History of Black's Bay
The 24 Years of Construction
||In 1980, my young family planned a tenting
vacation on Manitoulin Island. We read about land for sale in local paper.
We came, we saw, we decided. We purchased 113 acres of virgin forest
during 2nd week of vacation. We camped out in tent on our own
land for 3 days before the vacation ends.
This is a picture of the unopened Concession Road in 1980. This road was
originally created around 1960's by chain sawing all the trees down, then
sending in a bulldozer to push all the stumps out of the way.
the speed limit for 4 x 4 trucks was about 3 mph, picking your way between
the trees, stumps, rocks, cracks, & bedrock outcroppings.
After all the difficult road work was done by manual, back breaking work
over a 15 yr. period, we bought a tractor with a grader blade(~1998). I'm
sure there's logic in there somewhere
Still, the locals tend to stay off this road, and it is very private.
Wildlife use it as one of their main travel corridors.
Surveyed and cut West property line from Concession Rd. to the waterfront.
Build rock cairn on waterfront to mark location of property line. Build
garden shed as temporary storage for tools, etc.
Surveyed and cut East property line from Concession Rd. to the
waterfront. Build rock cairn on waterfront to mark location of property
line. Buy 14 ft. travel trailer to stay in when at property, instead of
Start surveying for ideal road location to waterfront. Cut first 200
yards of road with chainsaw.
Bring 3 month old son to property for first time. Cut another 200
yards of road with chainsaw.
Return from 1 yr. job posting in France, back to Canada to have
vacation on property. Clean up road and property lines.
Cut 500 more yards of road with chain saw, shovel gravel into holes
left by rocks removed from road.
Things were not always so easy. From
1980 to 1984, there was major work to be done building the road down to
Rock removal on Black's Bay roads was done the old pioneer way (shovels,
picks, pry bars, winches, and lots of sweat). Twenty-three years and many
tons of gravel later, we have a Concession road that we can all be proud
of. Our mini-van regularly attains speeds of 30 to 50 km/hr (30 mph) on
Here we can see just one bolder (estimated at 1,000 lbs.) being removed
from the intended path of the road using a 2 ton winch and a few helpful
trees as anchors. Suction in the mud made a force over 5,000 lbs.
necessary to move rock.
Chaining bolder to Jeep, rock dragged Jeep along ground as I winched,
instead of removing rock Chaining hoist to tree, I removed
tree by roots instead of moving rock. Chaining hoist to three big
trees simultaneously finally moved rock. Two more hours of winching
finally had rock at side of road.
Approximately 100 boulders this size were moved to the side of the road
Thousands of smaller rocks were removed by hand and shovel and back
filled with sand; providing a smoother ride.
We finally reach the waterfront on foot with road clearing via chain
saw. Site selected for camp and the planned site for the cottage. Seven
month old daughter visits property for first time. Trailer is hauled half
way down road over stumps, set up as temporary camp.
Whole road is made passable for Jeep at dead crawl. Jeep drags trailer
to waterfront camp location over stumps, rocks, & holes.
Road is made barely drive-able for 4 x 4 vehicle and large
construction materials trucks. Located sandbar close to cottage. Designed
and build outhouse as training project for learning carpentry before
tackling cottage construction.
Original plan was for 12' x 12'=144 sq. ft. temporary camp. Discussions with relatives switch design from temporary
camp to main cottage for 28' x
20'= 464 sq. ft., then expanded again to "T" shaped design. Received
Letter of Conformity from Manitoulin Planning Board, and we're off!
Main beams installed between
10" diameter Sono tube
foundations, and floor joists laid. Sub-floor put on main floor joists, first floor walls built, used
spiral staircase (150 pieces with no diagram nor instructions) was erected
and dismantled 4 times before we get it right, large cedar beams are
ordered and installed in kitchen on main floor, 2nd floor
joists and flooring are installed, "chicken coop" built over top of spiral
staircase, 2nd floor encased in plastic to protect from snow
and rain over winter. Build manual water pump station at camp and ½" water
line to lake (we finally have water !). Build benches at firepit.
2nd floor walls built, floor joists for loft installed,
attic roof trusses ordered and installed, roof shingled during November
snow storm to get cottage closed in before winter hits
More work inside (partition walls in 2nd floor) & outside. Improve
road to 5 km/hr speed limit for most sections.
