Porter Lake

Porter Lake Wilderness Retreat, your natural getaway in the quiet calm of an off-grid cabin on an undisturbed private lake. Located in the unorganized Patterson township 3 1/2  hours North of Toronto.

Your turn could be next.

Stretch out in front of the wood stove or on the screened-in porch to enjoy the view across the lake at windswept pines, hemlocks, and cedars. Better yet, jump in or wet a paddle in Porter Lake, a spring-fed back-country jewel on the outer edge of the French River water basin.

Access to the cabin is via a floating corduroy road, viable for a four-by-four vehicle three months of the year, but we recommend walking the mile back through long-abandoned homesteads and the farm fields of your host Peter Learn, a seasoned traveler who takes pride in his guests’ enjoyment.

Book now with Airbnb to spend some time on Porter Lake’s two miles of secluded shoreline. 





It was 1988 when a red Forerunner bounced Greg Cromwell’s heart into this remote corner of Northern Ontario bush and left it there. At the time there was no cabin, barely a clearing and a road carved through the gravel banks of the granite ridge.

Through fast friendships, rugby bulldog determination, focus from his bride Alison and inspiration from Porter herself, the cabin and trails took hold on the old homestead parcel of land. Coming in the road the remains of the original homestead log barn can clearly be seen atop a hill overlooking the sawmill site where only the pond to power it remains.

Today Alison and Greg call Australia home allowing others to retreat to Porter Lake where their friend of nearly 30 years, Peter Learn greets them at the neighbouring family farm.

Born and raised on a farm with thousands of acres of bush for a backyard, a more seasoned guide than Pete won’t be found in the area.


We are proud to offer new mattresses and box springs to make sure you don’t miss a wink of sleep in the off-grid cabin. The washroom is outside but it’s civilized, we promise.

A wood heating stove compliments the propane cooking stove in the kitchen with gravity-fed water and propane lights. Or try baking a pie on the screened-in front porch barbecue. Better yet do it on the campfire, we dare you.


Swimming, kayaking, canoeing, skiing, fishing, hiking, bird watching, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, trail riding, snowmobiling, yoga and of course just relaxing. If there’s something specific you’d like a hand with, give us some notice and we’d be happy to see what we can do.

Comments (5)

  • Kevin Lougheed
    March 4, 2011

    Heh Greg…great to see this. I should share some of the great pictures that I took during the few years I was able to get up there. I do hope to work with you in the future to use this property again…it is the place where I most enjoy being.

    Kevin Lougheed, Aurora, Ontario.

    PS: great blogs and twitters on the farm…keep it up dude.

    • greg
      October 1, 2011

      Hi Kevin. Thanks for the nice feedback. Porter Lake is ready for you to make a come back. Anytime. Just let the Learns know so we can book you in.

  • Deb MacFarlane
    December 11, 2011

    Hey Greg,

    Had no idea you still had this place and I would be very interested in renting it some time – is it accessible in winter as well? Not that I am thinking I want to go in winter, but I have always wanted to try that out sometime. Can you provide me with some details? Cost? What I would need to bring up? Availibility? Etc.

    thanks, Deb

    • greg
      December 27, 2011

      Happy Birthday Deb. When do you want to go up? Chris Johnson and his family are at the Lake now until the New Year. You are welcome to go up anytime after that and we can arrange for the cabin to be warmed up and water pumped into it. Want to have a go at ice fishing? cheers Greg

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