Haliburton, Ontario has a population of about 18,062 permanent residents and covers 4,025 square kilometres. Also known as the Haliburton Highlands, the area is positioned at the south end of the Canadian Shield. It is a short drive for cottagers of about 2.5 hours and is located northeast of Toronto. The area is known for its rugged beauty with kilometres of lakes, hills, waterfalls and forests. When factoring in the seasonal population, the locals more than double in size to about 45,000 which shows how popular it is for second homeowners. It offers stunning properties that range from tiny seasonal cottages to prominent, winterized homes.
Haliburton is a tourist hotspot with a wide variety of accommodations available from private and publicly owned camping properties to cottage rentals and all-inclusive lodges and inns to roadside motels. Cottage owners enjoy the area throughout the year for those who have invested in winterized cottages as there are many ways to enjoy the beautiful landscape from swimming and boating in the summer months to snowshoeing, snowmobiling and cross country skiing in the pristine Canadian winters.
Dotted with hundreds of lakes, cottage properties abound, offering peaceful, yet active respites for people from surrounding cities including both Toronto and Ottawa. It is mostly the lakes and rivers that attract tourists and cottage owners to the area. Activities are endless here making it an ideal place for nature lovers who can hike, fish, horseback ride, cycle and use any number of boating options from canoes to skidoos and small sailboats to various types of cruisers. ATVing and snowmobiling are popular past times as well.
The area is stunning all year round from the welcoming cool waters and shady green forests of the summer to the spectacular display of colours in the fall and the crisp white beauty of this winter wonderland.
However, the Highlands offer amenities that make it ideal whether you want to shop, enjoy local arts and crafts, go antiquing or even attend a world-class film festival. Some of the top attractions include Art in the Park, the annual Haliburton Highland Games, and the Haliburton Dogsled Races that offer a uniquely Canadian experience.
Dining in the area won’t disappoint with most of the restaurants, bakeries and cafés focused on fresh, quality foods whether you are looking for something casual, or more sophisticated. Cottage owners, however, are quite content enjoying their own private pieces of heaven once they make the trek from the city.
As with most near north destinations of Ontario, Haliburton County's economy is dominated by tourism. Properties occupied in the summer compared to those used year-round are about 3 to 1.
Local businesses focus on catering to cottagers and tourists, which means much of the employment in the area is seasonal. Some of the most prominent sectors include residential construction, resorts, services and retail with permanent opportunities provided by the Haliburton Highlands Health Services.
It’s hard to break down Haliburton into “areas” as cottage country doesn’t really have neighbourhoods. However, you can consider the townships of Haliburton when cottage hunting which include:
Algonquin Highlands is known for its endless lakes and lovely rolling hills on the western side of Haliburton Highlands. Its lovely lakes offer pristine views and a selection of cottages that are all unique in size, style and features. It is conveniently close to Algonquin Park. The townships in the area include “parts” of Dorset and Carnarvon and many lakes. The most popular hamlets include:
Dysart offers a very vibrant community that is deeply involved in the arts. It is home to many culturally significant events and facilities including:
This is an ideal setting if you love cultural events.
This township has many desirable townships for cottagers including former mining town Cardiff. If you travel often in the north, you might be familiar with the landmark in the township of the metal dragonfly sculpture located off Highway 118 at the town’s entrance. Gooderham is known for its clever transformation of the former rail lines into a network of trails. It is rumoured the town was named after distillery magnates the Gooderhams, of Toronto’s Distillery District fame.
The area features 12 lakes and the Irondale River runs through it. Wilberforce supported the rail lines that transported iron ore from Irondale and was also home to the Wilberforce Lumber Company’s sawmill. It is also known as the "Geocaching Capital of Canada" which accounts for it adopting the humorous cache, "Wilberforce be With You." There are also tiny pockets of communities throughout the Highlands East including the ghost town, Cheddar.
Township of Minden Hills
Minden Hills’ exciting community attracts art, music and nature lovers alike. It is one of the areas featured on Ontario Travel’s 2008-2009 Great Fall Drives, which means your cottage will provide front row seats to a burst of colour in the fall. It too has many lakes and large tracts of protected land. The area has been experiencing continued growth thanks to its peaceful setting.
The largest town in Minden Hills is Minden located on the Gull River. The Minden Hills Cultural Centre houses the Agnes Jamieson Gallery where the art of André Lapine is displayed, the Minden Hills Museum, a tiny heritage town with seven buildings and Canadian author Ron Lawrence is also honoured at the centre.
Haliburton is easily reached in three hours from Ottawa via the Trans-Canada Hwy/ON-417 W and ON-28 S and about 2.5 hours travelling north on the 404 from Toronto.
Haliburton is attracting more buyers as it offers a quiet alternative to other areas like Muskoka, which are becoming far too busy. It enjoys lower prices making it more accessible for lower-income buyers looking to buy a second home in the Canadian real estate market. In Haliburton, the median price for waterfront properties is up 29 percent year-over-year, at $550,000 while water access properties are priced at $435,000. Even non-waterfront properties saw an increase, up 11 percent to $256,250. As demand remains high and inventory is low, it is currently a sellers’ market in Haliburton, which will affect the purchase sale price if demand continues.
If you would like more information about buying or selling a second home in the Haliburton Highlands, reach out to our team today.