Be romanced by this magical place. Sleep in, snuggle, have breakfast on the porch. Picnic, paint, write your first novel. Canoe or kayak from your doorstep.
Intimate, stylish waterfront cottages, just 3 1/2 hours north of Toronto, Ontario.
- Luxury Ontario cottage rentals
- Resort features spectacular wilderness setting
- Lodge & waterfront cottages
- Couples escape, family summer vacations & intimate weddings
- French River Ontario resort vacations with fine dining
- Canoeing adventure & wildlife observation
The Modern History of The Lodge at Pine Cove, Wolseley Bay, French River, Ontario, Canada.
Thank you for visiting The Lodge at Pine Cove's website. I hope that one day you might visit us as a couple, a family, for a wedding, anniversary or just for a getaway to experience a bit of pampering and luxury far from the hustle and bustle of your everyday life. I invite you to relax and be rejuvenated by the peace and tranquility of this little bit of heaven on the Canadian Shield.
Uniquely designed, private waterfront cottages and a beautiful main lodge complete with our chef, exquisite dining areas, stone fireplaces, library and games room await.
However, I must warn you:
You may stay for longer than you expected, which is what happened to me in 1999..
In the 1990s, canoeing and camping brought me to the French River. In those days, we used to put our canoes and kayaks in much further up the French, until a friend told me about a beach launch- site on a beautiful bay off the main channel. On one of our many trips to the French River, my son Jamie and I found the sandy beach surrounded by a quaint but run down old fishing lodge on the shore of Wolseley Bay. This beautiful bay stems off the main channel of the French River, which is hardly a river at all, but really a series of lakes and drops. The early French Canadians, who plied this water in their voyageur canoes, called it Lac Jeune Marie because of its huge expanses of flat water with no current, its many islands, bays and channels. This makes it a perfect place to explore, swim, picnic, canoe, kayak, hike, fish, paint and draw or take endless photographs of pink granite, water, majestic white pines, abundant wildlife and glorious sunsets.
Situated at the end of a small paved winding road, The Lodge at Pine Cove is nestled in a jewel-like setting surrounded on three sides by water. A seemingly remote lodge, it is a surprisingly easy drive from Toronto. The Lodge at Pine Cove is one of those jump-off spots that always engender in me a sense of adventure. It's a place where the waters of the Canadian Shield beckon and where cars can go no further. Development on the French River is minimal because the land is held either by the French River Provincial Park, the Crown or the large Ojibwa reserve that has been here since the 1800s. This unique ownership ensures that the French River will never be developed.
A few years after first discovering the Lodge at Pine Cove, I bought it from the Fisher family and began its transformation into what is now considered by many of our guests to be one of Ontario's finest lodges. A wonderful local crew knocked down most of the old structures -- they were long past the rejuvenation stage, and with the help of a talented designer, The Lodge at Pine Cove was reborn. The lodge is elegantly rustic, comfortable, luxurious and peaceful.
It is a place for romantic couples to reconnect. It is a location of true natural beauty in which to have your wedding
or come up as a single traveller and spend private time. It is a spot to celebrate your anniversary or a family reunion. Enjoy the wicker hamper breakfasts delivered to your doorstep each morning. Delight in a luscious picnic lunch on an island that you will have to yourselves. Order from our BBQ menu and have a hamper delivered to your cottage for a relaxing dinner. Invite your beloved to a romantic dinner on our magnificent screened porch and watch the sun set, a brilliant orange, against the pink granite that surrounds The Lodge at Pine Cove. Treat yourself or someone you love, to the natural luxury that The Lodge at Pine Cove offers.
In closing, I would like to say that at The Lodge at Pine Cove, we have created a place where guests can escape from the often overwhelming speed of modern life and find a sanctuary in which to recharge. It is what I wanted to do when I came here, and, for six and half months each year, I live at this simple but elegant retreat.
If you like this description, I hope that you will come and be our guest at The Lodge at Pine Cove.
You will not be disappointed - I wasn't.
Alex Strachan - Lucky owner of The Lodge at Pine Cove, Wolseley Bay, French River, Ontario, Canada.
From the moment you arrive at our little paradise on the French, you will begin to understand that The Lodge at Pine Cove is not your average Ontario resort. Our French River lodge provides a truly unique vacation experience, one that is ideal for active families and couples interested in outdoor sports and wilderness adventure
. It is the ideal Ontario destination for anyone who appreciates the extraordinary beauty of nature and the incredible wilderness recreational opportunities offered along the French River, but also has a taste for comfort and luxury.