Improve road so building materials can be more easily brought in to
site (can now make 15 km/hr on most sections), clean up land around
cottage site. Inside of cottage is used to store building materials while
living out of trailer. Paint exterior of cottage.
Work on inside of cottage. Small piece of glass purchased, hole cut in
sheathing, glass stuck to sheathing with calking to create first window in
cottage. Used propane stove and fridge purchased from next door neighbour,
refurbished, and installed in kitchen. Kitchen counter made out of 2 x 4
and wall sheathing. Wood stove added to cottage. Cottage set as my
full-time permanent residence.
Three double bunkbeds constructed so we can now sleep 12 people
in cottage. Foam rubber purchased for sleeping comfort. Build outdoor stone firepit. Add 4
more temporary windows in cottage.
Install kitchen cabinets and countertops in kitchen. Move sink from
old rough countertop to new system. Design and build lakewater pumphouse,
install water lines to lake, install gravity-feed water tank in attic, connect up water
system to provide running water at kitchen sink. Install Yagi antenna on
roof of cottage for cell phone connection.
Survey and cut new road for tractor access to orchard. Clear land and
built 1 acre orchard and plant 15 apple trees. Designed and built 16 ft
high water tower for 10,000 lbs of water & tank as a water supply for the
orchard. Ran water and electrical supplies from pumphouse out to orchard.
Design & install automatic irrigation system to water trees throughout
growing season, even when nobody at cottage.
Designed and built outdoor shower and observation platform at beach.
Invest in gravel for road, 1" layer everywhere, blasted rock was used to fill
in swamp for road passage, improve road. Road now good enough for 15 km/hr
on most sections.
Buy tractor to help build road.
Road now good for 20 km/hr on most sections. Designed and built deck for
trailer. Design and build new wood shed. Working inside cottage.
Design and built 640 sq. ft addition (Phase II) for cottage to add
entranceway, Mudroom, bathroom, utility/workroom, basement root cellar,
and 2 bedrooms on 2nd floor.
Install preliminary electrics and lights in cottage.
Solar hot water heater at outdoor shower
Designed and built cedar
decks for cottage and 2nd floor balcony. Purchase and install
real windows and doors for cottage. Designed and built instantaneous water
heater for outdoor shower. Installed electrical cable from generator shed
to trailer and to outdoor shower. Buy grader blade for tractor to grade
road. Road now capable of 30 km/hr on most sections. Make 6 Muskoka chairs
Completed vinyl siding and cedar decks on cottage. Installed linoleum
in Mudroom and bathroom, installed electrical panel in cottage and
underground electrical supply cable from generator shed to cottage,
installed 5 smoke detectors, did electrical wiring in bathroom, built and
installed wet wall for bathtub & shower. Added extra fence at bottom of
orchard fence to keep bunnies out. Dug up 600 rocks to ring bottom end of
fence all around 1 acre orchard. Plant garden inside orchard for onions,
garlic, tomatoes, potatoes, beans, and peas. Extend irrigation system to
water garden. Wrote Operating Manual. Purchased batteries and charge
controller for solar electric power system. Started to actively search for
people to rent cottage. Purchased & installed patio furniture on West deck
& at trailer. Go fishing & catch 16 lb lake trout, 23 lb. Salmon, and 9 lb
salmon. Bought deck flowers and planters. Built swing & climbing rope for
Installed drilled water well, pump, freeze-proof outdoor hydrant, and
underground water line with electric tracing to cottage; providing us with
a year-round water supply. A pressure tank and pressure switch was
installed on well water supply so additional pressure can be achieved for
shower. A shutoff valve for attic tank was installed at main floor to
allow easier showering & prevent overfilling of attic tank. A
start delay control system was added for the well pump to protect it from
low voltage starts during generator startup. The bathroom tub, shower,
toilet, sink were all completed. A propane-fired 50 USG hot water heater
was added for hot & cold running water. A propane shutoff valve was added
to kitchen stove to prevent purging of propane from gas line; helping
light propane heater more readily. The ladder to the attic was replaced by
a stairway. The large room on the 2nd floor addition was
divided into 2 separate bedrooms with a stud wall. The second floor North
wall was insulated. Half wall height drywall was installed on the two
second floor bedrooms. A cell socket adapter was added so that cell phone
can be connected to POTS phones throughout the cottage. Lock boxes were
installed at the gate chains and the cottage to facilitate remote access
