New York has the Hamptons, and in Los Angeles, there’s Malibu or Palm Springs. When it comes to the equivalent of elite summer weekend destinations in Toronto, Muskoka is the first pick. If you’ve never heard of Muskoka, now is the time to learn: Situated a two-hour drive north of Toronto, this area has long been the getaway of choice for privileged Canadians and Americans, according to Wanda Cowie, a sales representative in Canada with Royal LePage, Johnston & Daniel Division.
The Carnegies and the Mellons vacationed here at the turn of the 20th century, she says, and today, Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks, and Cindy Crawford and Rande Gerber are just a few of the boldface names who either own or rent homes in the area.
These homes are called cottages, but that’s a misnomer, says Cowie. “They’re huge properties with every luxury you can imagine,” she says.
The upscale lifestyle in Muskoka revolves around three lakes: Muskoka, Rosseau, and Joseph. Cowie says that the appeal is the privacy, the outdoor activities such as boating, the numerous golf clubs, and the fact that most homes are on the waterfront. An understated vibe where people aren’t interested in flashiness is also key to why Muskoka is so attractive.
Following are five waterfront cottages currently on the market in Muskoka. Our roundup includes a diverse range from an 18,000-square-foot listing designed by internationally celebrated interior designers to an amenity-laden modern home with a staircase that appears to float.