Resort Style Cottage Community


In only six weeks since launching in late July, buyers have nearly cleared out the inventory of bungalows and bungalow lofts available at Legacy Cottages, just 2-1/2 hours north of Toronto.

Owning property in Muskoka is often cost-prohibitive as some lakefront cottages can run upward of $25-million, according to the Rosseau Group.

So Rosseau said it eased the financial burden of cottage ownership in redeveloping a former resort on Lake Rosseau with 43 maintenance-free detached cottages priced from $699,000.

“We wanted people to be able to say, ‘For what I can buy for a one-bedroom-and-den condo in downtown Toronto, I can buy a cottage, fully furnished and turnkey on arguably the most prestigious lake in Canada,’ ” co-founder and local cottage owner John Mehlenbacher said.

“We wanted to make it hard for them to say, ‘No.’ “

“I’m quite humbled to say we’ve more or less sold out,” Mr. Mehlenbacher said.

“A lot of our competitors do fractional ownerships, time-share and hotel rooms and condominiums, but there has not been another project on Lake Rosseau with free-standing cottages where you own your own structure.”

While there was little for the developer to salvage from the former Lakeside Lodge Resort, save for some historical signs and wood finishes, it will keep the resort-like lifestyle.

It will feature more than 400 feet of shared waterfront with a beach, boathouse and boat, as well as an infinity pool and hot tub, all maintained by Clevelands House Resort next door for fees of $500 monthly.

 “The difference with traditional Muskoka cottages is that everyone owns their own piece of property on their own shoreline, so [for instance] when my kids are at the cottage on Lake Rosseau, if they want to play with someone they have to jump in a boat and go play somewhere.

“Whereas in this type of community, which is how I grew up, you just run around the property and play with different people … so it’s a more communal feel,” said Mr. Mehlenbacher, who spent his youth in cottages around Lake Erie, Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.

“This works very well all around the world, it’s just not something you see a lot in Muskoka.”

Since this project was devised in collaboration with Ken Fowler Enterprises, which is restoring Clevelands House Resort, Legacy Cottage owners will not only gain access to the resort’s golf course, 16 tennis courts, restaurants, watercrafts and toys, but can also use its room services and rental program.

As an homage to traditional cottages, these two- to five-bedroom cottages will display classic wood siding, peaked roofs and screened-in porches. Inside, Hicks Design Studio will add contemporary wood, porcelain, ceramic and granite finishes, as well as stone fireplaces.

“We tried to take the best of what you see at cottages,” Mr. Mehlenbacher said. “You leave large entertaining spaces, like kitchens and great rooms with vaulted ceilings, so you have nice presence when you’re looking out towards the lake.”

Every cottage will also be positioned to maximize those sightlines to the lake. “It’s a very unique piece of property because from the water to the back of the property, it’s about a 60-foot elevation change,” Mr. Mehlenbacher said.

“To buy 100 feet back from the water – or 200 feet – and still have very nice water views because you’re 30 feet higher makes a big difference.”



DEVELOPER The Rosseau Group

BUILDER Rock Cliff Custom Homes

SIZE 1,500 to 3,000 square feet

PRICE From $699,000

SALES CENTRE Clevelands House Resort at 1040 Juddhaven Rd., east of Peninsula Road in Minett. Open weekends from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

CONTACT Phone 416-509-0153 or visit

As originally featured by The Globe and Mail: