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help exchange   Host 24085
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Help Exchange

Parry Sound
All Year: Yes
Area (ha): 1.3 acres
Persons: 1 or 2
Category: Homestay
Host ID: 24085
Region: Ontario

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Last Updated: March 5, 2019


BC is not the only place with Great Scenery and there is a lot less rain here. Hope you will give us a chance to show you what we are talking about.

We live on an unspoiled pristine lake in a wilderness forest area in northern Ontario Canada and are looking for a guy who is a motivated "Volunteer Visitor" who is an easy-going self starter and does not smoke and eats regular food.

The opportunity we offer would be ideal for someone who loves the tranquil setting of a lakeside home surrounded by hundreds of square miles of protected forest and enjoys being in and on the water (or would like to experience "the land of ice and snow" in winter). For continuity, we prefer long term visitors. We now have an opening for a visitor to start in early in June 2019 (We plan to keep hosting here forever)

We are also looking for someone to start in the fall of 2019.

HOWEVER, If you are planning to visit Toronto, any time you can speak to us about staying at our Toronto home for about half the price of a hostel.

We do not run a farm but rather make our living by renting out a second cottage that we own on the same lake which is available year round.

After developing our properties for 31 years working on weekends and holidays, my wife and I started living here full time and running our little business starting in 2001.

I need to find someone who would enjoy the easy pace of country living for free, in exchange for being the "extra pair of hands" that we need from time to time - helping in the kitchen, bailing boats (or clearing snow off the stairs in winter), helping with the reservation desk, moving firewood, holding the other end of the board for some little building project etc.

Sharing our home is not new to us. We have been hiring very exceptional high school students to help out every summer for 37 years (and they are all still part of our ever growing extended family – once family – always family).

Now we have had back-to-back HelpX visitors year round since October 2013 and have very much enjoyed the experience.

We offer a private room and sharing of all other facilities including natural wood-fired sauna, hot tub, boats, free wi-fi, satellite TV etc.

Reading the testimonials below will give you a very good idea of what it is like to be a visitor here.

Although we live in the middle of several hundred square miles of protected forest, we do have all modern conveniences (new forced air gas furnace etc.) and great roads and the lake is totally awesome.

See our web site at
and our videos

We can be reached through whatsapp +1 705 757 3030

Some of the visitors below have arrived here after being recommended by previous HelpX visitors so they do not have a HelpX account and we don't want them to have to pay for a membership just to leave their testimonials so we have posted them here.

This one at the beginning of the list is from Hans-Michel (German) who signed on for two weeks back in November 2017 and ended up staying for 105 days before setting out on his trip across the USA. When he got back to Ontario in May, he stayed at our Toronto home for a while and then came back to the lake for a few more weeks before heading back to Germany to start university there.

"I stayed at Bob's place for a total of about three months.

Because I came to the lake in October, I had the opportunity to enjoy the lake while it was still *somewhat* warmish.

When winter came, it transformed the landscape into a winter wonderland.

If I had to pick one single word to describe the setting and the feeling the lake has to it, it would be 'calm'. Really helps you relax and unwind.

All in all, I enjoyed my stay.

Food is plenty, work is not too hard (but there will always be something to work on) and the lake is beautiful (in winter as well as in summer).

November 2017 - January 2018

We are posting this "letter of recommendation from our first ever HelpX visitor here on our profile. - October 12, 2013 to January 6, 2014

"I spent three months at Bob's place on Kawigamog lake, I had a wonderful time. I got the chance to see the lake before and after it freezes, allowing me to enjoy both the boats and the snowmobile.

Bob is really nice and we had a lot of laughs. I learned a lot working with him, as there are new challenges everyday. He also introduced me to the art of sauna, and there is no better place to enjoy it, when the sauna temperature is high enough, you just have a few meters to go to jump in the lake and then run back to the sauna!

I spent both Thanksgiving and Christmas at the lake, and Bob's family made me feel like home, it was amazing.

If you are travelling to Ontario, you must pay a visit to Bob, you won't regret it, Kawigamog is a beautiful lake and the people living around it are lovely.

I will never forget the time I spent at your place Bob, I miss you all and will be sure to keep in touch.




Here is another post from a more recent visitor. He is the younger brother of a HelpX visitor from the previous summer in 2014 so he does not have a HelpX account and we don't want him to pay for a membership just to leave his message.
- - -
My name is Edmond Buchart. I spent a month and half with Bob, during the summer 2015. I am a 16 year old Frenchman. My older brother, visited Bob the previous summer - also for 6 weeks through HelpX.

