Business Profiles

  Business Profiles

AGR Suspension Inc

AGR Suspension Inc was started in 2019 by Adam seeing that it was a business that would bring a specific power sports service to the area. Specializing in motorcycles and snowmobiles where his experience comes from 20+ years as a suspension tuner, technician, and team manager/crew chief in the respective professional competitive fields, he also provides suspension services for all powersports vehicles. As his knowledge lies in the suspension field, it is his focus, but does other mechanical services as well including snowmobile servicing & clutching, ATV/UTV's. He imports a variety of parts to his shop as the area is well serviced by courier companies. His professional racing career has taken him across the North America and Europe giving him access to quality parts for this industry. Dealing with Race Tech Inc, based out of California, Elka Suspension based out of Quebec, and other OEM & aftermarket parts providers out of Canada & United States has the business in a strategic area given all the activity in this field in North Frontenac Twp. The business is still in the growing stage so he is the only employee but may require an assistant when it becomes more established. Adam is also in the process of setting up a small store-front to showcase the equipment he has access to. In setting up his business Adam used the townships website extensively and found it a great source for the information he needed. Being community-oriented Adam, and his wife, are volunteer firefighters for Kaladar-Barrie FD. He has been reaching out to other businesses in the area that may require his specialized service and is actively looking for more contacts.

Adam's business should do well in the area as he is knowledgeable, friendly and ready to assist in whatever is required.

Adam Robinson, owner

AGR Suspension Inc.
1843 Myers Cave Road
Cloyne ON  K0H 1K0

Owner: Adam Robinson




Back Forty Cheese

I first became aware of Jeff and Jenna Fenwick when they bought the riverside farm property of Bill Raeburn about 7 years ago, proposing to bring their cheese-making business from Watson’s Corners to our township. To my mind this was exactly the situation we need here- young entrepreneurs with specialty skills, able to sell to a wide market.  And settling here because of the serenity and beauty.  We’d like to think also because of low taxes and co-operative local government. It turned out there were issues with the assessment corporation wanting to label everything ‘industrial’ (read higher taxes) and a compromise was reached.  No complaints about other interactions with the township or the Conservation Authority. I recall that the Health Unit had to be convinced that the volume of whey involved in cheese production could be dealt with other than in a standard septic system.  It’s fed to the Berkshire pigs.


We are seeing this model of entrepreneurs selecting North Frontenac as their base in other local businesses-  Polished Spa, Creative Grapes, Trillium and Maple Woods, Mariclaro come to mind.  They join the established business community of resort operators, foresters and contractors who have been here for many years. To my mind, this diversity of business, retirement and seasonal residents makes a vibrant community.


Back to the topic: the Fenwicks have made a huge investment in the storage barn they found on the property, turning it into a retail space, a cheese production facility, and a second floor artisan studio for Jenna. I was given a tour of the cheese production room, three storage rooms and the packing room.  Jeff had just added rennet to a 400 liter vat of warm sheep’s milk, and within 15 minutes it had all jelled to the point where it would be removed with a knife. This is a ‘clean room’ and I was somewhat carefully allowed in with shoes removed. The jell is put into moulds, and then stored for months in the 3 rooms with strict temperature and humidity control.  I suspect that the cheesemaker or his employee Andrew looks at most of the stored rounds of cheese every day.


There are now 8 varieties available through the online store.  The most recent is ‘Verona Pecarino’, which Jeff first started experimenting with 3 years ago.  Jenna wanted a hard cheese with that particular flavour. COVID has of course affected sales, especially in the Toronto reataurant market. The CN Tower restaurant, one of the busiest in Canada, was a customer until March this year.  I asked how an obscure artisan scores a customer like that, and was told about how chefs get to know suppliers.  This chef came from Ottawa.


For a man who clearly loves the craft of making and caring for his hundreds of rounds of cheese, Jeff is now balancing between trying to support six small sheep farmers and selling enough of his 8 varieties online, on site, or by delivering. Luckily sheep’s milk can be frozen raw- it is unique in being naturally homogenized- so there’s an inventory of milk in several locations. One ambition of this business, to be a destination for urban and local visitors.  To that end, there are plans for winter use of trails on the property for snowshoeing, skiing and fat bikes. In the near future when we can all travel and visit again, this is a beautiful site on the river’s edge.

Back 40 Artisan Cheese
1406 Gulley Road
Mississippi Station, ON K0H 2C0


Jeff and Jenna Fenwick - Back Forty Cheese

Jeff and Jenna Fenwick - Back Forty Cheese

Bishop Lake Outdoor Centre

Bishop Lake Outdoor Centre

13621 Hwy 41, Cloyne Ont.

Owners:  Bob and Allison Yearwood, and Helen Yearwood (Bishop)

Bishop Lake Outdoor Centre Inc. provides a getaway for people seeking a break from the rigours of daily life, with a campground of 75 seasonal sites and a 4 unit motel open year-round.

There is also a store selling a wide variety of fishing and hunting gear, apparel, footwear, MNRF licensing and a laundromat open to the public.  It also has propane tank refilling and re-valving certification.

This family-owned-and–operated business started in 1987 with the opening of 40 campground sites.  In 1990 propane services were added, and then in 1994 the campground grew to 75 sites.

Built on the Bishop family farm established in 1901, it continued to grow with the addition of the store in 1998, which opened in its current location in 1999.  In 2004 there was an opportunity to acquire a motel unit from another local business, thus expanding into year-round accommodation.

BLOC’s longevity is attributed to local support throughout the years with the welcome influx of seasonal patrons. Their location on Hwy 41 just south of Road 506 makes it an easily accessed destination. There are 5 employees who help in the daily operation of the grounds and the operation of the motel.  The future of this business in North Frontenac Township is strong, as there is a waiting list for campsites, and the store and motel experience business year-round.

An interesting side note is that in the late ‘90s BLOC had a plan for senior’s housing on their site, but the Council of the time was not interested in pursuing the idea.

Bishop Lake BLOC motel

Bishop Lake BLOC motel

By The Bay Cottages

By the Bay is a Cottage and RV resort purchased in 2014 by Tim and Kelly. Being owners of a resort in a different area of Ontario they decided to relocate and looking for another resort found Green Bay Resort for sale. Also having another commercial enterprise, it was relocated to the area with a ten year plan in place which has since been closed with the focus now on the resort. Like the other seasonal resorts in the area their clientele is mostly from Ottawa, Toronto and beyond, plus the U.S., making the resort full for the season with the odd vacancy due to a last-minute cancellation. Tim and Kelly do not have any additional staff working at the resort and if help is needed they have family, friends and resort patrons who volunteer their time. As for future plans to expand their business there aren’t any at this time but feel there is a need for more business such as theirs if more property were to become available in the township.


By the Bay Cottages
2819 Road 506 Cloyne, ON K0H 1K0
by the bay cottages


Fernleigh Lodge

This is a business report based very much on the tragedy of our current times- the Covid-19 pandemic. Not necessarily a ‘things-are-just-fine’ story. Kevin and Melissa Phillips had achieved revenues at the lodge of just over a million dollars for the first time in 2019, mostly from American visitors. At 67, Kevin was hoping to retire soon, and to find a buyer to continue on with his vision. Where once there were 22 resorts on Kashwakamak Lake, Fernleigh Lodge is the single remaining operating establishment. Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been spent winterizing the cottages, a process more than half completed by now. Kevin has been visiting Fernleigh Lodge since 1960- he has owned it for the last 40 years, 20 years of that time with Melissa. It has become a feature of the township.

When the pandemic was declared in March 2020, it became impossible for Americans to cross the border. Suddenly only Canadian guests could be accommodated. Revenue plunged by 70%. In 2020. Some Federal wage programs were available, but where was the balance of those wages to come from? Taxes, and hydro, mortgage, and insurance- all these costs continue unabated. It has been a juggling act keeping lenders from turning into sharks. Kevin is sitting on an half-million dollar inventory of renovation materials waiting for money to pay the contractors.
I will relate a story that bears further investigation. Water level control on the lake is handled by Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority, using a series of control dams. I am a Board member of the MVCA. Kevin states that he has spent $80,000 over the past four years repairing docks from ice damage caused by poor water level management. And that this became a problem only about 15 years ago. Is this because of climate change issues, or is it some management problem at the CA?

Other stories, possibly one-sided, relate to the availability of grant money. Federal wage relief, business grants, even the township’s own Community Improvement Plan- all have detailed forms, delays, conditions for denial. When cash is needed in a business, it is usually an urgent issue. Possibly if the township had a tax deferral program, where property tax could remain unpaid and accumulated in a loan account, to be paid at the time of a sale, would be helpful for this business and others with high assets. I know that such a program is available in other municipalities.
It’s important that Kevin and his family get through this financially tremendously stressful time with an intact business. That will require guests, and that will begin to happen as this pandemic eases. Visiting Fernleigh Lodge has reminded me of how different the whole pandemic experience has been for Canadians in different circumstances.

Fernleigh Lodge
1796b South Road
Cloyne ON  K0H 1K0

Fernleigh Lodge

Frontenac Shores

Frontenac Shores is a Fractional Ownership vacation resort, developed by Pat and Dave Storms 10 years after the purchase of the aging seasonal tourist establishment of Twin Pine Resort on Mississagagon Lake.

A new industry concept for the area that opened March of 2008, Frontenac Shores has consistently brought over 90% year round occupancy, comprising of ownership members, renters, and world-wide exchangers, and grew to 8 luxurious log waterfront homes by 2010 providing 400 weeks of year-round vacation opportunities. There are hopes to expand to 11 within the next few years.