The Lodge at Pine Cove was planned so that our waterfront rental cottages and main lodge building would complement beautifully the magnificent scenery of our wilderness property on the French River. With a nod to the oldtime Ontario lodges of the past, our buildings were designed to look traditional, rustic and to blend seamlessly into the landscape, yet have modern amenities and offer complete comfort. And, as we care deeply about preserving the environment and protecting the area's sensitive ecology, our buildings were constructed to be energy efficient and as environmentally friendly as possible, using the latest resource saving technologies.
The cottage accommodations at our French river resort are second to none. With a number of different cottage styles and sizes, we have a French River rental cottage to satisfy almost every taste and budget. We offer studios cottages, one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three bedroom cottages. All of our cottages are private and have water views. Built to exacting standards, every cottage at The Lodge at Pine Cove is decorated and furnished to be stylish, yet understated and supremely comfortable. Interiors are finished in solid cedar and white pine. They boast custom handmade beds with superior mattresses, Adirondack-style furniture, hand dyed carpets and lovely French doors that open on to a private screen-room overlooking the water.
For our guests comfort and convenience, all of The Lodge at Pine Cove's luxury rental cottages
on the French River come equipped with a small refrigerator, a wall mounted electric convection heater and a coffee/tea maker. And, unlike most other Ontario cottage resorts, The Lodge at Pine Coves goes a step further by also providing our resort guests with high quality bedding; sheets duvet and pillow, thick towels and face cloths, luxury soaps, moisturizing creams, shampoo and conditioner, paper towels, toilet paper, hair dryers and even daily maid service.
During their stay at our inn on the French River, our guests are invited to use and enjoy all the public facilities within the Main Lodge. Only a short stroll away from our waterside cottages, via scenic woodland paths, the Main Lodge building is where our guests have complimentary use of The Lodge at Pine Cove's beautiful lounge area, as a well as our exquisite Toni Harding photography library, pool table, screened in dining porches overlooking the river, full service Rioux bar and lovely dining room.
Other amenities that you will find at our upscale Ontario resort are docking facilities, barbeques for the use of our guests, laundry facilities and full housekeeping services. Our beautiful private sand beach is the ideal place for children to play in the sand or splash in the water, while adults may choose to take a leisurely swim in the crystalline water or just lie back and enjoy the warmth of the summer sun while admiring the splendid scenery along the French River.
The famous French River, also known as Rivière des Français in French, winds its way through Central Ontario's Rainbow County for approximately 110 kilometres (68 mi), linking Lake Nipissing to Georgian Bay through a series of interconnecting lakes, rapids and gorges. The diversity of the French River, along with its awe-inspiring scenery, provides an exceptional variety of exciting recreational opportunities on the water and on land. Because of its historic
significance, the French River was designated a Canadian Heritage River in 1986.
The French River has been travelled for millennia by the Algonquin peoples, serving as a short-cut to Lake Huron and route to the interior and north-west. When early French explorers started to arrive in the mid 17th century, the Ojibwa gave the river its name. The first European explorer to navigate the French was Etienne Brule, and later Samuel de Champlain and Pierre-Esprit Radisson travelled the waterway. Other well-known explorers who paddled the French River were Simon Fraser, Alexander Mackenzie and David Thompson. For the explorers, and later fur traders and missionaries, the French River was an important link in the voyageur's highway and essential for travel as roads did not exist.
The French River helped to open up the interior and north-west and remained a vital link to the west for centuries. The French, along with the Ottawa and Mattawa Rivers, formed part of the fur trader's route, connecting Montreal to Lake Superior. Fur traders used the French River extensively from the 1650s until the 1800s. In large birch bark canoes, they travelled from Montreal and settlements along the St Lawrence, returning in the fall with canoes laden with fur; primarily beaver pelts. The fur trade was Canada's earliest and one of its most important industries. It helped to open up the country and drew settlers from Europe hoping to capitalize on the lucrative fur trade.
Up until the 1820's, the thriving fur trade kept the French River an important canoe route. This all changed during the latter part of the 19th century, when logging surpassed fur trapping as the major economic force in the area. A high demand for timber in southern Ontario and in the States brought the logging industry to Georgian Bay and Northern Lake Huron in the 1870s. The area's vast forests were a valuable commodity, and towns, logging camps and mills sprang up seemingly over night. The French River and its tributaries provided the means of transporting the logs to the saw mills for processing, and later, to the markets beyond.
