|Is Black's Bay Lodge
"right" for me & my group?
||That depends on what you are looking for.
If you just look at the picture on the main page of our web site, and jump to the conclusion that BBay is what you've been looking for, you may be surprised or disappointed. Please be sure to look at everything on the website, especially where we compare BBay's Facilities to a standard home in an urban sub-division. We have tried very hard to do "full disclosure" of who we are & what we have to offer. You are responsible for reading & deciding.
People say, "A change is as good as a rest". In your normal life, you are probably plugged into society more than enough. BBay is about "unplugging"; getting away from all of this. BBay is about a different pace, & different priorities.
BBay is not the "Holiday Inn", nor a Hilton Hotel, nor an all-inclusive vacation resort. BBay is:
By remote, I mean you will be the only people in a 113 acre forest.
This property is part of a 5,000 acre forest on the South Shore of
Manitoulin. There is no connection to the outside world except the road
through the forest. The nearest neighbours (a holiday cottage occupied
20 days out of the year) are 1 km. away. If you want to be with other
people, you will have to go to town, or go visit the neighbours (very
|How far is it to get to Black's
Bay Lodge ?
||There is an Ontario Road
Map in Adobe Acrobat format (pdf) that shows the area around
Manitoulin Island. Approximate driving distances are shown in the
|How do I get to
Black's Bay Lodge from Michigan, USA?
||You have two options. You can go North in Michigan
using I-75 till you get to Sault St. Marie, then cross into Canada.
Turning East, you follow the Trans-Canada Highway back to Espanola,
then go South to Manitoulin Island and the town of Little Current. Once
you have crossed the swing bridge to Little Current, you go West to West
Bay (M'Cheeg), and then South to Mindemoya, then South-west to
Providence Bay. See maps for details.
The second option is to go to Port Huron at the South end of Lake Huron, crossing over to Canada into Sarnia. You can then drive North along Hwy. 21 (along the eastern shore of Lake Huron) until just after South Hampton, then go North on Hwy. 6, up the Bruce Peninsula to Wiarton, & finally Tobermory . You can then go across on the Chi-Cheemaun ferry (runs from approx. May 17 to Oct. 17). The ferry costs about $45 for a car & driver, about $65 for a carload under the family rate. Trailers and excess height vehicles are extra. See website for details http://www.ontc.on.ca/english/04pass/04chi1.html Reservations are recommended. You must arrive 1 hour before sail or your reservations are canceled.
|How do I get to
Black's bay from Toronto?
||For the scenic route, take Hwy 401 West towards
Brampton, then Hwy 410 North, then Hwy 7, then Hwy. 10, then Hwy 6 to
For the "fast" route, go North on Hwy. 400, then cut West along Hwy 89 to Aliston, then up Hwy 6 to Tobermory
Take the Chi-Chemaun ferry to Manitoulin Island. See maps on website for trip on Island side.
It takes 4 hrs. to get from TO to Tobermory (non-rush hr. traffic)
|What are the sleeping
accommodations at BBay?
Bedroom #1 12' x 12', large window looking out over waterfront, French
doors onto 2nd. floor deck overlooking waterfront. Has bunk beds with
5" foam mattress that will sleep 2+2=4 adults comfortably.
Bedroom #2 16' x 10', 2 large windows looking out over waterfront, door out onto 2nd. floor deck overlooking waterfront. Has bunk beds with 5" foam mattress that will sleep 2+2=4 adults comfortably
Bedroom # 3 8' x 18' Has bunk bed with 5" foam mattress that will sleep 2 adults comfortably. Has small windows looking out over woods.
Bedroom # 4 8' x 18' Has bunk bed with 5" foam mattress that will sleep 2 adults comfortably. Has small windows looking out over woods.
Bedroom # 5 8' x 14' Has dresser drawers and access to attic games room. No beds are currently set up in this bedroom
Living room Has pull-out couch that will sleep 2 adults (in semi comfort ?). Has 2 large picture windows (4' x 16') looking out to waterfront.
