Site at home with nature


If you drive through Lakewood expecting to see homes and the development's private lake, you will be in for a disappointment. Chances are you won't see any more than the trees.

The 550-acre wooded site on the Bruce Peninsula west of Lion's Head will eventually accommodate 144 freehold homes - 21 have been built to date - but since 230 acres have been set aside for nature and habitat protection, and for over six miles of trails, the homes are hidden behind trees from most viewpoints. And even if you take a stroll on the 1,500-foot boardwalk alongside of 70-acre spring-fed West Little Lake in the heart of the development, you will only catch an occasional glimpse of the homes because of a mandatory 125-foot environmental setback.

Lot sizes range from 1 BC to 2 BD acres with owners allowed a half-acre `envelope' for the location of their home. The balance of each lot is to be left in a natural state. Waterfront owners, however, are allowed to develop a path and view to the lake where a small dock is permitted. (Motorized boats are not allowed on the lake).

On-site amenities include a central dock and a community boardwalk in a natural setting. A municipal boat launch on Lake Huron is located 1,500 feet west of the site on Lake Huron. Marina facilities and beaches are 5 miles to the east at Lion's Head on Georgian Bay.

Cindy Varga lives on site with husband Les, and with their two Golden Retrievers, Forrest and Mepps. She has been actively involved in marketing the homes since inception of the development.

``I'm an information person, not a real estate sales person,'' says Varga. ``When someone comes to tour the community, I give them 100 per cent of my time for as long as needed. For that reason I will only see one party at a time and by appointment only.''

Varga also says that buyers are encouraged to choose every item in their home, and that there are no hidden costs. The `turnkey' contract price covers everything, she says, including a deep-drilled well.20

Forest lots range in price from $17,910 to $25,110; and waterfront lots from $47,000 to $60,000. Home prices are difficult to tie down because of the extensive customizing encouraged.

Bruce Peninsula

The first phase of the development is serviced by a municipally operated sewage-disposal system. Individual septic systems will be used for future phases.

The eight `cottage-like' home designs in the information package start at 1,248 square feet and are for the most part suitable for serious down-sizers. However, the largest, the 1,836- square-foot Norgoma, has a master bedroom on the main floor, including an ensuite bathroom, and two bedrooms and a shared bathroom on the second floor. In total, however, there are over 50 pre-designed homes available to be built in conventional stick frame, post-and-beam, or log construction, with no upper size restrictions.

Dave and Laureen Barrow retired to Lakewood from London four years ago. ``We looked at a lot of developments before we decided on Lakewood. Other developments were too crowded and didn't have the natural setting we wanted, '' says Dave. Barrow should know what he likes when it comes to the outdoors - he spent 30 years in the provincial park system before retirement.

The developers, John and Sharon Keeso, have developed three other `cottage communities' in the area since 1980 including Widgeon Cove at Pike Bay, Hobson's Harbour on Little Pike Bay, and Spry Shores in the Lookabout Bay area.

Northern ``Wood'' Builders, the construction company at Lakewood, is headed up by Les Varga and Dave Wood. Wood has over 30 years experience in the industry. All homes are covered under the Ontario New Home Warranty Program.

To make an appointment with Cindy Varga, phone 1-800-572-2162 or e-mail For more information go to

Lakewood is approximately 250 kilometres northwest of Toronto. To get there, head north on the Bruce Peninsula on Highway 6. Go past Owen Sound and Wiarton, and at Ferndale turn left onto Bruce Road 9. At the stop sign, turn left onto West Road. After a short distance turn right onto Lakewood Country Lane.