Prince Edward County (PEC) ranks as one of the top picks in Ontario for retirees. Home to affordable housing, excellent healthcare, beaches, a booming art and music scene and 23 golf courses, there are plenty of diversions to keep retirees active. Here’s our guide to retiring in the County.
If you’re looking to retire in Prince Edward County, rest assured: you’ll have plenty of good housing options, from one-storey bungalows to maintenance-free condominiums and townhouses to retirement communities in Wellington and Picton. Whether you’re looking for an all-season waterfront home, a newly-constructed house with minimal maintenance, a charming country home or easy living in a condo, you’ll be able to get what you want in the County.
Many Canadian snowbirds also call the County home while they aren’t basking in the sun and golfing in the winter. Seasonal cottages (fully-managed or self-managed), retirement communities and condos in downtown Picton tend to be their top choices.
Prince Edward County is a group of communities, each offering retirees a different lifestyle. If you’re looking for convenience and walkability, consider Picton and Wellington. Quaintness and a thriving arts scene? Head to Bloomfield. Luxury and waterfront locales? It doesn’t get better than Rednersville, Rossmore and West Lake. You can read our in-depth PEC Community Guides here.
Affordability and Taxes
True, real estate in the County is booming, but PEC remains an affordable option for retirees, particularly those coming from bigger cities like Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal. You’ll find many ex-city dwellers here, who cashed out on their million-dollar-plus homes, moved to the county for one-third the price, and pocketed the rest to fund their years of travel and adventure. There are plenty of neighbouring communities in the Bay of Quinte area that offer affordable retirement options too.
Most residents consider municipal taxes in the bigger communities high, while taxes in Prince Edward County and Quinte West tend to be lower. Of course, you’re giving something up for those lower taxes – city services, access to shopping and amenities, etc.
Municipal taxes in the County vary throughout the wards, depending on whether or not city services are included.
Click here to read our full Guide to Prices in Prince Edward County.
Prince Edward County has one of the highest doctor to patient ratios in Canada, according to the findings of the Macleans 2017 Best Places to Live. With 5 doctors for every 1,000 residents, that’s more than double Toronto’s 2 to 1,000 ratio and five times Niagara’s 1:1000 ratio. With a primary care facility in Picton (PEC Memorial) and nearby hospitals in Trenton, Belleville and Kingston, efforts are also underway to redevelop the Picton hospital into a more robust facility.
Leisure Activities and Community
Things move more slowly in Prince Edward County, and the more relaxed pace of life here is one of the draws for many retirees. But fear not: there’s plenty to do here. With an active arts and music scene, a growing theatre community, festivals, beaches and trails, it’s easy to keep busy and active. Whether your go-to activity is walking, hiking, cycling, golfing, boating, fishing, cross-country skiing or curling, you’ll find it in PEC.
There are organized walking circles, seniors programs, a fitness and aquatic centre in Bloomfield and various clubs to help you meet like-minded people. Residents of PEC are active in their community and there are plenty of opportunities to volunteer and get involved.
We’re Canadian, so yes, weather matters. The proximity of the County to Lake Ontario means a relatively mild climate (by Canadian standards), with 119 days of weather above 20 degrees and just 150 days below zero. Expect warm days in the summer, cool breezes in the evening and snow in the winter. Annual precipitation is slightly less than Niagara
Access to Airports
If part of your retirement plans includes travel, then you’ll want to be able to get to the airport easily. With easy access to the 401, Picton is a 2.5 hour drive to the Toronto airport and 2 hours, 40 minutes from the Ottawa Airport.
Better yet: take the train. Via Rail trains leave Belleville for Toronto several times a day, with an easy connection to the Union-Pearson express train that arrives at YYZ. There’s a fast train from Belleville to Toronto, with just 3 stops in between. One-way: from $60 for seniors (as of writing).
Ontario Coachway also provides shuttle service between Belleville and Toronto Pearson Airport, for $80 per person (one-way).
Try Before You Buy
While you may have fallen in love with the County on a wine tour, it’s always a good idea to spend some exploring the various communities [Related: Read our Community Guides]. Consider renting an apartment or house for a few weeks to really get a feel for the County. Short-term rentals are in high demand here, so make sure to book early. Visit airbnb.com, vrbo.com and homeaway.com for the best selection of short-term rentals.
Thinking of retiring to Prince Edward County?
It’s never too early to start considering your retirements in PEC. Get in touch and we’ll connect you with the best local agents in the area who work with retirees.