Travel Trailer: 14' x 7' trailer has 2 bunks which sleeps 2+2= 4 adults on 3" foam mattresses, has icebox, propane stove, dining table (converts to one bed), propane light, electricity from camp generator, located 100 ft. from main cottage, 14' x 14' deck with swing seats, private location surrounded by trees.
Total Maximum sleeping capacity: 16 adults in beds
|If we really wanted to "rough
it", could we set up tents in the middle of the woods?
||Yes. There are large flat areas on the beach, but
you will need air mattresses as the rock is as hard as it is flat.
There are large clearings (grassy meadows) throughout the property.
The ones nearest to the property are located between the cottage & the
orchard. It can hold an entire scout jamboree. It is approx.
100 yards from the cottage down a path through the woods. There is
another clearing by the trailer on the path to the water.
|What do we do for drinking water?
||The water system currently at BBay is described in full
on the BBay Facilities
pages Water is available through two different systems (water well,
and Lake Huron). There is drinking water available at the kitchen sink,
and the tap at the bathroom sink on the main floor .
|What are the
toilet facilities at BBay?
||In 2002, we installed an indoor flush toilet
(composting, not septic tank) in the main floor bathroom of the cottage.
This is part of the 4 pc. bathroom on the main floor of the cottage
(tub, shower, sink, & flush toilet).
There is also a single hole outhouse located about 20 yards from the cottage.
|What is available for baths and
||There are three options for bathing at BBay.
|Please describe the outdoor
facilities in more detail
There is a outdoor shower with heated water at the beach. Last year,
the renters said it was FANTASTIC!
There is a 1 seater outhouse about 20 yards from the cottage. See above.
There is a hand pump for lake water, dish pan, mirror, soap dish, and clothes line about 20 yards from the cottage. We find this is very useful for getting kids & adults washed up before meals so that there isn't a huge line up at the kitchen sink while meals are being prepared.
|Is there an electric coffee pot?
||There is a percolator coffee pot for use on the gas
stove. There are basket filter papers & it uses regular ground coffee.
I like it just as well as the fancy machine we have in our regular
home. Put the coffee in, fill with water, set on stove, & turn burner on
high. Once it starts percolating (about 4 minutes) it will quickly turn
brown. Leave percolating for about 1 minute, turn off the burner, and
let sit for about 2 minutes to drain. Remove the basket of grounds &
enjoy. After the first cup, we usually turn the burner back on (very
low) to keep the pot warm. After 2 hrs. of warming, it's no longer a
joy to drink.
As we are not connected to Ontario Hydro, most things work on propane. We do have a solar/wind power generating system that supplies all the power necessary. As a backup, we also have a large 4,000 watt generator, but you probably don't want to be running it continuously.
There is a microwave oven, bread making machine, toaster oven (as well
as for the gas stove), full set of pots, pans, cooking, & eating dishes,
glasses, utensils, etc.
considering a family fishing trip. There will be three small children
who are under 4. Are there any dangers that we would have to consider
||Yes. I don't want to scare you, but I also don't want
to make light of the risks of little children left to wander in the
woods.. The risks can be managed. Just like in the city, you will have
to watch small children like a hawk. This is what we did with our own
children when they were little.
Our Operating Manual covers the major risks and our suggestions to avoid or protect. Once your application has been approved, I will send you a copy of the Operating Manual to review with everyone. Kids have a fantastic time with the freedom, the outdoors, and all the neat things to do. However, the cottage has all the risks that a city home has, plus the risks of rural living, plus the risks associated with a forest in Northern Canada.
The cottage has not been "child-proofed". There are no child gates on the various stairs. There are no child locks on the cupboards, etc.
I first brought my two children to Manitoulin Island when they were 4 weeks old, and got in trouble when I "permitted" a black fly to bite my son's forehead on day 2 of our vacation. They are now 19 and 16 yrs old; having survived many summers on Manitoulin.
