Tax increase on shoreline allowance

By Cottage LifeCottage Life


Photo by Joyce


The Question

If I purchase my shoreline allowance, will my taxes go up?

The Answer

Before we get to the specifics of the shore road allowance money grab as it affects taxes, let’s review a little history, shall we? Back when early settlers were claiming their little piece of heaven in the Canadian wilderness, the Crown kept its mitts on a 66-foot ribbon of shoreline around many lakes and rivers. It did this so that travellers on the waterways could stop and set up camp without asking permission of private landowners, and so that, later, roads could be built along the shores if needed.

When waterways stopped being the main travel routes, the shore road allowances government holdback amounted to just so much legalese on property deeds, which stated waterfront property owners had title to their land “excepting a strip of land one chain in perpendicular width along the shore.” That is, until Ontario figured out it might get brownie points by giving the land to municipalities, who could then sell this shoreline to the people who had been blithely enjoying it for years.

Now you can apply to buy your shore road allowance from your local municipality for a fee, along with legal and survey costs. The process can take up to a year and easily set you back a few thousand.

Owning the shore road allowance may increase the assessed value of your property since you will own a larger area (and maybe even more frontage, if you have a wedge-shaped lot).

To find out how owning it would affect assessments in your area, check with your municipality or a local realtor. Assessments seldom go up much with the addition of a shore road allowance, unless a lot of frontage is added; however, while local MPAC staff can give a rough estimate of how adding the shore road allowance might affect a particular assessment, they will need the new survey to give an accurate figure.


Sort order:

Oldest Newest


Mar. 23, 2014

3:09 pm

While there will be different situations across the Province, in many, many, many cases you or a previous owner(s) will have been paying taxes on the shoreline road allowance since the cottage was originally constructed. In my particular case, my cottage was built on the shoreline road allowance in the early to mid 1950's. As near as I can tell it has been assessed and taxed based on an approximate 50' x 100' waterfront lot, 66' of the said lot depth being the shoreline road allowance. There are a few properties with structures built back of the road allowance but the vast majority of structures (mainly cottages) are built on the shoreline road allowance.


Feb. 8, 2013

6:50 pm

The neighbourhood comes to look at the lake and leans on our fence when we ae sitting on the deck right next to it. They come with drinks in hand. The allowance for the roadway is 66 feet but of course this is a natural path through the trees and nobody wants to open it up so it will be more visible to the general public. Is there anything I can do to discourage them from leaning on the fence when I am enjoying some peace and quiet? Anonymous

You need to be logged in or a registered user to leave a comment

Log in  |  Register

Tonight on Cottage Life

  • No listings available
View Full Schedule


Cottage Life