Globe & Mail


Builder promises more calm, less commute

Geranium Corp.

430 to 4,260 square feet

Mid-$200,000s to more than$2-million

49 Wellington St. E., second floor, east of Yonge Street in Toronto. Open Monday to Friday from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; weekends from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Phone 647-351-0991 or 1-855-351-0551 or visit

Developer Earl Rumm is a long-time cottager who understands the cottage trade-off: A relaxing weekend in the Muskoka and Kawartha Lakes countryside often comes only at the expense of hours of stressful commuting on crowded highways.

Mr. Rumm, the president of Geranium Corp., says the company’s new Friday Harbour resort development is the alternative: A community on Lake Simcoe –just an hour’s drive north of Toronto in Innisfil – where residents will spend more time navigating open waters and lush terrain than being trapped in a car.

“Friday Harbour is probably one of the very few cottage-country projects where you don’t start planning your weekend to leave on Sunday to beat the traffic,” says Mr. Rumm, who lives in the area, along with many friends and family.

“There is no other project that can boast about the transportation and routes we have up to Friday

Harbour. We’re five min-utes away from the GO train and GO buses for people who want to use those modes of transportation and we can go straight up the 400 [highway] to the south end of Barrie before all the congestion really starts.”

The catalyst behind vision for this sustainable, master-planned community was a photo Mr. Rumm spotted at a boat shop in the old Big Bay Point Marina, which is being redeveloped with-in the 600-acre site at Big Bay Point Road and 13th Line.

“We are the largest real estate resort going on from inception in North America,” says Mr. Rumm, who began project marketing late last year. “We open and sold $50-million dollars worth of real estate at a time when things appeared to be a little quieter than normal.”

About 1,600 condominiums and 400 hotel suites will be built around a 200-acre protected nature preserve with walking trails, an 18-hole championship golf course and a 40-acre marina with up to 1,000 boat slips.

“Lake Simcoe is on the Trent-Severn Waterway, so you can go all the way to the St. Lawrence River and United States through the lock systems. We are accessi-ble really to the world,” Mr. Rumm states. “There are no other projects that can boast all the amenities that we will provide, and we are a true year-round resort.”

For instance, there will be a performing arts centre, boutiques and bistros in the village, as well as a private beach, tennis courts, business centre and clubhouse with a training centre, pools, croquet lawn, bar and fireside patio.

“Whether you buy a $1.5-million unit or a $300,000 unit, we’re all going to eat at the same restaurants, use the same golf club and marina, and do the same activities,” says Mr. Rumm, who adds that amenities will be completed before the first residents move in by spring 2015. “That brings back a real sense of community.”

Plus, the site will be a short drive to malls, theatres and attractions in and around Barrie.

“We’re within 20 minutes of a quarter million people who can come use our facilities and support our shopkeepers and our downtown village. We’re not a population that goes from 20,000 a year in the summer up to 100,000 and when those seasonal people leave, it’s a ghost town,” Mr. Rumm states. “No other cottage project can boast those kinds of numbers.”

Drawing some of the best elements of European harbour towns, the pedestrian-friendly project will feature wide board-walks and gently winding streets lined with modern yet traditional cottage-country-style buildings to house studios to five-bedroom models in one or two-storey layouts, plus six-bedroom town-houses.

“About 95 per cent of our buyers are what we call end users… as opposed to investors from abroad that rent it out and you never know who your neighbours are,” Mr. Rumm adds. “That’s an important differentiation between us and other resorts as well.”

Monthly fees will range from 24 to 73 cents per square feet as Boardwalk and Harbour Flat suites include parking and a locker, while Marina Residences will be in a gated area with private garages, boat slips and boardwalks.

Globe & Mail
March 22, 2013