If you’re about to retire, and would rather spend more time paddling wilderness areas instead of playing shuffleboard in suburban parks, then pack the moving van and point it toward Northern Ontario. These cities and towns are creating lots of buzz among those seeking affordable real estate in neighbourhoods that back onto some of the best paddling regions anywhere.
This Northern burg between Sudbury and Sault Ste. Marie has a population of only 11,000, and monthly rent on a luxurious lakeshore property is a quarter the price of a mundane Toronto condo. But it gets better. The main road through town links to countless paddling routes (Elliot/Depot, Dunlop/Mace, Semiwhite/Helenbar, Flack/Ten Mile, Boland River). It's just a short drive to Mississagi Provincial Park. The trout fishing is legendary, and you’ll never need to check your phone to see how bad the rush hour traffic is on the portages.
Situated between Thunder Bay and the Manitoba border, the town has a slogan that says it all: “Canoeing Capital of Canada.” Imagine living on the doorstep of Quetico, one of the province’s largest wilderness parks. The park sprawls across 460,000 hectares, with more than 2,000 lakes to paddle, and 2,200 interior sites to pitch a tent. That’s a neighbourhood worth getting to know. And canoes will be readily available, Atikokan being the home of the well-respected Souris River Canoe Company.