Local REALTORS® Support the Minden Food Bank

HUNTSVILLE– The Lakelands Association of REALTORS® has provided financial support to the Minden Food Bank as part of their Ontario REALTORS Care® and Tragic Relief Fund programs. This financial support is in response to the pandemic, the impacts of which are being felt by hundreds of families and individuals, as well as the people who are working tirelessly to help feed the region’s most vulnerable residents.

According to Food Banks Canada, the number of people requiring help has skyrocketed by at least 20 percent in most regions across the country since the lockdown began, with projections that these numbers will continue to rise in the weeks and months to come. This type of corporate support is essential.

“The timing for the donation is critical,” says local REALTOR® Andrew Hodgson, who represents the Haliburton region on The Lakelands Association of REALTORS® Board of Directors. “The Minden Food Bank has been overwhelmed with requests as a result of the economic impact on our community due the virus. The Minden Food Bank is a vital part of filling the needs of many, to enable a family to survive in these trying times.”

Between the two organizations – the association’s Tragic Relief Fund and The Ontario REALTORS Care® Foundation – The Lakelands Association of REALTORS® has donated $10,780 to food banks in the regions they represent (Haliburton, Muskoka, Orillia and Parry Sound) in response to the pandemic.

Provincially, the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) has donated $480,000 to Ontario shelters and shelter-based charities through the Ontario REALTORS Care® Foundation. OREA’s donation will reach the most vulnerable populations through more than 50 shelters and food banks across Ontario.

The Ontario REALTORS Care® Foundation, formerly the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) Foundation was established in 1967. The Foundation supports shelter-based charitable organizations across Ontario, making a difference in the lives of people and communities where REALTORS® live and conduct business.

The Lakelands Association of REALTORS® holds a Tragic Relief Fund in their budget to help support significant local causes. The committee responsible for the fund considers tragic events throughout Parry Sound, Muskoka, Orillia and Haliburton that require an injection of funds to prevent further impact.

Crystal Henderson, Executive Director of The Lakelands Association of REALTORS®

New Lockbox Tech Will Revolutionize How Local REALTORS® Show Properties

June 1, 2020

Huntsville, ON – Local REALTORS® will be showcasing listings this busy spring season with a new tool that will improve security, efficiency, and client satisfaction. Smart, Bluetooth-compatible lockboxes will be replacing the conventional mechanical lockboxes that agents have been using for the last 30 years.

These new smart systems will ease many of the security and communication concerns sellers have about lockboxes with static passcodes. These new devices feature state-of-the-art technology that allow REALTORS® who work in the Lakelands districts to elevate the level of service and protection they can offer clients in Haliburton, Muskoka, Orillia and Parry Sound. This new program is a partnership with SentriLock LLC, which currently provides services to over 400,000 REALTORS® in North America, and over 30,000 REALTORS® in Canada.

“Our local REALTOR® members are hard-working and fully committed to consistently growing professionally,” says Lakelands Association of REALTORS® Board President Catharine Inniss. “Using these enhanced lockbox systems will improve how they work and the level of service they can provide their clients. It’s an exciting time for us.”

The supporting software and app have several features that will be especially beneficial to those in the Lakelands districts who are selling their second home or cottage from a remote location. The system accurately records the times and dates that the authorized REALTOR® has opened the lockbox. The technology also allows agents to use touch ID and facial recognition technology to open the lockbox. The listing brokerage and homeowner are updated in real time when a lockbox is opened, for even more peace of mind. And each individual lockbox can be programmed to operate only during hours approved by the seller.

“These smart lockboxes, with such impressive features, have been well-received by buyers, sellers and REALTORS® who are already using the system,” says Inniss. “We believe our members and their clients will benefit greatly from this new tool. We can’t wait to see how this technology will improve the valuable services that our members provide.”


Crystal Henderson
Executive Director
The Lakelands Association of REALTORS®

705.788.1504 x 222

Catharine Inniss
Board President
The Lakelands Association of REALTORS®


The Lakelands Association of REALTORS® donates thousands to local charities and shelters

December 18, 2019

Huntsville, ON – During this season of giving, The Lakelands Association of REALTORS® is continuing its annual tradition of supporting local charities in each of its four regions – Parry Sound, Muskoka, Haliburton and Orillia.

This year, through the Ontario REALTORS Care® Foundation (ORCF), they are donating approximately $19,000 to regional not-for-profit organizations.  ORCF is supported by monthly donations from local REALTORS® to benefit local charitable organizations. Since it was founded in 1977, the foundation has donated approximately $175,000 in grant funding across their four regions.

Throughout December, representatives from the Lakelands Association of REALTORS® are travelling on behalf of the foundation to present cheques to the following organizations: Burk’s Falls Food Bank (Burk’s Falls); HERS Emergency Safe Space (Haliburton); Places for People (Haliburton); Harvest Share Community Food Program (Parry Sound); Child Advocacy Centre (Orillia) and Mariposa House Hospice (Coldwater). In the new year, they will also present cheques to Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary (Muskoka Lakes) and Muskoka Family Focus and Children’s Place (Bracebridge).

“We know that our members are deeply committed to the communities they work in,” says Lakelands Association of REALTORS® Board of Directors President Catharine Inniss.  “Supporting these organizations reflects our association’s appreciation for the work these vital organizations do every day in our local communities.”



Kelly Warr Acting Executive Director
(705) 788-1504 ext. 229
Facebook: @TheLakelandsAssociation
Twitter: @TheLakelandshttps://realtorscareontario.ca 

The Lakelands Association of REALTORS® Welcomes New Leadership

Huntsville, ON – The Lakelands Association of REALTORS® continues its commitment to supporting and promoting local REALTORS® in Haliburton, Orillia, Muskoka and Parry Sound under the leadership of their new president Catharine Inniss, who officially took the helm on November 1, 2019.

“I am excited to work with a highly-skilled, enthusiastic, and positive-thinking board of directors,” says Inniss. “I am also proud to represent over 850 very effective local REALTORS®.”

Inniss wants to continue to build on the association’s forward-thinking approach to real estate. “Members continue to rely on us for solid support, in an ever-changing marketplace. Local REALTORS® are essential in the successful purchase and sale of real estate in Parry Sound, Muskoka, Haliburton, Orillia and surrounding areas. The Lakelands Association of REALTORS® intends to support its members every step of the way.”

The 2019 Lakelands Association of REALTORS® Board includes three new directors: Heather Scott (Port Carling); Andrew Hodgson (Minden) and Kaleb Streeter (Oro). They are joining Past President Wendy Webb (Bracebridge), President-Elect Chuck Murney (Parry Sound) Lindsay Elizabeth Elder (Minden) and D’Arcy Hunt (Orillia).

Kelly Warr, Acting Executive Director Lakelands Association Of REALTORS®
34 Cairns Crescent Huntsville, ON, P1H 1Y3 P: 705-788-1504
Email: kelly@thelakelands.ca

The Lakelands Association of REALTORS® Continues Commitment to Supporting Local Charities

MUSKOKA – The Lakelands Association of REALTORS® (The Lakelands) is set to donate $19,000 to charities across Parry Sound, Muskoka, Haliburton, and Orillia, continuing their tradition of supporting shelter-based organizations in the communities they serve. The association is accepting grant applications until Tuesday September 3, 2019. To raise awareness and ensure each year different organizations benefit, The Lakelands is reaching out to our community to spread the word.

“Our members are keen to contribute to their communities. Our Ontario REALTORS Care® Foundation (ORCF) is a meaningful way to engage with, and support, residents,” says Wendy Webb, President of The Lakelands Association of REALTORS®. “We believe that Realtors’ roles extend far beyond just buying and selling.”

