Frequently Asked Questions

Table of Contents

Is Black's Bay Lodge right for me ?

Traveling  to & From Black's Bay Lodge

Cottage Facilities

Safety_at_the_Cottage

Water, Waterfront, Beach

Town of Providence Bay & Surrounding Area


Activities Available at Black's Bay

BBay's Policy for Pets, Multi-Family, Extended Family, or Group Rentals

Renting_the_Cottage

Example on Calculating Your Rental Fee

Q & A

Is Black's Bay Lodge right for me?

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:
  • more "roughing" than a 10' x 10' plot for your Winnebago land yacht in a Provincial or State Park with electricity, firewood, and showers provided by the Park Wardens.

  • less "roughing" than a wilderness canoe trip into a remote lake in Algonquin Park, or a fly-in to a remote wilderness lake in Northern Canada. While we are just 2 km. from the town of Providence Bay, we are a remote, self-reliant, hunt camp in a 113 acre forest.


By self-reliant, I mean:

  • The lodge is "Off the Grid".  We generate our own electricity, haul in our own fuel supply via propane tanks, and cut our own firewood from our forest.   There is a radio for news, weather, music, etc.  There are no standard utility connections (ie. no electricity, no phone, no water, no TV, no cable).     Nobody delivers fuel  to us through a pipe, nor electricity over miles of poles & wires to the switch on our wall.  We do this for ourselves. Also, there is no handyman on site to run everything for you.  The owner lives 6 hrs. away by car.  You are expected to be self-reliant.
  • To help you achieve self-reliance,
    • There is an Operating Manual & Renter's Guide in the lodge.  It describes all major systems, how they work, troubleshooting, operation, etc..  You can see the index to the manual on this website.  If you wish, you can look at the entire manual to know exactly what is expected & how things work.

    • The owner, designer, builder, & technical expert of BBay will be either on-site as your hunting guide, or available 24 hrs. per day by phone for any questions or concerns you may have (live, immediate response; or leave a message & I will call you back).

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 friendly people).

Remember, there are more white tail deer on Manitoulin Island than people.  Except for the few towns & villages, Manitoulin is not urban, it's countryside as it was 100 years ago. 


Traveling to & From Black's Bay Lodge

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 following table:

  Via Tobermory & ferry Via Hwy. 17
(Sault St. Marie or Sudbury) , then Espanola, & swing bridge at Little Current
Buffalo, NY 330 mi. 460 mi.
Chicago, IL 585 mi. 660 mi.
Cincinnati, OH 570 mi. 820 mi.
Cleveland, OH via Buffalo 520 mi. 650 mi.
Cleveland, OH via Detroit 475 mi. 725 mi.
Detroit, MI 300 mi. 550 mi.
Ottawa, ON via North Bay, Sudbury, Espanola  not recommended 650 km., 410 mi.
Toronto, ON 400 km., 250 mi. 570 km., 355 mi.
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 Tobermory.

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)



Hunting Lodge Facilities

What are the sleeping accommodations at BBay?
Master bedroom View of waterfront from 2nd. floor deck 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 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 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 couch 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 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 showers?
There are three options for bathing at BBay.
  1. There is an indoor full size tub, and shower in the main bathroom with a propane fired 50 US gallon hot water heater (propane fired) for piping hot water.  You will have to run the generator (to run the well water pump), or the small DC pump during your shower to get the required pressure to shower with.  The gravity feed water tank in the attic only supplies 10 psig water (sufficient for normal tap water flow), but you need a higher water pressure to shower.

  2. There is one of the world's biggest bathtubs available at BBay (Lake Huron).  We suggest using Ivory bar soap; as it always floats and you don't lose it.  In addition, it is very environmentally friendly compared to soaps with oils included (ie. Ponds, Dove, etc.)

  3. There is an outdoor shower with solar heater.  There is an auxiliary electric water heater (requires generator) for cold &/or cloudy days.  See BBay's  Auxiliary Facilities for more info and pictures.
Please describe the outdoor facilities in more detail
Shower head Outdoor shower 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.

The Operating Manual has a full listing of what's in the cottage, and what you should bring with you.



Safety at the Cottage

We were 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 for them?
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 the outdoors.

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 the property?
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.



Lake, Waterfront, Beach

Question Answer
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 flies".
Close-up view of waterfront view from main deck of cottage Waterfront from cottage deck 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 Black's Bay?
Water in N. Canada tends to be colder.  This is what give you the great fishing for cold water fish like lake trout and salmon.

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.



Town of Providence Bay & Surrounding Area

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 week.
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 you brought.

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.



Activities Available at Black's Bay

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 http://www.gov.on.ca/opp/welcome/english/
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 cottage?
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 ?
  • Rock collections.  This area has a collection of sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic rocks of all shapes & sizes.  Did you know that gold freezes out in igneous rock right next to quartz (the bright white or clear crystalline rock)

  • Fossils.  The sedimentary flat rock at the beach is dolomite formed on the bottom of a vast ocean millions of years ago.  There are millions of fossils in this rock; plants, animals, insects, fish, etc.  Looking for 5 minutes is bound to find a fossil.  Look longer, and you will find some important discoveries.

