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Muskoka cottage comes with 30-day 'zombie-free' guarantee

The last thing anybody wants is to buy a family cottage and find out it’s infected, says cottage owner Matthew Swan.

Matthew Swan is selling a certified zombie-free cottage on an island near Muskoka.


Matthew Swan is selling a certified zombie-free cottage on an island near Muskoka.

It comes equipped with all the modern conveniences a family would need to survive a zombie apocalypse — five bedrooms, a loft and bunkie, two kitchens and baths and a sandy beach with a clear view of the water.

But buyers just weren’t biting on the island cottage Matthew Swan is selling, even though it sleeps 26 — dead or alive.

The 63-year-old Mississauga man applied some brains to the matter, reasoning that people are drawn to two types of things: those that frighten them and those that make them laugh.

So he posted a billboard just north of Brechin, Ont., along Highway 12, advertising his certified zombie-free cottage.

“People are worried about many things these days. One of the last things you want to be worried about is the fact that you buy a cottage for your family and, lo and behold, the place is infected,” said Swan.

“The sale comes with a 30-day, 30-night guarantee. After that the new owner will have to follow their own protocol to ensure the Z-Free status. But I will go over it in detail with them. Plus it comes with a manual,” he promised.

The billboard was enough to wake up interest at Swan’s website. There were about 100 hits the first weekend the sign was posted and people in Brechin reported that folks were pulling their cars over to take pictures of the advertisement.

Still, vacation home hunters were walking rather than running to view the 3,100-square-foot retreat on Kahshe Lake in Muskoka.

Swan believes the water-only access may be discouraging some buyers. But he wants them to know that the Lindhill Island location is actually an advantage in these uncertain times.

“Zombies can't swim because they're full of holes so they walk along the water. It slows them down and gives you a little more time to prepare,” he said.

A former journalist, this isn’t his first attempt at unconventional sales tactics. When he started his adventure travel company, Swan organized a golf trip to the North Pole.

“We had a piece of indoor-outdoor carpet. We laid it down and we played a hole in each of the five countries that meet at the top of the world,” he said.

He says that he tries not to pay too much attention to zombies himself. But they are a popular culture reality.

Swan took his billboard down for the winter because the cottage is snowbound. But he is already searching for a new location to post his sign along Highway 11 with hopes of resurrecting it some time in April.

He bought the renovated, 1960s-built cottage on roughly three acres about five years ago. It was supposed to be a family retreat but his children work in his travel business and summer is their busy season so they haven’t used it as much as he had hoped.

“It just doesn’t seem like it’s the right fit for us going forward,” he said, adding that he owns another property in Gravenhurst.

The zombie-free cottage is listed for $869,000.

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