Live the slow life at Forest Lakes

As featured in the Chronicle Herald.

While there are definitely benefits to living in a fast-paced city like Toronto or New York, when it comes to overall quality of life, however, Nova Scotia has them beat, hands-down — just ask anyone who has ever visited or lived here.

“The aspects of Nova Scotia that really appealed to me, and ultimately influenced my decision to relocate, were the absolutely beautiful scenery (something I look forward to further exploring), the emphasis placed on work-life balance and the extremely welcoming nature of the Nova Scotians I met while visiting,” says Victoria Pitura, a graduate student in clinical psychology at Lakehead University in Ontario.

Nova Scotia is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts – pictured, Cape Split hiking trail. (Herald Archives)

And now, Forest Lakes Country Club, just a short drive away from downtown Halifax, offers residents the best of both worlds. The up-and-coming residential community is close enough to the hustle and bustle of the city (at least in Maritime standards), while still allowing residents to come home to a one-of-a-kind, nature-filled community, where they can relax and unwind in style.

“To relocate, we had always figured we would have to choose between living in a place with beautiful scenery and outdoor recreational activities, and somewhere with the big city amenities. We were thrilled to discover that living in Nova Scotia would allow us to ‘have it all,’ so to speak. Living in the Annapolis Valley allows us the opportunity to live the balanced lifestyle we desire, and with Halifax being only a short drive away, we have access to everything we could ever need and more!,” says Alex de Sousa, project co-ordinator for Terra Firma Development Corporation, the developers of Forest Lakes.

Downtown Halifax, which offers any number of unique shopping, dining and entertainment opportunities, is just a short drive away from Forest Lakes, with its enviable resort-style living. (123RF)

There is much to be said about life in Nova Scotia. In fact, the Town of Wolfville, just 30 minutes from Forest Lakes in the Annapolis Valley, was officially designated a ‘Cittaslow Community’ in 2016, which is actually quite impressive when you consider it is only the third Canadian community to ever be designated. Wolfville is one of 176 municipalities in 27 countries that is recognized by Cittaslow International for their commitment to “slow-city” principles. And this designation is no easy feat. A community must fulfil over 50 criteria that address such things as environmental protection and healthy lifestyles. They must support local products, agriculture and artisans, as well as community engagement and social justice. These communities must also celebrate and respect local culture, heritage and traditions. Another key criterion is that the community must show thoughtful development and use of technology for sustainability and community well-being.

What is so exciting about Wolfville’s Cittaslow designation is that the town perfectly embodies the same values and vision Forest Lakes developers have had for their resort-style, residential community since they first took their ambitious idea from paper in 2008, and broke ground in the heart of Nova Scotia four years later.

Wolfville, Nova Scotia was not only named a ‘Cittaslow Community’ in 2016, but it is also in the heart of wine country in the Annapolis Valley, home to some of the best wineries in the country. (HERALD ARCHIVE)

“We both work very hard, and we both love what we do, but to be able to come home to a place like this (Forest Lakes) and really decompress, it really is lifestyle at its best,” says Dorita Gerami-Schaefer who has been living here for nearly a year.

Today, approximately 30 homes have already been built, or are under construction, but that is only the beginning for the blossoming community. Forest Lakes planners expect to build nearly 2,700 homes throughout the 1,700-acre development when the project is completed. But even with an estimated 7,000 residents calling Forest Lakes home by the time the community is completely built out, it will never lose its charming back-to-nature feel.

“We have always seen Forest Lakes as a vibrant community of like-minded people — people who want to escape the pressures of big-city living, but still reap the benefits,” says Andrew Alcorn, executive vice president on the project.

The Chester home is just one of the many available homes at Forest Lakes that you can customize to suit your needs for your dream home in nature. (CONTRIBUTED)

“We can work as hard as we want to work, and just come home and shut off, it really feeds the soul,” adds Gerami-Schaefer.

“It’s a great fit for our life. It’s everything we want. It’s everything we ever wanted. I have no doubt that we made the right decision as far as Forest Lakes and our future is concerned. We feel like we are home, and that is a very good feeling,” she adds.

One of the most exciting benefits of living at Forest Lakes is the custom-designed 18-hole championship golf course. The world-renowned Nicklaus Design team has already finished the 14th and 15th holes in what is poised to become an internationally-acclaimed, must-play golf course.

The Forest Lakes community will also include a number of amenities, such as trails for hiking, cycling or snowshoeing in the winter, a beautiful equestrian centre, a farmers’ market, featuring local produce and on-site restaurants that will serve dishes created using local ingredients.

The trail system at Forest Lakes offers five routes that cater to all skill levels. (CONTRIBUTED)

“There will also be a Family Entertainment Centre, featuring bowling, swimming and even laser tag,” adds Alcorn. So while Halifax is only 35 minutes away, when finished, Forest Lakes will essentially be a complete community, with the added benefits of three pristine lakes for kayaking, swimming or just enjoyment, as well as lush forests with an abundance of local wildlife.

It’s a little bit out of the city limits, but that is what makes it refreshing. It’s what makes Forest Lakes great,” says Gerami-Schaefer.

For more information and updates on the many more exciting benefits of living at Forest Lakes Country Club, you can attend their next open house by clicking here.