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Nat Kay/Nat Kay

215 Oakwood Rd., Powassan, Ont.

Asking Price: $2,495,000

Taxes: $9,300.00 (2020)

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Lot Size: 100 acres

Agents: Kim O’Grady (Chestnut Park Real Estate Ltd.)

The backstory

Owner Robert Caldwell's grandmother Elizabeth Clark purchased the land the current home sits on in the 1920s.

Nat Kay/Nat Kay

When Robert Caldwell was growing up in Southern Ontario, traveling north to his grandmother’s retreat was a grand adventure.

There were 100 acres of untamed forest to explore, and the family dwelling was a true log cabin.

“It was quite thrilling having no plumbing or electricity or heat. It was just a cabin in the bush,” says Mr. Caldwell, who often carried a pail down to the spring for fresh water.

The cabin’s 400-square-foot interior was warmed by the fire from a pot-bellied stove and lit by coal oil lamps. Outside, there was an outhouse.

“One year we had 52-below up here,” he recalls.

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It was Mr. Caldwell’s great-grandfather, W.F. Clark, who became the first homesteader in the area when he ventured east from the northern shore of Georgian Bay in the early 1880s. The pioneer cleared 400 acres of land to establish a farm and brickyard, and eventually his small settlement grew into the present-day town of Powassan.

When Mr. Caldwell visited the property in his youth, it had no electricity or heat.

Nat Kay/Nat Kay

By the early 1920s, the hamlet was becoming quite busy, so Mr. Caldwell’s grandmother decided to purchase a more peaceful refuge on the outskirts of town. The new property had a few acres devoted to hay farming, and the rest was natural landscape.

After her new cabin was built, Elizabeth Clark stood on the back stoop and called out to people in the distance. Her words echoed about eight times as they bounced around the sides of the valley beyond the house.

Ms. Clark named her new home The Echoes, and that has remained its postal address ever since, says Mr. Caldwell, who has successfully sent mail from many international destinations.

The house today

The current house took more than eight years to build.

Nat Kay/Nat Kay

Mr. Caldwell dreamed for years of building a new home on the property. Together with his wife, Suzanne Dansereau, he began making plans in the late 1990s.

Mr. Caldwell, an investment advisor in Cambridge, Ont., was a member of the board of directors at the University of Waterloo at the time. He asked the dean of the School of Architecture to recommend a Waterloo graduate who had experience in building in rugged Northern Ontario.

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The search led them to architect Dennis Castellan of Sudbury, Ont.

Mr. Castellan began designing a substantial log home that would stand on the site of the farm’s original barn.

The home was designed with a light and modern interior.

Nat Kay/Nat Kay

The position on a small bluff provided the best views of the valley and pond below, says Mr. Caldwell, but it also made Mr. Castellan’s work more challenging.

Obtuse angles are very unusual in log construction, he explains, but such angles were necessary in order to meet his goal of not altering the terrain. The home was built on three tiers, with separate wings for gathering and sleeping.

“Joining logs with those changes in altitude is difficult,” Mr. Caldwell says. “The structure he put together was quite complex.”

Mr. Caldwell had white pine timbers harvested from the forests of Temagami and the banks of the Mattawa and Upper Ottawa rivers. Timbers weighing up to three tons were hauled to the property, where they were cleaned, squared, dried and aged for 18 months before being hewn by hand.

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The kitchen has a chef's range and built-in wall ovens.

Nat Kay/Nat Kay

The finished home took eight years to build and provides three bedrooms and three bathrooms over 4,100 square feet of living space.

While Mr. Caldwell oversaw construction of the heavy structure, Ms. Dansereau took on the planning of a light and modern interior.

Large family gatherings these days include the couple’s children and grandchildren.

The couple and their guests spend lots of time in the great room around a fireplace built of stone collected from Georgian Bay. The kitchen at the centre of the home has a chef’s range and built-in wall ovens.

The master suite includes a bathroom with a soaker tub.

Nat Kay/Nat Kay

The master suite has a large sleeping area, a home office and a luxurious bathroom with a soaker tub next to windows overlooking the pond. Outside, there’s a Jacuzzi.

