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Sunday, March 26, 2006

Gated waterfront resort offers more than a cottage

Gated waterfront resort offers more than a cottage

Developer Eric Kerzner started out to build a lifestyle community in Orillia -- one his parents would like. But that initial plan evolved into a waterfront resort project for empty-nesters that, unexpectedly, is attracting interest from all manner of cottagers and retirees. Even he and his family have purchased a house there.

The president of Toronto-based Signature Carleton Inc. didn't intend to live at the seven-acre site -- called Sophie's Landing. But "we had a [cottage] in Collingwood, and it became more and more difficult to travel there," he explains.

What this project offers is more like a true home than a cottage. Each dwelling will have an attached garage, main-floor laundry room and gas fireplace. There will be nine-foot ceilings -- vaulted in some rooms. Standard finishes will include ceramic tile flooring, 5½-inch baseboards and laminate countertops.

For people who want to run a business from the resort, there will be high-speed Internet service, as well as space to set up a home office. As for location, Mr. Kerzner says: "It's very convenient. I can jump on the highway and be in [Toronto] in an hour."

Named after the youngest of Mr. Kerzner's four children, Sophie's Landing will be a high-end, gated community located where Lake Simcoe meets Lake Couchiching, about 140 kilometres north of downtown Toronto,.

"Orillia is grossly underdeveloped," says Mr. Kerzner, who builds custom homes and resorts. "It's surrounded by lakes. It's south of the black-fly belt, so in the summertime there are no bugs. It's on the Trent-Severn Waterway, so it's great for boating and skiing. [And it's] close by golfing and the casino [Casino Rama], so there's tons to do there."

The community will consist of 90 freehold residences along Atherly Road and Invermara Court on Smith Bay. The first phase of 49 bungalows is nearly sold out and half occupied. The second and final phase of 41 townhouses -- three-storey homes or bungalows with optional lofts or Muskoka rooms -- will be ready by fall.

Amenities will include a clubhouse, pool and espresso lounges, plus more than 1,000 feet of waterfront trails with gazebos, benches and barbecue areas. A recreation centre with fitness facilities, hot tubs and a spa will be added in the second phase.

Local amenities include live theatre, shops and historic sites such as the Stephen Leacock Museum.

As in phase one, purchasers can customize floor plans. The homes will have Muskoka or French country exteriors constructed from any combination of stone, Cape Cod siding or stucco, and will feature steep rooflines, covered porches and balconies.

The community will be tied into the city's water, gas and sewer systems. The monthly fee for the maintenance of common elements will be about $125. Owners can buy a separate maintenance package, as well as private docks for planes and boats.

Sophie's Landing

Location: Orillia

Developer: Signature Carleton Inc.

Price: $249,900 to more than $399,900

Square footage: 1,000 to 4,000

Sales centre: 5 Invermara Court, Orillia. Open Tuesday to Friday, 1 to 5 p.m.; weekends from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; evenings by appointment.

Contact: (705) 329-7710 or


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