Real Estate A three-generation Toronto family bought this Tiny Township cottage for $420,000. They’re loving it
The buy: A four-bedroom, two-bathroom detached house in Tiny.
Who: Iwona Rychalska, 40, a learning consultant who is currently a stay-at-home mom; her husband, Armando Ramos, 46, a wealth consultant; and their three kids, Camilla, 10, Dominika, 6, and Emilio, 4.
Irena Rychalska, 65, a partly retired high school teacher; and Mike Rychalski, 67, who owns a commercial office cleaning and floor-finishing business
The history: Irena and Mike grew up in Poland, then moved to Canada in 1988. They rented in Hamilton and Waterloo while they studied and worked, saving up enough money to eventually buy a bungalow in east Toronto.
They spent their weekends skiing, camping, hiking and swimming with their two daughters, Iwona and her sister. When their daughters moved out and had their own children, Irena and Mike dreamed of finding a cottage where they could escape and spend time with their growing family.
But for years, other priorities—working busy jobs, raising their families, travelling back to Poland—took precedent.
One of their daughters, Iwona, and her husband, Armando, weren’t as excited by the idea of a cottage.
“If you asked us before the pandemic, we would have said we had no interest in a cottage,” says Iwona, who lives in the Upper Beaches with Armando and their three children.
They didn’t want to have to maintain another home—one house, three kids and a dog seemed like enough work. And if they were going to travel, it would be somewhere new or to Mexico, where Armando has family.
When the world locked down, however, Iwona and Armando had a change of heart. Unable to travel (or do much of anything) during the early days of the pandemic, they spent every weekend hiking around southern Ontario with their kids.
On a trek in Uxbridge, in April 2020, the family started fantasizing about having somewhere they could go to escape the city. On their way home that day, they stopped at Irena and Mike’s house to propose the idea, from a safe distance in the backyard.
The hunt: Irena and Mike thought it over and agreed to see what was available. “We had nothing else to do,” says Irena. “Us, the kids and the grandkids were all excited looking for a cottage. It was like a family adventure.”
They set a budget of $500,000, split evenly between the grandparents and Iwona and Armando. The families wanted a place on or near the water, within two hours’ drive of Toronto, with at least three bedrooms and two bathrooms, enough for everyone to stay up there at once.
And they preferred a place that didn’t need immediate renovations. That way, they could use it in the summer of 2020.
Starting in April, the family spent several weekends visiting possible purchases, starting in the Kawarthas. Mike and Irena liked the wilderness and peacefulness of the area, where there was also a strong Polish community, but they couldn’t find a suitable place within their price range.
So, in early May, they shifted their search to Tiny, a not-so-tiny collection of idyllic beachside communities on Georgian Bay, where the family had visited friends’ cottages when Iwona was a girl.
They liked that it wasn’t far from Blue Mountain—they’re avid skiers—and enjoyed the area’s seaside feel.
“The thing I loved the most about Tiny was the beautiful beaches, the ocean feel of the Georgian Bay, and that it offered crystal-clear, Caribbean-like water,” says Iwona.