Are Collingwood and Blue Mountain The Hamptons of Toronto?
A few years ago, an article in Toronto Life magazine referred to the South Georgian Bay area as “Toronto’s very own Hamptons.” The kind of bugged me because it suggested a possessiveness or entitlement that doesn’t do justice to those of us who actually live here. Nonetheless, it did get me thinking. As Canadians, we tend to form our impressions of American places from television shows or stories and I envisioned The Hamptons as a pretty special place because of the word “the.” What place starts with that word? We go to the beach or the store but we don’t go to the Toronto, the Paris or the Rome. So is The Hamptons a thing or a place?
According to Google’s web definition, The Hamptons refers to an area in Eastern Long Island in New York State known as a posh summer colony and resort area that is a playground for the rich and famous. Are we really similar? Hmmm.
Let’s see. They’ve got a cool local website and so do we. We both have beaches, theatres, galleries and fine dining restaurants. We both attract many artisans, retirees, beachcombers, weekenders, hikers and large numbers of tourists. Well, they do have a Performing Arts Centre, bigger museums and more galleries I guess. But look out, we’re getting there. They have wineries but we have Creemore Springs Brewery. They host a horse show each year and so do, oops, did we. We have Elvis and they don’t.
What about real estate? In their highest priced area called Sagaponack, their average sale price runs about $3 million. (Can you believe the average tax bill though is only about $5,200? Heck, we can beat that!) In our highest priced area which is the Town of the Blue Mountains, the average sale price is still under $500,000. Who says we’ve hit a ceiling? Not a chance “ there is a long, long way to go up.” We do have many homes with values topping out over $3 million dollars and the highest priced property for sale in our area comes in at just under $10 million. These are prices unheard of even two or three years ago and now, luxury home sales in the seven figures have become quite common.
I’m not sure about a day in The Hamptons but a day in South Georgian Bay can most certainly include a trip to an Art Gallery, a few hours at a Spa, fine dining, world-class golf and an evening at the Theatre. Maybe Toronto Life was right, we are Toronto’s own Hamptons but it’s also home to many of us and that brings with it something much deeper and real than any noun could suggest. The end.