Primarily, the owners of 5-week vacation packages come from a 3-hour driving radius encompassing Toronto, Ottawa and the 401 corridor, but some owners are from longer distances and even other countries. Aside from consistent owner occupancy, managed rental and world-wide exchange programs account for approx. 25% (100 weeks per year) of usage by travelers from around the world and surrounding major cities.

The development currently has 8 employees plus additional contractors for things like plumbing, electrical, propane, building maintenance, snow removal and landscaping.

Expansion of Fractional vacation home ownership could serve this area well as it brings “heads in beds” all year, world-wide tourism exposure and year-round employment.


Author: Paul Thiel, August 2022

 frontenac shores

Gemmill Sand and Gravel Ltd

When I moved to Ompah in 1974 I learned that Dale Gemmill was a respected dairy farmer in Snow Road, with deep family roots and with two sons and a daughter.  I remember Dale telling me in about 1986 that he was selling his milk quota and starting in the gravel business so that his two sons Roger and Scott would have viable work. That one backhoe and one dump truck has grown into a corporation headed by Scott that now employs 24 people during the busy summer season.  The employees are all residents of Central and North Frontenac.


Probably what is most surprising about Gemmill Sand and Gravel is how quickly it has grown since that first backhoe the company does site preparation for individual cottages, and for whole subdivisions.  They are licensed to use explosives. They do a range of road projects including everything but paving and large bridges.  The bridge limitation may change in the future. In order to grow this quickly a company must have a good reputation and bid competitively on jobs over a wide geographical area, in this case generally against larger companies. Competition is strong, from Crain’s, Tackaberry, Cavanagh, Tomlinson, Corcoran. As we’ve heard from others, the continued lack of cellphone service around Snow Road is a challenge for availability to customers.


Slightly over half of their business comes from municipalities; North Frontenac got a favourable comment for being a prompt bill payer.  One thing I’ve learned from other people who operate trucks and equipment is that you won’t survive if you can’t figure out a fast, reliable and reasonably priced way to maintain all that equipment; because it takes a beating. Scott must have figured that out because he’s bidding on things like a complete subdivision in Kemptville. When projects like that and other jobs stop with the onset of winter, the company still manages to employ 10 people. They work at two locations getting machines ready for the next spring.


This is a family business- Scott’s son may be the third generation to own it in the future.  There’s more sand and gravel on the company property than anyone realized, part of the Snow Road esker. Gemmill’s recently purchased a rock quarry near Sharbot Lake where hard black granite will be crushed. This is not a business that is standing still.


Gemmill Sand and Gravel Ltd.
4210 Elphin-Maberly Road
Snow Road, ON, K0H 2R0
Owners: Scott Gemmill

Scott Gemmill













Gemmill Sand and Gravel Ltd




Hunter's Creek Golf Club

In 2019 Cynthia and Patrick purchased the golf course which was established back in the 1960's with a view to the future and upgrades which are still in progress. The business is here for the enjoyment of not just the locals but also seasonal and the tourism aspect of the area. The location of the golf course is sort of "off the beaten track" as the saying goes because if there was no signage out front you wouldn't know it existed. The private and secluded nature of area set well back in from the busy highway makes it an ideal place to enjoy all of its amenities, Golf, Horseshoes, Disc Golf, food and drinks. They have already upgraded the Disc Golf to a new 3 course layout. They can accommodate small parties with their banquet hall and have regular special events happening throughout the year. In the off season they are a meeting place for the snowmobile enthusiasts providing meals and a place to warm up. Their meals are also available on a take-out service to anyone. In the day-to-day running of business they employ five people over the season.
Cynthia and Patrick came to the area to find a business and in return gained a community.
Even if you may not be the sporting type I suggest you stop in at Hunters Creek to say hello, you may just find something you weren’t expecting.


Hunter's Creek Golf Course

1198 Hwy 506
Cloyne, ON, K0H 1K0

Owners: Cynthia Kennedy & Patrick Bassett

Land O'Lakes Rescue Petting Farm

Barry and Donna Smith were the new owners of a lodge on Skootamatta Lake in the ‘90s when they adopted 3 young daughters who were sisters. Barry had been forced by diabetes to retire from his commercial pilot’s career flying Airbuses around the world. When the Children’s Aid Society told them that the lodge building was too small to house three daughters, they bought the large house on Road 506 just east of the Highway 41 junction. In the early 2000s they discovered that their daughters benefited from caring for animals, especially ones that had been neglected or mistreated. This led to the purchase of the adjacent property, clearing of the front 200 feet or so, and putting in corrals and a small barn at the rear.


As their family grew up, the collection of rescued animals grew larger.  Feeding, housing and medical care is a constant need;  the property was opened to the public as a petting zoo with an entry fee and a snack bar at the gate.  Eventually the three sisters left for careers of their own.  Barry and Donna next adopted two young brothers who have also left by now for independent lives elsewhere in Eastern Ontario.


