Gateways To The Lake

Along the southern shore of Lake Simcoe runs a small country-like road with a single lane in both directions – shared by pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists.  On a warm summer day, it’s a busy place.

Travelling down this road, one has a beautiful view of the lake on one side and homes on the other.

At one time, these dwellings would have been summer cottages for the city folk in the south, but now almost all of those small summer places have disappeared and been replaced with large, modern houses with 7-figure price tags.

What I find particularly interesting is that this small road dissects the highly desirable waterfront property from its water access on the opposite side of the road.

The shoreline is dotted with private docks interspersed with public beaches.  Many of these homeowners have felt the need to erect signs, and occasionally gates, to advice people that it’s private property and they are not welcome.


In the background are the red chairs on the dock that I featured in yesterday’s post

Oddly, the fencing doesn’t continue all the way down to the lake, which makes me think the homeowner isn’t allowed to completely secure the area.  That means that people – like me – can venture behind the gate and its fencing.


Occasionally I found just a solitary door – without any fencing – that was more of a symbolic gesture rather than a real deterrent.

Now in hindsight, I wish I had stopped to take more photos.

Thursday Doors is a weekly photo challenge hosted by Norm Frampton at Norm 2.0.  Today Norm takes us to Newfoundland and an ancient Viking settlement estimated to be at least a 1,000 years old at L’Anse aux Meadows.  Check it out.


    • This particular trip along the south shore of Lake Simcoe made me realize that I’ve never been around the entire lake. I must fix that omission some day. Perhaps this time of year is a great time to take a trip like that.

      Thanks for thinking about me. Your’s is actually the 2nd invitation I’ve received 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • I think Canadians are a bit cavalier about water because we have so much of it … but generally my opinion tends towards your’s. It’s a natural resource and should be open to all. Someone may own waterfront property, but shouldn’t have the right to restrict access to the shoreline.


  1. The first “rich people” gates I encountered were on the TV sitcom The Beverly Hillbillies – for me, that set the habit of wanting to go through, around, whatever it took to see what was so special behind such elaborate barriers. I’ve never found the cojones to actually follow through on the impulse. Instead I mock and deride as I pass by the wrought iron extravagances. I suppose that’s an indicator of my lower status in the world. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I like the actual gates much more than their purpose. I always remember how good it felt to walk along the warer’s edge as we moved across a private beach (whose privacy ended (n) feet behind the high water mark).


  3. Well, I guess if you are going to deny public access, at least you can do it with a pretty gate. California’s Coastal Act of 1976 mandates public access to “all land seaward of the mean high tide line.” People with big bucks are always ignoring the law and erecting big ugly barriers.


  4. During our hike of the Bruce Trail we saw “private – keep out” signs on beaches as well and I always thought no one in the province could have rights to beaches. I always thought there was a 50 or 60 foot water mark up from the water but was going to do some research and your blog has spurred me on. I hate the thought of the rich and powerful owning our beaches.


    • I have no idea what the law is on beach rights … or if it’s provincial vs municipality regulated.
      I do know there have been some major battles in the Wasaga Beach area over water access by the public.


  5. I’m glad there are some public beaches, Joanne. It’s kind of a shame when these beautiful places are hoarded by the super rich with fences to keep out the riff-raff. At least the gates are tastefully done. I suppose that’s the consolation prize. 😀


  6. I think it’s to deter people from using their portion of the property as an access point.. There are some home in Florida where a public road cuts through the home and there waterfront access and I’ve seen gates there. I do think you have liability issues if people get hurt on your dock and you would see people fishing from the public or ungated dockless strips of land.

    You’ve captured some beautiful scenery! It looks like a lovely lake to visit!


    • I hadn’t considered the liability angle, but so many people mentioned it. Of course it makes sense now.

      It’s actually a very large lake and it can get quite wild in bad weather. I’ve seen it with big waves and white caps. I wouldn’t want to be caught on there when bad weather has rolled in.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m not fond of private owners of waterfront property. I agree that it should be accessible to all. But sometimes that’s not possible, and if I owned one of those pricey homes, I would definitely want my privacy. Regardless, that canoe planter is beautiful!


    • That’s the conundrum, isn’t it? I too see both sides of the issue. Give me my privacy, please.

      I love the canoe planter too. It was a stroke of brilliance in its location right by the water.