to site & avoid re-keying. A 16' canoe was purchased with paddles, safety
equipment, bailer, and 3 personal flotation vests. A 24" chainsaw was
purchased as a backup to our old reliable 16" saw. Country garden of
garlic, onions, beans, peas, and squash were planted. Deer crops (eg. grass seed,
turnip, etc.) were
planted in clearings leading to orchard (for deer & geese). Flower gardens
were renewed, and planters were added to the deck. Balusters were
completed on outside deck stairways. 400 watt wind generator was purchased
for installation out at the waterfront. A 5 watt solar PV panel was
purchased for running recirculation pump at outdoor shower solar water
heater. 12 Volt DC pump for 3 USGPM was purchased for use as pressure
control on cottage water using attic storage tank instead of generator and
12 USGPM well pump. A 3 furrow plow was purchased for the tractor for use
in planting crops in clearings. 400 watt wind generator on a 45 ft. tall
tower was erected at the beach. Attic water tank placed inside
emergency overflow container to prevent spills & water damage inside
Putting the 160 watt solar panel on the roof of the cottage, Oct. 2004
Electric water heater installed in basement for excess
solar/wind/generator power utilization to heat domestic hot water. Solar
panels, batteries, hooked up to wind tower generator. Power line from
solar/wind power system was connected into cottage. Critical Load
electrical panel installed in cottage. DC water pump installed in basement
to enable indoor showering without running the generator. Hot water to
kitchen sink installed. Grape vines planted in orchard. New 1" diameter
water line installed from well hydrant to orchard water tower. DC battery
moved to basement, charger and charge controller installed. Digital
battery status meter & start/stop switch for DC water pump installed in
dining room corner. Yagi cell phone antenna re-aimed to Mindemoya cell
tower for better reception. New support stand for solar water heater
at outdoor shower built. New recirculation pump and solar electric
power installed at outdoor shower. Trailer refurbished.
Elevated platform for solar batteries at beach (winter wave & ice
protection) installed. Cottage re-wired for compact fluorescent lights &
receptacle in every room, tied to critical load electrical panel.
Cottage is now 100% powered by solar/wind power system. Gasoline
generator is now only required for emergency backup power, and high power
draws (ie. table saw, etc.). All other electrical load is supplied
by wind/solar power system.
Install drywall on one side of all interior walls. Install bedroom
doors. 800 Amp-hr AGM (Absorbed Glass
Matt) batteries purchased and charged, installation to cottage
basement as main DC power supply for cell phone, DC emergency lights, and
emergency AC supply. Six loads of sand added to beach front for our own
Finish installing bedroom doors
on master bedroom & 5th bedroom, Insulate attic & loft with spray foam
insulation. Inspect graywater system. Double solar PV capacity to
900 watts. Purchase & refurbish larger propane fridge. Install high
speed satellite Internet. Install eavestroughing. New dining room
Replace 400 watt wind generator on 3 yr maintenance retrofit. Winterize
water lines with self-limiting electric tracing & thermal insulation.
Upgrade wood stove hearth floor, & chimney. Upgrade cell phone.
Close in walls & floors on orchard water tower.
Install weather station and wind speed anemometer. Install automatic
temperature controller for outdoor shower to regulate solar water pump to
maximize heat gain from solar hot water heater. Do more electrical wiring
Redo kitchen with addition of
microwave above stove, new countertops in granite-like cement, water
purifier, dishwasher, rim joist insulation, close in skirt on crawl space
under cottage, safety railing cables on spiral staircase, buy clothes
washer/dryer (awaiting electrics upgrade before installation, design solar
water heating, design hydronic radiant floor heating system, complete
Orchard water tower.
||Approx. Download Time
with 56k modem
|BBay Lodge Main Building
|| This movie is obsolete (dated Summer 2000), showing
the cottage during the construction phase, just after the framing of the new
addition was completed.
Since then, the exterior windows & doors, cedar
decks, linoleum in the bathroom & mudroom, and the inside bathroom have been
completed. The still pictures on the main website are the most up-to-date.
BBay Lodge is a 2,032 sq. ft. cottage on 3 floors with a kitchen, living
room, dining area, mud room, utility/workshop, bathroom, cellar, conference
room/bedroom, and 3 bedrooms.
Later the conference room/bedroom was sub-divided into 2 more bedrooms.
||Quicktime Movie 160x120
44.1 kHz mono 16 bit
2 min 6 sec
| 2.0 minutes