A turning point came in 2015, on a frigid morning in February, when Barry was attacked by the resident bull as he led it out of the barn.  He was left on the ground with many broken bones and internal bleeding, discovered by a neighbour who called the OPP and ambulance.  Barry was able to roll under a parked truck while his rescuers attempted to control and calm the bull. Needless to say, nothing has been the same since.  Nowadays Barry is helped by a cane and an electric scooter. The petting farm is open to the public in the warmer months still, not as well kept as in the past, but still full of much loved horses, ducks, goats, a llama and a very large Guernsey cow who likes to kiss people. Every animal has a rescue story and a name. I deliver wood shavings for bedding to the farm from my business and am regularly struck by the continuing positive attitudes of both Barry and Donna.  Barry claims that were it not for his daily chores of feeding and cleaning out stalls, he’d probably be dead by now.


One story illustrates the financial burden of keeping these animals.  A small horse was in distress with a digestive emergency, no veterinarian was available, so Barry called the University of Guelph, drove the animal there, and had it examined and operated on by a team of veterinary professors and students.  As he told me, “ $7000 for a $40 horse”. But I guess he loves the horse.


Land O'Lakes Rescue Petting FarmBarry Smith
1200 Road 506
Cloyne ON  K0H 1K0

Owners: Donna and Barry Smith

Lookout Home Hardware

The hardware store in Plevna has a history going back to the 70s when it was located on top of the hill near the United Church-  originally a schoolhouse I’m told. Hence the name Lookout. This is a report about a current business and its current owner, but it’s also about a venerable institution which now has its third owner. Stan Mika from Sharbot Lake owned it first, then Rick Kellar bought it and moved the store to the present farm property at Mountain Road owned by the James family, in 1986.  Rick and Gina Kellar urned the site into the modern retail and building supply facility that’s there now, finishing his ownership as a Home Hardware. After 30 years of building the business into a thriving supplier to locals and the summer surge of cottagers, Rick and Gina were able to interest Richard Ellard in purchasing in 2014.  Richard owns the large and successful Home Hardware Building Centre in Perth, which was previously owned by his father Bob Ellard.  Earlier the Perth facility was in the current Giant Tiger location on Highway 7.  Earlier still, it was ‘James Brothers Home Hardware’ at the corner of Gore and Foster in Perth.  At the time Bob Ellard moved into the current Perth location it was the largest in Canada and had just received a ‘best in Canada’ award from the St. Jacob’s-based parent company.

The point of all this, at least for me, is that these threads of history come together in such a fascinating way, and that knowing a bit of the history makes the Plevna store a more interesting place to visit.  I talked with Richard at one of his weekly visits to Plevna. He feels that he has purchased a viable business with a dedicated and caring staff, and with a loyal clientele.  A very different clientele from the one he knows in Perth. Locally there’s a lot more do-it-yourself construction than in a slightly more urban market. He feels that his job is to preserve, or nurture, what’s here now. He also tells me that owning two or more locations isn’t unusual among Home Hardware stores.  Some are owned outright, like Plevna; some are leased from the parent company, like Perth.

I was curious to know if the summer versus winter volume of business in Plevna came as a surprise to Richard.  I’ve experienced it when visiting the store in February to find no other customers and three staff to help me. He had to admit that he was expecting it, but not the degree of the summer surge relative to the winter quiet. Perth’s market is very different with its steady year-round traffic. Another surprise for Richard is the actual number of waterfront seasonal properties that are ‘hidden’ on all our local lakes. These are more visible in the Perth area.  Our forest cover and road network don’t make their numbers visible to someone driving through,

Covid response has been very different for a building supply dealer, between here and Perth.
North Frontenac was inundated by refugees from the cities in early 2000 and they worked on their properties.  No such surge for the Perth store.  This year it’s just the opposite, with this area relatively quiet compared to a building boom around Perth.

I finally have to mention that Richard has been delighted and surprised by his dealings with township staff.  Also, he’s constantly amazed that most customers and staff in Plevna seem to call each other by first names. Welcome to rural North Frontenac Richard.

Lookout Home Hardware


Lothlorien Woodworking Ltd

The manufacturing of custom designed wooden doors and windows, exclusively, Lothlorien Woodworking has made a name for itself since 1978 when established by John here in North Frontenac Twp. He came here in 1972 with some friends from Toronto, never being in the area before, found this farm property was for sale and purchased it.

John has provided units to a couple dozen local customers but most of his orders are from outside of the area such as Perth, Ottawa, Kingston and Toronto as the cost of these custom designed units is considerably higher compared to the more cost-effective production style windows. Some want their units to replace the original ones in their home and others are to retain the heritage of the home. Over the years, though, 20% of Johns orders have been from the U.S. with his latest order, beginning in April, for 54 wooden windows with hand-blown glass panes and counter balanced weights with pullies in the frame for the ease of opening and closing the windows. These units are going to a new home build in Long Island, NY. John also delivers all his orders due to the cost and fragile nature of the product. John has one regular employee then hires additional staff when an order warrants it such as the one starting in April. With a custom designed product in wood, exclusively, and in business for 40+ years future prospects for this type of business are slim due to the popularity of vinyl and composite products in the marketplace today.

