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Watercolour Portrait: The Johnstones

Written by Land Ark


January 14, 2022

The next home to house the memories

You can mark the eras of your life with houses, like markers on a road.

There’s your first house — small but full of energy when anything seemed possible. There is the house that was full of kids — noisy, joyful, a period when everything was growing. And there are others, each one fitting or frustrating, because it was perfect for that stage of your life or because it didn’t match that season’s needs.

Cameron and Colleen Johnstone have owned them all. They met in high school on a bus for a ski trip. Their first home was a rental, then a modest house in the suburbs, then another, and finally their dream home – a log home they helped build, surrounded by acres of land in the country.

A log home draws people in. It was a trek from the city but the warm fireplace was worth it. It was idyllic. They pulled syrup from the maple trees on the property.

And yet there are more eras to mark. They need a new home to house the next season’s memories. “As we’re getting older, it’s time to simplify our lives, look for something that’s more turnkey and gives us the opportunity to travel,” says Colleen.

Log homes are beautiful but the maintenance of a log home has it’s own unique set of challenges.  They want to travel and not be saddled with the responsibility of a large rural property to maintain.

A new home at Watercolour isn’t the end. It’s the beginning. The Johnstone’s love outdoor adventures in nature. At Watercolour they get a new home built to exacting standards nestled in the middle of the most spectacular natural setting in Eastern Ontario.

“Westport is the right size of community,” says Cameron. “We didn’t want to move back into Ottawa. We’ve worked there our whole careers. There are lots of small towns to choose from but Westport had something special with this development.”

The first thing that attracted them to Watercolour was the amount of infrastructure that was put in, even before the first foundation was poured. Things like sidewalks and trails and landscaping were all completed meticulously. “We could tell that the builder was serious about making this place different than the usual development of tract homes,” says Cameron. “Watercolour is something special.”

And it’s more than just Watercolour. It’s about Westport too.

“Watercolour Westport offers Foley Mountain and all the trails but still gives us the walkability of going in for breakfast or a coffee and being part of the Westport community,” says Cameron.

The Johnstones want to be part of a community again as opposed to a rural kind of solitary environment. “You get a more unique shopping experience in a small town,” says Colleen. “Westport has a particular charm. There are lovely shops and restaurants without all the traffic and congestion. And it’s only a short drive to a larger centre.”

A perfect Saturday for the Johnstones will start with breakfast at the country diner, just a few steps from the development. Then they might go on an arts and crafts tour put on by local artisans. They’re common in the area. Or maybe it’s a good day for a ski on the groomed trails at local Murphy’s Point Provincial Park.

Lunch of gourmet pizza and a glass of wine would be at the winery, a five-minute walk away from home. And then after a nap, a walk downtown for a coffee and browsing through the quaint local stores before guests arrive for dinner in their spacious dining room. Or maybe there’s a good band playing at the Cove that night and the friends would prefer hearing live music.

Choices. Maybe that’s what to call this next season for the Johnstones. They want the ability to choose country, city, nature, community, friends and family… all in the same day.

That’s why Watercolour is going to be the next place they’ll store memories.