Their recent generosity and $5,000 donation to support area flood relief efforts this spring captured the attention of their provincial counterpart the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA), the Ontario REALTORS Care® Foundation, and CREA (the Canadian Real Estate Association), bringing the total donations to the Muskoka and Minden areas to $20,000 ($16,000 to Muskoka Victim Services and $4,000 to the Minden Food Bank).

Each member makes monthly donations to ORCF. These amounts are then divided across the jurisdiction to assist local shelter-based charities. The contributions are very important to these communities. Many local brokerages support causes in their own specific communities on top of these monthly contributions.

Last year’s Grant Recipients from the Lakelands Association were:

  • The Burk’s Fall District Food Bank ($3,000).
  • The Alzheimer Society ($3,000) and Cottage Dreams in Haliburton ($1,500). Cottage dreams supports families touched by cancer, providing an opportunity for them to reconnect and rejuvenate at a private, donated cottage.
  • The Child Advocacy Centre of Simcoe/Muskoka ($1,500), a child-friendly centre in which multidisciplinary professionals provide services to children and youth who have experienced abuse.
  • Couchiching Jubilee House ($1,500), an organization committed to empowering women to improve their quality of life through a program of individualized support and transitional housing.
  • West Muskoka Food Bank ($3,000)
  • Esprit Place Family Resource Centre ($3,000) is a ten-bed emergency shelter for women and children, serving the District of Parry Sound since 1986. They provide safe and secure residential accommodation twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
  • Baysville Winter Pantry ($1,500) provides food support services during the winter months for people who live in the Baysville and Dorset areas.
  • Muskoka Women’s Advocacy Group ($1,500) operates two, 24-hour anti-violence crisis shelters for abused women and their children. Muskoka Interval House is located in Bracebridge, Ontario and Chrysalis in Huntsville, Ontario.  Chrysalis also offers supportive transitional housing units for vulnerable women.

For further details about the Grant Application: https://realtorscareontario.ca/grants

The Lakelands represents over 850 licensed real estate professionals within the heart of Ontario’s and Canada’s cottage country. Major geographical areas within the regions include the City of Orillia, and communities within the District Municipality of Muskoka, Almaguin Highlands, Parry Sound and County of Haliburton. REALTOR® members throughout the region specialize in the trading of real estate representing different land use properties ranging from recreational, residential and commercial.

REALTORS® are committed to improving Quality of Life by supporting policies that help ensure economic vitality, provide housing opportunities, preserve the environment, protect property owners and build better communities with good schools and safe neighbourhoods.

Lakelands Association of REALTORS® committed to expanding housing opportunities

Huntsville, ON – Access to adequate housing is a basic human need. However, it’s becoming increasingly out of reach for many people locally and across the country. Representatives from The Lakelands Association of REALTORS® have firsthand experience with this struggle and are working hard toward finding solutions in their communities.

The association launched a task force on attainable housing in fall 2018. The first meeting was held in spring 2019. “When we sent out tender for volunteers for the Attainable Housing Task Force, we had an overwhelming response,” says Chuck Murney, who is the task force chair. “Those who were selected to sit on the task force were chosen for their passion, commitment to their communities and overall skillset.” These agents are from all four of the major regions that the organization represents: Andrew Hodgson and Karen Nimigon of Haliburton; Debbie Gilbert and Paul Cleary of Orillia; Suzanne Martineau of Muskoka and Scott Broad and Murney of Parry Sound.

“As we connected we learned very quickly that the issues affecting Huntsville and Orillia were very similar to those affecting Parry Sound and Haliburton and everywhere in between,” says Murney. “Any time there has been an attainable housing event throughout the district we have had multiple agents looking to volunteer their time to share our collaborative REALTOR® perspective.”

One of the universal problems across all four geographical areas is people cashing out and escaping bigger centres to move to the Lakelands regions, which pushes up values and makes entering the market out of reach for a lot of first-time home buyers and entry-level consumers.