"Lothlorien" has unique a meaning that is very appropriate for our township, Google it!  

Lothlorien Woodworking Ltd.
1061 Lothlorien Road
Ompah, ON, K0H 2J0
Owner: John Inglis


Lothlorien Woodworking Ltd


Marble Lake Lodge

Marble Lake Lodge is a 3-business enterprise: Cabins, Campgrounds, and the Hungry Moose Restaurant, providing accommodations and meals to visitors and locals alike. Celebrating their 10th season in business Connie Hammer, proprietor, and her staff have made this business thrive as it has in over 100 years that it has been in existence. The majority of its patrons are from outside the area, but locals do on occasion have relatives/ friends staying there when they do not have enough room to accommodate everyone for a gathering. After realizing the restaurant was becoming lost in the "lodges" shadow it was given its own identity and has substantial room for inside dinning with an outside patio too. Having a take-out service along with catering services helps with their seasonal operation. They are in the process of renovating their cabins to provide a longer season for visitors with the prospects of having winter bookings down the road.
Marble Lake Lodge employs 10 - 15 local people throughout the season. They make a point of hiring young people giving them a chance to learn what is involved with having a job and some of their past employees have gone on to work in professional careers. Connie has a clear focus on what she wants for the future of the business and feels it's attainable and sees prospects for others entering this business.


Marble Lake Lodge
1005 Marble Lake Road
Cloyne ON  K0H 1K0
Marble Lake Lodge




 Marble Lake Lodge

Mariclaro Designs

I learned a new word when I visited Sven Schlegel at Mariclaro Designs in Snow Road- ‘upcycled’. It appears to be the over-riding philosophy behind everything that happens in this small but intense cottage manufacturing business. It is the use of industrial waste materials to make beautiful, value-added new items. And then to sell them to the world.

A lot is happening at this business- in the basement, in the renovated garage, in the homes of several employees.  Sven bought the property adjacent to the Mississippi bridge on Road 509 in 2012, coming here from Toronto. He has a professional background in planning and a lot of experience tinkering with industrial castoff materials. When he was employed in Mexico in the early 2000’s he started working as a sideline with old leather upholstery pieces. “I don’t know how to sew, but I can make patterns” he told me.  Apparently he still really enjoys crawling through car scrapyards looking for old Mercedes, Porsche, BMW and Audi classics. He has become a master at making bags of various designs from the leather upholstery of these cars.  Eight years ago he was selling items at stores in Canada and the U. S. Now, everything is sold from the website, and it is all shipped around the world from the Sharbot Lake Post Office.  Over 3000 items each year.

The Mariclaro website shows a number of bag designs, including purses, backpacks, computer bags and small duffel bags. The source material is classic autos, airline seats, and remnant leather materials from large manufacturing processes.  If you buy a bag made from the seats of a rare Porsche 933, the price of the item will reflect this. A leather label will tell you the model, the year and the VIN of the car.

The story of how someone got to North Frontenac, when they are a ‘newcomer’, is always interesting to me. Usually there is some kind of a family connection.  In Sven’s case, it was Sharbot Lake High School teacher Jeff Murray, a well known fabric artist, who introduced him to the area. This rural property beside a magnificent river was more attractive than Toronto to an imaginative and energetic entrepreneur. The business now employs five women on a full-time basis and has put Snow Road on the map for many discerning buyers.


Mariclaro Designs

14259 Road 509
Snow Road Station, ON  K0H 2R0
Owner: Sven Schlegel

Mariclaro Designs













Mariclaro Designs



North of 7 Market and Restaurant

Fuel Depot (gas, diesel and propane), North of 7 Family Restaurant, liquor and beer empty container return. He has since changed it to the North of 7 Market and Restaurant.

The Grocery Store has now become independent from the large franchise it was affiliated with. This gives Bill the opportunity to use different suppliers for produce, meat and groceries. Bill now also provides a grocery order service and any items that are not in stock or a regularly stocked will be available by the end of the week, as long as the order is placed by Monday. This is done as these suppliers each deliver their products on a different day of the week.  With current Covid-19 restrictions in place Bill can also pick items up as he makes regular trips to other suppliers.

The Restaurant still has a take-out service Fridays and Saturdays at this time due to the present lockdown that is in place and will be re-evaluated once the lockdown is lifted. This Business is focused entirely on residents as it is the only one of its kind in the township. Bill employs up to 10 people depending on the time of year.

The future prospects of this Business depends on the local response to the services offered.  As a result of dealing with the Covid-19 crisis the past nine months things have been rough.

Bill is looking forward to 2021.  It will still be challenging even with the "light at the end of the tunnel" getting closer with the vaccines being administered.

We are very grateful for the services provided to our residents and visitors.  Thank you Bill and employees.