  8. Lovely shots Joanne. That gate with the red chairs is lovely and the canoe planter is a wonderful touch.
    In my younger days I did a number of guided canoe/kayak camping excursions that took me through some inhabited shoreline areas.
    The way international maritime law was explained to me, as it applies from the water anyways, is that no landowner can deny access to the shoreline to any boater who has a reasonable need to come ashore.
    You can’t stay, pitch a tent, and move in indefinitely, but if you have an emergency or need to rest or make repairs, no one can prevent you from coming ashore.
    Going from land to the water however, I believe each jurisdiction can set its own rules regarding access to the water.


    • That makes perfect sense to me. Thanks for clarifying that. As a boater in trouble, it’s good to know that you have right of access.

      The trouble is that people are jerks and inevitably there will be those who think nothing of “taking advantage”.

      Portions of the Bruce Trail rely on property owners to grant trail access across their property. Trail rules are very clear … stay on the trail.
      Last year at least one property owner rescinded trail access because of the number of people who were violating the owner’s privacy by peering in windows of his house or setting up for lunch in the backyard.
      A few can ruin it for everyone.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I wonder, did someone die in that canoe? Those flowers are doing real well.

    I don’t like the idea of natural features that people use for recreation, such as beaches, being closed off to the public. I believe we are all better off when we can share nature’s beauties together.


  10. You get the same thing here on river / beach access, where a public pathway crosses the private land. I guess if I owned some water frontage I wouldn’t want people trespassing on to it. Actually, now I think about it, I DID own water frontage once when I lived on a marina in Cape Town. Our boundary extended 1 metre into the waterway. That boat would have looked lovely there!


    • That right of waterfront property owners to have possession into the waterline is a major point of contention on some lakes.

      I have an issue with big chunks of waterfront property being acquired by developers that ultimately cuts off what used to be public access.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think coast line should be like national parks, because it is miraculous and also limited. The ocean is so amazing. We can walk the beach here round trip 12 miles if we time the tides right.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. I love the gates, am bit of a sucker for gates. Love the boat planter, too. Looks like it was a nice day to be out 🙂
    I suppose it all counts as trespassing and I feel a bit conflicted about it. Owning beaches, owning lakes — not natural. However, if I owned such a lot, I wouldn’t want piles of people traipsing down like they own the place, either. I don’t even like stranger children running through my yard. I wish I made sense, but I don’t.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Some of those 7 figure homes have some really amazing gates! And, there’s my dock with the red chairs. I knew I liked that place. 😉 actually, I am more of a small house person than a sprawling estate person, though I’m not at all opposed to acreage!
    Sadly, a lot of the homes along the river and ocean over here have gone the same direction. The public access comes via the great condo landscape or downtown. I remember the first time I saw the Daytona Beach skyline as we crested the bridge…my jaw dropped! Instead of ocean, I saw row after row of condos, some up to twenty stories high. Back in the day, it used to be dotted with small beach bungalows that were rented for the season…I think I like that idea better.

    As far as the gated entrances of the high end homes, many of ours have the gates only close them at night when they are sleeping. Leaving them open in the daytime, even when they are out of town, so the fire/police department can get inside if needed. Imagine my surprise when I accidentally set off the alarm as I was leaving and got an urgent call from my out of town client that the alarm had gone off. I raced back there and was getting a hidden key from the back yard when two cop cars came flying in, police jumped out in force, ready to catch a burglar in the act. I had to yell a nervous hello…with a really friendly face and very apologetic look so they wouldn’t shoot me. Whew! It worked…but they still insisted on walking through every room in the house to ensure it was safe.


    • That’s actually a good point. Many of the gated properties I’ve seen, the gates are either open or appear to be unlocked. I suspect it is more of a *look* thing than an actual barrier to entry.

      In some areas here, particularly along Georgian Bay, there have been conflicts between the residents and the general public about access to the beach.
      The residents consider it an invasion of their privacy and believe their property line extends beyond the water’s edge.

      Liked by 1 person

      • In some areas, the property line does include the water. My aunt’s beach house in Maryland does. Even though we have a “no trespassing” sign attached to the long drive and again to the steps that lead to the beach, we always have people using that access. I don’t think she has a problem with them using it, the signs are more a liability protection.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. A closed gate on the way to the water seems to be so cruel at first. Perhaps it could be interesting to read up on the law. Where does it stand if someone drowns on private property -or a private boat ramp? Could the owners be held accountable for giving free access? The law is a funny thing these days.

    The gates are gorgeous. Great shots and yes, you should have taken more pictures.


    • I know, silly me. It was a long, hot bike ride and it would have been longer if I had kept stopping. Oh well, a reason to return again, I guess 🙂

      Actually, that’s a good point. It never occurred to me that the No Trespassing signs were a means of reducing responsibility in the event of an accident.

      Liked by 1 person

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