Real Estate

Surreal Estate: $6 million for a Georgian Bay compound with a grotto-style sauna and a boathouse

What cabin in the woods would be complete without a party bar right on the lake, fir all over and design from the award-winning firm Partisans?

By Alex Cyr| Photography by Josh Cameron, Wylie Ford
This edition of Surreal Estate features a stunning home on Bernyk Island in Georgian Bay

Location: Bernyk Island, Georgian Bay Price: $5,999,000 Built: 1972 Size: 3,960 square feet Bedrooms: 5 Bathrooms: 4 Realtor: Lisa LePage, Royal LePage In Touch Realty

The place

A beach-style family compound sitting on 17 acres of Georgian Bay’s Bernyk Island. The main residence has five bedrooms and four bathrooms and connects to a 5,000 square-foot dock. Also on the property is a three-bedroom guest house, a two-bedroom homestead and a two-bedroom bunker. The entire piece of land is a 10-minute boat ride from Frying Pan Island’s restaurants, marina and SSCA community centre.

The history

In the 1950s, an outdoor enthusiast built the main cottage as a hunting and fishing cabin. The location was prime: it came with miles of lake exposure and was shielded from the wind by a forest. Over the years, the builder expanded his haven to include an entertainment space and then built more cottages on it to host family and friends. The property changed hands in 1999, and the new owners added a network of granite paths around the buildings, a wooden dock facing the bay and a grass badminton court. They also hired award-winning Toronto firm Partisans (famous for Bar Raval) to design a grotto-style sauna.

The property is now up for grabs. Realtor Lisa LePage says that the land, divided into six building lots, comes with tremendous development potential.

The tour

Here’s an aerial view of the three-storey, five-bedroom main cottage, surrounded by nature, rising over Georgian Bay. Welcome to Bernyk Island. 

Here's an aerial view of the five-bedroom Georgian bay home

This is the island’s back bay, where a private dock stretches into the water and holds a state-of-the-art boathouse and open-air kitchen.

The private dock stretches several hundred feet

The dock comes with multiple covered lounges.

The dock is loaded with lounges

This is the kitchen. Inspired by industrial design, it has stainless steel countertops, custom cabinets and a midnight-black backsplash. All of its luxury appliances are built in.

The bar is a nice mix of industrial and rural aesthetics

Here’s the view from the land.

The deck seems to go on forever

On the edge of the property is the grotto-style sauna. Its exterior blends seamlessly into the forested terrain, but the interior is something else entirely. 

This unassuming structure is actually a striking sauna

Inside, the sauna is equipped with striking curved walls. The rounded window faces west to take in sunsets.

This sauna was designed by renowned Toronto architecture firm, Partisans

The previous owners carved these granite paths between the property’s cottages for easier access.

The granite paths level out the rocky terrain

Walking up the stairs reveals the main cottage, which has terrific west and north-facing views. 

Here's the main cottage, facing north.

A guest lounge with a pergola flanks the cottage entrance. 

The outdoor lounge flanks the cottage entrance

Inside, cedar surrounds an enormous stone fireplace.

The stone fireplace here brings the Canadiana

Those wall-to-wall sliding doors give way to the deck. 

The open-concept space has a terrific view of the lake

Here’s the dining room, sandwiched between granite floors and dramatic fir beams.

The granite floors and huge fir beams define the dining area

Finally, the gym, which doubles as storage space for water-sports gear. 

This is the gym, wrapped by fir

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