733 County Rd. 2, Otonabee-South Monaghan, Ont.
Asking Price: $4,495,000
Taxes: $8,700 (2021)
Lot Size: 140 acres
Agents: Nathan and Lori Copeland (ReMax Rouge River Realty Ltd.)
Leslie Bradford met bush pilot Peter Scott 12 years ago when she hitched a ride in his Cessna to Killarney Provincial Park for a solo hiking trip.
“He volunteered to drop me off in the middle of the provincial park, and he picked me up, and we’ve been together ever since.”
Mr. Scott, a retired farmer from Yorkshire, England, had immigrated to Canada to pursue his lifelong dream of flying a float plane. Ms. Bradford-Scott was a former member of the U.S. Coast Guard who also had long aspired to become a pilot.
Mr. Scott taught her to fly and, along the way, the two married. As they settled into their new life, they began to look for a farm for sale. The couple’s search was slowed by one quirky requirement: the farm had to come with a runway.
After two years of searching, they found the property they were looking for on the north shore of Rice Lake in rolling hills near Peterborough, Ont.
The heritage farm offered 140 acres of fields and forest sloping down to 2,000 feet of unspoiled shoreline. It also provided a 1,850-foot runway, hangar and float plane launch. The owner was a pilot, as was the owner before.
The farm popped up on an obscure property website for private deals, says Ms. Bradford-Scott. Once they found it, the couple were disappointed to learn it had recently sold.
Their luck turned when that deal fell apart and the Scotts stepped up to purchase the farm.
Peterborough County is located on the Treaty 20 Michi Saagiig territory and in the traditional territory of the Michi Saagiig and Chipewa Nations, collectively known as the Williams Treaties First Nation.
The Scotts learned that the land was part of a 200-acre parcel settled by James Dawson, who also moved to Canada from Yorkshire. Local records show the homestead was built in 1850 with bricks produced on the property.
The Dawsons raised dairy cattle and crops on the estate, which remained in the family for generations.
By the time the Scotts took possession nine years ago, the two-storey house was in disrepair, the fields were overgrown with weeds and the century barn was on the verge of tumbling down.
The house today
The traditional farmhouse had served as a vacation rental for several years and the interior was badly neglected, Ms. Bradford-Scott says.
They rejuvenated the main-floor principal rooms and renovated kitchen, then refurbished the upstairs, where they installed new floors, renovated the bathrooms and added closets to the bedrooms.
Today the house has five bedrooms and three bathrooms. There’s a main-floor office and a sunroom with heated floors.
While the work was underway inside, Mr. Scott turned to clearing the weeds.
“Peter, being a farmer, knew exactly what to do outside,” Ms. Bradford-Scott says.
The agricultural land was restored and rented to a neighbour, who continues to grow soybeans and wheat.
As they improved the property, the Scotts made a determined effort to preserve the antique barn.
“We could only find two people to restore it – everybody else said it was too far gone,” Ms. Bradford-Scott recalls.
The young couple who took on the project were planning to marry at the end of the summer, so the Scotts invited them to use the restored barn as a wedding venue. They held their nuptials on the elevated terrace overlooking the water.
“It’s a great spot to have a party,” Ms. Bradford-Scott says.
Once they were settled in, Ms. Bradford-Scott began making soaps and lotions in the laundry room and selling them from the back of her pick-up truck. Today her business, which is not for sale, has grown into a full line of natural beauty products that she makes on the farm.
The Scotts keep their vintage red-and-white Piper Cub on the property. They often venture out over the nearby Kawartha Lakes, Ms. Bradford-Scott says, or fly into Killarney, where the couple’s romance began. The pilots also fly out of nearby Peterborough Airport, where they keep two additional planes.
The best feature
Ms. Bradford-Scott says the property is ideally suited for an aviator, but the 28-kilometre-long Rice Lake is also popular for boating and fishing. When the lake freezes over, adventurers gather for ice sailing and motorcycle racing.
During their tenure, the Scotts have created winding trails through the woods and fields for year-round hiking and skiing in winter.
“I hike on the farm every day – that’s my mid-day break,” Ms. Bradford-Scott says.
Wildlife that meander onto the property include deer, foxes, wild turkey and coyotes.
Most of the farm’s natural shoreline is protected conservation land, she adds.
“It will always be protected – that’s what I love about it.”
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