Makers of the Lodge

Stories and tales of the people behind the scenes who contributed to the success of the Lodge today

Innkeepers story

You may stay for longer than you expected, which is what happened to Alex and family, in 1999. In the 1990s, canoeing and camping brought me to the French River many times. In those days, we used to put our canoes and kayaks in much further up the French River, until a friend told me about a sandy beach on a beautiful bay off the main channel. On one of our many trips to the French River, my son Jamie and I found that sandy beach, surrounded by a quaint but run down old fishing lodge on the shores 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, 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 is unlikely to ever be developed. A few years after first discovering the Lodge at Pine Cove, we bought it from the Fisher family and began its transformation into what is now considered by many of our guests, to be one of Canada’s finest lodges. A wonderful local crew knocked down most of the old structures, which were long past the rejuvenation stage, and with the help of a talented designer, Lodge at Pine Cove was born. The lodge is elegantly rustic chic, luxurious and peaceful.


Like much of the north, that is not secured by large resource development, our community is economically challenged. Your stay at the Lodge at Pine Cove, has a real effect upon the lives of many people. The lodge has grown since its early days and employs many folks from the community. It pays above average wages and purchases lots of goods and services in the local area. Your reservation really does help the economy of French River, in a meaningful way. A big thank-you, on behalf of everyone who lives in this part of the province.


Building the Lodge at Pine Cove, is rather like writing a book. Full of stories, drama and comedy. Like a good novel, the entire human condition comes into play. On top of that we must deal with our natural world, which is like a person itself; storms, low temperatures, critters, remoteness and other challenges. It seems right therefore, to acknowledge all those who have contributed to this story. Some have become huge characters in the continuing plot and others who have played more minor but essential roles. If it takes a village to rear a child, then building the village takes an immense amount of people. Countless people have made this village we call Lodge at Pine Cove, what it is today. They are; Ned Baldwin – architect, Robert Wubben – builder/designer, Andy Brubacher – contractor and his family, Roger Brubacher – stone mason, Lily Chartrand – Head of housekeeping, the Bishop family – employees, carpenters and more, Ulysse Carriere – Head of maintenance, Courtney Loomis – Asst. head of housekeeping, Harley and Liz Lang – solvers of problems, builders, pilots and much more, Nicola Ross – writer, hiker and activities founder at LPC, Matthew Jamieson – incredible chef and kitchen designer, Kim van Oosteroom – graphic designer, Liz Van Amelsfoort – accountant, advisor and friend, Toni Harting – photographer, friend and we miss him, Moira Dedrick – artist, friend and fine critic, Greg Hindle – artist, Rob Stimpson – photographer, Mike Poole – photographer, Rachel LaPalme & Marcelle Halliday – Caisse Populaire de Noelville, Nancy Collyer – lawyer, David Norrie – artist blacksmith, Richard Bisaillon – building inspector, Bob Timmony – quarry owner, machine operator and more, Roger Fryer – lumberman, Dig and Doug – furniture builders, David Wilding Davies – Coffee roaster and friend, Patrick & Ruth Bourachot – chef and supplier extraordinaire, Donaldson Family – friends and wise counsel, Ryan & Ross families – friends, wise counsel and employees, Natarajan Sukumar – friend and advisory counsel, Greg Ross friend and advisory counsel, Cathy Richards entreprenuer extraordinary, advisory counsel and friend, Deneen Allen friend, incredible consultant and mentor, and so many guests who have added their ideas, joy and have enabled this small business to keep going for the betterment of all its communities – there are many. Please pass on the website address: to friends and family. The lodge has done a lot for the local community in the past 19 years. We want it to go on far beyond our tenure and be one of those places that enhances the lives of those it touches, well into the future.

Lodge Dogs – (Birkin & Lottie)

Meet the lodge dogs. Highly social and experts at welcoming guests, these two carry on a tradition at the lodge. Birkin is beloved by guests the world over – he gets cards and mentions in reviews, from as far away as Hamburg, New York and London.
Lottie, his apprentice, is learning fast the special qualities that go with her job – it is demanding. Both of them also perform special tasks – keeping red squirrels away from buildings, ensuring the local black bear population knows there are two dogs at the lodge and to please stay a respectable distance away – they do. Giving countless guests joy and those who need it, a bit of TLC.
Birkin and Lottie will be happy to say hello or to keep their distance – whatever you like. Just ask them politely. Part of the staff, they work hard at the lodge.