  • Nature Trail  The property has numerous trails, meadows, swamps, forests, and grasslands.  There is a different ecosystem in each.  Look for the birds, insects, mammals, flowers, garter snakes, frogs, fungus (mushrooms), trees, and bushes in each of these areas.  There are numerous guide books in the cottage.  Take a very slow walk in the woods.  Stop occasionally, then stand very still for 5 minutes (laying down on the ground is even better).  After 5 minutes as a statue, the woods will resume normal activity, and you will experience it first hand.  Some things you will only hear; others are completely noise free but you can see what's going on.  Every trip will be different.

  • Stars & Planets   Manitoulin Island is recognized as one of the darkest skies in Ontario, almost as good as Algonquin Park.  There are star charts in the cottage.  Wait 20 minutes to get your night vision & find your stars by bare eye observations, or with one of the 3 pairs of binoculars.

  • Satellite Watching   If you lay flat on your back, look straight up, and stare; watching for something moving, you will see a satellite traveling across the sky about every 30 minutes.  You don't need binoculars; in fact, I've never been able to find a satellite with binoculars, even after I spotted one with my bare eyes..  They are very small (ie. a grain of sand at 1 ft. from your eye), sparkle slightly from the sun reflecting off of them, usually traveling from North-east to South-west (they really go due South, but the earth's simultaneously rotation makes it look different).  No where else will you be able to see a real satellite in flight.

  • Deer Watching   The deer move first thing in the morning (approx. 30 minutes after sunrise for about an hour), and last thing at night (1 hr. before sundown).  To increase your odds of seeing a deer, place a cup of corn/oats mixture (there is a full bin in the Mud Room) on the ground for aa day or two, watching who shows up.  If only the corn is eaten, it was a rabbit or a bird.  Only the deer (and bears) eat both the corn and the oats.  Only a cup at a time isn't worth while for a bear, but the deer will certainly participate once they find it.  It takes 12 to 24 hrs. for the smell of the corn/oats to travel sufficiently for the deer to reliably find it.  Bring your camp stools and your camera.  Sitting in the car keeps the noise and human odor to a minimum, increasing your chances.

  • Art Contest   Crayons, pencils, watercolours, or oils; it's all the same.  Do one of the local scenes, or use your imagination.

  • Bonfire & Weenie Roast   Sharpen a stick and stick your favorite sausage in the fire to a golden brown.  Serve with flaming marshmallows.  There is a shaking pan for making popcorn over the open fire

  • Fire Building Skills   Give everyone 15 minutes to find their own tinder (no man-made materials allowed) and 3 matches.  Who can get the first fire to burn?  Who can get the cup of water to boil first?

  • Card & Board Games  For the Phase 10 card game, luck, skill, pattern recognition, memory, and probability calculations (combinations and permutations) all help win this game.  There are many other board games (Scrabble, Monopoly, Uno, etc.) available as well.

  • Waterfront   The shallow, warm water in the bay is the home of newly born fish.  They are very small and well camouflaged to protect them from being eaten by the birds and bigger fish.  If you use a net or stay very still by the water (they are scared by the slightest vibration in the ground or moving shadows over the water) you will be able to watch them.  There are also thousand of crayfish in the bay.  Families of raccoons come down ever night to catch the crayfish by moon or starlight.  You can catch them too.  Build a rock cairn to mark your stay.

  • Woodcrafts   There are numerous wood tools in the work room.  There are many branches, cut trees, birch bark, and other raw materials.  Feel free to make yourself something.  Take a rock and all kinds of different seeds, pine cones, dried flowers, etc. arrange them to look like something familiar (ie. an animal), then glue them on the rock as a decoration & souvenir of your vacation at Black's Bay (much better than a plastic souvenir made in China).

  • Water Sports   Swimming, swimming races, longest holding of the breath under water contests, snorkeling, throw a rock & dive for it, water skiing (requires boat or powerful swimmer pulling you),

  • Canoeing   There is a 16 ft. plastic walled canoe (Kawartha brand), adequate for 750 lbs. of people & gear, but weighs only 69 lbs. (my wife can lift it by herself).  It comes complete with 2 paddles, safety equipment, & buoyancy vests.

    Canoe at BBay

    Length: 15'6"

    Width: 35"

    Weight: 65 lb.

    Capacity 750 lb

    Canoe The Kawartha is the perfect family canoe. At home on the lakes or in the rivers, this versatile canoe can take all the abuse you can dish out. The hull is constructed with a three layer linear polyethylene sandwich. This creates an exceptionally stiff canoe with reasonable weight. Our standard trim includes 2 webbed wood seats (ash), a carry yoke (poplar), a thwart (ash), and 4 carry handles (2 plastic tube & rope, 2 wood)


  • Sunsets   On a clear evening, start 1 hr. before sunset, walking along the beach to the West.  Wear a good pair of boots with ankle support & bring 2 or more flashlights (in case 1 fails or is dropped).  Bring a camera.  When you reach the point between Black's Bay and Dean's Bay, sit down on the rocks and admire the sunset.  You can return by continuing to walk West and then join the Concession Road (check it out from the road side first so you don't get lost in the woods at night), or walk back along the beach by starlight &/or moonlight (it's amazing how much you can see after you get your night vision), or use your flashlights.

