An All-Season Getaway on Go Home Bay

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Ian MacDonald Architect’s all-season getaway in Ontario’s Georgian Bay is a hidden gem tucked deep in the wilderness.

After a long paddle through Ontario’s Georgian Bay archipelago, the fragmented view of Go Home Bay Cabin is sure to surprise. The sight of this contemporary architectural intervention, perched on a rocky landscape and jutting out towards the water like a diving board, is not what you’d expect to find peeking through the trees 40 kilometres from the nearest dock or road.

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It isn’t until visitors ascend from the landing and wind their way along a path that leads through low-lying juniper bushes and leaning white pines that the full effect comes into view. Designed by Toronto architect Ian MacDonald, the cabin is at once dramatic and subtle – decidedly modern, yet not unlike the cabins that were built in the region over a hundred years ago. Clad in charcoal-coloured cedar shingles, the single-storey structure lets the site lead, sitting low to the ground, and hovering just above a granite outcropping at the front.

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A grass-covered green roof helps the building blend into the landscape and, when irrigated with lake water, assists in cooling the interior. The main living space is long and open, and wrapped in a 13-metre stretch of lift-and-slide windows that open to transform the entire space into a giant screened porch. Not only do the windows flood the room with natural light, but paired with a clerestory window above, they also contribute to temperature control and negate the need for the luxury of air conditioning.

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It’s hard to believe this remote escape, constructed with the help of both a barge and a helicopter, is just a two-hour trip from Toronto. More than just a summer getaway, the cottage is built to enjoy life on the lake year-round. While the boat ride in would not be for the faint of heart come December, two wood-burning stoves keep things cozy no matter how low the temperature dips outside. Heavy-duty structural insulated panels in the floor also help keep things snug enough to enjoy a winter’s day from the comfort of the roomy window seat.

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