes from Cachet Bradford Urban Towns, and the greens are sure to test any golfer at the Bradford Highlands Golf Club, which caters to both its members and the public. Bradford has a great mix of townhomes, bungalows, and single-family homes to choose from, so it won’t be hard finding the right place for you!
Friday Harbour—Big Bay Point, Innisfil
This new development is stunning to say the least. Friday Harbour Resort is a boater’s dream—imagine living mere steps from the marina and the beautiful Lake Simcoe! The water isn’t the only amenity nearby—the boardwalk offers great restaurants and retailers for a day of shopping and fine food, not to mention a pro shop and on-site vehicle and boat detailing. A third of this beautiful resort is dedicated to a calming nature preserve, which is home to cute critters like deer, red fox, and over 40 species of birds. With condos starting at $434,900, the lap of luxury is surprisingly affordable. If you’re looking to live every day like you’re on vacation, Friday Harbour is the place for you!
Sophie’s Landing is a Muskoka-style gated community with private waterfront and marina access. You can hike or bike to downtown Orillia via the lakeside trail where you’ll find great shopping, boutiques, bistros, art, festivals, theatre, and more! If you’re looking to enjoy some drinks and up the ante, Casino Rama Resort is just minutes away, not to mention you’re just a hop, skip, and a jump from Horseshoe Valley Ski Resort and Hawk Ridge Golf and Country Club. Looking to enjoy the great outdoors? Orillia offers the 65-acre Tudhope Park greenbelt with miles of waterfront trails and multiple beaches. The community is moving into its fourth phase soon, so make sure to register!
Amenity rich and maintenance free, condos like Panoramic Point are hard to come by in the area. This condominium destination has stunning views of both Lake Simcoe and Lake Couchiching and offers a private beach, four-season swimming pool and whirlpool, exercise room, beautiful outdoor patio, elegant party room, bar and more. Tudhope Park is minutes away for a stroll by the water, and all the attractions of downtown Orillia are just a five-minute drive away!
Lagoon City—Brechin, Ontario
Lagoon City is a unique waterfront community on the east shore of Lake Simcoe. The neighborhood is comprised of 830 condominium townhouses, detaches homes, and vacation cottages. Over 90% of residents are on lagoons, which have direct access to Lake Simcoe. With over 16km of canals and private sandy beaches, Lagoon City is a water-lover’s dream, and with over 25 resident-created clubs and social activities, you’re bound to find something you enjoy—whether it be an old hobby or new!
Hedge Road Landing—Jackson’s Point, Georgina
Hedge Road Landing is an active adult condominium community that offers cottage-style bungalows on the south shores of Lake Simcoe. This charming community has a private club house where you can chat with friends and take a leisurely swim in the pool. Take a walk through one of the several waterfront parks nearby, such as De La Salle Park, Bonnie Park, and Willow Beach Conservation Area, or cycle along Hedge Road for some picturesque views.
Giggest Whitemarsh, Sales Representative at RE/MAX All-Stars Realty Inc, says, “Really, it’s [Georgina’s] beaches that end up drawing people in.” With over 19 beaches, 15 marinas, and 11 boat launches, I can see why! Phase one is sold out, but phase two (which includes 120 lots) is coming in April 2021!
Lake Simcoe has some gorgeous views
There’s no getting around the fact that Lake Simcoe offers some stunning views, especially if you happen to live on the waterfront.
Along with those views come some great health benefits! A 2013 study suggests people who live near water are more likely to report good health and well-being. In fact, it says that by simply spending time around water you can improve your mental health. Aquatic environments typically have cleaner air, not to mention residents on a lake or other body of water are more likely to be physically active, which contributes to an overall sense of well-being. The benefits of lakeside living are endless!
And you can count on the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority (LSRCA) to protect Lake Simcoe’s watershed—they’ve been doing it since 1951! Further, in 2009 the Ontario government created the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan (LSPP) in an organized effort to protect and restore the lake so everyone can enjoy it for years and years to come.
Sunsetting on Lake Simcoe
We ended our tour of the eight best retirement communities around Lake Simcoe in Keswick, where we met up with Gigget and her family. We were exhausted from driving around all day, so taking a moment to relax, hang out with Steve, our cocker spaniel, and watch the colours of the sunset dance across the lake was a real treat. We really enjoyed the tour—I can only imagine what it would be like to watch the sun go down over Lake Simcoe every day in my own backyard!
If you’re looking for a scenic drive like the one Chris, Steve, and I took, check out this route—it’s also great on a motorcycle!
- It has great attractions and amenities
While retirement is definitely a time for rest and relaxation, it’s also a time to get out there, be active, and do all the things you just didn’t have time to do before. Lake Simcoe is great for those who are looking to lead an active lifestyle, and with all of Lake Simcoe’s attractions and amenities, it won’t be hard convincing the grandkids to come up for a visit!
