THIS IS A REALLY DIFFERENT TYPE OF VACATION EXPERIENCE!! WE ARE UP THERE OURSELVES ALMOST EVERY WEEKEND, BUT SOME WEEKENDS ARE AVAILABLE AND MID-WEEK STAYS ARE REALLY GREAT!!
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.
The URL for the cottage is
(website hidden)(phone number hidden)&spn(phone number hidden)&t=h&z=17 For this it's better to look at the satellite image as for some reason the island does not show up on the outline view!
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 is you decide to rent.
Style of cottage
The core of the cottage is almost 100 years old. Over the last five 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.
THIS IS A FUNKY OLDER COTTAGE. IF YOU WANT ANTISEPTIC, PLEASE CHOOSE THE HOLIDAY INN!
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 be 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 1,300 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 ne 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 washing there.
It has a Sunmar environmental toilet, easy to use, minimal smell and we do all the upkeep. There is a permanent landline (mobile phone coverage is unreliable), no internet as yet although we are considering dial-up in order to get email. No air-conditioning but good breezes off the lake. There’s a wood stove for heating if needed. Other facilities include a barbeque, a fire pit, two docks, good swimming from the dock though a bit weedy, small beach as well (see below), a large rock garden, a vegetable garden, an installed labyrinth (Vanessa's specialty), a hammock and lots of good reading material. At present there’s a wind up radio but no TV.
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.
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 (we do however have a phone)
Ø Travel to the island after dark
There are lots of things for the children to do, but primarily non-electronic!. There is a stereo, but 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 are planning to build a tree house … 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 late August but after that may become less possible 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 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.
There is a public launch about half a kilometre away from the cottage and 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 and so prefer to make arrangements for renters when we ourselves will not be using it. This is particularly true for individuals or families who would like to rent it in the middle of the week, as this is often convenient to us. So it’s available on a somewhat erratic basis as opposed to other cottages that are rented out to different people for all of the year
We have in the past made special arrangements to artists. Provided their art is of reasonable quality (sorry, subjective judgment!), we have often exchanged rental of the cottage for two or three pictures or other pieces with artistic merit!
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 selection of 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 but that is primarily for our use or for emergencies!
Yes there is a wood stove and yes there is pre-chopped wood for it but the place is not available for two much more practical reasons 1) the cottage is not insulated and 2) more important, because it is on an island you can’t get across to it In December. Obviously 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 would be far less. Let me know if you are interested.
Owners: Michael Fletcher and Vanessa Compton
City address Hintonburg area, Ottawa, Ontario
Phone (phone number hidden)
A beautiful space with just the right amount of amenities (electricity and working kitchen but no TV/internet) to make for a relaxing cottage vacation. The island is a good size and Mike was a pleasure to deal with. The 360 windows take advantage of being on an island, with views of the water from almost everywhere inside. A lot of weeds/plants in the water meant the swimming isn't great, otherwise everything really is. Remote, but with neighbors close by on the lake, it is really a terrific spot for a couple, or a larger group of people. I hope to return.
Truly relaxing time on this beautiful island. Mike met us as agreed and gamely rowed us with all our luggage and provisions over to the island in the rain! Kids loved messing around in the kayaks and the cottage was brilliantly equipped with everything we could have wished for. Many fond memories, wish we could have stayed longer!
This is a really special place: a whole island all to yourself. The cottage is rustic (eco-toilet, small shower), but beautiful and well-equipped. Lots of comfy furniture, great kitchen and gorgeous views from the decks and docks (yes, plural: there are many spots for lounging up by the cottage or down by the water). Mike was a great host: super prompt with responses and helped us haul our stuff across the lake when we got there. Also, when we had a problem with the toilet mid-week, he was there within the same day to solve the problem. If you're looking for a quiet, unique and nature-filled vacation, look no further.
We had a lovely time at the cottage. We traveled with our large family and there was plenty of room for all of us and cozy and comfortable house with a beautiful view of the lake from all sides. Lots to do to keep us entertained, boats, books, toys for the kids, we caught lots of fish and had a fun time swimming, campfire at night. The cottage has a real lived-in feeling which made it homey - that came with a few things that needed repairing but overall wonderful memories from that weekend away.
The reservation was canceled 7 days before arrival. This is an automated posting.
This is an absolutely magical place that we are already hoping we can return to! Mike was thorough and super helpful with figuring out our reservation and even picked us up from the train station and took us to the place. The cabin is rustic and homely, it's been renovated with all sorts of wonderful recycled materials to make it totally part of the landscape. The views are part of that too, waking up to look over the lake is incredible. We went out on the canoe each day, and even though only caught little ones there were some big trout we spotted in the crystal clear water. In summer swimming would be great, and although we tried to brave it in the fall it was pretty chilly, but still beautiful to sit in the sun and look over the water in mornings and evenings.
I would absolutely recommend this place - pretty out of the way, but like nowhere I've ever been! Going with a group of friends, or two couples would fit very comfortably.