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


Buying a Cottage on Lake of the Woods

What are the main things to look for when searching for the perfect Cabin, Cottage or Camp on Lake of the Woods?

I wrote this blog to help outline a few key points that I always look at when showing my clients a potential cottage. Keeping your eyes open for these can help avoid any potential issues and find the best possible options for you and your family.


What is the foundation style? Poured concrete, post on pad, slab?

Does it look like it's been levelled or does it need re-levelling?

If so, your Realtor® can recommend a contractor or a home inspector so that you can get a professional opinion.


Where the property and cottage itself is located, does it face north, south, east or west?

Will you be positioned for the best sunrises or sunsets?

Will your home get too much or not enough light exposure?


What exactly are you going to be buying?

- Is the shoreline allowance owned?

- Are there any encroachments or easements?

- Is the road maintained year-round?

Make sure to ask your Realtor® to look into any and all information you may need for a property.

Waste Removal

Replacing a sewage system can be costly, be sure to know as much as possible.

Does the property have: city sewage, a septic tank with a field, a composting toilet with a grey water pit or just a holding tank?

Also, ask your Realtor® what the age of the sewage system is and if there are any documents available on the system?


In a normal year (definitely not this one), where does the water line sit?

Will your cottage be the ideal vacation home for your family, with a beach, a deep rocky shoreline or a marshland?

Shoreline improvements

What type of dock does the property have?

Is it drilled pipe, screw piles, crib dock, or just a floating dock? Is there storage near the dock or power at the shoreline? Will it be convenient to charge batteries for your boats, or to operate the lifts?

Need more info on dock types? Check out this post from

If you want to know more or have any specific questions about looking for cottages in Kenora and on Lake of the woods, please reach out.

This post from discusses in more detail the intricacies of owning a cottage and taking care of your investment: article here

Is it called a Cottage, a Cabin or a Camp?


My Current Waterfront Listings

Kristie Cavanagh
CENTURY 21 Northern Choice Realty Ltd. Brokerage

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The Neighbourhoods of Kenora

Are you thinking about a move into the Kenora area but you're not quite sure what neck of the woods you want to be in?

Do you want to be near the lake or something a bit more rural?

Does a location closer to schools and town infrastructure sound more ideal?

Location, Location, Location

I'll give you a brief description of each of the main areas that we usually categorize Kenora into.

Followed by some bullet point key features.


Now a part of the newly amalgamated City of Kenora, Keewatin is situated on the northern shore of Lake of the Woods. It is the first town you’ll encounter as you travel eastbound from Manitoba into Ontario. There are boat launches to both LOTW and Winnipeg Rivers in this area. Keewatin is full of its own unique local restaurants and amenities.

quiet, residential

near to schools

near to boat launches

Lakeside / Central

A neighbourhood that is surrounded by amenities such as the Recreation Centre (tennis court, gym, pool, hockey rink, beach V-ball), elementary schools, churches, Kenora Harbourfront, the dog park, Anishinabe Park, the baseball fields and is conveniently located near downtown Kenora and includes properties close to the water's edge.

near to walking trails

close to amenities

Lake of the woods

Lake of the Woods offers both recreational properties, residential, and condominium properties all located on the breathtaking Lotw. The lake and the surrounding areas have over 14,000 islands and more than 105,000 km's of shoreline – more shoreline than Lake Superior.

near to nature/lake

near to boat launches

local restaurants, gas marinas, fishing, fishing lodges

Black Sturgeon Lake

Remote but within driving distance, this area gives access to wilderness areas, nature and ecological pursuits while still offering a bit of civilization. An outdoor enthusiast will enjoy fishing, hiking, interpretive trails, golf (close to Beauty Bay Golf Course) or just reading a book in the sun on the dock while still being approximately 15 minutes drive to Kenora.

quiet, rural

near to nature/lake

infrastructure - access to garbage/recycling

Rabbit Lake

Rabbit Lake, is a Kenora neighbourhood that is conveniently located close to or on Rabbit Lake. This area has access to many ideal locations, like Garrow park (which has a large beach, rowing facilities, playgrounds, pickle ball courts and access to Rabbit lake walking trails) and the sportsplex. The Donkirk, Jaffary Melick and Rabbit Lake areas are close to both elementary and high schools and are approximately 6 minutes to downtown Kenora and offer several types of homes.

quiet, residential

near to Rabbit lake

Park access and amenities

near to schools

Airport Road

Located approximately 8 minutes from downtown Kenora and about 3-5 minutes to elementary and high schools and in some cases, students can walk to the neighbourhood schools. As the name describes, the Kenora Airport is located off this road, as well as the ski hill.

near to nature

quiet, rural

access to quad + snow machining trails

nice oversized yards

Valley Drive

Many roads branch off of Valley Drive, linking many subdivisions and neighbourhoods. Valley Drive is a sought-after area,  located close to schools, convenience stores and within walking distance to downtown.

quiet, residential

near to schools

near to walking trails


Norman is located on the West side of Kenora and is an approximately 5 minutes car ride to downtown Kenora and 5 minutes to Keewatin. Norman is made up of mostly older homes, of different styles. The midpoint between Kenora and Keewatin, this location has access to Norman Beach, the Rotary Splash Park, local restaurants and Dairy Queen too!

close to amenities

near to lake, beach and park

quiet, residential

North End

The north end is within walking distance to both High Schools and Elementary schools and is approximately a 3-minute drive to downtown Kenora. This area is comprised of a few other neighbourhoods of similar diverse family homes.

quiet, residential

near to schools

near to walking trails

When you live in Kenora

Something beautiful is always just around the corner.

