Artist Robert Bateman’s Haliburton ‘Lodge’ up for Sale
A 6.3-acre piece of the Haliburton Highlands, embedded in the art and memory of one of Canada’s best-known artists, is up for sale.
Robert Bateman’s cottage was listed on Tuesday for $520,000.
It may not compare to the snowy peaks of the Rockies, but Bateman says the Haliburton place remains “probably the deepest in my heart.”
Recently, however, the custom-built, 2,100-square-foot log home has stood empty too much of the time.
The famed naturalist and wildlife painter and his wife Birgit live full-time on Salt Spring Island, B.C. They use the cottage only two weeks out of every other year when they visit Bateman’s brother at a nearby family place.
“I feel we’re selling it but we’re not saying goodbye,” the 86-year-old artist said on Tuesday of his scenic “Lodge” near the Buckslide River, which flows from Lake Kushog into Lake Boshkung.
He hopes the new owners will be open to allowing him to bring round a bottle of wine so he and Birgit can enjoy the view and their family memories when they visit the area, about 2.5 hours from Toronto.
“Robert and Birgit have a sentimental connection with the property and want to see it go to someone who will be able to enjoy the beauty and potential that this place has to offer,” said Amanda Robinson, a digital media specialist who has been helping to market the home for Haliburton Re/MAX agents Troy Austen and Jeff Wilson.
“We put it on the market with a view to having conversations with whoever buys it,” said Bateman.
It’s main asset, he said, “is a sense of peace and the sound of two different waterfalls in your ears.
“It’s no good if you like waterskiing or motorboats, or what I call the vroom-vroom mentality.”
Bateman admits that calling it “The Lodge” sounds a little pretentious. But it refers to the nearby beaver dam he encountered 36 years ago.
A Toronto native, he has been cottaging in Haliburton since about 1939.
“We would go as a pilgrimage every year. We’d take our little wooden rowboat with a little outboard motor on it and go up to the mouth of the Buckslides River. It was one of the highlights of the summer,” he said in an interview with the Toronto Star from his west coast home.
The family would carry a picnic on a trail up through the woods to some beautiful flat rocks at the bottom of Buckslides. The children would play for a bit and then everyone would travel up a little channel that had what Bateman calls “the prettiest little waterfall in the world.”
Although he frequently works from photographs, Bateman said he enjoys working outdoors when possible and that is how he happened to be sitting inches from that waterfall in 1980.
“I got up to stretch and noticed there was a little trail going up stream. Through all those years, all through the ’40s and ’50s I’d been visiting it, and I’d never seen it. So I followed the trail up and there was a beautiful pond with a beaver dam and a little bit of man-made reinforcement to it and a cliff dropping into the pond — and, a for-sale sign,” he said.
He could hardly believe it.
“I thought God owned it. I never thought it would be for sale,” he said.
He used the waterfall as the backdrop for a painting of a dipper, a bird related to the wren that nests behind waterfalls in the Rockies.
When he bought the place, it had a little “tool shed” on it and the Batemans lived in the family cottage five minutes away. The house was built in 1983 by a former student, the late Tom Kinn, said the artist, who taught high school for 20 years.
The Lodge is being sold as a three-season home that can be converted for winter use. It is 20 minutes to the town of Minden and 25 minutes’ drive to Haliburton on a road that is maintained year-round.
The house is on a full septic system and the water is pulled directly from the river via a jet pump.