Realty Executives of Sudbury Ltd.

Steve Caswell

Steve Caswell


Realty Executives of Sudbury Ltd.


Are You A Camp Drifter?

(Published on - 3/6/2023 11:44:48 PM)


In May, we weren’t sure summer would ever come this year.  It was a painful month weather wise complete with the cold, rainy conditions for what is supposed to be our summer season opener – the classic May “2-4” Long Weekend.  Even with the terrible conditions, it’s safe to say a lot of us Northerners still took it upon ourselves to not believe the weather predictions for the weekend and found ourselves somewhere near the water – even if it meant looking at it from the camp living room with the fireplace at full roar.

Due to our upbringing in Greater Sudbury and being surrounded by water, we’re compelled to the lakefront as an escape from our daily lives.  We pack the car, we buy too many groceries for our two or three day trip to the camp, we hit the Beer Store and get the beer on ice ready to quench the moment we arrive, we stop at the local hardware store to grab some paint to finally “upgrade” the outhouse and, most importantly, we invite friends, family, neighbours and colleagues to chill around the firepit and overpopulate the sauna benches in an effort to solve all the world’s problems in our bathing suits.  We battle all winter for our right to do this!

Thankfully, according to the City of Greater Sudbury website, we have 330 lakes to choose where we want to spend our free time.  This doesn’t even include the rivers and creeks that plenty of steadfast fishermen don’t want you to even know about.  And this is only Greater Sudbury.  With Manitoulin Island, the French River, Gogama, Nipissing, Killarney and Muskoka all within a reasonable “camp drive”, these numbers soar.  We’re literally surrounded and inundated with waterfront.

But, with all this water around us, the most surprising stat on the link above is the fact that only 4% of the city’s population actually live on the water (although this is a 10-year old stat according to the website).  That means 96% of us either try to all fit on the docks of those lucky 4% for those hot and humid weekends or we escape to the camp!  Or someone else’s camp…..

Michelle and I both had the “Family Camp” experience as kids.  She would spend her summers on Birch Island where I spent my summers split between both Long Lake and Lake Penage (aka Panache).  Michelle’s aunt, Nikki Koski, a former Realtor®, wrote an awesome book called “The Cottage Rules” that provides an easy how-to guide when owning a camp with siblings, friends or even strangers).  I wish my family would have had a copy of this book as a few of my family members positioned themselves to hijack the camp.  Even though it was forever to be the “family camp” we all were part of, in my case, once the hierarchy of the family passed away, the vultures came out and my dreams of continuing to enjoy life on Penage was shattered by my “loved ones”.  But that’s a story for another day…..

Michelle’s family did it right, literally by Aunt Nikki’s book, and we actually were still offered to use her family camp.  But, cause we had no place to call our own, we decided to buy our own camp and had an awesome piece of the pie on a quiet little lake near Wahnapitae for a couple of years.  But, life changes for everyone and we were no exception, so we sold the camp five years ago. 

Since the sale, Michelle and I have been “Camp Drifters”.  We see the hot weather in the long-range forecast and sit patiently by the phone waiting for the invite to anyone’s camp.  We hear about people putting in docks, cutting wood or even shoveling out the outhouse and we throw our hat in the ring to exchange camp chores for sauna and dock time.  Kind of a “Will Work For Camp” scenario!

For those of you like us, why do others get the luxury of owning their own place?  How come they get the ability to come and go to camp as they choose without requiring an invitation?  Are they richer than us?  Are they luckier than we are?

There are basically two reasons those who have camps have camps and those who don’t, don’t.  Some of those who own were handed down the family camp (or “hijacked it”) and will hand the property down to their kids.  These are the “generational ownerships” that span decades, even centuries now in some cases.

Others are the ones we work with every day – those that want a camp or to finally live on the water and will do what it takes to make it happen.  The last part being the most important – making the sacrifices of golfing less, owning a smaller home or willing to drive a little farther than others to make it happen.  These people envision watching their kids swimming to the raft or having a quiet morning coffee with the mist coming off the water while a loon sings in the background.  These are the people that have come to realize that these dreams are more important than those new $300 boots, taking lunch to work instead of eating out and Caribbean vacations that seem to evaporate as soon as you land.  These are the “Drifters in Transformation” – they have been to a friend’s “generational camp” and realize they want it and they want to leave it to their kids.

You have to start somewhere and that’s what we’re here for.  Whether it’s a waterfront lot on Manitoulin for $40K where you can enjoy with tents while you design and build your dream, if you want that $350K turnkey camp on Penage or want to sell the cul-de-sac 2-storey and make the move to Ramsey to have your camp and house as one, we’re here to help start to finish. It’s never a waste of our time to discuss and help you explore the possibilities.  Heck, maybe we’ll even agree to camp chores for weekend visits or maybe we’ll find a spot you don’t want while we’re touring, and we can stop being “drifters” ourselves! 

I’m sure when your friend’s grandparents bought their “generational camps”, people thought they were nuts for paying $25,000 for them.  And, chances are, people will think your nuts for paying what you’re going to pay for a camp today.  But your kids will thank you for the investment that’s worth considerably more in 30-40 years but, more importantly, appreciate the camp life you gave them and their kids and their kids and their kids…...

We have a “boatload” of experience with waterfront home and camp sales!  Never hesitate to reach out to us to get started searching for you quiet corner of the camp life world!  You can reach us anytime at, you can start your search for waterfront right here (, search all MLS™ listings here, check out all our other great blog articles here or just browse our website for more great info on buying and selling in Greater Sudbury and surrounding areas.

Your camp is calling, let’s go find it!

Contributed by:

Steve Caswell

Cell - 705.561.8767


Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other salespersons, staff or affiliates of Realty Executives of Sudbury LTD. Brokerage, Realty Executives International, the Sudbury Real Estate Board, Ontario Real Estate Association, Canadian Real Estate Association or any of their subsidiaries.  For any concerns pertaining to the content herein, please contact us immediately at


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