Welcome to Fancy Free!

Located in an idyllic setting on a private island on spectacular Big Rideau Lake near Portland, Ontario, Fancy Free is a uniquely beautiful five bedroom Victorian cottage available for rental. Fancy Free Island’s rental fee includes private use of a three canoes, a kayak, and a sailboat for lots of fun on the water.

Fancy Free is a classic 19th century lakeside cottage
Fancy Free is a classic 19th century lakeside cottage

Fancy Free Island is easy to find from the main highways of eastern Ontario. We provide complimentary parking for guests at our secure mainland property. We also provide a private boat launch for those wanting to bring their own boat.

UNESCO World Heritage Site
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Fancy Free was built in the years circa 1878 by Jeremiah Washburn of Smiths Falls, Ontario. As the oldest cottage on Big Rideau Lake, Fancy Free is a local heritage landmark. It is featured in the award-winning book, “Rideau,” written by Larry Turner with photographs by John DeVisser, published by Stoddart Canada.
Fancy Free Island in spectacular Big Rideau Lake
Fancy Free Island in spectacular Big Rideau Lake
Big Rideau Lake is part of the historic Rideau Canal Waterway, a unique 202 kilometre long canal, lake and river and system recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
This part of Ontario, like the nearby Thousand Islands, is a geological extension of the Adirondack mountains, featuring beautiful scenery with towering pines and rocky hills interspersed with lovely clear lakes and “miles of isles.”
 
Postcard of Fancy Free from Bill Price collection.
Postcard of Fancy Free from Bill Price collection.
Fancy Free’s walls tell a story of more than a century of endless summer: the unparalleled boating, fishing and swimming offered by Big Rideau Lake is quite simply a family vacation paradise. Enjoy a swim off the dock, watch the kids swinging on the Tarzan swing out into the lake, take canoe rides at sunset to the call of the loon, have a corn roast, or just lie back and read a good book in the hammock. Fancy Free is a peaceful haven from the bustle of present-day life, welcoming guests from all over the world to enjoy the old-fashioned fun of Ontario cottage life.
“Tom and Pam, I find it hard to put into words the feeling and memories that beautiful Big Rideau Lake evokes in me and my family. I have been vacationing on this lake since I was five years old. My husband and I continued this tradition with our children and now grandchildren... we have all fallen in love with this island and home. I say “home” because any other word would not describe Fancy Free. The history, the photographs, the love and attention your island receives is so deserved..we will all be sad to leave, including the dog.”
S.W., Harrisburg, PA

Living inside a poem

It’s sunset on the Sunday night of the third week of May 2018. Cottage opening weekend for Fancy Free Island. I’m sitting on the back porch of Fancy Free cottage looking out over Big Rideau Lake, now a golden glimmer in the setting sun.Read more »

Fancy Free Newsletter Spring 2017

Welcome to spring! It's been a busy couple of years at Fancy Free and her sister island Footloose. We've embarked on..Read more »