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65,000 sq. ft: The largest house in Canada is in Haileybury, Ont., and sits on 43 acres of land and can accommodate a golf course and a 40 ft. yacht. (Handout)
65,000 sq. ft: The largest house in Canada is in Haileybury, Ont., and sits on 43 acres of land and can accommodate a golf course and a 40 ft. yacht. (Handout)

Real estate

Canada's largest home hits the market Add to ...

It's a Canadian fixer-upper but, if you want a home to grow into, it might just be what you are looking for - provided you don't mind the thought of dusting 65,000 square feet or its $25-million price tag.

Believed to be the largest home in Canada, it's also a little off the beaten path.

You won't find it Toronto, Vancouver or Calgary. To see it, you'll need to go to Haileybury, Ont., about 140 kilometres north of North Bay.

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The house sits on 40 acres along the shores of Lake Temiskaming and it's about the same size as Bill Gates's property near Seattle.

That makes it as big as the White House, which is about 55,000 sq. ft., and 24 Sussex Dr., home to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, which is approximately 11,000 sq. ft., put together.

Until now, the largest home sold in Canada was a 48,000-sq.-ft. house in Oakville, Ont., which went for $45-million in 2006.

"It's quite the property," said Troy Wilson, a Royal LePage agent in New Liskeard, Ont., who is handling the Haileybury sale. "This thing is just, wow, jaw-dropping."

The building includes a boat house big enough for a 40-foot yacht, two elevators, an indoor pool, a giant hot tub and 30-foot fireplaces in the master bedroom and living room.

There's an exercise room the size of a small gym. Plumbing has also been installed on the grounds for a few golf holes.

But buyer beware: The house is far from finished. There's no flooring, no finished bathrooms and few wall coverings. "Any buyer who would be really, truly interested in a property like this has to have their own architect and their own engineer come up with them," Mr. Wilson said. He estimated it will cost at least $1-million to finish the place.

The property was once the dream project of Peter Grant, a forest products titan from nearby Englehart. He planned to use the building as a residence and corporate office for his family-owned business, Grant Forest Products Inc.

At one time, Grant Forest Products was North America's third largest maker of oriented strand board, with factories in Ontario, Alberta and South Carolina. Mr. Grant's personal wealth was once estimated at close to $400-million and he became famous for a prolonged legal battle with the Toronto Star over a story that alleged he used connections with Ontario's then-premier Mike Harris to build a golf course. The case went to the Supreme Court of Canada, which recently ruled against Mr. Grant in a decision that has reshaped Canadian libel law.

Grant Forest Products ran into financial trouble a couple of years ago, hit hard by the downturn in the U.S. housing market. The company filed for court protection from creditors last June, citing roughly $600-million (U.S.) in debt. Court filings show Mr. Grant is one of the largest creditors, owed more than $75-million. He was unavailable for comment.

Four facilities have been sold to Atlanta-based Georgia-Pacific and the remainder are up for sale. The company also owned the Haileybury property, a golf course and a 65-ft yacht, according to court filings. They are all for sale and proceeds will go to creditors.

Mr. Wilson hasn't had much interest in the Haileybury house so far. "It's going to be a very unique buyer with a unique set of needs that purchases this property."

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