On top of meeting with this specific group, each of these individuals on the task force works directly with their local community groups and industries to address the attainable housing struggles that are specific to their jurisdictions. For example, Martineau, a seasoned Muskoka REALTOR®, sits on the broader Muskoka Housing Task Force. She acts as a liaison between stakeholders, ensuring that the that agents’ insights are communicated back to the regional task force, which includes developers, politicians and other decision-makers. “We speak for the people,” she says. “These issues are complex and multilevel.”

Lakelands Association of REALTORS® President Wendy Webb says it’s imperative that REALTORS® share their specialized, local insights in this way. “We do our utmost to help make our clients’ goals a reality. Part of that means serving as their advocates in these public spheres.”

The Lakelands Associations of REALTORS® Housing Task Force also coordinates with the organization’s political action committee to ensure that timely topics related to attainable housing are part of the conversations happening in Ottawa. The association expects that attainable housing will be a key issue in the upcoming federal election and representatives look forward to collaborating with candidates on various housing related solutions so that more Canadians can realize the dream of home ownership.

The Lakelands Association of REALTORS® Donates $17K Annually to Local Charities

MUSKOKA – The Lakelands Association of REALTORS® (The Lakelands) is set to donate $17,000 to shelter-based charities across Muskoka, Haliburton, and Orillia. The Association is accepting grant applications until Friday, September 15, 2017. To raise awareness and ensure each year different organizations benefit, this year The Lakelands is reaching out to our community to spread the word. Local Realtors work to improve quality of life and to build strong, sustainable communities through a variety of initiatives.

“The contributions by The Lakelands members through the Ontario REALTORS Care® Foundation (ORCF) boost the ability for the organization to support residents,” said The Lakelands Association of REALTORS®, President, Mike Stahls. “Local Realtors have a deep pride for their community, and The Lakelands members are committed to our mission of being an integral part of the communities we live in.”

The Lakelands members do much more than trade in real estate. Each member makes monthly donations to ORCF, which are then divided across the jurisdiction to assist local shelter-based charities. The contributions are very important to the communities we live in. Many of our local brokerages give to and support causes in their own specific communities on top of these monthly contributions.

2016 Grant Recipients:
• Burk’s Falls & District Food Bank: provides food and resources for those in need. Covers 7 districts.
• Table Soup Kitchen (Huntsville): provides hot meals & resources. Also operates a men’s shelter.
• Muskoka Interval House (Bracebridge): provides shelter and resources for women & children.
• The Lighthouse (Orillia): meals and drop in services. Also provides shelter for men.
• Places for People (Haliburton): renovates homes to provide affordable housing to qualified applicants.
• Cottage Dreams (Haliburton): provides rental cottages for families to enjoy following cancer treatment.
• 2015 Grant Recipient, The Heat Bank Haliburton (Haliburton): provides households with wood, fuel, or hydro emergencies to keep the heat on.
Said The Heat Bank Haliburton, President, John Telijeur, “The Lakelands REALTORS® valuable contribution will help to keep the heat on for numerous families and seniors this winter—thank you.”
For further details about the Grant Application: https://thelakelands.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/FDN-Grant-application-2017.pdf
Like us on Facebook @TheLakelandsAssociation


New President & Board for The Lakelands

MUSKOKA – REALTOR® members of The Lakelands Association of REALTORS® acclaimed their 2016 Board of Directors and new president at the Annual General Meeting held in Orillia on April 28th. President Mike Taylor takes the reins of the local real estate association from Past-President Tom Wilkinson.

“I’m honoured to work with such an experienced Board of Directors.  After serving as President-Elect in 2015, gaining so much knowledge and leadership training from the federal and provincial organisations, and teaming up with strong board members, 2016 is going to be a great year for the association,” says Taylor.

Taylor has served on The Lakelands Board of Directors for several years, and has worked as a licenced Realtor in Muskoka for 8 years. “Advancing the profession, focusing on our mission, delivering the tools and resources that local Realtors use every day is so important to me.”