In spite of our best parenting efforts, one day when our daughter Michelle was 4 yrs. old, she was 20 ft. from the cottage when I turned my head to talk to my wife for less than 30 seconds. Michelle used that opportunity and split second timing (a mere coincidence ?) to follow the dog into the woods while the dog chased a rabbit. I started calling for her 30 seconds later, and got no response except from the dog coming out of the woods. My wife and I started blowing Fox 40 whistles as loud as we could (our pre planned emergency signal) to which all kids were supposed to immediately come back to. We eventually found her 45 minutes later about 50 yards from where she disappeared. She was just as scared as her two parents. The rules and the emergency procedures were rehearsed again and again that day. Since then, all kids get their very own whistle on a string around their neck; first thing on in the morning, last thing off before bed at night.
I would suggest explaining the dangers well in advance, and then practice the simple rule repetition until they can immediately repeat all the rules (see movie "The Dirty Dozen" for successful repetition of the complex plan by all attendees).
Kids walking into the woods will have a difficult time telling which direction the parent's voices are coming from when they are 30 to 50 ft. away; as do adults. Echoes of sound in the trees could cause them to walk/run in the wrong direction, really getting themselves lost. Small kids find paths that adults can't easily access & quickly get out of sight, thinking it's a real "people path" when actually it's a rabbit or deer path that connects to a maze of other paths, and goes for miles.
Fortunately, there is a gravel road to the East, a bush trail to the West, the main road to the North, and the Lake to the South. All of these are readily recognized, even by children, provided they are not in full panic flight. This property contains only 113 acres, but that is still big enough to get lost for days.
There are also wild animals in the woods, including skunks, foxes, rabbits, deer, porcupines, wolves, and bears. Generally, if you leave them alone, they will leave you alone. Small children don't realize this; hence they're at a greater danger. Children under 5 could be mistaken for food by wolves and bears, and should never be left alone whatsoever, and always close enough to run and rescue from anything that suddenly appears, or that the child suddenly decides to do.
There are many sticks in the woods. Running carelessly can cause a trip and fall against a rock or a stick that could cause a significant injury.
The waterfront is very shallow close to shore and slopes out to deeper water very, very slowly. At the Point (way out at the tip of Black's Bay), the water is approximately 1.5 ft deep at the shore. This is where I usually go swimming. Also, Lake Huron is a BIG lake. Boats, canoes, kayaks, dinghies, inner tubes, etc. should only be used with life preservers and close supervision by adults able to rescue. Hypothermia is an issue, even in the hottest part of summer.
|When are the black flies &
mosquitoes at their worst?
||At the cottage & on the beach, we don't tend to get
black flies. The breeze off the water tends to keep them in the woods &
away from the camp. There is the occasional one, but they are not in
swarms. I usually get bit once or twice a year over a 6 week period in
They are in the woods. If you walk into the woods, they will soon find you. I've only been really bothered by them sometime about 1989. I know it was warm when they were bad, I think sometime in July or August So I'm not really sure the answer to that question. My guess is May/June is the worst.
Mosquitos are ever present at dusk and 2 hrs. after the sun goes down. Netting (mosquito suit) or repellent is highly recommended at those times
|Are there any hunting traps on
||There are no traps. Traps are illegal except for
someone who has a trapping license and has an approved trap line on
government land or with landowner's permission. There are no animal
traps on our property. You will be unable to tell there was any hunting
occurring on the property.
|How far to the waters
edge? Last year (at another cottage we rented), we had to walk down
three roads and over a bridge, but the website had said 200 meters to
the water. We found out too late that it was 200 meters "as the crow
We believe in "full disclosure". See
BBay Facilities where we compare BBay to a typical single family
dwelling, in a typical subdivision, in a typical Canadian suburban
centre (ie. our house in London, ON). Hopefully, you can get full
answers to all your questions, as well as the questions you "should"
have asked (ie. you currently assume to be the same as at your house,
&/or you forget to ask).
Attached are pictures from the main deck of the cottage, looking towards the water (normal view & close-up view). I estimate it to be 200 yards (by crow and foot) from the cottage door to wet feet at the water's edge of Lake Huron.
You have about 1500 ft. of private shoreline available to explore on our property, can walk all the way to Providence Bay (about 2 km) by way of shore, or go all the way around the entire island of Manitoulin if you'd like (approx. 600 km in total).
|I have some previous
experience with the cold waters in Northern Canada. It was always
cold there with the wind coming off the water. What's it like at
||Water in N. Canada tends to be colder. This is
what give you the great fishing for cold water fish like lake trout and
However, the bay at Black's Bay is very shallow, so in the summer it tends to heat up after a few good days of sunshine. The further out you go, the deeper it gets and the colder. However, I swim in it all the time during the summer.
