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Comparing the Cottage Communities of Manitoba

One of the quintessential parts of Manitoba’s identity is our adherence to lake life. You can guarantee that if you ask your coworkers what they did on the weekend, you’ll get at least one person saying they spent their days at the lake. If you’ve ever considered purchasing a lake home, for the summer, for retirement, or for your new permanent residence, here are some of the communities you’ll want to consider.


Lake Winnipeg (East Shore)

Includes:
• Albert Beach
• Balsam Bay
• Grand Marais
• Hillside Beach
• Lester Beach
• Traverse Bay
• Victoria Beach
Only an hour from the city, Lake Winnipeg is a popular and convenient place for a getaway. Whether you’re looking for somewhere to go for a day, a weekend, or a summer, it’s a great destination.

The real estate in this area is also very reasonably priced, with options as low as 80k for some small, non-lakefront properties. This makes it the area with the lowest barrier to entry on this list.
Each community is fairly small and close together, so you can reap the benefits of the entire area from almost any vantage point. Excellent hiking options, a luxury golf course, a myriad of beaches to explore, and plenty of locally owned shops ensures you’ll have tons to do.
One of the main selling features of Lake Winnipeg is Grand Marais. The town features a small grocery store, a lounge, a famous ice cream shop, and a well loved pizza place right by Grand Beach, consistently voted one of the best beaches in Canada due to its incredibly soft white sand.

Pros:

• Close to the city
• Access to Grand Beach
• Reasonably priced real estate
• Locally owned shops and amenities

Cons:

• The health of the lake itself has gone through some issues in the recent years, with algal blooms and pollution
• If your goal is to get out on the water, most lakefront properties aren’t set up to support boat life (due to the shallowness of the lake)


Lake Winnipeg (West Shore)

Includes:
• Gimli
• Winnipeg Beach
• Matlock
• Spruce Sands
• Pelican Beach
A very common retirement spot for Winnipeg seniors, Gimli offers all the benefits of living in a town with a relaxing lake lifestyle. With a tight knit community, excellent Icelandic culture, and beautiful beaches, it’s a great choice for those who want to stay close to the city.
The annual Icelandic festival held in Gimli attracts people from across North America, and features a weekend of rides, events, performances, and contests. If you’re considering a cabin in this area, you can be involved in the production of this highly anticipated event.

Pros:

• Close to the city
• Beaches are top tier, with soft sand and waves
• Reasonably priced real estate
• Strong, passionate Icelandic community in Gimli

Cons:

• The health of the lake itself has gone through some issues in the recent years, with algal blooms and pollution
• Gimli is a busy area, so you won’t enjoy the same level of seclusion or privacy as other areas


Kenora

Includes:
• Lake of the Woods
• Lakes West of Kenora
• Winnipeg River
• Black Sturgeon
• Sioux Narrows

This area will be one of the highest priced on the list, with vacant lots going for as much as 300,000. However, this area is truly unmatched when it comes to natural beauty. With a deep lake perfect for boating, fishing, and water sports, it’s highly desirable for a reason.
It’s closest city, Kenora, has a small population of about 16,000 permanent residents, but boasts amenities of a big city to support the cabin communities. If you ever need a reprieve from the relaxation of lake life, Kenora is home to a dynamic arts culture and plenty activities and festivals.

Pros:

• Chance to own your own private island
• Proximity to Kenora
• Fantastic fishing
• Great boating culture

Cons:

A far drive from Winnipeg makes day trips unfeasible
• 
High prices and lack of available listings makes for a high barrier to entry
• Some cabins are only accessible by boats, making the purchase of one necessary


The Whiteshell

Includes:
• Falcon Lake
• West Hawk Lake
• White Lake
• Red Rock Lake

The Whiteshell is a large land area with over 200 lakes, sandy beaches, excellent rocky hiking, and active wildlife. With fantastic golf courses and plenty of campgrounds, the Whiteshell is typically bustling with weekend and day trippers. This makes it highly desirable for anyone looking for a piece of privacy while still having access to any and all amenities.
Due to the sheer size of this area, prices will vary considerably. Lakefront cottages on Falcon or West Hawk will be the most expensive, often in the million-dollar range, but you can certainly find more modestly priced homes in the $200k-$300k range on less popular lakes, such as Caddy Lake or Lake Brereton.

Pros:

• Huge area with lots to choose from allows you freedom to design your getaway property to your liking.
• Plenty of things to do such as golfing, fishing, hiking, and skiing.
• Incredible natural beauty with clear lakes, rocky terrain, and lush forest.

Cons:

• Huge area with lots to choose from can make it overwhelming to decide where to buy.
• The area being so highly desirable means you may be facing some stiff competition on the more popular lakefronts.
• The plethora of resorts, RV Parks and campgrounds can make some parts of the Whiteshell feel as busy as a small down in the height of summer, less ideal if the goal is to really get away.


Lac Du Bonnet

Lac Du Bonnet is a rural municipality that sits on the picturesque banks of the Winnipeg River. It offers plenty of options for recreation, including annual festivals, boating, hiking, golfing, and snowmobiling.
A gateway between the prairie and the Canadian Shield, this area offers places to swim, boat and enjoy water sports. You can find seclusion here in a shrouded property, but proximity to the busy town allows for community and access to amenities. You can even take a bit of a drive and enjoy the nearby communities of Pinawa and Pointe Du Bois.

Pros:

• Strong community with local representation
• Beautiful water with plenty of dock access
• Reasonably priced real estate
• Excellent privacy on the larger lots, with plenty of tree cover
• Close to golf courses

Cons:

• A bit of a drive from the city
• The lake is built more for boating than for beaches
• Common festivals can be a nuisance for those looking for ultimate privacy and quiet


We may not have mountains, we may be about as far as you can be from the ocean, but Manitoba is unmatched when it comes to lake life. If you’re considering a cabin as a second home or as a retirement plan, we can point you in the right direction. Bryan Alan Masse: 204.891.3083

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