North Of 7 Restaurant and Market
7325 Road 506
Plevna ON  K0H 2M0


Bill James

Pleasantview Lodge

My last visit to Pleasantview was in 2012 when Bud Clayton brought Council together there with township managers to talk about new strategic directions.  Dan and Helen Branston were owners and the view up Brule Lake was fantastic.  On my visit in early March the view is still impressive but the ownership has changed to Colin and Julia Drake.  It would be hard to find a couple who are more positive about their new lodge and the surrounding community. They bought in early 2019, had one ‘normal’ summer season, and then Covid happened at the end of that first winter. Nevertheless, a group of regular visitors has kept returning, and has been teaching them about their lodge and its history, about Brule Lake and about their neighbours.


Pleasantview, like many lodges in North Frontenac, has housekeeping cabins with kitchen and bathroom, plus a central building where visitors can play pool or ping pong, read in front of a fire, or even learn to play piano. The owners live on-site, on the floor above the main building’s common area. Colin and Julia are both musically talented-  Colin is an experienced session guitarist and Julia has a background in musical theatre and photography.  The PA system in the music corner will probably see use for social gatherings when this pandemic has finally run its course.


The story of how Julia’s drive to find a rural lifestyle, and for both of them to leave teaching careers in the Kitchener area, is a fascinating one. After a year or more of searching from coastal B.C. to Manitoulin Island, a chance encounter brought them here, an area they’d never considered. The time searching was preparation for beginning to understand the huge maintenance challenge that comes with running a lodge. I heard a story of a freak windstorm a few months ago that dropped large trees destroying three vehicles. The work on the property continues as they prepare to open in April, and Colin continues teaching part-time at Clarendon Central Public School. This is a good time to offer lakefront accommodation in a beautiful setting, as the pandemic has taught us.  I suspect this will be a busy summer for Colin and Julia.

Pleasantview Lodge

 Pleasantview Lodge

Polished Spa Services

Polished was established in 2005 by Holly Labow at their country home in Grafton Ont, however, with a change in scenery on their radar, it was moved to a waterfront property here in North Frontenac Twp,  much to our advantage. Holly provides professional pampering which includes Women's aromatherapy and Hot Stone massage, manicures, pedicures, facials, reflexology, waxing, make-up and also has a fitness program available. With a primary focus on providing her services to local residents, she has also welcomed cottagers. With a waterfront property providing accessibility to any clients' needs, Polished is located in a calming atmosphere. As Holly has no employees, it allows her to have a better connection with the individual client on a more personal level. Given the current conditions where people are hesitant to travel to larger centres, she has seen an increase in business, making future prospects good - and feels that any competition coming forward would not be detrimental. In the process of setting up her business here everything went smoothly with no setbacks.  


Polished - H. Lablow











1080 Brown's Lane



Riverhill Farm and Fine Foods

This business, which straddles the boundary between Wards 2 and 3 in our township, is probably best known for its amazing annual Christmas lights show.  Over 100,000 lights that blink, sing Elvis songs, light up large maples, and stretch across an expanse of rolling lawns. But the real business side of Riverhill Farm is maple syrup production, run by Stephanie Lemke.  She has 8000 taps and is still expanding on the 1400 acre property.  Incidentally, this property is my immediate neighbour to the west, and my first introduction to it was through its owners Gerry and Sandra Ducharme in 1972.  Gerry has since passed away, and his son Greg Ducharme is now the owner.  For a number of years Greg and partner Rhonda Lemke operated a food concession on the carnival circuit around Ontario, but this was a difficult life that kept them away from home for months.


I learned, speaking with Stephanie and her mother Rhonda, that ‘Riverhill Farm’ was a name that Gerry called his place back in the ‘70’s, but it is only in the last 15 years that I’ve been aware of it as a business enterprise.  The Christmas light show does not charge admission but does have donation boxes and a small food concession.  I can imagine that revenues might pay for the electricity, but the labour to install and maintain, the capital cost of those lights…..? This is essentially a gift to the community, and it draws visitors from Ottawa and Toronto.  This year with COVID, there is a shift to a drive-through format.


Maple syrup is another story, and a challenging one for its own reasons.  Getting thousands of liters of syrup to market is not easy, in the past they’ve trucked it to a wholesaler in Goderich. But with COVID this year, that buyer’s shipments to China were in danger.  Another option is CDL in Perth, but prices are lower and there’s more handling of the 32 gallon stainless steel drums, which can lead to damage.  Other large syrup producers market directly to grocery and specialty stores, but this is not something Stephanie has chosen to do. Another recent challenge for all producers is a new grading system that introduces flavour ‘colours’ to the traditional light, medium and dark grades. Stephanie likely has the largest maple syrup operation in North Frontenac, and has colleagues in nearby townships with similar or larger operations, Conboy, Wheeler, Temple. It appears the world will always want more of this gift of spring.


Written by John Inglis

October 15/20

Riverhill Farm and Fine Food Ltd.

