The Bear Stand

Architect: Bohlin Cywinski Jackson

Owner: Sharon Leece  & Joe Magrath

Location: Gooderham, Ontario

Category: One- and Two-family Custom Residences (category one)                                

Stationed along the remote lake shores outside of Toronto, this two-story residence serves as a unique place of reprieve for vacationing families.

Located three hours northeast of Toronto, this 3,300 sq. ft. retreat is carefully situated along the shores of Contau Lake on a remote, seasonally isolated woodland spanning nearly 100 acres. Recalling childhood adventures exploring the surrounding lakes and forest, the clients wished to share this unique place with others by creating a place of reprieve to be rented to vacationing families.    

The two-story residence stretches parallel to the lake and a granite rock-face rising up to the south, with primary living and dining spaces at ground level spilling to the outdoors, and sleeping and bathing spaces perched above to capture expansive views of the lake and surrounding forest. The retreat serves as a jumping-off point to an expansive private trail network fashioned by the client. A series of delicate canoe docks and boardwalks knit shallow marshes with hilltop perches, urging exploration by both water and land.

"A warm rendition of modern through great use of wood and wood detailing. The project shows a deep commitment to understanding the site" ~ Jury comment

Additional information

Associate architect: Bohlin Grauman Miller Architects

General contractor: Brinkman & Sons  

Engineer - structural: Blackwell  

Cabinets: Mill Line Woodworking Ltd.

Engineer - electrical: Mad Cat Electric Co.

Engineer - mechanical: Switzer Sales and Service


Victor A. Mirontschuk, FAIA (Chair), EDI International, PC, New York City

Katie Gerfen, ARCHITECT, Washington, DC

Luis Jauregui, FAIA, Jauregui Architecture Interiors Construction, Austin, Texas

Adrianne Steichen, AIA, Pyatok Architects, Oakland, California

John Thatch, AIA, Dahlin Group Architecture Planning, Pleasanton, California

Image credits


Nic Lehoux


Nic Lehoux


Nic Lehoux


Nic Lehoux


Nic Lehoux


Nic Lehoux


Nic Lehoux