Friday Harbour, a new all-seasons marina resort, has something for everyone, offering cottage-like ambiance a mere 45-minute drive from the GTA It took three years and 175,000 truckloads of earth, but the marina basin for Friday Harbour, soon to be one of Canada’s largest marina resorts, is finally complete. Canadian Yachting had the distinct pleasure of being one of the few allowed to walk along this engineering milestone before Lake Simcoe is ushered in.
Photo 1: Media gather to walk along the marina basin of Friday Harbour before Lake Simcoe comes in
Unlike many marina resorts, which simply build marinas into existing lakes, destroying fish habitats in the process, Friday Harbour has actually extended Lake Simcoe, creating 4.5 kilometres of new waterfront, which has increased the amount of space for aquatic life. No expense nor effort was spared in the construction of the marina: concrete blocks (over 37,000 of them) were chosen to line the marina as opposed to typical steel plates, at great expense, and an extensive fish habitat was built into the basin to ensure fish of all kinds would call the new marina ‘home.’
Photo 2: One of over 30 fish habitats carefully added to the marina to ensure aquatic life will thrive
When completed, Friday Harbour will offer a 1,000 slip marina, an 18-hole championship golf course, over 40 shops and restaurants, and up to 2,000 luxury condominiums and townhomes. The resort also plans to offer activities and excitement all year round (in the winter, the marina will serve as an ice-skating rink), with enthusiastic boaters from all across the GTA racing to grab their cottage-close-to-home; Phase 1 has completely sold out and Phase 2 and 3 are currently for sale. Friday Harbour expects the first residents to be able to start enjoying their marina-front properties in early 2016. One level of detail that truly distinguishing this development from similar resorts is the time and effort put in not only to achieving governmental environment specifications, but to exceeding them. Throughout construction of the marina, Friday Harbour continually looked for ways to go above and beyond environmental requirements, including creating an extensive fish habitat along the basin, and designing an ingenious storm water and irrigation system (among the first of its kind) that pumps storm water out of the marina to the golf course to be used for irrigation.
Get to know Friday Harbour at a glance:
● Total cost to complete resort will be over $1.5 billion
● 53 acre marina with 1,000 slips and up to 2,000 condominiums and hotel residences
● 4.5 acres of newly-created waterfront
● 18-hole championship golf course
● Nature preserve – 214 acres of forest and wetland areas designated as Environmental Protection (EP) lands
● Marina Village featuring over 40 shopfronts consisting of retail stores, services, and restaurants
● Year-round wellness spa and activity centre (including swimming pool, business centre, and tennis club)
● When finished, almost 1,000 full-time on-resort jobs and 1,500 offsite jobs will be created
● Resort will generate millions in taxes annually for Innisfil and Simcoe County, and spend $10 million on expanding local sewer and water infrastructure, removing approximately 1,700 existing local homes from septic systems
Photo 3: (from left to right) Jo-Anne Lane, principal with Beacon Environmental, Jim De Gasperis, ConDrain Group President and Friday Harbour Partner, and Boaz Feiner, Geranium Corporation, show off a map of what the completed marina resort will look like