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Small Cabin Forum / Member's Projects and Photos / Land search in Ontario, near Ottawa
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kelly beck
# Posted: 6 Jan 2021 15:19

Hello All,

I am back and now ready to get started.. Just need some land.. 2 hours circle from the south end of Ottawa, must be in Ontario.

If you see something, (small kids, so swimmable water) I'd love to see it.


# Posted: 6 Jan 2021 17:09


2 hours from Ottawa will get you up the Ottawa Valley through most of Renfrew County, and also southwest to most of Frontenac, and all of Lanark. You probably already know this, but you're more likely to find interesting places to the west of Ottawa than to the southeast (though there are exceptions).

Are you sure Quebec is out of the picture? Lots of options there, typically, and somewhat better value for money since many Ontarians avoid it, in many cases without good reason.

Building permission for small-ish cabins can be a real problem in most Ontario townships, and a long-term legal RV may not be possible either. You have to do your homework township by township, but north of 7 tends to be friendlier to smaller-scale construction ("hunt camps") than south of 7, by and large.

Otherwise, look also for land with outmoded cabins and cottages. Gives you something to start with, and footprints that would be too small or too close to water now are grandfathered in.

When we were looking, both and Kijiji were good sources.

You'll likely have to compromise on the right mix of:

a) Price
b) Driving distance
c) Quality of the waterfront (flat vs rocky or marshy) - I assume from your email you want water*front*; water *access* is a lot easier to find of course
d) Access from public or recognized private road (increasingly needed for building permit)
e) Proximity to others - a lot of newly created lots are severances from existing farms, houses, or cottages

# Posted: 6 Jan 2021 17:55

What is the reason to stay out of Quebec out of curiosity?

I saw some ridiculous properties there, but they were just too far for me.

I am considering looking there again, but I am wondering if there is a reason not to.

# Posted: 6 Jan 2021 17:57

Tay Valley I think allows Tiny Homes. It is one of the few districts (maybe only?) in Ontario that allows them.

I think that is less than 2 hours from Ottawa.

# Posted: 8 Jan 2021 06:59

Quoting: socceronly
What is the reason to stay out of Quebec out of curiosity?

I live in Ottawa, for many years had a cottage in Quebec, now switched to Ontario (Frontenac).

90 mins, even 1 hr north of Ottawa can get you gorgeous properties, coniferous Canadian shield on spectacular lakes.

It tends to be better value for money than the Ontario side, since some people get worried about:

1. French language priority in Quebec. The mosquitos and moose don't care what language you speak and you can get by in English in shops and towns, but the bureaucracy will deal with you in French. Some people get weirded out by that. (My first language is neither E nor F and I've travelled a lot, so I don't care if bureaucracy writes to me in my 2nd or 3rd language, and with Google Translate I wouldn't care much even if I didn't speak French at all.)

2. I think a lot of people who don't speak French at all worry the locals won't like them. The reality is many neighbours will be from Ottawa, anglophone or allophone, and I never felt a divide, but people fear it anyway.

3. The regulatory framework is a bit different, e.g. role of notary, zoning and building rules, etc. (With self-study and local advice it's generally more sensible and small-build-friendly than Ontario, actually, though the devil is in the details.)

4. Traffic across the bridges to Ottawa, and on main roads out of Gatineau can get really bad. Nothing that would surprise Torontonians driving to Muskoka on Fri evening, but worse than driving to cottages in Ontario.

5. Some people continue to worry about Quebec separating, and impact on the value of land. (I think the worry is over-stated, but it's not absurd.)

6. Provincial boundaries do matter. Police turned back Ontarians crossing to Quebec for nonessential travel (including cottagers) in the spring 2020 COVID lockdown. And the Quebec tax and health system is quite different, in case anyone would be contemplating living on their Quebec land as a principal residence eventually.

7. Hunting and fishing rules are different.

All of these serve to depress Quebec recreational property values relative to Ontario, which can be a curse or blessing based on how you approach it. We switched from Quebec to Ontario based not on these factors, but by the specifics of the land we found.

# Posted: 8 Jan 2021 14:01

Alternately, look down Highway 7 westbound starting near Kaladar. There are some real gem locations around there where values are still quite reasonable.

Another area with good value Real Estate and less "Anal" building inspectors is if you look up the Valley, past Renfrew towards Pembroke/Petawawa and west from the Ottawa River.

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