This island cottage just sold for $550,000. It’s got a fully powered treehouse
A 1,250-square-foot cottage on a small island in Lake Couchiching, a body of water separated from Lake Simcoe by a narrow channel. The one-acre property has two docks, a fully powered treehouse and nearly 350 feet of waterfront. Horseshoe Island, which has about 30 other cottages, is a five-minute boat ride from the Ojibway Bay Marina in Orillia, where island property owners have dedicated boat slips. Gambling enthusiasts can motor over to Casino Rama Resort—about a five-minute boat ride from the island—to play a few rounds of blackjack (when it’s open).
Jim Lee, 52, a plumbing manufacturer, and Stephanie Lee, 50, a registered nurse:
In 2015, Jim’s parents sold their family cottage near Haliburton. Jim grew up visiting that cottage, and he and Stephanie had spent the last two decades of summers there with their kids Sydney, 19, Kelsey, 17, and Dylan, 16. Soon after the sale, Jim and Stephanie started looking for their own summer property. They wanted a lakefront cottage less than a two-hour drive from their home in Oakville. In the fall of 2016, they bought the Horseshoe Island property on Lake Couchiching for $425,000. They liked the place, though it needed some minor improvements: they repainted the deck and cleaned up the property, clearing overgrown brush, old piles of wood and trimming some trees that obstructed the lake view. The only problem: it wasn’t winterized, meaning they were limited to using it from late spring to early fall. In early 2020, before the pandemic ravaged Ontario, with their eldest, Sydney, off at college in Michigan, and Dylan and Kelsey close to finishing high school in Oakville, the parents decided they wanted a cottage where they could spend the winter months. So, they put their cottage on the market, with plans to scope out a new four-season getaway.
In July, while taking a two-week vacation with their kids on a lake near Belleville, an HR professional and a teacher from Toronto thought about purchasing their own cottage. The father realized that his HR work might become virtual, while the teacher figured her summers off could be better spent lakeside. So, at the beginning of August, they started cottage-hunting.
The family wanted a three-bedroom waterfront property near Orillia, where grandma and grandpa live, with enough space to host guests, and some distance from neighbours for a bit of privacy. They looked at a place with a decent view of Lake Couchiching, but it felt more like a house than a cottage. Then, on Aug. 5, they visited Horseshoe Island. It checked all their boxes, plus the sellers were leaving behind most of the furniture, including the beds and bedding, meaning the place was move-in ready. That night, they submitted an offer for $551,000, just slightly above asking, hoping the extra cash would entice the sellers to leave behind an aluminum motorboat. It worked.
The buyers take possession on Sept. 1, just in time for Labour Day weekend. They don’t plan to make any immediate upgrades, but are considering converting the work shed into a bunkie to add some extra sleeping space, and buying a pontoon boat to help shuttle stuff back and forth from the island. The sellers, for their part, have begun searching for a four-season cottage, ideally on Couchiching or further south on Lake Simcoe, both known for decent fishing and hunting.
Here’s the dock entry to the property:
The property is nearly an acre, with plenty of space for lawn games. The sellers used to play badminton, ping pong and, in keeping with the name of the island, horseshoes:
In 2016, the sellers pressure-washed and repainted the deck:
There are pine finishes throughout. The seller, an avid fisher, caught that wall-mounted muskie pike during a Sparrow Lake fishing tournament in 1990:
The kitchen has vinyl countertops and lots of turquoise accents:
Here’s the dining area:
There are cathedral ceilings in the living room:
The cast-iron wood-burning stove comes with a matching tea kettle:
The bathroom is located on the main floor:
Upstairs, there are three bedrooms. This one overlooks the back of the property:
The biggest bedroom has east-facing windows with views of the lake:
Here’s the pinetastic third bedroom, which also overlooks the lakefront:
The 650-square-foot outdoor deck could comfortably host a socially distanced 10-person outdoor gathering:
Here’s a second outdoor dining area:
There’s a fire pit near the waterfront:
And a small deck on the shore, where cottagers can relax and watch the sunset:
Here’s the first dock:
And here’s the second, for docking various watercraft. Most cottages on the island have small monuments, like inukshuks or wooden bear carvings, positioned by their docks. A family member of the sellers found the red totem pole at a garage sale:
The buyers are considering turning this work shed into a bunkie:
Here’s the back of the cottage:
And a look at the treehouse, which was built by previous owners:
There’s a daybed inside:
Here’s a drone shot of the whole island. Island cottagers can access a communal walking path, basketball courts and tennis courts in the interior:
By the numbers
- $3,340 in taxes
- 1,256 square feet
- 20 days on MLS
- 3 bedrooms
- 1 bathroom