Sherwood Park Campground

On the flat land at the western edge of North Frontenac Township there are a number of small lakes and creeks forming the source of the Salmon River. Story Lake, at Road 506, is one of the largest and is the western boundary of Dan Vaillancourt’s campground. He has 98 sites on his 65 acre property, all mixed in with an open stand of mature white pines and surrounded by privately owned forest.


Dan bought the property in 2013 after his ‘second retirement’ from the military as an electronics technician. It was a campground on its fourth owner after establishment in about 1965. He has invested much time and money into improvements, which shows to the casual visitor who sees a well kept property with a cheerful row of flagpoles across the highway frontage.

Covid has had a profound impact on this and many other tourist operations. When the opening of the 2020 season brought restrictions against overnight visitors, Dan switched to 100% full-season rentals. Previous to that there were about 20 camping sites for tents and trailers coming for short stays. After bringing in his favourite contractor for site work there are now 98 privately owned trailers sitting on the 98 sites year round. They pay a refundable winter storage fee for 6 months, then a monthly site rental starting May 1. They get metered power, all installed underground, water, and a sewage removal service from their small holding tanks. They get more security than most cottage owners have.

Apparently this seasonal campground model is more common now than before Covid. The number of available short-term camping sites in the township has shrunk since the pandemic began. For the campground owner, it allows operation with a much smaller support staff than short term camping requires. Dan gets to know his guests; he rarely has to refuse a person renting the following year for poor behaviour. Short term rentals would bring higher revenues but the operating costs are higher.

One change Dan has seen in the last few years is increasing trades restrictions- he can no longer help a trailer owner with a small electrical or propane problem. Other than giving a bit of advice. There are no longer trailer maintenance technicians who travel, so getting help can become very expensive for a minor issue.


Sherwood Park CampgroundDan in front of Sherwood Park
1141 Road 506
Cloyne, Ont. K0H 1K0


Steve Skinner Maple Syrup

In Snow Road there is a maple sugar house beside the Elphin highway that has been in place since the 1930s, quiet in recent years since owner Dale Gemmill passed away.  It is now active again and being operated by Scott Gemmill’s old friend Steve Skinner and Andrea Zadow who lease the property stretching north to other maple bushes belonging to the Miller and Wheeler families.  Steve is originally from Ottawa but now lives near Mississippi.

I first met Steve when he managed CDL in Lanark, and more recently at CDL’s new location at the previous A & B Ford site in Perth.  As any maple producer in the region knows, CDL is a Quebec City based manufacturer of equipment.  It’s fair to say that maple syrup is a year-round passion of Steve’s. I learned that it takes 5,000 to 10,000 taps to have an operation large enough to support a family.  The old operation in Snow Road has that capacity in the bush, but is smaller at this point. Steve has already invested in new equipment, and would benefit from at least one employee during the active March/April period. He has plans to expand on the Gemmill property and to perhaps lease a neighbouring maple bush property. I learned that syrup tasting is as subtle as wine tasting- and that the trees growing on our rocky soil produce an especially fine and unique, ‘buttery’ taste.  I’m going to take some of my own rich dark syrup in to Steve for a tasting judgement.

As an equipment supplier to local producers, Steve has decided to not compete locally with maple syrup sales.  He sells almost all his product on weekends at the Carp market. He has long experience in Carp, having previously leased a property on March Road.

The photo with this report shows a large pile of logs near the sugar house. My thought was that this is fuel for next year’s evaporating, but no… this is cleanup from a micro-burst that went through in summer 2020. Like many others, Steve uses oil for heat, but is planning on a switch to propane which is more efficient and environmentally cleaner.

John Inglis

May 14/21

Skinner Bush



Steve Skinner

The Tweet Boutique

 The Tweet Boutique is owned by local photographer Amy Kay, along with her husband Brian. It provides quality bird feeders, premium seed and other backyard birding accessories as well as nature gifts, unique Canadian art and a vast selection of Amy’s images in the gallery of the boutique.

With unlimited opportunities to explore the diversity of habitats within the area, Amy took up wildlife photography nearly two decades ago, with birds quickly becoming her primary subject. She spent years learning bird behaviour, and about our area’s various species, while spending hours in -30º temperatures searching for winter birds and happily fighting off black flies while capturing the flood of incoming spring warblers. However, with her images being recognized and appearing in numerous publications such as Canadian Geographic and Audubon, it was worth it. Still, showcasing her art in a more traditional way has always been her aspiration. After the long awaited purchase of the storefront on Road 506, the gallery, along with the opportunity to offer backyard birding supplies, transpired.

Within this beautiful region, it was easy for Amy to be inspired by nature. Her desire to reveal to others the natural treasures found in the area has led to the planning of birding tours and photography workshops starting in the Spring.

The Tweet Boutique’s ideal location at the intersection of Road 506 and Hwy. 41, provides convenient access for permanent and seasonal residents plus those who are just passing through. The variety of backyard birding supplies will bring birds to your yard and the photography and artwork will bring nature into your home or cottage.


