in Canada is a thing of beauty. Craggy ski resort towns emerge from the snow, covered in wildflowers. Once–storm-swept beaches invite swimming, surfing, and summer bonfires. And snug cabins in the woods open their windows to birdsong and warm breezes rifling the trees. From the sparkling lakes of cottage country to the idyllic islands off the B.C. coast, there are plenty of stunning summer vacation spots to consider in Canada.

And while we all love the usual summer hot spots, don’t be afraid to explore further afield this season: many of the top destinations have hidden treasures next door. Venture off the beaten track for a truly Canadian adventure at one of these six destinations.

If You Love Whistler, Try Pemberton

Located 30 minutes north of the world-renowned ski resort town of Whistler, B.C., Pemberton is an outdoors-lover’s paradise. Hike to Nairn Falls just south of Pemberton, or head 30 minutes east on Highway 99 to appreciate the stunning turquoise waters of Joffre Lakes. If relaxation is more what you have in mind, spend a day basking on the white sands of Pemberton Beach. Golfers will appreciate the challenging 18 hole course at Big Sky Golf Course, one of the top 20 golf courses in Canada. In the evening, drive down to Whistler to stroll through the pedestrian village and enjoy world-class dining at AraxiThe Rimrock Cafe, or Alta Bistro.

Plan your dream summer escape with these sunny Pemberton acreages. Or set up nearby in these mountain-adjacent Whistler chalets.

Instead of Banff, Explore Canmore

Just five minutes from the east gate of UNESCO World Heritage Site Banff National Park, let yourself be impressed by the incredible Rocky Mountain scenery of Canmore, Alberta. Spend an afternoon on the greens at the Les Furber–designed Silvertip Golf Course, or exploring the colourful shops of the town’s Main Street, surrounded by snow-capped peaks—then enjoy pan-seared Arctic char or a forest mushroom pizza and a glass of Pinot Gris at top-ranked Crazyweed Kitchen, known for its excellent wine selection. Adventurous travellers might hike the Grassi Lakes Trail past two glacier lakes, take in the scenery from a saddle on a horseback ride, or try their hand at whitewater rafting on the Kananaskis River.

Find your launchpad to adventure in these impressive Canmore homes.

If You’re Looking for Wine Country, Try Small-Town Okanagan Valley

While many head to Kelowna in the warmer months to experience the best of the B.C.’s Okanagan Valley, there are a variety of smaller towns with just as much recreational appeal. In scenic Penticton, float the 7km Penticton River Channel in an inner tube, and sup on Greek fare at Theo’s in a town whose name means “a place to stay forever”. Or trek to Keremeos, a quiet village tucked in the heart of the Similkameen River Valley known as the Fruit Stand Capital of Canada. Swim or fish in the pristine waters of the Similkameen River, taste local wines at the Corcelettes Estate Winery or Clos du Soleil Winery, or appreciate the scenery (and the working 1877 waterwheel-powered flour mill) at the Grist Mill and Gardens.

Whether you’re establishing your own winery or dropping by for the growing season, watch this page for Keremeos listings, and explore your Okanagan property options.

If You Love Cottage Country, Holiday in Haliburton

Welcome to cottage country. Thought Ontario’s Muskoka Lakes is the more famous summer destination, nearby Haliburton is a perfect spot to relax and unwind. Sometimes called the Haliburton Highlands (and host to an annual Highland Games), the area is spotted with scenic lakes and springs, and bordered by Algonquin Provincial Park to the north. For the culturally inclined, there is no shortage of activities here: visit the Haliburton Sculpture Forest or try your hand at glassblowing, blacksmithing, jewellery-making, pottery, and more at Haliburton School of Art + Design. If your idea of relaxing means staying out of the kitchen, skip the dishes and enjoy excellent German-inspired fare at Rhubarb.

Find your own Haliburton waterfront retreat, or retreat to Muskoka to find a lake to float away on.

Instead of the California Coast, Trek Vancouver Island

With a slightly wilder feel than its Californian cousin, B.C.’s Vancouver Island coastline offers seaside riches to suit all road-trippers and surfers. Scan the seas for migrant orcas on the two-hour ferry ride from the mainland to Nanaimo, then head to the west coast of the island to explore Tofino, a world-renowned surf spot also known for its excellent dining (we suggest Wolf in the FogTacofino, or The Pointe Restaurant). The island is home to innumerable excellent wineries and cideries, top-quality spas and golf, and plenty of gorgeous parks for hiking, kayaking, or just relaxing and enjoying the view. Vancouver Island offers travellers this side of the border a taste of the chill life.

