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A Resort-Like Retreat Built Into the Rock Formations of Ontario

The forested estate totals more than 30 acres and comes with multiple villas and entertainment spaces

A Resort-Like Retreat Built Into the Rock Formations of Ontario.

A Resort-Like Retreat Built Into the Rock Formations of Ontario.


Location: Athens, Ontario, Canada

Price: C$12 million (US$9,348,000)

Custom-built over five years on an expanse of natural rock formations, this secluded lakeside estate in Ontario offers more than 11,000 square feet of living and recreation space. The compound includes 10 buildings clustered on 5.6 acres, plus an additional 27 surrounding acres.

“This is the place for someone who wants the ultimate in privacy,” said listing agent Marilyn Wilson of Marilyn Wilson Dream Properties Inc., an affiliate of Christie’s International Real Estate. “It’s not a place to see and be seen, like the Hamptons or Muskoka. I think we’ll see an international client for this one, or a celebrity. And we have many Canadian families who’ve sought a compound like this for years.”

The seller is a Canadian businessman who spent much of his time in South America. The estate was intended to evoke “a Mediterranean villa, but in Canada,” Ms. Wilson said. “You don’t usually see this kind of property in Canada.” Each building has a steel roof that’s been designed to resemble trompe-l’oeil terracotta tile, for example.

The property includes about 535 feet of deeded waterfront. Six of the estate’s buildings are “villas,” with sleeping quarters, bathrooms and kitchens, Ms. Wilson said. They offer a total 7,383 square feet of living space.

“The duplication of amenities means you’re never far from a kitchen or bathroom,” she added.

Meanwhile, all of the buildings were sited to maximize views of Charleston Lake. Each villa is indulgently equipped; bunk beds in one house come with a television built into each bunk. All furniture, decor and equipment are included in a sale.

The other four buildings include a games-and-recreation center; a music hall and bar with a $500,000 karaoke and performance stage; another bar that recreates the owner’s favorite Peruvian watering hole and a boathouse. The owner installed 20 outdoor seating areas across the property, including a lakeside fire pit built atop a rough natural rock formation. “It’s like a five-star resort,” Ms. Wilson said. “And it’s there for one family to enjoy, not be on top of each other.”

long bar and ample seating

A $500,000 sound system and karaoke setup are the stars of a building that also features a long bar and ample seating.


The property features 7,000 square feet of living space spread across 10 buildings set on 5.6 acres. Six of the structures are villas, with a total 10 bedrooms and 11 bathrooms. The other four buildings are dedicated entertainment, recreation or dining spaces. A parking lot stretches for more than 12,000 square feet and features electric-vehicle chargers. The estate includes another 27 acres that extend beyond the residential compound.


Along with a heated driveway, hot tubs and elevators in the music-hall building, the owner added less conventional amenities to the estate. A generator, greenhouse and ample storage space are designed to keep the property self-sustaining for up to a year.

“The storage is massive,” Ms. Wilson said. “You can stock up on your canned goods.” Much of the lush greenery and vibrant flora that decorate the estate come from the greenhouse.

The estate includes a boathouse and a boat slip on Charleston Lake.

The estate includes a boathouse and a boat slip on Charleston Lake.

Talking points

Charleston Lake is “one of Canada’s hidden gems,” Ms. Wilson said. The lake offers more than 100 miles of shoreline and about 100 islands, she said, with little private development.

Because the land was purchased before local bylaws regulated lakeside development, the estate sits much closer to the lake than current construction would allow. “Because it was grandfathered in, the owner was able to create this water’s-edge effect,” Ms. Wilson said. Much of the lakefront is also protected Crown Landproperty owned by the Canadian government—making any construction highly unlikely, she said.

Neighborhood Notes

Charleston Lake is within the town of Athens, Ontario, a hamlet of about 3,000 residents. One of the town’s claims to fame has been the annual Cornfest, “the corniest down-home country festival in Ontario,” according to organizers. Big-box shopping and other amenities are nearby in Brockville, a small city about 25 minutes east. Ottawa International Airport is about 90 minutes north by car, and New York City is about 6.5 hours due south.

Agent: Marilyn Wilson and Reba Wilson, Marilyn Wilson Dream Properties Inc./Christie’s International Real Estate


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