Here's What It's Actually Like To Live On A Private Island In Ontario

The owners of Ontario's Duval Island say it isn't all island-life paradise.
Staff Writer
Private Islands In Ontario: Here's What It's Like To Live On One

Living on a private island in Ontario during the pandemic probably sounds ideal to some, but most people wouldn't have the courage to go for it. 

Jamie and Roger White are the exceptions, though. The couple owns Duval Island, located at the northern tip of Lake Huron, Ontario.

They're selling the island that's been in Jamie's family for 50 years, but not before Narcity could ask some questions about what it's actually like to live on a private island.

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What's it like to live on a private island?

Jamie White says she'll miss the peace, quiet and beauty of Duval Island, which takes about 20 minutes to walk all the way around.

"The waves for me was the big thing," White tells Narcity, "It's the most gorgeous sunset, and you can get it right off the deck, and there's nothing in front of you."

There are drawbacks to living so far removed from society — transport is difficult, says Jamie's husband Roger, and even grocery shopping becomes difficult when you have to transfer everything from car to boat to home.

There are neighbours — the Whites say they'd have company visit their island from time to time — but you can have total solitude if you want it.

"It's just the peace and the quiet, [it] calms your mind and your spirit and rejuvenates you," Jamie says.

"The only problems you have on the island are the problems you create for yourself," Roger adds.

Can you live on a private island in the winter in Ontario?

The Whites only lived on Duval Island six months of the year, travelling from their home in Birch Run, Michigan.

"It's really not accessible during the winter," Roger says. "You couldn't get a boat out, and it's not frozen enough to walk on."

The only way to access the island, in that case, is via a helicopter, airboat or hovercraft. Snowmobiles can work, Roger says, but only for one month out of the winter.

There is a lot on the mainland that's also for sale with the island and that could be lived in during the winter, but the Whites say they never built a house on it.

"We just use [it] for parking," Roger says.

How much does a private island cost?

Duval Island has been on the market for a year, according to Jamie, and they've had to lower the price since they first listed it.

As it is, it's currently listed for $593,353 — which includes a motorboat and the option to purchase the mainland lot for an extra $150,000.

There are plenty of other islands for sale in Ontario, too, according to Private Islands Online

Plenty of islands are available for less than the cost of a Toronto condo, but others will cost you closer to $2 million.

Cormac O'Brien
Staff Writer
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