The Road Allowance on Your Waterfront Lot

The initial laying out of road allowances in Ontario included the establishment of shore road allowances that were 66’ in width adjacent to navigable rivers and the shores of lakes. The MNRF has established certain guidelines and will generally encourage municipalities to retain shoreline where the lands contribute to the preservation of fish and wildlife habitat. In addition, municipalities may have their own guidelines for retaining shore road allowances in public ownership, including:


  1. So that they will be available in the future to facilitate the logical development and expansion of the municipality’s recreational trail system and associated parkland uses, especially along the shores of lakes and rivers.
  2. To ensure that the Public will have continuing access to the waterways in the municipality for recreational purposes.
  3. To ensure that portages along river systems stay in public ownership and are protected for future users.
  4. To preserve natural vistas along the waterways in the municipality by retaining as much natural shoreline vegetation as possible.

However, for shore road allowances that are deemed to have no foreseeable future public use, a municipality may consider applications to close these sections of shore road allowance and deed them to the adjacent property owner with certain conditions.  Contact your area municipality for specific road allowance and shore road allowance closing procedures and to determine whether you can remove, use or alter the road or shore road allowance.


This article was taken from ‘Living in Cottage Country’ book put out by the Muskoka Watershed Council.