This long, challenging year cooped up at home has left many Ottawa residents looking for a convenient getaway. And what could be better than a cottage within a reasonable driving distance of the city? Paul Rushforth calls cottages a “very popular product” among all his real estate listings right now.
Presenting 6 of the best areas to buy a cottage near Ottawa.
1. Constance Bay
Distance from downtown Ottawa: 46.5 kilometres
Real estate: About 50% cottages and 50% year-round residences. Various sized homes, including singles. Prices range anywhere from $500-600K for a teardown to $1.3-1.4 million for the nicest places, in what Paul describes as a “beautiful community with a beautiful beach.”
Amenities: A car is essential for grocery shopping and errands, but parking for you and your guests is plentiful. There are several restaurants, a general store, a chapel, a Legion, and a community centre complete with a library for rainy days.
Water: The community is built on a peninsula between Constance Bay and Buckham Bay. Young kids can safely enjoy the Bay’s shallow water area.
Winter fun: Trails for snowmobiling, cross country skiing, and walking.
2. Dunrobin Shores
Distance from downtown Ottawa: 41 kilometres
Real estate: Mostly large single-family homes of 3 bedrooms and up. Paul comments, “Trying to get something under a million in Dunrobin Shores is very, very hard. But you’re thinking more about people who are living there year-round and big, big houses.”
Amenities: There’s a small downtown business area with a community centre. A car is a must since Dunrobin Shores is too hilly for easy biking or walking.
Water: Dunrobin is on the Ottawa River. In addition to being an awesome place for swimming in Ottawa, there’s excellent fishing in the deep water off the docks.
Winter fun: Cross country skiing, skating, and snowshoeing.
Distance from downtown Ottawa: 13 kilometres
Real estate: Britannia offers an interesting mix of homes, including quaint cottages which have been adapted as year-round residences, condos, attractive newer single-family homes, and prestigious enclave properties. Prices are high in this sought-after area, just a short drive from downtown Ottawa.
Amenities: There’s no shortage of amenities in Britannia, notably a good-sized supermarket and 4 community centres.
Water: Britannia Beach on the Ottawa River is open to the public (after closing for restorative work in the summer of 2020). It’s an idyllic spot for swimming and sailing. The Britannia Yacht Club is a private social club at the eastern end of Lac Deschenes.
Winter fun: Outdoor skating rink. Year-round hiking and bird watching on Mud Lake Trail around the bird sanctuary.
Outskirts of Ottawa
These 3 areas on the outskirts of Ottawa, further away from the city centre, are ideal when you’re looking for more affordable prices. Paul mentions their “small-town feel but with lots of local amenities” and what every cottage buyer in Ottawa is looking for — beautiful water.
4. Smiths Falls
Distance from downtown Ottawa: 77.6 kilometres
Real estate: Smiths Falls boasts homes for virtually every budget, including some undeveloped lots.
Amenities: Beyond basic amenities like grocery shopping, Smiths Falls offers a few more interesting options — 2 historical museums, a local microbrewery, and a gourmet bakery. A new hospital provides health services, including emergency care 24/7.
Water: On the Rideau River, the public beach is very family-friendly — it even provides bouncing structures in the water for the younger set.
Winter fun: Snowmobiling and hiking. If you prefer more leisurely activities, some restaurants have started offering outdoor winter dining on heated patios.
Distance from downtown Ottawa: 66.7 kilometres
Real estate: Arnprior has a good assortment of properties, many at very affordable prices. New construction is underway, adding to the housing inventory.
Amenities: Although a reasonable car ride away from Ottawa, Arnprior is an up-and-coming city in its own right, with all the amenities you need.
Water: Bounded by 2 rivers, the Madawaska and the Ottawa, Arnprior has water galore. Braeside Beach is a favourite.
Winter fun: Hiking. Also, downhill skiing at nearby Calabogie Peaks and Mount Pakenham.
Distance from downtown Ottawa: 83.6 kilometres
Real estate: Real estate is pricier than in some other areas. That’s because Merrickville features many spacious homes set on substantial lots, as well as heritage properties.
Amenities: You’ll appreciate the established infrastructure, including shopping, health care, and other necessities.
Water: Besides swimming, Merrickville’s location on the Rideau River provides opportunities for canoeing and kayaking.
Winter fun: Ice skating and snow shoeing is not just an activity in Merrickville. It’s a winter tradition.
Hire A Top Realtor Who Knows Ottawa-Area Cottages
Buying a cottage is an exciting journey, but it’s very different from house hunting in town. Find the knowledgeable, professional help you need with the Paul Rushforth team.