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 Ontario’s Rideau Lakes area, and sharing it with others.

Tom grew up in the post-war era, summering on Fancy Free Island 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 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.

Pamela first came to Fancy Free as a Master’s student in Forestry in 1981. A forest ecologist by training, she is deeply committed to maintaining the famed biodiversity of the Rideau Lakes area, part of Ontario’s Frontenac Arch Biosphere. Pamela is a  former Thousand Islands National Park naturalist and spent many years as a environmental advocate and public school board trustee with the Toronto District School Board. Tom and Pamela live in Toronto.

Tom and Pamela have kept their respect for the environment as a priority in maintaining Fancy Free. No pesticides, fertilizers or herbicides are used on Fancy Free’s lawns or its gardens, which feature indigenous plant species and are designed to encourage breeding birds and native bees. The island has a modern septic system especially designed for safe treatment of waste in small restricted areas.