Strawberry Island, Lake Simcoe
Comprised of 8 acres of lawns, and the balance mixed deciduous forest this lush 25.6 acre island would be ideally suited to a resort community or to a private extended family holding.
A plan for a proposed seventeen unit luxury seasonal residential development is currently being proposed as one of a number of concept plans for the island.
Located in the northern part of Lake Simcoe close to Orillia, the island is accessed via a ten minute boat ride from its own mainland shoreline parking lot/boat launch, close to Marina Del Rey.
The property is on the Trent-Severn Canal system with access to the Muskoka’s and the Great Lakes and 1.5 hours from Toronto and Lester B. Pearson airport via major 400 series highways and the Trans Canada Highway.
Strawberry Island is of considerable historical significance. Samuel Champlain, the first European to document it c. 1615, knew it as 'Anatari', meaning 'meeting place of the villagers', a part of Huronia/Huron Territory. When the Crown obtained title in 1856 the island was referred to as Pa-push-quan, an Ojibway word meaning 'where there is a clearing of trees'. It was held by two different owners, variously being called Anderson Island and Starvation Island before being purchased in 1885 by Captain Charles McInnes (captain of a 90' Steamship, 'The Orillia') for a sum of $800.00.
McInnes's intention was to create a summer resort on the island and renamed it Strawberry Island after a previous owner's legendary strawberry patch.
By the summer of 1885 a wharf and pavilion had been constructed and picnickers and excursionists began enjoying the island. Within three years McInnis had completed a first class summer resort with a large hotel, independent cottages, bathhouses, picnic areas and sports fields.
Highly popular among the mainland crowds for day trips and vacationing, the resort thrived until after First World War at which point it closed for good and was occupied solely in the summer months by McInnes's son, who had continued the operation after his fathers death in 1913.
In the summer of 1922 the island was leased for three months by the Basilian Fathers as a summer retreat and that autumn, the Fathers purchased it out of receivership for the sum of $4,000.00.
Over the next 80 years the Basilians created a monastic compound, building priests' houses, lodges, a chapel, a cookhouse and a granite Shrine to the Virgin Mary
and over the years modernization occurred, a submarine hydro cable replacing earlier
wood and gas heating and cooking and modern improvements were made to the water system.
Stewards of the land, the Basilians filled in swamps to the east of the island, created vegetable gardens and pathways crisscrossing the island and also undertook a 20 year reforestation program.
For many years the island functioned as a retreat and resort for the Basilians, however,
with a decline in the number of new Seminarians, and with growing enthusiasm for its use by the general public a new Director, Father Matthew Mulcahy, was appointed to oversee the operations of Strawberry Island in 1971.
Mulcahy undertook further improvements to the property and the buildings and entered into negotiations to purchase a private lot for parking and docking on the mainland near Marina Del Rey.
In 1982 the Basilians celebrated a Mass of Thanksgiving to commemorate their Diamond Jubilee; 60 summers spent on Strawberry Island and in 2002 Pope John Paul II
resided on Strawberry during his World Youth Tour visit.
In 2007 the Basilicans sold the island for potential development.
Today vestiges of the Shrine from the days of the Basilian Fathers still remain as do several buildings including a dining hall with commercial kitchen.
Current infrastructure includes underwater hydro cable electrical supply, lake water purification system with sand filtration unit and ozone treatment, a sanitary sewer utilizing existing licensed and operating disposal field and a large concrete wharf on the western shoreline.
Two boats and all landscaping equipment are included with this offering.
A 24 x 304 mainland parking lot borders a canal directly accessing the lake, within close proximity to a marina and boat storage and maintenance.
This is a rare opportunity to create an island residential resort community or extended family compound in a secluded setting yet in close proximity to major urban centres.
The Listing Agent is relying on information supplied to him by the Vendor and other sources.
The Listing Broker accepts no responsibility for the accuracy of this fact sheet.