A Victorian summer home on its own private island

A five bedroom Victorian summer home, Fancy Free is a beautiful historic cottage near Portland, Ontario. Fancy Free is on its own private island in spectacular Big Rideau Lake, a World Heritage Site in Eastern Ontario, Canada.

The stress of the 21st century begins to lift away the moment you set foot on Fancy Free Island. You’ll experience a simpler mode of living where summer fun is the order of the day, and nature is always close at hand.

The beauty and charm of this unspoiled area of lakes, villages, and forests has made it a favorite vacation destination for years. Experience the tranquil island way of life, where you can recharge and reconnect with loved ones in an environment of serenity and calm.

In the spirit of respect for the biodiversity of the Rideau Lakes area, all aspects of Fancy Free’s management respect environmental values.

A historic cottage near Portland, Ontario - Fancy Free Island

The Bedrooms

Fancy Free’s  five bedrooms comfortably accommodate its maximum capacity of up to eight guests.

Bedroom layout: Room 1: double bed; Room 2: double bed; Room 3: double bed; Room 4: two twin beds; Room 5: one twin bed


  • all bedrooms are on the upper floor and have lake views
  • beds have cozy duvets and high quality pillows
  • furnishings, including beds, are original antiques

The Kitchen

The kitchen is large, airy and well equipped with beautiful views of the lawns and lake from large windows. It features

  • electric stove/oven and refrigerator/freezer
  • dishwasher
  • small eat-in table and plentiful counter space
  • stainless steel double sink and dish rack
  • coffee maker, microwave, toaster, Breville mini toaster oven
  • high quality stainless steel pots
  • abundant dishes, baking pans, and a generous supple of cutlery/utensils
  • “honesty cupboard” with spices and staples available for guests

The Bathroom

The recently renovated main floor bathroom features

  •  flush toilet with full septic system
  • soaker tub/shower in a glass-tiled alcove
  • heritage cabinet with marble counter
  • vintage “railroad” towel rack
  • luxurious Italian porcelain floor tiles
  • hairdryer and first aid kit
A historic cottage near Portland, Ontario - Fancy Free Island

The Living Room

Our main floor living/dining room overlooks the lake and features:

  • plentiful seating with vintage sofas and armchairs
  • wood burning fireplace with insert
  • reading library of books and magazines
  • oriental rugs
  • antique hutch
  • dining table with seating for six
  • small TV/DVD player 

The dining room

The dining room has a full length set of windows overlooking the lake with a perfect sunset view of water and islands. It features

  • antique harvest table with seating for eight
  • vintage hutch with antique glass and porcelain
  • games cupboard
A historic cottage near Portland, Ontario - Fancy Free Island

The wraparound porch

Fancy Free has an exceptionally livable, deep, shady porch that wraps around two sides of the cottage, overlooking the calm channel that separates Fancy Free Island from the mainland, which is the main swimming area. This historic cottage near Portland, Ontario features

  • wooden and wicker rocking chairs
  • propane bbq
  • picnic table for al fresco dining
  • feeders for Fancy Free’s resident hummingbirds

Fancy Free Island

A historic cottage near Portland, Ontario - Fancy Free Island

Island Overview

Fancy Free Island, a half-acre in size, is fairly flat and fully covered in large trees. It is separated from the mainland by a deep channel that offers a protected area for swimming. The cottage is close to the channel-side dock, just steps from the swimming area, with the front door and porch overlooking the channel. The boathouse is steps away on the northeast side of the island.

Fancy Free Island has spacious lawns on either side of the cottage. The south end of the island has a tree-hung tire swing for children, and the north end has a boathouse and several docks, close to a level area where the badminton net is usually set up.

A low stone wall runs around the perimeter of the island, breached near the boathouse by a small sandy beach used as a pull-up area for canoes and kayaks. Small children and dogs can wade into the water safely here. Other than this area, the water is deep around the island.

Relax on the hammock close to the water, play a game of badminton, have a swim, or go for a canoe paddle. There are a thousand ways to have a good time on Fancy Free Island.

Come visit this historic cottage near Portland, Ontario.


Fancy Free has several docks, all in water deep enough to accommodate a cruiser.


A 14-foot 5-person motorboat is included at no extra cost. Guests also enjoy the complimentary use of three canoes, two kayaks, a paddleboard and a Sunfish sailboat. Big Rideau Lake is exceptionally large and has many islands, making it an excellent area for exploration by sail, canoe and kayak.


Fancy Free has excellent lake swimming. Children who are old enough to swim  can try out the Tarzan swing into the lake. Swimming is excellent all around the island. Our large swimming raft, about 20 metres off the front dock in the channel, gives swimmers a spot to rest and sun themselves.

Sunrise and Sunset – best of both worlds

A unique distinction of island life is that you can enjoy spectacular sunrises AND sunsets from opposite sides of the island and the cottage.

Photo credit John Edkins.

Night sky

On a clear summer or fall night, Fancy Free Island’s dark night sky is unparalleled for watching stars and constellations.  Lie out on one of the docks and watch the show unfold. You’ll probably hear an owl or two as well as haunting call of the loons, the iconic lake-loving birds featured on Canadian dollar coins. 

Photo credit Terry McBurnie.