If you are going out in our canoe for some casting or trolling, you need to consider the risks of tipping and hypo-thermia in the cold water, even in the middle of summer.
The Mindemoya River that empties into Providence Bay (at the sand beach in town) tends to be much warmer & most small kids play in the water at the mouth of the river (where it meets Providence Bay) for hours on end & find it nice.
When the wind is out of the South to South-West, it blows in over Lake Huron. This tends to take about 5° off the temperature from other wind directions. I find this very cooling during a hot summer.
If you want to bake your body, go inland about 200 yards, surrounded by trees in a clearing, and spread out your beach blanket in the sun. The reduced wind will heat you very quickly in the summer sun. There is a nice clearing right beside the orchard (about 300 yards from the cottage) for doing this.
|Is there any
horseback riding in the area?
||There are horses & mules (small, medium, & large) on
the Government Rd (just 5 km. from Black's Bay at Kicking Mule Ranch.
They have programs for kids, trail rides, approx. 200 acres to ride on,
& country music jamboree hoe-downs on Friday or Saturday nights each
|Where can we buy groceries?
||There is a grocery store inside the hardware store at
Providence Bay (2 km. away). They have more than a corner variety
store, but less selection than a major chain (ie. Loblaws, A&P, etc.).
In Mindemoya (15 km. away), there is a full grocery store. This is a store for a local chain of stores. Its buying power means the prices here are about 10¢ to 50¢ cheaper than in Providence Bay.
|Should we bring our food with us,
or buy it locally once we arrive?
||All grocery prices in the North will be higher than the
South (lower volume & more transportation costs). Therefore, it is
recommended you bring as much with you as you can reasonably manage,
then buy replacement (ie. milk, bread, eggs, etc.) as you consume what
Lettuce, eggs, etc. tend not to travel as well as a jar of peanut butter. You may choose to buy these more fragile items locally as you need them.
Remember, the cottage only has a small fridge. At most, you will be able to fit 2 Coleman coolers (or a little less) of food into the fridge.
We have 8 different salad dressings in our fridge at home. Isn't variety nice? I suggest you bring only your one favorite salad dressing, and leave the other 7 types at home. This saves a lot of space in the fridge & pack/unpack.
If you bring more than what will fit into the fridge, you'll have to be constantly running to town to get ice to keep it all cool. You will soon tire of this.
I would also like some information about getting a proper fishing license for American's visiting into Canada, also with their own boats, if at all possible.
|Non-Ontario residents (including Americans)
are able to purchase a non-resident fishing license. These give you the
same rights to fish as an Ontario resident, but are more expensive to
purchase. Also, each year there is one weekend designated as Family
Fishing Weekend when everybody can fish without a license. The licenses
can be purchased just about everywhere (ie. hardware stores, fishing &
sporting goods shops, Ministry of Natural Resources government offices,
etc.). See the Ministry of Natural Resources website
http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/MNR/index.html for the
latest on prices and fishing regulations, open seasons, etc.
Can American's visiting into
Canada bring and use their own fishing boat ?
||As with anything, you will have to declare
the boat at the US border before you enter Canada (so the US Customs
have a record that it was originally in the USA). It has to be properly
registered in the USA, and it has to be clean on the hull, inside the
boat, wet well etc. (to prevent the spreading of zebra mussels, foreign
plants, & micro-organisms from foreign lakes & rivers. There are new
regulations in Canada requiring captains of vessels to be certified
operators and that each boat must have a minimum set of safety gear.
This includes Jet skis and other personal water craft. See Canadian
Coast Guard website for details http://www.ccg-gcc.gc.ca/main_e.htm
Boating regulations, drinking while boating, safe operation of water
craft are also enforced by the Ontario Provincial Police
|Is there a boat at
BBay, or are there boats available for rent nearby? I want to be able
to take my kids fishing.
||BBay has a canoe (see below), as well a a
small day sailor sailboat (16 ft. Albacore). The sailboat is not
currently rigged, ready for use at present. The canoe is ready to go.
