Beach O' Pines

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Coordinates: 43°17′41″N 81°46′59″W / 43.294731°N 81.78317°W / 43.294731; -81.78317 Beach O' Pines is a private gated community located on the shores of Lake Huron in Lambton County, Ontario, Canada. It is located immediately outside of the community of Grand Bend, Ontario, and is bordered to the northwest by Lake Huron, the southwest by the Pinery Provincial Park, the northeast by the subdivision of Southcott Pines, and the southeast by the Old Ausable River Channel, Highway #21, and the subdivision of Huron Woods.


In 1929, Frank Salter (a well-known developer from Detroit, Michigan) and several friends found themselves in Grand Bend taking shelter from a storm. While there, he explored the surrounding countryside and identified a 5,000 acres (2,000 ha) parcel that could be developed into a luxury resort.[1] He formed the Frank S. Salter Company Limited (headquartered in Windsor, Ontario), which bought the land from the Canada Company.[1]

Because of the Great Depression, the company scaled back its original plans,[1] and part of the land was subdivided into 35 parcels that were offered for sale together with a right of way over land held by Beach O’Pines Club Limited, for the purpose of ingress and egress from and to Highway 21 and the shore of Lake Huron.[2] The purchasers established the Beach O'Pines Protective Association to improve the property and safeguard their interests.

Noble v. Alley[edit]

Restrictive covenants were inserted by the developer in the deeds of transfer that limited ownership to the properties inside Beach O' Pines based upon ethnic origin until August 1962. In April 1948, Bernard Wolf signed an agreement to buy a cottage property the community. A title search of the property by his lawyer revealed the restrictive covenant in the original property deed, and he applied to the courts to have it removed.[3] The application was dismissed by Schroeder J, who held that the covenant was valid and enforceable.[4]

The covenant was upheld by the Ontario Court of Appeal,[5] and was subsequently overturned by the Supreme Court of Canada in a vote of six to one in Noble v. Alley because the language used in the text was ambiguous.[6]

Land disputes[edit]

When the Beach O' Pines development was originally undertaken, a 5 acres (2.0 ha) parcel was withheld from the original conveyance. The original holding company was dissolved in 1963, and it was determined in 2011 that that land escheated to the Crown. It was conveyed to the Municipality of Lambton Shores that year for use as a greenspace.[7] There have also been issues with the Municipality relating to the status of several road allowances[1] and a towpath along the Old Ausable River Channel, that are in the process of being resolved.[8]

Romney family[edit]

George Romney, the former governor of the state of Michigan and president of American Motors purchased a small cottage at Beach O' Pines in 1950.[9] The cottage was the destination of a 1983 road trip by Governor Mitt Romney, his wife, children, and pet dog.[10] Mitt Romney, the son of George Romney, transported his dog Seamus in a kennel on the roof of his car during a portion of one trip from Boston to Beach O' Pines, which some news organizations made a 'big deal' out of during the 2012 presidential election.[11] Mitt Romney and his siblings still own the cottage.[12]


  1. ^ a b c d Hillman-Rapley, Lynda (June 28, 2011). "Beach O' Pines, Lambton Shores to work out road issues". Lakeshore Advance. Grand Bend. 
  2. ^ Noble v. Alley, p. 75, per Locke J
  3. ^ Aaron, Bob (November 29, 2003). "Lawyer Robinette played key civil rights role". Toronto Star. 
  4. ^ Re Noble and Wolf 1948 CanLII 66, [1948] OR 579 (11 June 1948), Superior Court of Justice (Ontario, Canada)
  5. ^ Noble et al. v. Alley 1949 CanLII 13, [1949] OR 503 (9 June 1949), Court of Appeal (Ontario, Canada)
  6. ^ Noble et al. v. Alley 1950 CanLII 13, [1951] SCR 64 (20 November 1950)
  7. ^ Hillman-Rapley, Lynda (June 22, 2011). "Beach O Pines greenspace now under municipal ownership; status quo". Lakeshore Advance. Grand Bend. Retrieved February 1, 2016. 
  8. ^ Hillman-Rapley, Lynda (September 13, 2011). "Lambton Shores to go forward with implementation process for Huron Woods, Beach O' Pines issues". Lakeshore Advance. Grand Bend. Retrieved February 1, 2016. 
  9. ^ Aaron, Bob (February 26, 2012). "Interesting history of Romney cottage compound". Legal Tree Project. 
  10. ^ Barbara & David Mikkelson (January 21, 2008). "Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney transported a dog atop his car". Snopes. 
  11. ^ Ana Marie Cox (June 27, 2007). "Romney's cruel canine vacation". Time Magazine. 
  12. ^ Humphreys, Adrian (November 3, 2012). "Mitt Romney's Canadian 'white house': Family has vacationed at cottage in private, gated Ontario community for 60 years". National Post. Toronto. Retrieved January 30, 2016. 

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