Located in the heart of cottage country, hidden within the boundaries of the Land O’Lakes Tourist Region, Sharbot Lake is a rural community with a quintessential small village vibe. A friendly, family-oriented place where everybody knows your name, Sharbot Lake offers a mix of outdoor experiences for year-round adventure, with larger city amenities only a scenic hour’s drive away.
Go exploring in the vast wilderness landscape surrounding the village, refresh and revitalize in the myriad of lakes, or take a trip to Kingston, the gateway to the 1000 Islands, for a day of shopping, dining, and entertainment.
Named after the Sharbot family, Sharbot Lake’s history dates back to the early 1870’s where it was once an important stop along the Kingston and Pembroke Railway—a vital part of the Canadian railway network that supported mining, lumber, and agriculture in Eastern Ontario. Presently, the village is an unincorporated community within the municipality of Central Frontenac, which is included in the larger region of Frontenac County consisting of North Frontenac Township, South Frontenac Township, and the Frontenac Islands.
Sharbot Lake is conveniently cornered by Highway 7 and Highway 38, offering a straight-forward drive to larger urban centres like Ottawa and Toronto, with several popular suburban communities along the way—like the historic city of Perth and the ever-growing town of Smiths Falls. If you crave outdoor adventure, with small village charm and big city convenience closeby, Sharbot Lake is your destination for country living in Frontenac.
Did you know?
Frontenac County is one of the most naturally beautiful parts of Ontario spanning a 4000-kilometer radius around the City of Kingston. And as part of the Land O’Lakes region within Frontenac, Sharbot Lake gives you access to 5000 lakes, 600 wilderness trails, and multiple conservation areas and provincial parks—all within a few hours’ drive or right in your own backyard. The area is also renowned for being a nature lover’s paradise by supporting a diverse wildlife habitat including more than 350 different species of birds.
Sharbot Lake can also claim fame for its role in shaping the future of Canadian Olympic gold medalist Simon Whitfield. In his youth, before reaching the Olympic podium, the Kingston native participated in Sharbot Lake’s Kids of Steel triathlon event.
Speaking of steel, the Kingston and Pembroke Railway was built between 1872–1874 and was taken over by the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1913—the inactive railway is now the multi-use K&P Rail Trail and part of the Trans Canada Trail system.
Finally, in 1998, Central Frontenac was created in the amalgamation of the nearby townships of Hitchenbrook, Kennebec, Olden, and Oso—while the township’s current population sits at 4,373, approximately one-third of residents live within the Sharbot Lake area.
What to do in Sharbot Lake
Get outside and play. There’s no end to the adventure in Sharbot Lake and the surrounding townships within Frontenac County—from hunting and fishing to swimming and boating to hiking, biking, and backcountry camping. Not to mention, there’s a rich network of ATV and snowmobile trails in the area to get your blood pumping any time of the year.
Explore the wilderness far and wide, or lose yourself just minutes from the village in Sharbot Lake Provincial Park, with accessible campsites and family-friendly events and programs. If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, check out these other nearby parks:
Frontenac Provincial Park—providing four season backcountry recreation and 48 interior campsites, with one of Canada’s largest on-water canoe and kayak centres two-kilometers from the park entrance.
North Frontenac Parklands—located within the Madawaska Highlands offering the ultimate wilderness experience, with 184 campsites interspersed across the scenic landscape that includes 11 pristine lakes.
Murphy’s Point Provincial Park—part of the historic Rideau Waterway on Big Rideau Lake featuring drive-in car and RV camping facilities as well as paddle-in backcountry sites, with groomed hiking trails for skiing and snowshoeing in the winter.
During the summer, round up the kids for a day at the beach on shores of the aptly named Sharbot Lake, or take an evening stroll through the quiet village streets. After working up an appetite, be sure to stop by one of these local eateries for a feel-good, home-cooked meal:
Cardinal Café & Shop—a popular gathering spot for the community offering an assortment of soups and sandwiches, sweets, and delicious baked goods.
Maples Restaurant—a family-oriented diner serving up comfort food from breakfast until dinner, with an outdoor playground and mini-putt golf course for the kids…and adults, too.
Sharbot Lake Country Inn & The Crossing Pub—a charming, historic lodge for travellers passing through and a local favourite for great food and live entertainment.
Given its small size and rural setting, life in Sharbot Lake moves at a gentle pace—while having access to everyday essentials, those seeking an exciting night out, brand name retail outlets, or fine dining often journey down the highway to the City of Kingston. That said, community events are commonly held at Sharbot Lake Park, including the annual Farmer’s Market from late spring to early fall.
Housing market and where to live
Sharbot Lake is monitored by the Kingston and Area Real Estate Association (KAREA), which experienced a recording-setting month in October 2020. Compared to the same month in 2019:
home sales increased 36.7% totally 421 units;
active listing dropped a significant 42.6%; and
the average sale price of a detached home rose 24.5% to $482,284.
Dave Pinnell Jr., President of KAREA, had this to say about the market’s status, “With new supply struggling to keep up with the pace of sales activity the market is facing unprecedented tightness. Overall supply levels are at the lowest on record and still falling, and average prices continue to post double-digit gains even as they rise to record or near-record levels.”
The stranglehold is felt even more in semi-remote communities like Sharbot Lake where residential listings are few and far between, especially in the heart of the village. Accordingly, those looking to call the area home widen their view to the Township of Central Frontenac where there are a few more options—such as family homes, cottage properties, vacant lots, and investment opportunities.
When it comes to country living, it’s important to consider the lifestyle that comes with the territory. Winters present unique challenges to accessibility, with Canadian Shield limiting internet access and rural roads being impassable after a heavy snowstorm. And when it comes to employment, commuting is unavoidable.
Of course, to the right person, all that pales in comparison to the endless adventure, friendly neighbours, and laid back personality Sharbot Lake has to offer.
Source CREA Jan 2021