It's up to you, to decide on what type of beauty you want to see every day.

Do you want to dive a bit more in-depth? Contact me today and we can discuss your options.

Kristie Cavanagh
CENTURY 21 Northern Choice Realty Ltd. Brokerage

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7 Key things to keep in mind when

Starting a Property Search

Whether you're a first-time buyer, starting fresh in a new town, or buying a larger property for your growing family, looking for a home can mean a lot of things to a lot of people.

When looking at a property you have to focus on more than the paint colour, floors and what-ifs.

I've put together a few resources on what you should be looking at when viewing a home. These are 7 key points that will hopefully help you find a home that will benefit your investment in the long run.

Photo by Barnabas Davoti from Pexels

Buying a home is one of the largest purchases you will make in your life.

Using a Realtor® will help you put your best foot forward, but you and you alone will have to deal with the home that you’ve purchased.

It is up to you to make do, with all the quirks and details that come with your new property. In order to make the best possible choice, you want to make sure that you know as much as possible about a home before you buy.

Need more info? Get in contact and we can talk about your next steps.

Kristie Cavanagh
CENTURY 21 Northern Choice Realty Ltd. Brokerage

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Thinking of Buying?

Why you should choose to work with a Realtor®

Buying a home is stressful and is one of the largest purchases of your life. In today’s market, purchasing property is even more difficult than even a few years ago. Competition is intense, there are many buyers and very few people selling. Due to the demand, the market price of homes is at a record high and is unlikely to come down any time soon.

A Realtor® has the knowledge, confidence, know-how, access and qualifications to help you get a jump on your competition.

- Kristie Cavanagh, Broker - Century 21 Northern Choice Realty Ltd.
Photo by Alexandr Podvalny from Pexels

The Real Estate Market is intensely competitive

2021 Housing Market Snapshot - statistics provided by CREA
2021 Housing Market Snapshot - statistics provided by CREA

A Realtor® will help you navigate the market.

Photo by Mark McCammon from Pexels

1 . Market Knowledge

They literally went to school for this.

Realtors® know the housing market better than anyone else, they have the connections and the know-how. They are constantly updating their knowledge and educating themselves on the ever-changing world of Real Estate. A Real Estate professional's time is spent researching and showing people just like you, what they want, they know more about the homes in their target area than any average citizen. Let a Realtor® do what they’re trained to do, and help you get the best possible deal on your home.

2 . They will Negotiate for you

Realtors® know how to negotiate and get you the best possible real estate deal. They know the things you should be wary of and will get to the bottom of any issue you or they may have noticed. It is a Realtor®'s job to know the market and what a home is worth, they’ll know if something is over or underpriced and can help you make the best offer possible.

3 . They help you Prioritize and Balance your needs

A Real Estate Professional will help you prioritize options and help you focus on what’s important; they will keep you informed to help balance your expectations. By using a Realtor® you gain a neutral third-party outlook, from outside your frame of mind. By working and communicating with a Real Estate agent you give your search an added lens to view properties so that you don't miss any opportunities.

4 . The Realtor® Code

By working with a Realtor® you work with a professional, one who abides by standardized regulations. A trained Real Estate professional in Canada must adhere to the Realtor®'s Code of conduct. If you are looking for property in Kenora or Ontario specifically, a Realtor® here has to be licensed with OREA, the Real Estate Council of Ontario. The Council's guiding principles are "based on moral integrity, competent service to clients and customers, and dedication to the interest and welfare of the public".

5 . Access to exclusive information

Canadian Realtors® have access to Board MLS® Systems, a database system that links all qualified Brokerages. Real Estate professionals are seamlessly linked to the market, all in one place.

Your Realtor® will make sure you see listings that match your needs, as soon as they get listed, benefiting you and saving you time; Conversely, they can put your home in front of more people and on more screens than ever before. It is their job to get your property sold and by putting it in front of more people they increase your chances of multiple offers. 

The Real Estate market is a fast-paced, stressful environment, make sure you enter it with the best advantage. A Realtor® will help you find what you’re looking for or help you get found, and allow you to put your best foot forward into the property market.

Kristie Cavanagh
CENTURY 21 Northern Choice Realty Ltd. Brokerage

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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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