REALTOR® Kaleb Streeter may not have grown up in Orillia, but he lives here now and isn’t shy about singing its praises.
There are so many benefits to living here, he says. “It is still cheaper than your major cities. The cost of living is still relatively affordable. And with the changing world that we’re in—the ability to work remotely, work from home and do more home days than office days, the distance from the larger cities isn’t really as big of a deal as it once was.”
The city’s access to major highways and big cities is a huge selling point. “You can wrap east around the lake and be in the Oshawa/Durham region in an hour, you can go straight down the 11/400 corridor and be in Toronto in an hour, or you can be in Muskoka or Midland in 45 minutes. Orillia is kind of like the hub,” he explains.
The city also offers a diverse mix of residential properties. Right inside city limits you’ll find single-family homes, as well as many multi-family homes, such as duplexes and triplexes. There are also a lot of condos for a small city, so apartment-living is growing.
Other benefits for anyone thinking of making the move? It’s easy to get around and city transit is really good. “For a small city to have public transportation in any capacity is awesome,” says Streeter.
“And then you’ve got your outskirts—Oro, Ramara, Severn—that surround Orillia. And I love that too because if you are looking to be in a more rural setting and have a larger yard, more space between neighbours, be close to nature or water, that’s still fairly affordable and achievable, but you’re not giving up the amenities of a city. It’s not the sticks, like when you go north,” he laughs.
Orillia is also ideal for a range of different demographics. There’s something for first-time buyers, families and mover-uppers, as well as seniors and anyone looking to downsize or right-size. “You could be any buyer type in the world and find something in Orillia,” says the agent.
The biggest growth he and his fellow Streeter Team colleagues have seen is with millennials. “We’re seeing so many younger people coming up to Orillia, which is changing the face of the city—and I love that,” he says.
He’s also really excited by the economic development in the area, the city’s growth plan and the plans to revitalize the downtown and the waterfront.
The fact that there are so many jobs here means you can live in and work in Orillia, forgetting about the commute entirely. The OPP Headquarters are here, as is Gateway Casino, Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital and its potential expansion, Hydro One, and everything in West Ridge. Jobs are certainly helping to bring younger people in.
The prices of housing in Barrie, Innisfil and further south are definitely driving a lot of first-time homebuyers north to the area.
Much of the draw centres on the lakes. There are the two big ones, of course: Lake Simcoe and Lake Couchiching. “And of course you’ve got a million small lakes in our rural setting. I love the amount of water that Orillia has access to,” he says.
With a bustling downtown and a picturesque waterfront, Orillia is a beautiful city that deserves to be showcased. Says Streeter, “I just love the fact that they have recognized now that if you’re a water town, you want to emphasize that.”
He admits that there has been some crazy, illogical growth in the real estate market over the past couple of years, but he’s not sure how long that will continue. Overall, Orillia still offers affordability.
“I love the lakes, the growth and the development in Orillia. I like the community because there is an element of tightness and almost a familial feeling when you start out as a small town and you don’t explode overnight,” says the REALTOR®.
For example, a new business recently opened right across the street from Streeter’s office. On opening day he popped by to welcome the new tenants, introduce himself and drop off a card and a gift. Turns out he wasn’t the only one who thought to do that—several other area business owners did the exact same thing. Says Streeter, “That says a lot about the community here in Orillia. You probably won’t see that in larger cities. There’s a closeness here and I like that.”
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