Summer around Lake Simcoe and Lake Couchiching means doing my favourite thing—getting out on the water. With so many lakes and shorelines to explore, the area is a water lover’s paradise. The Trent-Severn Waterway is easily accessible by boat and comes into Lake Simcoe on the north side through Washago and Lake Couchiching and exits out the east side of Lake Simcoe to the Trent System. Whether you’re boating, jet skiing, tubing, water-skiing, paddle boarding, fishing, swimming, or just relaxing on the beach, the lake provides an endless amount of entertainment for its residents.
Looking to get out on a hike? Between Barrie and Orillia lies the Lake County Oro-Medonte Rail Trail, which used to be a working CN train rail. After it’s retirement in 1996, the rail was converted into a 28km trail, giving hikers and cyclists a chance to enjoy nature alongside the sandy shores of Lake Simcoe. Stop in for a beer and ice cream just off the trail at Carthew Bay Pub & Scoops on the Bay, a long-time favourite among the community’s residents and visitors.
Alliston’s Mono Cliffs Provincial Park offers multiple moderate hiking trails along the picturesque Bruce Trail, so have your camera ready! There are tons of places to hike around Lake Simcoe, including the Lake Simcoe Trail, which goes from Virginia, through Georgina, all the way to the western border of Cooks Bay. Residents have years and years worth of trails to explore!
If you’re excited about getting back to nature and spending some nights under the stars, Georgina’s Sibbald Point Provincial Park is a great place for camping. The area has a great hiking trail and offers visitors a boat launch and parking area for boaters.
Looking to get out on the green and practice your swing? Lake Simcoe is home to more than 50 public and private golf courses. So you’re never far from a great round of golf (and some post-game drinks)! Below are just a few of the stunning golf courses in the area:
- Bradford Highlands Golf Club
- Barrie Country Club
- Hawk Ridge Golf and Country Club
- Couchiching Golf and Country Club
- Innisfil Creek Golf Club
- Nottawasaga Resort Golf Course
Lake Simcoe is home to more than 50 public and private golf courses
Looking for a bit of the night life? Casino Rama Resort in Orillia features 67 gaming tables, including 10 poker tables and 2,200 slot machines, a luxurious spa, and its amazing 5,000 seat entertainment centre that features only the best in entertainment. You can also place your bets at the Gateway Casino in Innisfil where you’ll experience great games and good eats.
Summer in Lake Simcoe is great, but what about the chillier months? The cold doesn’t have to stop the fun! There’s no shortage of things to do during a Lake Simcoe winter:
- ice fishing
- cross-country skiing
- sleigh rides
Barrie, on the west side of Lake Simcoe, is home to the Horseshoe Resort. With over 30km of trail, indoor and outdoor pools, restaurants, and even a spa, there’s something for everyone! But the Horseshoe Resort isn’t the only place to shred some snow. Below are just a few of the ski resorts Lake Simcoe has to offer!
- Mount St. Louis Moonstone
- Ski Snow Valley
- Hardwood Ski and Bike
- Midland Ski Club
- Wye Marsh
- Highlands Nordic
Ice Fishing on Cooks Bay
Without a doubt, one of our favorite Family Day trips was our stay at the Nottawasaga Inn. Only an hour drive from Mississauga, the resort has all the amenities for a weekend of family fun. We booked an ice fishing day tour with Terry Goy Ice Fishing and started our day at Gilford Beach, where Terry picked us up with his sled and shuttled our gang out to the fish hut on Cooks Bay. What an awesome day! We brought along a great lunch and burner to cook up some beans and hot dogs. Not to be disappointed, we caught and released jumbo perch all day long. Back at the Inn, we had a great meal, played a game of mini-putt, and chatted about our ice fishing adventure on Lake Simcoe.
Its proximity to Toronto/GTA
Many of my clients worry about being too far away from their family and friends. Especially when they start having grandchildren. In fact, the west side of Lake Simcoe is typically more popular with my clients. Such places like Georgina, Barrie, and Innisfil aren’t far from the GTA (about 45 minutes to an hour drive), so you can still can be close to the people you care about while enjoying all that Lake Simcoe has to offer!
There’s no need to worry about missing the hustle and bustle of downtown Toronto, either. If you’re looking to avoid the drive, Barrie and Orillia’s transportation system is their second highest feature on Maclean’s customizable ranking of “Canada’s Best Communities.” The GO bus from Barrie to Union Station is a stress-free commute that only takes about 90 minutes, and new GO stops have been created in Bradford.
Not to mention that Highway 404 was expanded recently right into Georgina, making access to the east side of Lake Simcoe fast and easy. Further, the airport is only a 45-minute drive away via the 407, which is great for all those vacations in your future!
no need to worry about missing the hustle and bustle
Therefore, when it comes to downsizing your home for retirement. Deciding where to move is one of the biggest challenges facing baby boomers. At the same time, if you’re interested in the cities or townships around Lake Simcoe. Then book some showings, hop in the car, and get a feel for the area. Finding the right place for you takes time, planning, and most of all, self-discovery. Ultimately, my advice to you is this: don’t sit on your plans to downsize!
Join us for FREE at our next Boomers on the Move workshop