What I did

We first met in Toronto when Bob picked me up at the airport and we spent a few days in the city staying at his Toronto home where his adult kids live. We had a private back-stage tour of two theatres, The Historic Royal Alex and The Modern Princess of Whales as “special guests” of the manager. There were just the 3 of us: Bob, Luke (another HelpX student who was leaving for home that same week) and me. That was very interesting. We did some other things in Toronto, met some other of Bob's friends in a restaurant, and we also went to Niagara Falls, for a boat ride right up to the base of the falls. We all enjoyed it. On the way to Niagara, we stopped at Hutches, a famous 50's Hamburger place and ate our lunch overlooking huge Lake Ontario, and on the way back to Toronto we stopped at the Royal Hamilton Yacht Club and helped Bob's friend who volunteers in an "Able Sailing Program" and we helped some disabled people to get out of their boats and we helped to put the boats away and then we went out for dinner after with his friend. That was basically my first week, sightseeing, restaurants, visiting, fun… and no work to do!

After letting Luke off at the airport, Bob and I came to his cottage where there was another HelpX visitor "holding the fort". A job that I did every evening was to go by boat to collect the trash from the tenants on the other side of the cove and I enjoyed this. This gave me the chance to chat with the tenants and sometimes have a beverage with them around their campfire.

Otherwise, each day was different. If Bob needed to repair some stuff, I would help him. Most every night we would drive to the dump and Bob gave me driving lessons on his standard gearshift car on the way there and back. If Bob needed to go somewhere and buy some stuff I would go with him if I wanted to, it was up to me of course. (Bob let us do what we want to do, but staying with Bob is pretty cool, knowing that Bob is a nice guy, very funny, and my friend now). Some examples of what I did: cleaning pine needles off the roofs with a leaf blower, cleaning the cottages (about once or twice a week), assembling a new barbecue, helping to prepare meals for ourselves etc.

But my trip cannot be measured in the amount of work, there is no set schedule for that.

Bob has a lot of friends that we met; some would invite us for dinner and we would invite them back. The food is always good, there is plenty of it and there is lots of variety. (Ask him about the Taco Salad - yummy!!) We also attended fund-raiser dinners in town and visited other restaurants. I walked on the world's longest snowmobile bridge over the French River and visited the French River Trading Post.

As a Frenchman I loved meeting lots of Canadian people. We water-skied a lot. Four or five times a week we used to water-ski (except for the last 10 days, when we water-skied 7 times a week), and having some water-skiing lessons was a lot of fun. I had goals: water skiing with only one ski, starting with only one ski, and I attempted skiing on one ski and holding the tow rope with my other foot. I also did cliff jumping from the 20 foot and 30 foot cliffs. Thanks to Bob, I achieved those goals.

We also enjoyed the wood fired sauna which is beside the lake so you can jump in to cool down and also the hot tub, which were fun. It is very hard to sum up my fun and my enthusiasm during this month and a half.

Bob is unique and very open minded: I had at the beginning some trouble with my English; Bob is very patient, and very sincere. This place is very quiet, and calm. You will find no stress but only fun.

I miss Bob and I am surely going to come back



Just as Edmond was sent here in 2015 by his older brother Armand, (who visited in 2014) the two of them, sent their friend Pierrick in 2016 and this is what Pierrick wrote about his visit. Again, Pierrick is not a HelpX member so we are writing his message with our profile so he doesn't have to pay the HelpX fee just to leave his testimonial.

I spent one month with Bob during the summer of 2016.  I had a wonderful time.  Bob is really nice. 
There are different things to do every day.  For example one day we installed some wood lattice to enhance the look of one of the buildings and sometimes we would take campfire wood to the tenants.  Things that we did on a regular basis were to help to prepare meals, keep the kitchen tidy and on Fridays we would clean one cottage and on Saturdays we would clean another. 
I enjoyed the lake, water-skiing, the sauna and hot tub. 
Every morning we swam out to the point and back and that was awesome. 
Every evening the other HelpX guys and myself would visit the tenants to collect their garbage. 
Bob showed me the French River and we had lunch there. 
Life with Bob is awesome.  He has lots of jokes and stories.  (Ask bob about the chewing gum joke). 

The lake is an amazing place and it was a really great experience that I would recommend to anybody. 
Thank you so much for everything Bob , I hope I will come back soon.
Pierrick Couzon


Also, in 2016, we had Laurent and his friend Chris staying with us for 3 months. Below, is what he wrote so far.

Hi Bob,

I really enjoyed this time with you I had a great time and had a lot of fun. I made a lot of pictures which I am going to send to you once my computer works again (I don't know what happened during the time I was away but my computer at home is broken).

