THIS is cottage country and small-town Ontario wrapped into one. The Cherry Valley/Salmon Point/East Lake communities offer everything you could want in a cottage destination while still being within easy reach of the best of Prince Edward County. Bonus: it’s one of the most affordable waterfront locations in PEC.
East Lake feels a bit like you’ve stepped back into time, with retro campgrounds, trailer parks and rental cottages dotting an area surrounded mainly by working farms. There are so many real estate opportunities here: raw land, houses in need of TLC, fully-managed cottages and newly built homes and subdivisions too.
Lake and Beach Life
The waters of East Lake are warm and clear, thanks to being fed from a spring vs. Lake Ontario. East Lake is ideal for swimming and a popular fishing spot for bass, perch, pike and pickerel.
One of Sandbanks Provincial Park’s four beaches (and arguably its most popular) is on East Lake: Outlet Beach. With the softest sands and warmest waters, it’s perfect for swimming, building sandcastles, kayaking and canoeing. (It’s also dog friendly).
The Athol Recreation Centre in Cherry Valley (officially the area is part of Athol Ward), housed in the original 1873 townhall, hosts year-round events including yoga classes, workshops, games nights and a Strawberry Social.
Salmon Point is having a hipster moment right now too, with the revival of the Hayloft Dancehall. Set in a historic barn, this bar and music venue is open from the May long weekend to Halloween. A convenient shuttle picks up and drops off across the County. Torontonians may notice similarities to the Hayloft’s urban sister, The Dakota Tavern.
Real Estate in East Lake, PEC
There are so many great options to buy a waterfront cottage or home in the East Lake area!
East Lake is significantly more affordable than West Lake, with prices starting in the $400’s, with access to West Lake’s beaches and amenities just a short drive away. There are still plenty of opportunities to buy and renovate, and both seasonal cottages and year-round homes are available.
Water lover? While you don’t have access to Lake Ontario from East Lake, there is way less boat traffic here. Bonus: there’s paddle access to West Lake (but not boat access). Double bonus: you’ll find some of the best fishing in the County on East Lake.
Near the East Lake area, you’ll find Cherry Valley, a mixed area prime for redevelopment. With lots of wartime houses, we’re starting to see more new construction and renovations.
The East Lake area is also home to a few fully-managed vacation cottage ownership options. While the land is leasehold, you do own the actual cottage (so this isn’t a timeshare or fractional ownership).
Cherry Beach Resort, part of the Great Blue Resort community, offers 253 cottage ownership opportunities. The cottages are seasonal, from May to October and are popular with families and snowbirds. The compact cottages (think: the next generation of mobile homes) come fully furnished and the resort management takes care of almost all of the details.
Amenities include a 1,200 foot long private sandy beach, heated pool, canoes, SUP’s, a kids club and organized games and activities. And yes, it’s dog-friendly (except the beach).
While prices range from $80,000 to $160,000, note that there is also an annual maintenance fee (currently around $4,200 per year) that includes everything except propane, insurance and in-cottage internet. Because you don’t own the land, you can’t get a traditional mortgage, but financing options are available (at 4.99% interest as of writing, with a 20% downpayment).
While many people choose to take full advantage of their cottage and remain all summer, others choose to participate in the rental pool. How it works: the resort handles all the details, from booking to check-in to payment. There’s a 20% administration fee and the remaining income is split 50/50 between you and the resort. Cottages may be purchased directly from the resort (inventory permitting) or directly from an owner.
Sandbanks Summer Village next door, offers higher-end fully-managed cottage options. The super-cute bungalows with paved roads and full amenities are open from April to November. Similar to the other fully managed cottage options in the area, there’s an annual maintenance fee and you need to find alternate financing. It’s possible to participate in the rental pool. Prices start at 270K to 500+ for waterfront properties.
Must Do and See in East Lake
- The lighthouse at Salmon Point
- Pack a picnic and head to Point Petre
- Check out the Beaver Meadow Wildlife area
- Spend an evening dancing at the Hayloft Dancehall