The place we call home

Kenora and Lake of the Woods

Northwestern Ontario has always had a unique climate. We get both sides of extreme temperatures and plenty of different weather events.

Have you been affected?

For homeowners in Northwestern Ontario who have been directly affected by the high water levels from 2022, the Ontario government has put disaster recovery assistance in place.

See the below link for more information.

What do the current weather changes mean for us and our homes?

Photo by Jaxon Castellan: on Pexels

Getting worse?

Unfortunately, none of us have a crystal ball telling how the weather and climate of our area are going to change moving forward.

This year and last

What can we do about it? While most people have the current high water levels on their mind, last year was equal amounts dry and hot. Potential extremes seem to be constantly in flux, from season to season and year to year.

Plan Ahead

The best thing that we can do as homeowners is to think about the what-ifs, now. Maintenance and updating are better than picking up the pieces after the fact.

The water level is the most visible issue from last fall to this spring, as seen from one of my previous listings out on Lake of the Woods.

(see the below photos)

Before After

As you can see in the Fall of 2021, this home and cottage had its dock far above the water level. In the Spring of 2022 at the same home, it was mere inches away from fully submerged. (Later in the summer got much worse, as most of us know.)

Unfortunately, I don't know what the next year or 10 will bring us. The examples put forth in the last two years have shown us that we never quite know what mother nature will throw at us.

What Can we do?

Photo by Roberto Nickson from Pexels


for the future

As we move forward with planning for our future, keep in mind any additional steps to retrofit your home is something the Canadian government is offering grants for.

If you have plans to make your home more energy efficient or to have more reliable heating, the Greener Home Initiative provides grants and loans for home evaluations and retrofits.

This includes help with insulation, newer more efficient windows and doors, air sealing and renewable energy systems.

Visit the link below for more information.


in case of the what-ifs

High water

Water levels in Northwestern Ontario fluctuate with the seasons, as I'm sure we all know by now. Unfortunately, there's not a lot that we can do about the water levels as our lake is fed into from multiple different locations, some outside of our province and some areas outside of our country.

To have as a reference, here is a link to the Lake of the Woods Control Board and their recommendations for building, docks and Hazard Land Levels. If you are looking to build or make any modifications to your property, this is a good resource for Lake of the Woods specific information.

Potential Fires

Visit here to see an article by 'Cabinlife' about preparing your cottage and property in case of fires. It covers smaller steps like landscaping and pruning trees and vegetation on your property or cleaning the gutters and installing ember guards.

Another great article is this one here from ScienceNews, which covers all things flood, fire and prevention related. Keep in mind though it is written for the United States and their climates and biomes.


If you didn't catch this link before

Home and cottage owners in Northwestern Ontario who were affected by the 2022 spring flooding have until October 7th, 2022 to apply for the Disaster Recovery Assistance.

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Kristie Cavanagh
CENTURY 21 Northern Choice Realty Ltd. Brokerage


Let's get ready for Spring in Sunset Country,

Often in Northwestern Ontario, the weather gets warm and no one tells the snow, it sticks around unwelcome. The large accumulation of snow that fell this year is going to drag out the melt. While the snow will go in time, we're more than likely in for a long spring, so let's use the time to get ready.

Spring Maintenance for your Home

Do you know how to do a basic personal home inspection? Are you ready for the inevitable results of the spring melt? What's on your spring cleaning list?

Here are a few reminders to help us to get in the warm weather state of mind. Let's bring the shine and fresh air back to our beautiful homes and dig ourselves out of this winter.

Keep an eye on the Exterior

Winter is hard, especially on our homes. Do a walk around your property and inspect the exterior to check for any structural changes.

Take a good look at your:



Exterior Walls



Look for warping, leaning or any other abnormalities that may have come from this year's snow accumulation. By keeping an eye on the Exteriors of our homes we can pinpoint any changes before they become a problem.

Tunnel Island

Let's Prepare

First and foremost if your home has a basement make sure you have your number one best friend, a sump pump.