Laurent Robuste

Testimonial From Jordan Van Ooteghem :

I had the pleasure to help Bob for 3.5 months in the summer of 2017. His place is really nice, spacious and quiet. We were doing various things everyday. His rental cottage business requires a lot of attention towards the tenants. Like every business the most important thing is to look after the customers and make sure they are happy with the service and accomodation we provide. Our main goals were to make sure the cottages were clean and ready for the arrival of the next tenants. Throughout their stay we had to make sure they had everything they needed. Being friendly and welcoming play an important role too. This way they will be more likely to come back the year after.

Bob is a great host and you also learn a lot from him. I admire the fact that he is still really active and will do everything in his tenants' best interest.

We had time to explore this amazing place, we did some trips by kayak and motor boat to different places on the lake. We met some friends of his who are really nice! Everyone on the lake is welcoming and pleasant to be with. It's definitely something to experience at least once in your life.

We also had the opportunity to tube and waterski! I didn't have any idea how to waterski before and yet after practising several times with Bob, I got the hang of it and really enjoyed myself waterskiing, it is awesome!

Bob will do everything to accomodate you and help you with anything. I got really lucky to find him. I owe him big time and will be forever thankful for everything he has done for me. I'm actually really looking forward to going back to the cottage, and it is going to be soon as I have been invited back to share the Thanksgiving feast.

If you are looking for experiencing something different to living in a city, that is the perfect place to be. I really enjoyed discovering Bob's way of life in this amazing environment. As a newcomer to Canada I found it is an ideal place to experience the real Canadian way of life in the countryside.

I also met other helpers mainly from Germany. We got along very well and I'm still in contact with them. Bob's place has everything you need and he also is an excellent cook. He will teach you how to make delicious meals from scratch. We ate very well at his place, I actually put on weight big time during my stay at his place :) . You also get the opportunity to see wildlife such as bears, moose, foxes, squirrels and so on.

The tenants who come to Bob's place come from all over the world and you get the chance to talk to them, eat and drink with them. It is so interesting and enjoyable!!

I had an amazing time with Bob and the other helpers and all the people I had the chance to meet during my stay there, I strongly recommend that you spend some time at Bob's place - you will love it !.


Message from Linus -
December 4, 2015 - April 6, 2016

"I really enjoyed the time at the lake. Bob is a calming person, who's company is certainly enriching. The lake is an adventure and it took me a couple of days to get used to it, but once I developed some kind of a routine, I did not want to leave. If you get the chance to help Bob, take it. Bob became a friend and one day I will be back.

Linus Maximilian Hohendorff"

See more testimonials that have been posted to the HelpX site also.

Please write to let us know any questions you may have about this opportunity.

Please reply by e-mail sent to

I can also be reached by whatsapp at +1 705 757 3030


reviews (11)
Helper: Tom Kostalas Profile: hidden - premier members only
From: United Kingdom Date: July 30, 2018
I stayed with Bob from 23rd of May to 23rd of August, and it was my first Hel... view complete review

Helper: Joel MacDougall Profile: hidden - premier members only
From: Canada Date: May 29, 2018
I accepted Bob's invite to work at his cottage property for the time frame of... view complete review

Helper: Friedemann Schestag Profile: hidden - premier members only
From: Germany Date: June 28, 2017
In February I had the privilege to spend 3 weeks at Bob’s cottage at Lake Kaw... view complete review

Helper: Jan-Lukas Huhn Profile: hidden - premier members only
From: Germany Date: June 13, 2017
Bob was my first ever helpx host and I do not think that I could have found a... view complete review

Helper: Quentin Deregnaucourt Profile: hidden - premier members only
From: France Date: January 4, 2017
Bob is such a good guy, really helpful and generous. We have started to spea... view complete review

Helper: Moritz Vosteen Profile: hidden - premier members only
From: Germany Date: August 29, 2016
I stayed with Bob for 6 weeks at the end of spring.  He is a really nice and ... view complete review

Helper: Guillaume Arhant Profile: hidden - premier members only
From: France Date: November 15, 2015
I spent one month with Bob during the fall (October-November). Summer was gon... view complete review

Helper: Matthew Perkins Profile: hidden - premier members only
From: Canada Date: November 1, 2015
I spent july and august at Bob's and it was an experience that I would recomm... view complete review

Helper: Fabian Hawer Profile: hidden - premier members only
From: Germany Date: October 20, 2015
This place is awesome!! I stayed with Bob and his daughter, Karen and some... view complete review

Helper: Rémi Dosdat Profile: hidden - premier members only
From: France Date: September 29, 2015
I spent about 2 months at Bob's place and it was a great time ! The life at t... view complete review

Helper: Armand Buchart Profile: hidden - premier members only
From: France, Metropolitan Date: February 28, 2015
I stayed 6 weeks with Bob and his daughter, and I had a wonderful time with t... view complete review

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