    An even better sunset trip is to drive out to the lighthouse at Meldrum Bay (far West end of Manitoulin Island), a 100 km. drive each way.  Be sure to start out at least 2 hrs. before sunset (I recommend 3 hrs minimum, or leaving after lunch is optimum) so you have time to explore the town, the lighthouse, the quarry, etc., topped off by the sunset at the end of the day.  Take a picnic lunch, binoculars, camera, coats (it gets cool at sundown with the wind off the water), & sturdy shoes/boots.
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.



Renting the Lodge

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.
I would 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 lodge ?
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 lodge?
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

Comparison of Ontario cottage rental rates

Are we 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 last occupants.) 
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:
  • Cleaning up any extra-ordinary messes, or "family projects"
  • Putting everything back in its standard storage location
  • Doing all the dishes, drying, & putting them back in the cupboards
  • Wiping out the kitchen sinks, sink strainers, and the dish pans
  • Wiping down all the kitchen counters, appliances, dining room table, and top surface of the wood stove
  • Straightening up the coffee table and the books in the living room
  • Emptying out the fridge, defrosting it, and wiping out the inside
  • Sweeping or vacuuming the floors (whichever you prefer, not necessary to do both)
  • Collecting the garbage & recyclables & putting them out at the road (beside the gas barbeque)
  • Replacing the fuel (propane &/or gasoline) that you used
  • Cleaning the bathroom sink, tub, shower, and toilet
  • Locking up the cottage, all out buildings, and the chains at the security gate

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.

If you wish to pay an extra $100, I will arrange for our Inspecting Housekeeper to come prepared after you leave to do all the cleaning for you during the 3 hr. window between renters (11:00 AM till 2:00 PM).

While there are many interpretations of what "suitably clean" means, I think the Golden Rule goes a long way.  Hopefully the "cleaning perfectionist" rents and enjoys before the rustic "good enough" cleaner comes to rent; not visa versa.

My wife, in spite of years of my smiling & shaking of my head in disbelief, will always clean the house in preparation for the arrival of our cleaning lady.  She also washes the dishes before putting them in the dishwasher.  Why?   I'll never understand, excepts she doesn't feel right doing otherwise.

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.
  • A renter does something to themselves (e.g.. swan dives into 2 ft. deep water & becomes paraplegic), but wants to blame everybody else, especially us, for their problem, & sues everybody in sight.  As an example, there was a recent case where a homeowner was sued, losing his house & everything they owned (in spite of their house insurance) when a neighbour climbed up onto the roof of their garage to jump into their pool (breaking his neck in the process).  The owners & everybody else present (including the victim's wife) repeatedly told him not to do it & come down via the ladder he had taken out of their garage without permission.  In our case, we face losing our cottage, our life savings, our home, our car, etc. (with or without insurance) because of what somebody else does to themselves.

  • A renter destroys our cottage (e.g.. smoking in bed, burns down cottage & starts forest fire).  We lose what has taken 25 years of hard work & financial sacrifice to build.  Who was responsible and did the right thing when they explained the risk of fire & prohibiting smoking in the cottage, especially smoking in bed?  Who was irresponsible & should be held accountable?  

Either way, we lose big time.

Whether or not you sign a waiver, the risks exist.  We have tried to be honest, upfront, and depend on informed consent.  What have the other people who rent their cottage done?  With others, each side assumes (or hides) the fact that they believe the other party will be fully responsible if something happens.  If something happens, these conflicting assumptions then take many lawyers & millions of dollars in fees to settle.  Everybody loses except the lawyers.  Our way, we minimize losses, and cut out the lawyers from being the only winners.

If someone borrows a neighbours lawnmower, but hits a rock while cutting their lawn and breaks the mower, should the neighbour receive their lawnmower back in a broken condition?  Is it right to expect the person who borrowed the mower to repair or replace the mower so it is as good as before it was borrowed?

The waiver tries to explain the risks so you can make a responsible decision.  We have tried to do what is right and reasonable, but you have to take BBay as it is.  This is reality.  Our web site is designed with  the goal of full disclosure in mind, so you have no surprises.  We expect a person to be careful & responsible for themselves.  If this is too great a burden, then they should find something else more to their liking.  If what we have to offer seems too risky to you, or you're not prepared to be responsible for yourself & your actions, we'll understand your decision to go elsewhere.  After all, our policy is to only rent to responsible adults.

In our opinion, you carry unknown risks and unknown expectations with other places who don't disclose all.  Also, most of those people who rent their cottage are in the neighbourhood & can watch over their place, or have a decade of experience renting to the same friends & family.  We are located 5 hrs. travel from our place and only in our 2nd year of renting.  We can't watch over each day of the rental.  We have to carefully screen who rents, then trust.

 Original Date: Oct. 26, 2002