Active Adult Living Ontario
Find the best active adult communities in Ontario
Active adult lifestyle communities throughout Ontario offer ideal living in a community of people your own age. In one of these communities, you will have everything necessary to enjoy life to the fullest, stay in great physical shape and have a ball, living a life of freedom. Live the first stage of your retirement in a relaxed and enjoyable environment.
Ontario offers plenty of active living communities. Your options vary from high rise condos to bungalow townhouses to luxury homes in secluded subdivisions. There are active living communities in a wide variety of locations, from downtown Toronto to beach communities along the Great lakes to superb communities in Muskoka, Ottawa and elsewhere north. Communities include homes located on golf courses, communities with gated security, as well as homes with onsite healthcare. Most of all, these are communities designed for fun and enjoyment.
Some common features of Ontario's active adult living homes include any or all of the following:
- Golf courses, putting greens, min-golf
- Tennis courts
- Fitness centres
- Spas and wellness centres
- Recreation and community centres
- Gambling and casino facilities
- Dance classes
- Lawn bowling and shuffleboard
- Swimming pools
- Spas and hot tubs
- Hiking trails
- Squash and/or racquetball
- Other sports facilities
50 (and even younger) is the new 55 plus
At one time, communities would promote themselves as 55 plus communities, but in Ontario and other places, these age restrictions sound discriminatory. Communities are leery of human rights laws, although there was a case in Ontario where a case contesting age restriction was rejected as "non-substantive" by the court. In any case, these communities are created where there are few if any families, and where the entire active lifestyle community is made up of empty-nesters (mostly 50 and over) who may have downsized from a larger family home into a freer, easier lifestyle. Today, many singles and couples are settling into these communities as early as their late 40's, happy to move into a community of like-minded people, without the noise, bustle and other problems of regular city life or conventional suburban areas.
Active adult communities represent the biggest trend in retirement living in Ontario because of the appeal they offer: many of these are brand new developments, clean and well-designed for optimal enjoyment of life.
Owning, renting, leasing
Active adult lifestyle communities across the province of Ontario present a variety of ownership options. Leasing options are varied and may include condo fees or other arrangements; some are also life lease. In most cases, ownership is the norm. This may have special considerations attached to it; for example, some communities allow you to own the house only but all land belongs to the developer. We urge you to look at a variety of developments to get a handle on the different styles and kinds of active lifestyle communities that are developed; many are completely distinct.
We also urge you to consider communities in a variety of Ontario locations. Some couples are surprised to find that they are interested in moving to a smaller town in Ontario or to a different part of the province, where the price of homes is lower and the living is more relaxed and laid back. Isn't that what you want as you get older?
A broad look at the variety available
Active lifestyle communities come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Condo towers in downtown Ottawa or Toronto offer proximity to city life coupled with security and safety. Bungalow communities on Lake Huron or Lake Erie give you the fresh outdoors with that small-town Ontario feel. Gated communities can be found in many cities or towns; these give you privacy and security.
Costs also vary widely, and there's no need to assume that the "active lifestyle" has to be expensive. Some small town bungalows can be priced well below $300,000 and offer you everything you want in life. Some one or two bedroom units in a gated community in the GTA can also be priced below $300,000. You still get the benefit of investing in real estate, while not giving up all the savings you have.
Things to consider
Before choosing an active adult living home, here's a list of questions to consider:
- Are there any hidden costs (e.g. extra fees such as condo fees). Different active lifestyle communities may use different terminology and have widely varied ideas concerning membership and/or ownership. Some communities will charge annual dues, or they may have other requirements. "Get it in writing" is good advice before you strictly consider and compare community costs.
- What are the tax rates? Taxes can vary widely from one active living community to another, and also between homes of different sizes within the same village or municipality.
- Does the community have solid financing and sales? Unfortunately, we have seen some communities take a hit during economic troubles. Depending on your preferences, you may find it disconcerting to be in a community where properties remain empty. In other cases, you may want to consider whether or not you want to deal with new construction.
- Does the community itself have a good reputation? What do residents and their families say about it?
- Is the community accessible to family members?
- Are there noise restrictions or other community rules or even accepted practices?
- Does the community allow pets?
- What kind of financing options are available?
- Consider the best time of year to purchase. One small trick that may be available to you is to take advantage of the seasons. There may be a slight glut on the market of adult living homes in the fall when Canadian seniors may have a tendency to be moving south. You may be fortunate enough to find a home a 55 plus home that is priced-to-sell.
Protecting you: Accountability of retirement homes in Ontario
Some active adult living residences listed by Comfort Life are also members of the Ontario Retirement Home Association (ORCA). Members of this organization voluntarily submit themselves to higher standards than those required by the province. ORCA can also help you with choosing a home and educating you about what you are entitled to or should expect in your active adult living community. Before choosing any community, find out whether it is a member of ORCA.
Be sure to check out Comfort Life’s checklist of things to look for in a new residence.