Thriving until the 1930's, logging remained an important industry along the French River for 50 years. Today, only a few logging operations remain. The 1920's and 30's saw the start of the French River tourist industry when fishing camps begin to appeared. When Highway 69 opened in 1953, cottages began to spring up along the French and tourism grew. Showing considerable foresight, the government in the 1960's closed the French River area to further commercial development; making it a part of the North Georgian Bay Recreation Reserve. This allowed the French River area to revert back to pristine wilderness. In 1985, the French was designated Ontario's first Canadian Heritage River, in recognition its significant role in Canada's history.
Protected by the implementation of tough restrictions on future development and by the great swaths of untamed, rugged terrain that surrounds much of its length, most parts of the French River remain unspoiled and wild. The French River and surrounding area is the ideal Ontario vacation destination for naturalists, outdoor enthusiast, sportsmen, photographers and artists. As an Ontario summer tourist destination, outdoor recreation and wilderness area, it is unsurpassed. The French River is a must-see for anyone who appreciates Ontario wilderness and the grandeur of the Canadian Shield.
The French River is a fisherman's dream where anglers can fish for a wide variety of fish species. People come to the French River to fish for northern pike, pickerel, sturgeon, small and large mouth bass, and muskie. Stretching from Lake Nipissing to Georgian Bay, this Provincial Waterway Park is made up of 80-miles of interconnecting rivers and lakes, falls and rapids and tranquil pools. Because the river provides such a great diversity of natural fish habitats, including areas of fast moving water, still coves, flats, weedy bays and rocky shoals, it is home to many different fish species, French River fishing vacations are extremely popular.
People come from all over to paddle the waters of the French River. Whether you are a novice paddler or an experienced white water kayaker or long distance canoeist, a French River canoe or kayaking trip is an experience that should not be missed and provides a terrific outdoor adventure to satisfy all skill levels. From the shores of The Lodge at Pine Cove on Wolseley Bay, paddlers can follow the route of the Voyageurs. Our French River lodge staff are always happy to help you plan your route, to make the most of your self-guided canoe or kayak trip, or arrange a guided kayak or canoe French River paddling adventure with a local expert.
The diversity of conditions on the French River with its numerous bays, lakes and channels provides a variety of exceptional canoe and kayaking conditions to satisfy both the experienced paddler and those just learning to paddle a canoe or kayak. Depending on your preferences and where you choose to go along the French River, you can kayak or canoe in calm and tranquil waters, wide expanses of open water, slow moving sections with easy rapids, or challenging stretches of river with fast-moving water and rapids. To explore the river and learn more about its fascinating history without even lifting a paddle, guests at The Lodge at Pine Cove have the option of taking The Lodge's water taxi on an informative trip along the river to picturesque Five Finger Rapids.
The French River area is home to an abundance of wildlife, so during your stay at our lodge on the French River, you are sure to encounter a variety of the natural inhabitants of the area. During your stay with us, you will have many chances to see a wide assortment of animals in their natural environment. Small animals such as rabbits, chipmunks, squirrels, red fox, otters, beaver and weasels are very common. You also may catch a glimpse of some of the larger animals that thrive in the vast wilderness of Rainbow Country like white-tailed deer and moose and bear. On still nights, if you are lucky, you might even hear the haunting howl of far-off wolves.
Naturally, the French River is the ideal vacation destination for birdwatchers in Ontario. Along the river you will witness a vast array of birdlife. Bird species found here include many types of woodpeckers, nuthatches, chickadees, finches, blue jays and so many more. Some of the larger species of birds that call the French River home include several types of owls, hawks, eagles, ravens, geese, ducks, turkey vultures and the mighty osprey. For both the causal birdwatcher and the avid birding aficionado, what could be more enjoyable than a day spent in a kayak or canoe watching birds in their natural environment or maybe even catching a glimpse of a rare species?
If you believe that the perfect Ontario wilderness vacation includes immersing yourself in the tranquility and raw natural beauty of untouched wilderness, observing close hand wildlife in its natural habitat, dipping a paddle into storied waters that offer an extraordinary diversity of paddling experiences, the opportunity to learn a new skill or perfect an old one, comfortable accommodations and superb dining, than our luxury Ontario resort on the French River maybe the place you've been looking for. For those who enjoy canoeing and kayaking, The Lodge at Pine Cove offers all the elements to make a canoe holiday or kayaking getaway that is second to none.