Jane Muller • Oakville Beaver – There are vacation destinations that make us want to move there. For those seriously considering relocation, it is wise to spend time there as a tourist. 

A weekend getaway to a small town like Collingwood, Ontario could spark a desire to live in a vibrant community surrounded by natural lands and rich with amenities. 

Just a couple of hours from many parts of the GTA, Collingwood could easily be on the list of relocation potentials and worthy of repeat scouting missions. 

Whether a visitor or a resident-in-waiting, great dining options are a must and Collingwood’s downtown delivers with options for a quick bite, lunch and fine or casual dining. 

Prime Seven Nine capitalizes on the grand architectural features of its location in a historic bank. The towering ceiling allows for the kitchen to be situated in a glass-fronted mezzanine that overlooks the dining and bar areas. It’s a unique setting where steaks are menu features but there are many delicious choices like lobster mac and cheese. 

While downtown is home to many eateries, recent additions cater to cocktail culture. The 1858 Caesar Bar showcases an incredibly imaginative drink selection based on the Canadian original. Up the stairs is the Hidden Hare that offers tapas and 50 varieties of tequila. Coffee by day, whiskey, wine and beer by night, Gibson and Company has a fresh urban vibe. It’s accessed by an alley illuminated by strings of Edison lights that provide an atmospheric segue to the café-cum lounge that serves small plates, shared plates and light fare. 

Northwinds Brewery is another downtown option where you can order a flight of craft beer to complement the menu items. With a second location in Blue Mountain Village, it’s a gateway to the area’s craft brewery community with several in close proximity including Collingwood Brewery, Side Launch Brewing Company and Creemore Springs Brewery a little further afield. Not limited to beer, the area also boasts cideries and wineries within a pleasant country drive. 

Sample the selections at Thornbury Village Cider and Brew House on the large deck when the weather permits and enjoy live music on Saturday evenings. Guided wine tastings introduce the wide range of wine and cider produced at Georgian Hills Vineyards, just a short drive from town. 

We learned about Georgian Hills at Collingwood’s Saturday morning farmers’ market. Located downtown, the seasonal market features local growers, artisans and bakers. We picked up some chocolate croissants from Chef Patrick’s Gourmet Foods and saved them for the next day. We’d already enjoyed a wonderful breakfast at Bacchus House bed and breakfast where we spent the night in one of the Victorian home’s gracious rooms, each named after a wine variety. 

It’s a welcoming home base for a weekend in Collingwood and a short walk to downtown past some of the area’s stately historic homes. The architecture downtown is equally as historic with many of the buildings housing boutiques that showcase fashion, décor and gift ideas enough to satisfy shopping desires. 

Two blocks west of the main drag is Simcoe Street, a creative district that’s home to three restored buildings, including the Tremont Studios with its artists’ studios and art displays as well as Tremont Café with décor that serves up a slice of Paris. The 100-seat Simcoe Street Theatre, the local arts foundation, art supply store, dance studio, public library and museum are clustered in this inviting area. 

We keep going back to Collingwood because there’s always something that didn’t get checked off our list. There was a round of golf that was rained out previously and scheduled for this visit. Cranberry Golf Course is situated on the edge of town and set within a backdrop of Blue Mountain. The beautiful course was worthy of the anticipation. 

Backing onto the course is the latest offering from MacPherson Builders, The View at Blue Fairway. The two four-storey buildings have two-bedroom units starting at $339,900. The idea of spending weekends in Collingwood with an eye to longterm residency is on the minds of some buyers, according to sales representative Jennifer Wootton. 

In addition to a golf course on their doorstep, cross-country and downhill ski areas are close by and the Georgian Trail is just a five-minute walk away. Buyers will also have access to the community’s outdoor pool and recreation centre. 

Wootton explains buyers “appreciate that the units run from the front to the back of the building eliminating noisy interior hallways and that they have large balconies with lovely views.” She adds that the underground parking is another plus. 

“This is a wonderful opportunity for buyers looking for a weekend retreat and for those from larger, more expensive urban centres who want to relocate here and pocket some extra cash,” says the sales representative. 

There are many reasons that visitors become residents and many more reasons to visit.