On the Waterfront: five tempting lake- and riverside homes from $245,000 to $11.5 million

On the Waterfront: five tempting lake- and riverside homes from $245,000 to $11.5 million

100 Lisonally Court: Hamptons style in Oakville 

With the wall of condos dominating the shoreline, it’s easy to forget Toronto’s a town on the lake. Here are five irresistible reminders that hit the market in the last year.

The Private
Beach Estate
Oakville
Listed at
$11.5 million

The Forest
Retreat
Port Credit
Listed at
$2.199 million

The Floating Home
Scarborough
Listed at
$245,000

The Hillside
Lake House
Scarborough
Listed at
$2.999 million

The Riverside Cottage
Scarborough
Listed at
$799,000

1 | The Private Beach Estate
100 Lisonally Ct., Oakville
Listed at $11.5 million

The water
A stretch of shoreline near the curve of the Golden Horseshoe with a jaw-dropping view of the Toronto skyline. Frequent yacht-club sailboat races dot the water between the nearby lighthouses, just in case you get bored of staring at the open lake. A dock off the shingled beach provides a spot for a kayak or a quiet place to dip your feet in the water.

The place
A 6,200-square-foot estate with four bedrooms, five baths and lake views from almost every room. The only high-rises you’ll see are across the water in the distant city skyline. The seven-acre property has a swimming pool, hot tub, cabanas and a private walking path along 14 Mile Creek. Some may gawk at the price tag, but a home with 757 feet of lake frontage so close to Toronto is a rare find.

The history
This Oakville estate was once the country home of Sir Frank Wilton Baillie, a financier and industrialist whose factories made munitions and planes for the British government during World War I. Baillie was the first Canadian to receive a knighthood in recognition of his wartime service. In 1917, the family purchased the property, then a farm where Baillie would raise short-horn cattle. The grounds played host to society fêtes in the ’20s, including the lavish outdoor wedding of daughter Edith Baillie in 1929.

2 | The Forest Retreat
439 Temagami Cres., Port Credit
Listed at $2.199 million

The water
Mississauga’s not all subdivisions and tarmac. The aptly named Village on the Lake community of Port Credit features sprawling estates located next to pristine golf courses that extend to the water’s edge. The Credit River runs from the headwaters above the Niagara Escarpment through Mississauga and Port Credit and into Lake Ontario. It teems with wild salmon and trout in the summer, and makes a fine ice rink for shinny in the winter.

The place
This modernist bungalow has four bedrooms, four baths and an enormous deck that stretches across 229 feet of river frontage. The open-concept design features three stone fireplaces, a remarkable 94 windows and a bank of skylights that flood the home with natural light.

The history
Architect Ronald Thom, the visionary behind Massey College and Trent University, designed the house in 1966. He incorporated a walled forecourt, a winding staircase down to the river and a large waterside deck set against the ravine.

3 | The Floating Home
7 Brimley Rd. S., Scarborough
Listed at $245,000

The water
Trying to find a place on Toronto’s waterfront for less than $500,000 is like finding a penny at the bottom of Lake Ontario. That’s why this floating 24-home village hidden at the end of the winding road along the Scarborough Bluffs is a treat. It’s not quite the canals of Venice or Amsterdam, but it’s not that far off, either. The charms of living on the lake are many: quick jaunts from the marina to Centre Island, sunsets unobstructed by high-rises and stunning views from a rooftop deck. Winter on the lake can be long and brutish, but this community is nestled in a cove that helps shield it from wind and snow.

The place
There’s no land to be bought here; you get a one-storey, 800-square-foot structure with one bedroom and one bathroom, and pay for hookups to hydro, gas and cable. This is a great place to escape the hubbub of city living, but misanthropes be warned: only a few feet separate you from your neighbour.

The history
In the late ’90s, Ichor Marine Development Corporation started to sell these homes, which are located in a public park, without consulting the city. Council nearly pulled the plug on the community—one councillor likened it to a pesky trailer park. The development managed to stay, but residents were warned: should their palaces float away, burn up or sink, they wouldn’t be allowed to build anew.

4 | The Hillside Lake House
3 Fallingbrook Dr., Scarborough
Listed at $2.999 million

The water
The Fallingbrook neighbourhood is known for its exquisite views of the lake. It also has an abundance of wildlife (the Toronto Hunt Club is just down the street). The private residences have direct access to the secluded pebble beach below.

The place
A three-level stone-and-brick home, perched on a hill, with huge walkout decks on every level, so you can see as far as Rochester on a clear day (you can decide if that’s a good thing). There are four bedrooms and three baths. A wood-and-stone walkway leads down the hilly backyard to a tranquil beach. It’s not a huge patch of paradise, but it’s big enough, considering you probably won’t be sharing it with anyone else.

The history
Legend has it that Pierre Trudeau was once spotted skinny-dipping here after a rowdy party down the street. There are plenty of other things to spy on from the deck, including a family of foxes living on the hill leading to the water. They’ve been spotted sunbathing on the deck in the late afternoon.

5 | The Riverside Cottage
515 Rouge Hill Dr., Scarborough
Listed at $799,000

The water
The Rouge weaves through Markham and the Toronto Zoo and empties into Lake Ontario. The shoreline is rustic, with dense wilderness and water deep enough for boating. Early 18th-century French explorers named the river after its distinct colour (an effect of the red clay on the banks).

The place
This four-bedroom, three-bathroom cottage was built in 1953. Panoramic windows span the back of the house, and a well-worn path winds down to the river.

The history
The house belonged to a pilot in the Canadian Air Force. At the start of World War II, he and two childhood friends made a pact: if they returned home alive, they’d each build a house on Rouge Hill Drive near the property where they’d played as kids. Their three homes now sit beside one another, backing on to the river. The riverside is a conservation area, which restricts any plans for new construction. What’s more, the cottage at number 515 was the last house built by F.L. MacFarlane, a celebrated builder in the area, so extensive renovations, if you can get around zoning, might not win you any friends—though the place does have a bomb shelter in the basement. You know, just in case.