Large screen porches provide a comfortable place to relax or dine during mosquito season.

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During the summer, Mr. Caldwell moved his home office to one of the porches.

“During the current environment, it’s quite nice to have an indoor and an outdoor office,” he says.

A home office is attached to the master suite.

Nat Kay/Nat Kay

From the outside, the log home appears to nestle into the landscape.

“It blends in perfectly with the environment,” Mr. Caldwell says.

Much of the acreage remains unchanged but the echoes are not so noticeable today – the soundwaves have been dampened by a pine plantation Mr. Caldwell’s father planted in the 1950s to replace the hay fields.

The property is accessible year-round and North Bay, the main hub in that stretch of the province, is about 25 minutes away by car. There’s a busy airport there, along with marinas, stores and restaurants along the Lake Nipissing waterfront.

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The best feature

The tranquility of the property is one of its greatest assets.

Nat Kay/Nat Kay

The property’s tranquility is the most enjoyable aspect, in Mr. Caldwell’s view. He’s amazed at the number of visitors who have never before had the opportunity to tramp through wild bush.

Mr. Caldwell likes to organize warm-weather hikes and winter snowshoeing on the trails that wind through the property and onto the crown land next door. One favourite destination is a rocky promontory in the distance.

“It’s a clear rock in the middle of the forest and quite high up,” he says. “It’s a great place for a bonfire.”

The trees in autumn are beautiful and the landscape is spectacular in winter, he adds.

Deer roam the property frequently and family members occasionally glimpse moose, black bears, and wolves. Mr. Caldwell has found bobcat tracks in the snow but he’s yet to spot the elusive creature.

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Open this photo in gallery: Gallery photo 1
215 OAKWOOD Road, Powassan, Ontario
Building Type
Property Type
Single Family
Welcome to The Echoes. If you are looking for a truly one of a kind, private compound, this is it. This grand custom designed 4100 sq.ft white pine home is situated on 100 acres of natural Northern Ontario forest, abutting 200 acres of crown land. With serene views of the valley and pond below, this log home exudes true Canadian pride. The current family would skate on the pond in the winter months, can you imagine the fun that would be? A Winter Wonderland nestled amongst your own forest this property is a natural playground in all seasons. Can you see yourself exploring the trails whether on skiis, by snowmobile or snowshoes, only to return to a cozy ambience truly felt with log home architecture. Locally designed, sourced, and built, the modern interior finishes were intended to contrast with the massive timber structure itself. Some of the timbers are 2ft in diameter. An open functional design brings the outdoors in with its picture windows, living space to dine and chill with walk out to deck overlooking the pond. The chef inspired kitchen includes a Sub-Zero fridge, Wolf double oven, Wolf range, Miele dishwasher, complimented with a generous island designed for entertaining. The home is fully wired with CAT6 completely automated, so if working from home is on your radar, you can do that here. All bedrooms offer an ensuite and and walkout to their own Muskoka room. Your guests or children will be more than comfortable in this wing of the home. The Principle bedroom showcases a vaulted ceiling, massive windows, spa en suite including glass shower & soaker tub. A brilliant combination of rustic luxury, inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright's abiding credo, this structure blends into the surrounding forest, never competing with its natural surroundings. Situated in Powassan, ON, 25 minutes south of North Bay including the waterfront, shops, fine restaurants, and the airport just 20 mins away. Visit for more on the story behind The Echoes. (id:31729)
Listing ID 40053802
Salesperson KIM O'GRADY
Open this photo in gallery: Gallery photo 1
38 QUEENS Avenue, Powassan, Ontario
Royal LePage North Bay Real Estate Services, Brokerage
Building Type
Property Type
Single Family
38 Queens Ave- This charming 2 bedroom home has seen lots of renovations and updates making it perfect to move right in and make this home. Sitting on a large beautiful lot just at the edge of town with privacy and room for gardening and running around. Nice large gazebo allows you to extend your living space and enjoy the outdoors in comfort. (id:31729)
Listing ID 40067494
Brokerage Royal LePage North Bay Real Estate Services, Brokerage
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