There are 10 ft. aluminum boats with or without an 10 hp outboard motor for family fishing fun, available on Lake Mindemoya, as well as Lake Kagawon; starting around $25.00 for 4 hrs to rent.
|I want to bring my
own boat. Is there a dock at BBay so I can keep it right at the
||On Lake Huron, there are no docks unless
you have a million dollar breakwater. Anything else is readily removed
by the first storm. Therefore, we have no dock. There is a government
wharf in town (Providence Bay), just 5 km. away from BBay (10 minutes by
car, door to door). Be sure to look how a 40 ft. section of this
reinforced concrete wharf was wiped out by a Lake Huron storm, in spite
of a million dollar breakwater.
The Providence Bay dock has many finger docks you can rent for the duration of your vacation. There is also a boat launch ramp, parking, fish cleaning station, ice, freezers to store fish, etc. There is a Dockmaster during the day & video surveillance at night for security.
|What other activities
are available right at Black's Bay ?
|What is there to do
if we have bad weather?
||Some hunters & fishers can use the bad
weather to their advantage.
I like to think that it never rains during the daytime on Manitoulin Island, but there are some days with low flying clouds or very high humidity. In the cottage, there are a number of board games for the kids, playing cards, kids activity books, and a reasonable library. After the rain is over, get on your boots and go see the stream on the East part of the bay. The flows through the woods can be very interesting.
|Are pets allowed? Are there any
special rules about pets?
||We have dogs ourselves, and therefore permit dogs &
cats to come. Other pets, in reason, are welcome. Of course, if they
aren't house-broken, they should be kept outside or controlled so they
don't damage or make a mess. Even when cleaned up immediately, urine
will stain, & smells on wood floors forever. In all cases, you are
responsible for all damages caused by your pets.
If your pets have a habit of wandering or chasing wild animals, you may want to keep them caged or chained, especially if you intend to leave them out at night unsupervised. City pets have poor defenses as compared to wild animals. For example, dogs could chase a porcupine that wanders by at night. Not knowing any better can cause a painful lesson if Fido tries to get too close.
When you leave camp & don't want to take your dogs with you, there are two hitching points & chains to tie up Fido at the trees just South of the cottage, next to the big waterfront deck.
like some information mailed out to myself about renting the lodge.
||All we have in the way of brochures is a one page
flyer we post here & there for advertising. It contains 3 pictures
taken from the website, and some brief text taken from the website.
Everything else is on the website http://www.blacksbay.com
If you are unable to access this or print it out for some reason, give
me a call at +1(519)-473-6204 leaving your information where I can get
in touch with you by phone. We will make other arrangements.
|Can anyone rent the
||Our insurance policy does not cover any damages done by
people who rent the cottage. Therefore we have established a policy of
only renting to "responsible" adults (ie. people who meet our risk
management requirements). Families or mature adults are readily welcome.
For our protection , you will be asked to complete a rental application form, sign a waiver and indemnification agreement, and pay a damage deposit (usually 50% of the rental fee). If you damage or destroy something, you will be expected to pay to put it right. So far, everyone has treated our place with great respect, and there has been no monies forfeited by any renters to pay for damages.
After your rental period, the place will be inspected. If there is no damage, you will be refunded your damage deposit promptly thereafter.
For hunting trips, we will usually have a Guide at the Lodge with you.
For fishing trips, you can "do it yourself", or have a Guide come with you (subject to availability)
|Is there a caretaker, or somebody
going to be there to show us around or help us if we need it?
||If there is a Guide with you on your excursion, they
the Guide is fully trained in what to do, and how to do it. Even
then, we have tried to keep it simple and easy to settle in.
If you have chosed to do your excursion as a "do it yourself" package, you are expected to be self-reliant. To help you in this, There is a hard copy of the manual in a 3-ring binder inside the cottage, awaiting your arrival. The Table of Contents for the Operating Manual is available on the BBay Website
While you are there during your rental period, BBay experts will be available by phone ( 24 hrs. a day) for any emergencies you may have.