When the snow starts melting it will be in force, the amount of water that will come from this year's snow accumulation keeps me up at night.

In fact, if you have one sump pump go and get a second just to be on the safe side.

Spring Cleaning

We will all breathe a little easier after a little spring cleaning.

Let's get ready for an amazing summer to come.

Clean your Windows

While most people remember the obvious when it comes to this step, tiding up the glass of your windows is just the first part. Make sure you give your window dressings a good going-over as well. Drapes, curtains, etc aired out or washed if possible, and blinds wiped down and sanitized. You and your family have been breathing and living in a closed-in space for the last half a year. Next focus on the tracks and the ledges of your windows, wipe those down and disinfect them. Make sure you start spring off with the freshest of air coming into your home.

Disinfect your Outdoor Garbage Bin

One of the nastiest parts of our life is the rubbish that we create, tiding up how you dispose of your daily waste will be oh so satisfying. It's warmer and everything that has frozen to the side of the bins is warming up as well. An easy trick is to reach for some healthy alternatives, use vinegar and dish soap in some water, use this mixture to scrub away and sanitize the mess.

While this is the last stop for the stuff exiting your home, you have to visit regularly, make sure it's not a horrifying experience.

Photo by Max Vakhtbovych from Pexels
Photo by Max Vakhtbovych from Pexels

Degrease your Range Hood Filter

You've been cooking inside a closed space all winter long. That filter is going to be holding on to every meal you've steamed, sautéed or burnt and the oil build-up in the filters can be extreme.

Your best bet is to fully remove the filters and let them soak in a solution to help dissolve that oil. Try soaking it in a solution of 2 cups vinegar and some washing liquid for a few hours. Wipe down the hood itself with a similar solution, mix vinegar, dish soap and water in a bucket or bowl clean the inner portion of the hood as well. Dry and replace the filter and enjoy the much cleaner air in your kitchen.

Replace the Batteries in your Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Detectors

This is just a reminder as the seasons change, the humidity can affect battery durability. It is recommended to test your alarms monthly as well. To test both of these all you'll need to do is press and/or hold the test button on the alarm, refer to your specific model and manual to know if it's working properly.

Dig into your Downspouts and Eavestrough

If you haven't already, clear the snow off of your roof, this will prevent ice build-up on your eaves and on your shingles. Dig out your garden gloves and a ladder. We want to get any leaves, debris and chunks of ice out of your eavestrough. I like to flush out the downspout with warm water as well. We want to make sure any leftover leaves and twigs from last autumn aren't going to hinder the spring melt.

Vacuum your Air return and Dryer vents

Dust, debris, animal toys and the elusive sock. Take the cover off and give the duct a good inspection, you never know what could have ended up in there this winter. A blocked dryer vent can also be an easily avoided fire hazard.

Pull out your bigger appliances

Same as your air return vents, your bigger appliances are catchalls for dust and debris. Pull your fridge out from the wall and vacuum its coils on the backside, and make sure to check underneath at the front, that will be where all the debris has more than likely been swept under and therefore accumulated.

Photo by Alex Qian from Pexels
Photo by Alex Qian from Pexels

Direct the Melt

As the snow melts it will compress and in turn, will get more difficult to move. Shovel a trench around your home and push the snow away from your foundations. You want to direct the water away from your basement as much as possible.

Get your BBQ ready

Grills are a frequent location where animals like to hide for the winter so make sure you do a quick once-over before you start up the burners. Depending on your Grill or Barbecue your cleaning process will be a little different. Light it up; Start by burning off any leftover food particles or grime that has gathered on your grill. After a while, turn the grill off, disconnect your gas and give the grates a quick scrape with your bbq brush, then let the BBQ cool. Next, fill a bucket with some warm water and dish soap and go over the exterior, take the knobs off and soak them, wash out the grease tray and wipe down the greasy interior. Once everything is cleaned and back in place, I like to turn the grill back on and temper the grate and burn off any residue.

Let's get warm weather ready!

Photo by Isaac Taylor from Pexels
Photo by Isaac Taylor from Pexels
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