Mass Timber Construction /

Cross Laminated Timber (CLT)

The Toni Harting and Cottage 19 have been built using a mass timber / cross-laminated timber (CLT) construction method. The constituent wood panels are manufactured by joining multiple layers of lumber (solid wooden boards) together; in our case five layers have been used – achieving a thickness of over half a foot. The layers of lumber are arranged, similar to plywood, at different angles to achieve structural strength.

In the case of our cottages the cross-laminated timber panels are held together by hardwood dowels, rather than by glue, which means that in contrast to other construction methods, these two cottages contain few of the chemicals that are normally common in home construction. The construction method is akin to building a 21st century log home and takes advantage of the ability of wood to insulate, regulate humidity, and destroy microbes.

The individual panels are joined in place on the construction site using specialised screws and wooden rails. Both of the cottages contain 63 individual wooden panels that had to be transported to the site. However, given its modular design, each cottage took approximately 3-4 days to erect. The roofs were built on site, by a skilled team of carpenters.

The panels for both the Toni Harting and Cottage 19 were built by a manufacturing partner, who is a pioneer in the manufacture of dowel-laminated timber buildings. The wood panels are cradle-to-cradle certified, which means that one day when the cottages might have to be replaced (properly looked after, they should last hundreds of years, much longer than most modern construction methods) the wood in them can either be re-used or composted, which is in contrast to other building products that are classified as hazardous waste. The wood for the panels is selectively harvested at specified times of year and then carefully dried and stored, before being turned into individual wood panels.

The opportunities for home or cottage ownership in small footprint, high end construction with a real feel of a “wood” home, are tremendous using CLT designed homes. Environmentally and healthy materials are combined with a speedy construction process. As a result this building material is becoming one of Europe’s leading forms of construction. Pine Cove Developments has been building cottages (many guests would call them homes) for over 17 years. We can assist you with the understanding, design and construction of a CLT home. First things first however, come and stay in one and experience a great vacation at Lodge at Pine Cove, in a 21st century space that also protects the planet and your health.

Name the cottage competition

Help us name our newest cottage. Win a three (3) night stay for two (2). Inclusive of;
Accommodation, three meals per day, canoe or kayak for your use at the lodge – value approx
value Cdn $1,600.00 to $2,000.00. Visit url……. to view entry requirements and dates.

We completed Cottage 19 this spring and we are looking for a name that fits with our other
cottages – named after Canadian’s who helped build Canada into the modern country it is today.
We are particularly looking for a woman’s name. She should preferably be someone who travelled
across the country prior to Confederation in 1867. If she happened to travel down the French
River, like so many of the people whose names grace our cottages, that is fine but not necessary.

To enter the competition, please email us at, with your nomination
and an explanation of why you selected the name choice – this should some historical background
information on the person selected. Our in-house panel, will consider the names received and
announce the winner at the end for the 2018 season.


The prize will be redeemable by the winner, in 2018 or 2019, for a stay in cottage #19 for three
nights, inclusive of three meals per day not including alcohol.
The prize is redeemable only on weekdays in the months of; May, June or October, subject to
No transfers to other persons or alternate accommodation dates will be considered.
If the winner wishes to bring two other guests (this is a two bedroom cottage), the cost of the
additional persons rate, shown on our website tarriff, would apply, plus the cost of any meals –
excluding breakfast.
Any other costs the winner incurs are payable, plus HST, on departure.
The winner of the competition agrees to allow their name(s) to be published, in connection with
the competition.
The competition is open to anyone, except the owners of Lodge at Pine Cove and their families.
HST is payable when the winner makes a reservation. We will estimate the hst and make an
adjustment, plus or minus, on departure. If the winner does not come to the lodge, the HST will
then convert to a non-refundable deposit.

Good luck and we look forward to hearing your suggestions!

Shotgun Front – Our creative agency

We hope you are enjoying your trip through these pages. Shotgun Front, owned by Rich Hull, is the creative mastermind behind the beauty, information and interest depicted here. We are entirely grateful for their efforts to make this site what it is. It took a huge amount of work, dedication and experience 40to create this website.

Thank-you Rich and team at Shotgun Front.

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