Nestle into one of these stunning Vancouver Island homes, and take your pick of local summer activities.

Instead of Europe, Discover Québec City

If your summer plans don’t include a jaunt to the continent, don’t despair—there’s always Québec City. The capital of Québec and a historical treasure trove, Québec City offers many summer splendours: take a walk in the European-like streets of Old Québec, and visit the Old Port Market for seasonal foodstuffs and icewine. Rent a bike and pedal to the Chute-Montmorency, where a cable car will take you to the top of the falls for a beautiful vista. With a summer season full of buskers and festivals, and an epicurean scene that includes Chez Boulay‘s Nordic cuisine and traditional French-Canadian fare at Chez Muffy, Québec City is the perfect summer destination for holidayers looking to add a splash of the city to their getaway.

Find your summer pied-à-terre in the sky with these Québec City condos.



Whether you’re looking to avoid crowds or simply try something new this summer, these six Canadian destinations offer something special to the intrepid traveller. Discovering the best of the country’s hidden gems and warm-weather excursions will have you making plans to stay all year.

Dreaming of the perfect Canadian vacation home? Get inspired with homes in cottage country, and investigate country living.

Photo Credits: Galyna Andrushko / Shutterstock Inc., Jon Marc Lyttle / Shutterstock Inc., Chase Clausen / Shutterstock Inc., Mack Male / Flickr, Brian Lasenby / Shutterstock Inc., JmjCarter2 / Shutterstock Inc., mervas / Shutterstock Inc.

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Delighted for both the buyer and seller of this fantastic Calgary Copperfield home.  With the right marketing and strategies, this Calgary home sold in 10 Days on Market.   CONGRATS to everyone!
 
If you would like the same results or are interested in learning more, please contact Steven Hill directly at shill@sothebysrealty.ca
 
 
Steven Hill
Associate Broker
Sotheby's International Realty Canada | Calgary
direct: 403-863-6344
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Until now, luxury real estate buyers have found inspiration in properties with a sense of grandeur. Whether via a stately brownstone in a major city, a quiet retreat in cottage country, or a tropical paradise somewhere abroad, they’ve opted for spaciousness, for homes that mirror their success.

While equally invested in purchasing an uplifting pied-à-terre, the next generation of luxury real estate buyers is redefining the priorities of home ownership.

Now in their twenties and thirties, millennials make up the largest living demographic in North America. With the help of the impending wealth transfer from their baby boomer parents, millennials make up half of the 32% of Canadians who are likely to purchase a home in the next two years. The share of home sales to first-time buyers has hit a 17-year high.

But even the most affluent millennial home buyers entering the luxury real estate market aren’t looking for a 10,000-square-foot gated manor with a four-car garage and 16 bedrooms. That’s because, for today’s purchasers, experiences are more important than objects—and that penchant shines through in everything from the properties they prefer to their expectations about their relationship with their REALTOR®️.

An Experience, Not a Product

Emerging luxury real estate buyers think of a property as a journey rather than as a destination. In its 2017 study of the emerging luxury market, Sotheby’s International Realty found that while spending on personal goods has slowed among emerging buyers, spending on experiences—travel, evenings out, spa breaks—is on the rise. The perfect home is less about the things in it, and more about how it will fit into the buyer’s daily life, so listings that show how the property supports a lifestyle are more successful than those that simply reel off amenities.

A home with a large backyard isn’t just more land—it’s a place for picnics and birthday parties, for playing catch or daydreaming in the sun. And an updated bathroom isn’t just a feature to tick off, but a spa-like oasis for a relaxing bath after a long day at work.

Video footage, augmented reality, and top-quality photography all help establish a sense of possibility before a buyer even sets foot on the property.

And as in the past, location is critical—with a twist. Where past generations have moved away from urban centres in favour of room to recreate, millennials are making a return to city life. In most cases, a smaller home located in an interesting up-and-coming neighbourhood is more appealing to today’s buyers than a larger place in the suburbs. Walkability and charm are key.

Character Over Capacity

With the explosion of social media in recent years, storytelling has become a critical life skill. As a result, a property with a story to tell can be at least as appealing to buyers as a brand-new build. Did this loft building used to be a brewery in the 1920s? Was this house built by the founder of a local charity? A home becomes a part of the buyer’s personal narrative, so heritage status, interesting histories, and thoughtful architectural details are all selling points. So, of course, are pure aesthetics: an updated kitchen, original hardwood floors, and plenty of natural light all show well on Instagram.

