Blueberry Island is at the north end of Lake Joseph and has, until recently, remained vacant. The island has long been a destination for picknickers in Muskoka with the tacit permission of the out of province owners.

The new owners have a cottage on the mainland and had long admired the site as a potential gathering place for family and friends and wanted to preserve its natural character. The site has no power, so the decision was to build a small off-grid pavilion and boathouse to use on summer weekends for picnics and camping.

The new pavilion houses one bedroom and a gathering room with fireplace; there is an additional outbuilding spa with bathroom and shower. The boathouse has two slips and one open space on the second floor for recreation or sleeping.

The pavilion was designed to have a minimum impact on the site and to not be visible from the water. This was achieved by removing as few trees as possible and integrating the building into the sloping landscape. The main gathering space is glass enclosed with sliding doors that open at the corners to maximize the connection with the outdoors and deconstruct the envelope of the building when opened.

Exterior materials include Parklex Prodema siding, and a zinc roof with metal clad windows for minimal maintenance.

The entire building is powered by solar panels and a battery array which can support limited use indefinitely and is completely off-grid.


Lake Joseph, Muskoka, Ontario




1,700 ft²


New Construction




David Whittaker