There is a "handyman" in town (15 km from BBay) who is somewhat familiar with BBay's facilities. You can contact him and arrange for any additional assistance you think you may require (at your own cost).
Before you arrive, we will sent you an electronic version of the BBay Operating Manual. It is very comprehensive (with over 50 colour photos showing what is being described in the text) so that most capable people can flourish on their own. There is a Table of Contents and a detailed index in the back so you can quickly look up any question or problem and find what page in the manual it is discussed.
|How do we pay for the rental?
||We cannot accept a reservation nor confirm availability
until we have received payment. We accept US or CDN funds via cheque,
money order, or direct deposit to our bank account. For cheques, you
must allow 2 weeks to clear for a CDN cheque, 3 wks. for a US cheque,
and 1 month for an International cheque.
If payment must be made faster, we can provide banking information so that you can direct deposit or wire the funds to our bank account.
|How do we get the keys for the
||Once your rental application has been accepted and just
before you leave for your rental period, we will send you the
information on obtaining the keys
We are considering your lodge for a "do it
yourself" fishing vacation by 3 families all together. Is there any
extra charges for this?
||"Do it yourself" fishing trips fall under cottage
rental. Our posted rental fees are on a per person basis, with a
minimum charge (ie. everybody pays at least the minimum, some may pay
more for large groups). Children under 5 years of age are free.
If you want to add on grandchildren, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins twice removed, in-laws, and out-laws; we don't have too much of a problem with this. If you have more than 5 people over the age of 5 years in your group, or you want to bring the in-law, etc. it will be more than the minimum charge. See BBay's lodge rental rates for the current rates.
The reason for charging on a per person basis is that we want to be fairly compensated for our risk, the wear and tear on the facilities, and the value you receive. All of these are proportional to the number of people attending with you.
However, if you are a teenager who wants to have your entire high school over for a party (a few hundred of your closest friends), you need not make an application.
For the risk side, we will ask at least one adult at each of the households attending to fill in an application, and sign a liability agreement.
What would the rates be if I decided to rent
the lodge for a week in July or August. There would likely be 3
families (2 adults, 2 children) (2 adults) (2 adults, 2 children) all
families are related sisters?
||July and August are Prime Time, and are charged at the
Prime Time rate.
Example rent calculations for BBay
Ontario cottage rental rates
responsible for cleaning the lodge upon vacancy?
I don't mean a cursory cleaning but a thorough proper cleaning?
The idea of cleaning on my vacation is not so appealing!!
(Neither is occupying space that has not been properly cleaned by the
||We do not have a cleaning staff to clean up after you.
My mother taught me to clean up after myself & leave everything the
same or better condition than what we received it in.
However, this is a cottage, not a surgical operating room. If you leave the cottage in a condition that is disappointing to the next family (or to us), this is a problem. If, out of fear, you spend all week worrying about cleaning standards, and how the cottage will be received by the next family, this is also a problem. We need balance & reasonableness.
The cleaning & closing jobs expected from you include:
Between the time when you leave and the next family arrives, we have
an Inspecting Housekeeper who will come. She will check that everything
is as it should be, and do some minor duties to ensure everything is in
good condition for the next family (ie. remove the garbage and Blue Box
contents, wash the windows, refill the water supply tank and
chlorinate it, rotate the central toilet composting drum, etc.). If
there is anything missing, damaged, or excessive cleaning required to
get ready for the next renters, she will document it, try to remedy the
situation, and report back to us on the situation. We will then discuss
the situation with you, and determine the most appropriate adjustment to
the damage deposit under the circumstances.
|Why do you have an Application Form and a Liability agreement for people renting? At other places I've rented, I paid them cash and they handed me a key, no paperwork required.||Traditionally, people rent their cottages to friends &
family, and friends of friends. While some friends & family
rent from us, we have taken the approach of also renting to complete
strangers via the internet. The application form is our only hope in
assessing our risk We are trying to be careful with something that is
very precious to us. We will only rent to people whom we are convinced
are responsible adults.
As for the Waiver, there are two risks we are trying to protect against.
Either way, we lose big time.
Original Date: Oct. 26, 2002