About Us

Tom and Arnold Gough with a prize catch
Tom and Arnold Gough with a prize catch
Tom and Pamela Gough, the owners of Fancy Free, share an interest in preserving the pristine environment and rich cultural history of the Rideau Lakes area. Tom grew up spending summers on Fancy Free and nearby Grandy Isle in Big Rideau Lake. His family’s close ties to Margaret Washburn, considered an honorary aunt, resulted in him often spending time as a young boy keeping his aunt company on Fancy Free Island while she gardened, watched soap operas, and took naps during her later years. One of his favourite pastimes during these summer days was timing himself as he raced around the island’s perimeter. Tom is an electrical engineer and works in Toronto.

Pamela first came to Fancy Free in 1981 as Tom’s new bride-to-be. A forest ecologist by training, she is deeply committed to maintaining the pristine environment of the Rideau Lakes area. Pamela is a public school board trustee with the Toronto District School Board. Tom and Pamela live in Toronto with their daughters Laura and Heather, who are in university.

Tom and Pamela have kept their respect for the environment as a priority in maintaining Fancy Free. Electricity for the cottage and island comes from sustainable sources of energy: wind and low-impact water generation, produced by Ontario’s Bullfrog Power. No pesticides, fertilizers or herbicides are used on Fancy Free’s lawns or gardens, and the cottage has a modern septic system especially designed for safe treatment of waste in small restricted areas such as islands. Linens are air-dried whenever possible in the breezes that constantly blow across the island.