On a beautiful warm summer evening in south-east Edmonton, Michele Theoret relaxes and watches her sons play by the water as they frolic with the family dog. It’s a common pastime for the yoga training instructor and psychology counselor, who values peaceful surroundings in her neighbourhood and life. For this lucky family, the beautiful, enriching environment is accessible not only down the street at the Lake Summerside community beach, but incorporated right into their own home.
“The house itself has become such a lifestyle,” says Michele. “You’ll notice my meditation corner randomly in my living room instead of having a separate space where I practice -- quite often I'll get up in the morning before everybody gets up and even if it's 10 or 20 minutes of meditation. As people wake up and they come into the kitchen I'll be sitting there and that just becomes part of my practice.”
Michele has created an inside and outside flow of their home that seamlessly fits into their lives. “Instead of having “this is my practice, this is my self care, and this is my life” it’s sort of all infused. And it’s the same thing with the hammocks, hot tub, fountain or the pool outside – it’s ways that you can blend self-care and mindfulness right into your lifestyle. “
This summer Michele’s family is thoroughly enjoying their swimming pool and recently renovated indoor/outdoor screen room where they can light a fire, watch movies and have sleepovers with neighbourhood kids. It’s a wonderful life Michele and her husband Luc, a professional hockey player turned firefighter, have built since moving to Edmonton and settling on the south side 14 years ago.
With family roots in Winnipeg and Lethbridge, it was important for the couple to find a welcoming community environment. After living in a few different neighbourhoods, Michele says, “We were still really feeling like we either wanted to be on an acreage or just be somewhere a little bit less congested. So when we're looking around, Summerside was a nice compromise because it was out of town at the time. There was nothing like it and having the lake really close by, backing on to the park just gave us more of that open space feel while still being close to the city with the amenities.”
The couple settled in Lake Summerside, an established 750 acre community that has exclusive access to the lake and its activities and is located within the larger neighbourhood of Summerside. Their 2,200 square foot two storey charming home is a quick walk to Michele’s studio, Empowered Yoga, and fits perfectly with her active routine. “I love it. I mean being busy and as a person who's really consumed with talking about stress and educating about self care I find just having everything fairly close is really helpful.” She adds, “Raising three kids is busy; running a business is busy. Having some time for doing fun things and going to the lake for recreation is great. And so the less time I can spend commuting is always ideal.”
The holistic therapist notes having a caring community is also a key to happy thriving. “If I need to run out and grab groceries or go teach a class, it’s really easy. The neighbours would say, ”Oh, no problem. We'll watch your kids.” And then also just being able to be around places where you see familiar faces and where you can be active without having to actually go to the gym- that is really supportive of a more healthy low stress lifestyle, which I’m all about.”
When she’s at home, the mindful and wellness expert has a few favourite spots she’s customized in their house, including the meditation corner on the main floor. A main focal point in the kitchen is the feature blackboard, with a highlight reel of favourite parts of the last year, and their future goals. “It gives us some accountability, which is good. And when we have friends over they see the chalkboard and are intrigued by our list. So they just add to it and write on it too.”
An added bonus to the family’s Lake Summerside location is having a brand new school within walking distance and plenty of friends to play with. “One thing we usually do every summer happens in the park right behind us. My husband and the neighbours get a big sheet of poly, put it down on the hill and then all the neighbours run their hoses all out the back yards and we make a giant water slide. We set up tables, bouncy castles and have a barbecue.” She adds, “We know pretty much every single one of our neighbours; their kids are always here in my backyard - and my kids are always out there playing street hockey with their kids. In a world where we see more and more of a nuclear family focus, it's really nice to be part of a community especially not being from Edmonton.”
Naturally the big draw of Lake Summerside is the sparkling gorgeous 32 acre man-made lake itself. On this particular lovely summer evening, Michele and her boys take a stroll in the neighbourhood on the way to the fun leisure spot, pointing out the unique houses with meticulous gardens, front porches and creative details of different coloured front doors. “There’s a lot of pride of ownership around here, and I’ve always liked how the homes look so warm and inviting.”
At the end of the street is the large Beach Club House that anchors the waterfront. On this night hundreds of locals mingle about enjoying the weather and outdoor activities. “The lake is really busy. But it's also really laid back. It does kind of have that home away from home feel to us like a cottage.”
Michele would often take her family here as the kids were growing up and it’s still a welcome retreat – “They will go and play basketball or I'll go paddling or just hang out on the beach for a day for swimming. We would run into people from the neighbourhood and all the kids would just play together. It's nice that there are always people in this park running up and down the hills. I’ve even seen Thai Chi classes. I used to run a boot camp actually in that park and it was really busy sometimes we'd have 40 people up there. So it's definitely a community where people like to be active and they like to be out of their houses and engaged with other people as well.”
And it’s easy to see why. The 10 acre park, Beach Club and marina are loaded with tons of fun, family sports and activities. Lake Summerside boasts tennis, pickle ball and beach volleyball courts; boating, fishing and a brand new mini-golf; and camps, movie nights and swimming lessons in the lake are available in the summer. “All of my kids play hockey so they like to go there and play and we enjoy it all season round. The Halloween haunted house, summer barbecues, Christmas holiday and end of the year school parties are amazing. And then I think one of our favourite things is just all the trails and paved walking paths and the natural ponds that they have left around.”
Over 13,000 residents have laid down roots in the growing neighbourhood of Summerside. There are 4,290 homes that fall within the specific boundaries of Lake Summerside and these property owners have exclusive access to the Beach Club, park and marina through a registered fee. These fees vary where you live within the designated area. Michele’s family, who live a few blocks away from the Beach Club, pays an annual membership cost of just under $400 to the Summerside Residents Association for maintenance, staff and programming. The waterfront area is gated, and residents can sign in guests. Michele laughs that their home and lake is a popular destination for friends and notes that some have enjoyed the community so much they end up buying in the neighbourhood as well.
At the end of the day, Lake Summerside offers so much for busy and engaged families that many of us can only dream of, or experience on vacation. These enviable residents have chosen to live life to the fullest on a daily basis, with no regrets and many positive outcomes.
“I have this thing that I say that we've become human doings instead of human beings. And so the more things we try to cram into our schedule the less engaged we are in any of them. We could be less busy but unfortunately some of us just have a lot of commitments. And so if you can find a way that you can make things like spending time outdoors or spending time with your family or reducing commute times - if you can find ways to somehow make your life a little bit more seamless and fit in a little bit more self care and recreation then obviously you’ll be happier and healthier. “
There’s always a better opportunity waiting just outside your door! If you’re looking to take your lifestyle living to the next level, consider the exceptional beautiful surroundings of this south east Edmonton neighbourhood, where summer never ends. At Holland & Associates we can help you find your spectacular dream home in the warm, friendly, active community of Lake Summerside today!