MUSHABOOM – A couple who lived and raised a family in downtown Toronto developed a five-year plan in 2015 to purchase their dream home.
In September they moved into the home – located on Malagash Island in Mushaboom on Nova Scotia’s stunning Eastern Shore – that met and exceeded their best dreams for their retirement.
The Camerons, Bruce and Tanya, decided in 2019 they would explore the Maritimes to see what real estate was available to become their potential retirement home. In the spring of 2020, during a global pandemic, the real estate boom hit their city, and they were hearing the same for Nova Scotia. Our province was their first-choice for attaining their desire for an entirely different lifestyle – away from the busyness of the city.
“We had $300,000 to $350,000 as a home value in mind to buy. Our semi-detached located off Danforth in Toronto was priced at $850,000. We wanted to come out ahead, so we would be secure in retirement,” Tanya said.
Their century-old home had prime location near the subway and GO Transit Line for a great 13-minute commute downtown.
“We enjoyed our community,” explains Bruce “… we had great neighbours, young children around and street parties – lots of social activity.”
Bruce says, “Our agent suggested a starting quote of $899,000. We did not do any renovations and only some staging. Fifty couples went through and we received four significant offers. Six days later we sold – with zero conditions – and a price of over a million dollars. We just requested a closing of September 2020 to get the kids off to school – which we got.”
The couple got more than they had anticipated.
“We accepted $1,040,000 and so for one night we went to bed millionaires – but homeless,” smiles Tanya. “In the morning we woke up and put the offer in on the Mushaboom house that we had only dreamed about.”
The Mushaboom home had been built by an architect who designs hotels and casinos in Asia and she included windows everywhere, which provided for the magnificent view of the ocean and the wharf, elevated ceilings – and the property includes three acres of land.
After selling their Toronto home for a price far exceeding their expectations the Camerons were now in a position to buy their retirement dream home, sight unseen. They had virtual tours with real estate agent Cait Banks of Bryant Real Estate. The price was a mostly non-flexible price of $443,000 – more than $100,000 from what the Camerons had originally budgeted for a new home.
On their tour of Nova Scotia in 2019, they were referred to the real estate agent and – although to this day they haven’t actually met – they developed an on-line relationship. Banks soon learned what they were seeking and sought out information for them about the house in Mushaboom. Back in 2019 – at a $450,000 price tag, the couple initially knew the Mushaboom home was out of their price range, but it was the one to beat.
Then life happened.
First COVID-19 struck – their kids were planning for university in the fall – and this past March Tanya’s 67-year-old mom was diagnosed with cancer, passing away six weeks later.
“Suddenly there was no reason to stay in Toronto. We told our agent what we were looking for – ocean front, preferably two-bedroom, two-bathroom and the opportunity to change our lifestyle. We both love to sail, kayak and paddleboard. After our 2019 summer visit – we were focused on the Eastern Shore,” she says.
The Mushaboom house had it all.
During the summer of 2019 – before COVID-19 – the couple had toured Nova Scotia in a camper, getting to know the communities throughout the province.
Bruce was born in Nova Scotia and lived in Halifax until his family relocated to Toronto when he was six. Often visiting grandparents in Stellarton and Halifax gave him a taste for the Maritime way of life – and it left a lasting impression.
“Exploring the province last summer – as I enjoy craft beer - we met Becky [Atkinson] from Sober Island Brewery in Sheet Harbour,” Tanya says.
“She assisted us getting a camping spot and was a big advocate for this area. She runs her own business and really promotes this part of the province and what it has to offer and we were hooked.
“There are no words to describe the wave of emotions we experienced driving up to our house for the first time, moving van in tow. We had visualized it so often over the summer – that arriving the first day was like seeing the Eiffel Tower for the first time,” says Tanya.
“You recognize it from the pictures but actually being there feels like a dream. We took the risk and the rewards were better than we could have imagined.”
“We have no regrets with any decisions we have made. We are the luckiest people. We looked for a complete change in lifestyle and we have found it here,” concludes Bruce.
Bruce retired as a Toronto paramedic in 2015 and Tanya cashed out her pension this year from her position as a 911 dispatcher with the City of Toronto.
Janice Christie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal