About this listing
Funky older cottage on private island. Spectacular water views all round, yet secluded from other people. 100 year old base with add-ons over the years, now renovated while maintaining original charm, Pet friendly, great Canadian cottage experience!
July and August are (mostly) restricted to FULL-WEEK rentals. Off-season rates and two-day weekends open to negotiation!
The cottage is a wilderness paradise. It's a very special place to us! We own the whole island on which it is built (not large, perhaps one acre) but it's very peaceful. It sits across a bay looking out to the main lake and also has a huge shallow back bay behind it. Good fishing in the lake if you like that (I'm not a fisherman), canoeing, kayaking, sailing, boating. Wildlife includes herons, loons, ducks, geese, turkey vultures, turtles, mink, muskrat, beavers, bullfrogs, the occasional deer, garter snakes, dragonflies, monarch butterflies and lots of bird life. Canadian wilderness at its best.
The cottage is located on Big Rideau Lake. It is located approximately 20 minutes southwest of Perth, Ontario, on a bay on the north side of the lake called Horseshoe Bay. It is a little bit southwest of Murphy’s Point Provincial Park.
It takes about 90 minutes to get to the cottage from central Ottawa, including a 10 minute canoe ride.
I’ll send you detailed directions as to how to get there if you decide to rent.
Style of cottage
The core of the cottage is almost 100 years old. Over the last ten years we have been renovating and expanding the cottage extensively, but it is not our intention at any stage to convert it to a modern house. Our approach is to do everything we can to minimize the impact of our activities on the landscape and to assist the ecology of the island and the area.
In the interests of full disclosure, I have to admit that the cottage does sometimes have ‘wee beasties’ such as mice, spiders, daddy-long-legs and the occasional wood roach. They come and go in cycles, you may see them or you may not. If you want to get away and commune with nature you can’t always control how nature communes back with you. THIS IS A FUNKY OLDER COTTAGE. IF YOU THINK A COTTAGE MEANS PROTECTION FROM MOTHER NATURE, A DISHWASHER AND AIR CONDITIONING, THEN THIS IS NOT FOR YOU!
It is ideal for individuals and families who want peace and quiet and relaxed play. Although it can accommodate large groups, it is not designed to be a party palace and we do not rent to people whose only idea of fun involves loud music and intrusive water activities.
Because it is an old structure, some of the facilities are relatively primitive. We have hot and cold running water, but there is a limit to the amount of hot water that can be generated at any one time. The environmental toilet works very well, but also requires a little bit of understanding and water conservation measures.
The cottage is about 1,200 square feet, centred on a large family room with a cathedral ceiling. The front porch looks down to the main lake while the kitchen overlooks the back bay. It has three bedrooms, one of which is a loft that also has a view over the whole back bay. It’s got a large kitchen where three cooks can work concurrently! It can easily sleep six and with other futon beds, the capacity gets up to nine before you even start talking tents or mattresses. And we have recently built a ‘bunkie’ that can accommodate another couple of people or perhaps all the kids. However this size of group has to be negotiated since we are concerned with the capacity of the island to handle a lot of people, For example, large groups early in the season are not possible since one small shower is really not sufficient and the lake isn't warm enough for bathing then.
It has a Sunmar environmental toilet, easy to use, minimal smell and we do all the upkeep. Cell phone is somewhat limited (1-2 bars most phones), so may restrict internet junkies. No air-conditioning but good breezes off the lake. There’s a wood stove for heating if needed. Other facilities include a propane barbeque, a fire pit, two docks, good swimming from the dock though a bit weedy, small beach as well (see below), flower gardens, a vegetable garden, an installed labyrinth (Vanessa's specialty), two hammocks and a large library with lots of good reading material. There’s a wind up radio but no TV.
The cottage has decks all around which means you can always find sun or shade in which to sit depending on your preference.
We have two canoes, two kayaks, a small sailing boat and a rowing boat. The back bay is shallow but out front big boats have no problem for docking.
There are both advantages and disadvantages to living on an island.
Ø No neighbours
Ø Privacy and quiet
Ø No need to tether pets
Ø Lots of shoreline
Ø Many different types of landscapes
Ø Time of canoe ride (8 minutes)
Ø Transportation of food and drink
Ø Transportation of building materials, tools and repair items!
Ø Isolation in case of accident
Ø Travel to the island after dark
There are lots of things for the children to do, but primarily non-electronic!. No music system ,no television. We don’t mind other people bringing these, just don’t expect them to be supplied.
There are lots of games and puzzles, swimming masks and flippers, a badminton set, climbing, fort building, frog-spotting, crayfish baiting (use bacon!) and other old time honoured cottage pursuits.
We have built a basic tree house (June 2014)!
The level of the lake is regulated, and can change over the course of the season by up to 30 inches. Thus diving off the main dock is possible until August but after that may become less so if the level of the lake is considerably down. The water is clear and good, but off the main dock is weedy. We have a small beach a little further down the island and from this you can walk out with no weeds. The sand is fairly gritty (we provide water shoes) and the beach itself is only exposed at the end of the year when the water level is at its lowest.
I would rate the quality of the swimming as good but not excellent.
Big Rideau Lake is part of the Rideau Canal System that stretches between the Ottawa River at Canada's Capital, Ottawa, and Lake Ontario at Kingston, a total of 202 kms or 125 miles. Throughout the Rideau Canal System, you can expect to find excellent smallmouth bass and largemouth bass fishing, and in certain areas, walleye, pike and muskellunge fishing. The fishing is supposed to be good in the main lake, and we have had some guests catch fish from the island itself.
Small boats may be launched from the landing dock, otherwise there is a public launch about half a kilometre away from the cottage. If you bring your own motor boat you can travel long distance both up and down the lake. You can also make long voyages by our two kayaks or two canoes. Our son has been to the far side of the lake to Portland, but some caution is required as the weather on the main lake can occasionally get extremely rough (six foot waves with whitecaps). It is almost always relatively calm within the bay which can only occasionally lead to problems in getting the sailboat out!
We use the cottage extensively ourselves in the early and late part of the year, and rent it out when we ourselves will not be using it. In July and August we prefer to rent it by the week, Saturday to Saturday. Mid-week rentals are sometimes available. It may be available on a somewhat erratic basis compared to other cottages that are rented out to different people for all of the year.
We have lots of arts supplies as well as metal and wood potential sculpture material. You are urged to indulge your creativity!
There is an extensive library in place, heavy on the science fiction (Azimov, Piers Anthony, but also with complete sets of Tom Clancy (John Ryan series), Georgette Heyer (the original, well written and well-researched regency romance author), Stieg Larson (Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), Arthur Ransome (kid's English author), Matt Helm series, Agatha Christie, Harry Potter and many others.
The island is great for pets because you can just let them run free. But although we vacuum thoroughly, if you react to pet hair etc., we can't always make it sterile enough that your allergies won't be triggered.
We also require a damage deposit of $200 that will be returned after the cottage is returned to us in good order.
We ask that you bring the bedding you require. If we provide it, there is a further charge of $50 per week.
Well trained pets are allowed, please clean up after them. No smoking inside the cottage.
The cottage has a good selection of spices, condiments and other basics but we ask that you replace anything you finish or let us know what needs replenishing. There is a selection of other food there that can also be used for emergencies!
Yes there is a wood stove and yes there is pre-chopped wood for it but depending when you want it, the place may not be your ideal winter retreat for two much more practical reasons
1) the cottage is not insulated and could get REALLY cold
2) because it is on an island you can’t get across to it In December/early Jabuary and again in March. At those times there is ice but not thick enough to walk on and yet still too thick to break through in a canoe.
We do have a well-insulated winter Bunkie that we have set up for just those reasons so we can use it in the winter and it is really cute but it is really small (9 x 12) which can accommodate 2, possibly 4 maximum. I can send you a picture if you like. This would probably not be available until mid-January until you could get across. I hadn't in fact thought of renting it in the winter but it would a great base for skidoos or cross country skiing etc. and the rate is a modest $80 per night. Let me know if you are interested.
Owners: Michael Fletcher and Vanessa Compton
City address Smiths Falls, SW of Ottawa, Ontario
The lake, boating, swimming, fishing, tree house, decks, lazy times in the hammock, great meals, relaxation and a chance to slow down.
Interaction with guests
I'll help you get across when you arrive ferrying people and belongings over, usually in the rowboat, and of course I'll give you a tour of the cottage. After that I'll leave you on your own. You leave on your own, leaving the boat tied up. If any problems arrive, I live only 30 minutes away.
A car is definitely needed, no availability of local public transit (even a cab if available from Perth would be extremely expensive)
Other things to note
Because this is a pet-friendly cottage, even though we vacuum carefully, we can't eliminate all causes of pet-allergies, so if you or children could be affected, please be warned accordingly!
There are two house rules that, if not followed, may cause a $100 charge against your security deposit.
NO CLEAN-UP DONE
Please leave the cottage clean and tidy. If I have to clean up, there will be a $100 fee charged.
NO COMMUNICATION ON DAY OF ARRIVAL
You can't just drive up to an island! Please communicate your arrival time in advance and as you travel. Saying the day before that you'll be there at 2.00 and then showing up at 10.00pm with no other communication and an expectation of getting across to the island is disrespectful, wastes my time and may incur the $100 fee mentioned.
Sorry to sound officious but we've been burned on at least a couple of occasions.
I'm a self-employed consultant and trainer, my wife is an expert in labyrinths, both in early 60s, me English by background but in Canada for last 40 years, my wife is Canadian.