A Personal Connection

Consumers today value authenticity, curation, and a personal touch. When they shop, they don’t just want a brand that makes good products—they want a brand that aligns with their vision and values, that understands who they are and what they want, and that evolves over time to stay fresh and relevant. Home buyers want the same thing out of a relationship with their real estate agent. A REALTOR®️ who takes the time to build a personal connection and develop a deep understanding of a client’s needs and tastes has a chance of staying with that client from their first apartment to their retirement vacation home.

A Home to Grow In

The cost of housing in Canada has increased much more rapidly than the average salary. The result is that even adults working lucrative white-collar jobs may not be able to afford the same kind of home they grew up in, especially in markets like Vancouver. Instead, millennials are looking for a home that can adapt and meet their needs over time. Basement or attic suites, extra bedrooms, and laneway houses all provide a way to make a home more affordable in the present while holding space to expand into as buyers’ income and affluence rises.

The next generation of luxury real estate buyers isn’t looking for a property—they’re looking for the next chapter in their life story. Where their predecessors were wooed by new windows and roofs, plenty of bedrooms, and multi-car garages, today’s luxury buyers are more interested in updated chef’s kitchens, exposed brick detailing, and backyard orchards. They crave personal connections, historical interest, and curated selections. To reach millennial buyers, real estate organizations need to support their priorities.




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Are you considering purchasing an investment property? The right piece of real estate is a great way to grow your financial portfolio while also potentially earning rental income. However, the recent introduction of a mandatory stress test to the mortgage qualification process means that certain buyers may need to reconsider their options.

What Is the Stress Test?

As of January 1, 2018, Canada’s Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) instituted a stress test for all mortgages. In the past, stress tests have only been required for insured mortgages—those with a down payment of less than 20%. Now, a test will be required of all home buyers in Canada—including existing homeowners renewing their mortgages, should they choose to switch lenders.

In basic terms, the stress test means that buyers must qualify for a mortgage at a higher interest rate. That rate is the higher of:

As a buyer, you don’t actually have to pay the higher rate now, and you may not in future, either—you just have to qualify for the mortgage as laid out above. The idea behind the stress test is that if rates do rise, homeowners will still be able to afford their mortgage payments, and won’t be at risk of defaulting on their loan or losing their property.

The introduction of the stress test has changed the market, and should also change the way you think about your investment property.

You Will Qualify for a Smaller Mortgage

The stress test reduces the mortgage amount buyers will qualify for by approximately 18.5%. Meaning that if the investment property you’ve been considering is at the edge of your budget, you may face new challenges in making it a viable option. If you do still want to pursue a property in an aspirational price range, you’ll need to have a larger down payment in order to reduce the amount of the mortgage.

On the positive side, if worries about possible rate increases kept you on the fence about buying in the past, you can now buy with greater peace of mind. The stress test ensures that even if rates do go up, you’ll still be well-equipped to manage your mortgage payments.

The Pool of Buyers Is Smaller

It’s estimated that under the new terms, one in five potential buyers, or 20% of applying Canadians, will no longer qualify for their ideal mortgage. As a result, the competition for available homes is less intense than it has been in years past. If there’s an investment property you’ve had your eye on, now might be a good time to put in an offer. With fewer qualified buyers on the market, you have a much better chance of landing the property of your dreams without getting mired in a bidding war.

Rental Income Is Now a Key Part of Your Investment Strategy

As the criteria around home ownership shift, discerning buyers will want to consider rental opportunities when sourcing their next investment purchase. Rental income is an excellent way to ensure continued cash flow while you wait for your property to appreciate—and as more Canadians opt to rent, revenue from tenants becomes a reliable return on investment. If your property is in Vancouver, having a renter also means you won’t have to pay the Empty Homes Tax, a surcharge of 1% of the property’s assessed value based on the previous tax year.

OSFI’s introduction of a stress test for mortgage applicants protects homeowners from purchasing property outside their means. However, if qualifying for a mortgage is not a concern for you, this may be a good opportunity to purchase an investment property while rates are still low and high-end homes are available.


Have questions about how Canada’s stress test will affect your mortgage eligibility? Get in touch with Steven Hill at Sotheby’s International Realty Canada, or set up a meeting with a mortgage broker at your local bank or credit union.

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Data supplied by CREB®’s MLS® System. CREB® is the owner of the copyright in its MLS® System. The Listing data is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed accurate by CREB®.
The trademarks MLS®, Multiple Listing Service® and the associated logos are owned by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify the quality of services provided by real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.
The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS®, and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.