Historically, many waterfront properties within the Township of Georgian Bay have a 20 metre (66 foot) reserve of land that separates the parcel from the water’s edge; these are shore road allowances that were put in place in the late 19th Century on Crown Land to permit the logging and transportation of goods

These shore road allowances still exist today and unless title to a portion of the allowance has been purchased by an abutting property owner, it is owned by the municipality. This means that a property owner may not own to the water’s edge, and therefore may be limited in what they can and cannot do within the road allowance.

Provincial legislation allows municipalities to sell such road allowances, except for any portions of the allowance which are covered by water.

Occasionally, property owners may discover that a portion of their building, structure, driveway, or other appurtenance encroach on a portion of an abutting road, unopened road allowance, or other property owned by or under the jurisdiction of the Township of Georgian Bay. In other cases, an owner of abutting land may wish to use or build one or more of the abovenoted structures on a portion of abutting municipal land.

It is the general policy of the Township not to allow encroachments onto Township land. However, if there is no strategic or operational need for the land, the Township may entertain the sale of land to abutting property owners. This typically applies to unopened road allowances and original shore road allowances but could potentially apply to any municipal land per Township policies.

All road closures are at the discretion of Council.

Do I own my waterfront? 

It is the responsibility of the property owner to verify and confirm whether or not they own the shore road allowance in front of their property. Often waterfront property owners do not own property rights to the water's edge unless the shore road allowance was stopped up, closed, and sold to the owner (or previous owners). If the application was approved, the road allowance or shore road allowance would have merged in title with the applicant's property.  In many cases, property owners have encroached onto these allowances with the construction of entire buildings, parts of buildings, boathouses, docks, garages, landscaping, etc. Adverse possession (squatters rights) on road allowances or shore road allowances are not permitted without formal approval from the Township.

How do I apply to purchase a road allowance or shore road allowance?

If you are interested in applying to purchase any type of road allowance:


Shore Road and Road Allowance Policy 

Shore Road and Road Allowance Application Form

Fees and Charges By-law

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