The new Board of Directors also includes Immediate Past-President Tom Wilkinson (Haliburton), Directors Debbie Gilbert (Orillia), Wendy Webb (Bracebridge), Catharine Inniss (Gravenhurst), Heather Scott (Port Carling), Beth Robson (Sundridge), President-Elect Mike Stahls (Orillia) and Executive Officer Crystal Henderson.

Ontario REALTORS Care® Foundation Charity Cheque Presentation: Camp Oochigeas

TORONTO, ON – On March 9th at the Toronto head offices of Camp Oochigeas, local REALTORS® donated $3240.00 to the organisation to support their efforts in bringing the summer camp experience to children experiencing cancer.  Realtors will gather at the office to present the cheque to members of the fundraising committee.

Local Realtors are committed to improving Quality of Life by supporting community initiatives ensuring economic vitality, housing opportunities and safe neighbourhoods.  Each month, in support of the Ontario REALTORS Care® Foundation, Lakelands member Realtors donate $2 to the Every REALTOR® Campaign.

Camp Oochigeas has been selected as one of five community charity organisations that have benefitted from the grants. Annually, the collective funds are distributed to shelter-based charities within the boundaries of The Lakelands Association of REALTORS® to support their efforts of improving the quality of life for those most in need.

Camp Oochigeas provides children with and affected by childhood cancer the opportunity to be defined by who they are rather than what they have. Since its beginnings in 1983, the Camp has grown to serve over 1200 children and their families at Ooch Muskoka, Ooch Downtown, The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) and various other healthcare centres across Ontario. The culture promotes a feeling of “Where cancer doesn’t define me”, was voted one of Canada’s top most admired cultures by Waterstone in 2012.

The contributions by Lakelands local Realtors to the Ontario REALTORS Care® Foundation is important to the communities we live in.  Local Realtors working to improve quality of life, and to build strong, sustainable communities through a variety if initiatives including the Every REALTOR® Campaign.

Local REALTOR® Honoured with Philanthropy Award

 Local Orillia REALTOR® Mike Stahls has been selected as a 2016 recipient of the Ontario REALTORS Care® Foundation (ORCF) Spirit Award.  Established in 2007, the award is given to real estate professionals that go the extra mile with outstanding fundraising events in their community.

Mike is a long-time supporter of Green Haven Women’s Shelter in his community, serving as the only male in a committee capacity on the fundraising committee since 2012.  In working to raise awareness of the issues affecting abused women, Mike has raised significant funds for the shelter. In 2014, Mike organised a night of entertainment both to raise money for the shelter, and for the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation.  The event was such a resounding success that it was held again in 2015.

The Royal LePage Shelter Foundation is Canada’s largest public foundation dedicated exclusively to funding women’s shelters and violence prevention programs.  Mike’s fundraising efforts on behalf of this important cause took him to trek Peru’s famous Inca Trail to the lost City of Machu Picchu in 2015. The Machu Picchu Challenge saw Royal LePage Realtors from across Canada raise over $495,000.  Mike was able to exceed the required $5000 fundraising goal for the Foundation to join the trip with the proceeds for Green Haven in Orillia.”

The Ontario REALTORS Care® Foundation Spirit Award is a nomination-based award given to real estate professionals by the Ontario REALTORS Care® Foundation Board of Directors. The criteria for successful nominations are focused on the importance of local Realtors supporting their communities with volunteer leadership in shelter-based charity organisations. Mike’s work with Green Haven, and his long-standing position on The Lakelands Board of Directors as a key decision-maker have given him lots of opportunity to support his community and his profession with great skill.

“The Lakelands Association of REALTORS® membership and Board of Directors is delighted to congratulate Mike on his recognition by ORCF”, says Association President Tom Wilkinson.  “As a leader in volunteerism, and for his great work in the community of Orillia, Mike has always been a stand-out contributor to professional real estate.”