For cottagers, every summer Friday, from opening weekend to Labour Day and beyond, is a special day. It’s the day when you pack up provisions for the week, load up the car, pray you’ve remembered your bathing suit, and hit the road to escape the city and embrace the open spaces, tranquil waters, and brilliant sunsets of your little piece of paradise in cottage country.
But for many, that same summer-weekend routine that diehard cottagers dutifully embrace each week leaves a lot to be desired. For one, there’s the maddening traffic that, aided by inevitable roadwork, congests the highways heading north from the GTA. And once you’ve arrived and unpacked—hopefully before the sun recedes behind the tips of the evergreens—there’s the endless list of maintenance tasks that eat up much of your too-short weekends.
But a new development in Innisfil, Ont., situated on the shores of Lake Simcoe, hopes to give would-be cottagers a new reason to love Fridays.
Friday Harbour aims to refine the traditional summer-weekend experience for GTA residents with 600 acres of waterfront property on Big Bay Point, just 45 minutes away from the GTA.
Beyond the minimized cottage-country commute, the development boasts a bevy of other benefits:
- GO train service: Not only is the Barrie GO station a mere seven minutes away, but Friday Harbour will also provide shuttle service so that owners can arrive by train if they prefer.
- A large inland marina: The marina, which is currently under construction, will have up to 1,000 boat slips and access to the Trent-Severn Waterway.
- A championship golf course: The Nest, an 18-hole golf course, was designed by Carrick Design Inc.
- 200 acres of pristine nature: Friday Harbour’s 200-acre nature preserve will feature seven kilometres of groomed trails for all-season enjoyment.
- A bustling boardwalk experience: Marina Village will feature shops, services and restaurants open to the public, and an exclusive year-round Lake Club and Beach Club will be open only to residents.
In addition to boutique shopping and restaurants, Friday Harbour’s bustling boardwalk culture will also include everything from a theatre and beach volleyball courts to farmers’ markets and swimming pools.
And for those worried about the environmental impact of such a large-scale construction, Friday Harbour has pledged to exceed the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources’ requirements with programs devoted to improved water quality, wildlife habitat creation, and the protection of endangered species. Even the golf course will be designed to meet Audubon International environmental standards.
Upon completion, Friday Harbour will feature more than 80,000 square feet of real estate, with residences ranging from walk-up condos above the Marina Village shops to two- and three-level glass townhomes equipped with private boat slips. Harbour Flats, a four-storey elevator-accessible building situated away from the bustling boardwalk, offers yet another option. Prices for the condos and flats range from the $300,000s to the low $800,000s, while prices for the townhomes start in the upper $700,000s.
The project is the vision of Earl Rumm, president of Geranium Corporation, who spent his childhood summers vacationing on Lake Simcoe. After recognizing the need for a new development to revitalize the area, he partnered with real estate investment firm Optus Capital Corporation, builders the Pemberton Group, and ConDrain Group, which specializes in infrastructure management. He also joined with forces with designer Taylor Hannah Architect Inc., Marina designer Applied Technology & Management, and golf-course architect Carrick Design Inc.
“There’s no other project like it in Canada, and we’re having a lot of fun doing it.” Rumm recently told Dolce Vita magazine.
Starting in September, Friday Harbour is hosting monthly site tours, or you can visit the sales centre at Eagles Nest (10000 Dufferin Street) on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday from noon to 6 p.m., Monday to Thursday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Friday and holidays by appointment.