The Tweet Boutique

1007 Road 506
Cloyne, Ont. K0H 1K0The Tweet Boutique

Trillium and Maple Woods Handywoman Services

Fernleigh, North Frontenac Twp

Owner: Tammy Watson


TMWHS provides a task solution service for homeowners, businesses, and cottage owners in the area getting jobs done that you may not have the time, tools or knowledge to do on your own. Some of these services are painting, carpentry, furniture assembly, short term rental turnovers, property security checks and yard maintenance. She also builds custom outdoor furniture such as picnic tables, planters and benches. 


Tammy started the business here in January 2020 seeing a need for a business like this in the area. She gained a lot of her experience and knowledge while working for other businesses when she first moved to the area. She provides her services in North & Central Frontenac and Addington Highlands, 50% in North Frontenac and the other 50% is divided between the other two but not necessarily equal. Being the only employee at this time Tammy does have other family members to call upon if needed but carries out the majority of the work on her own. Her original business plan has had to make some adjustments due to the current situation affecting all businesses worldwide. She figured that there would be enough work coming from local year round residents and businesses but under the past and current restrictions with personal contact made a decision to expand her service portfolio and now finds herself busy, advising prospective customers that there is at least a two week waiting period for new jobs. In the beginning she approached the township looking for and received information and assistance.  Several staff members provided an optimistic outlook and some prospective clients.


Tammy's professionalism and positive attitude will keep this business venture moving forward and continually growing.

Tammy Watson


Tim's Auto Body

Seeing the need for an Auto Body Repair Service in the North Frontenac area Tim opened his business in 1984. His service includes cars, trucks, heavy duty vehicles, boats and even the odd snow machine over the years.
He eventually saw an opportunity to expand his services to providing tire sales and installation and other mechanical services. His Business mostly services the North Frontenac and Addington Highlands area; however he has done some work for people from the Palmer Rapids area (and several other areas) as has had referrals needing his expertise. Other clients from Toronto and other major centers have used his service as they have their vacation homes in the area.
Tim continues to thrive in the area due do the diversification of the business. Also the fact that he is the only auto body repair service still in the area, that he's aware of, makes him very busy.
Tim has assistance from his wife Lorraine when needed and he has no other employees at this time.
There is a future in this specific line of vehicle service in the area.
Even though things are very busy they find time to go cruising in a classic car and take trips with the new UTV.   

Tim's Auto Body 
13775 HWY 41
Cloyne ON
Tim McDonald, owner


Tims Auto Body











Tumblehome Lodge 

George and Sue Cvetkowic bought Tumblehome Lodge from Ward Giffen at the end of July in 2019, leaving Ward and his daughter to operate that first year of their new ownership. The family from Wainfleet Ontario on the Lake Erie shore has been coming to the lodge since 1985.  As their family grew to 5 children they rented cottages from Ed and Shirley Giffen, then son Ward.  They loved the swimming, boating and fishing, and exploring the amazing shoreline of Crotch Lake. Just about zero development on kilometers of rocky wooded shoreline, great fishing and clean clear water. They have just finished putting away docks and boats after their second year of operation and will open next year on the first day of the walleye season, May 14.

The lake is also used by the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority as a reservoir to manage annual water flows and nearby lake levels. Consequently its level goes up and down about 5 meters over the year. The lodge is located at the south end, just off the Ardoch Road, and is the only publicly available accommodation on the lake.  Next door Land O’ Lakes Lodge has been converted to an indigenous children’s camp. I asked George if he has any concerns about Crotch Lake and surrounding Crown Land being turned into Whiteduck Provincial Park in a proposal from the Algonquin Land Claim. George is indigenous himself with his mother from the Tuscarora band living in the Six Nations area near Brantford. He’s not concerned about the park proposal. It would make Tumblehome even more unique than it already is. In reality, he probably doubts it will happen in his lifetime.

Tumblehome started in the 1920’s with a different name, unknown to this writer or the current owners. Ed and Shirley Giffen named it Tumblehome, after the curvature at the ends of a canoe hull, when they purchased it. Ed and Shirley expanded it and added a 9 hole golf course.  Their son Ward operated the lodge for several years and now lives on the separate golf course property. It currently consists of 9 rooms in the main lodge plus 24 cabins and trailers scattered around the large property.

George and Sue end up serving many campers who come to use the township’s Crown Land Stewardship Program 70 campsites on Crotch Lake.  Many turn into the Tumblehome entry thinking it is a public access, many require assistance with boats.  George even gets involved in some campsite cleanups- apparently there are always campers who leave garbage.

I was given a short tour of modern trolling motor features. Electric, quiet, built in sonar that connects to the fish finder, GPS for returning later to an exact spot.  I wonder if the Ottawa woman who recently caught a 10 pound walleye was using one.
Tumblehome Lodge

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