Birch Island

Sand Lake,
on the Rideau Canal
Elgin, Ontario



Note from the (new) BIRPOA President – Mike Davis
Hello Birch Island Cottagers!

Many of you already know me as I have been coming to Birch Island for over 40 years: my family purchased our lot in 1969. Our lot, #50, is the first cottage past the bridge/causeway towards the main part of the lake. Yes, it is the one with all the wooden boats! Birch Island has been a special place for our family and I’m happy to have an opportunity to help make new memories for all Birch Island cottagers.

I wanted to share some quick news items and highlight a few useful links – stay tuned for updates in the Spring when we are all back at the lake.

Memberships: We all want to keep Birch Island an enjoyable and safe place for our families to escape to! The Association has a long history of representing the cottagers with the township (see waste and recycling below for a recent example) and of creating and maintaining island features (such as trails and signage and boat battery chargers), and we need both your input and $$ to do all this effectively. Please take the time to fill out the online membership form and send it in today. Leave a cheque in the BIRPOA ‘drop box’ at the Sand Lake Marine office OR mail your cheque to Vipool Desai.

Burn Ban: Just a reminder that if you want to have an outdoor fire, other than a cooking fire or small evening campfire, you need to purchase a permit (available for $10 at Gordanier’s Freshmart in Elgin, ON). Campfires and cooking fires must be no larger than 0.6m x 0.6m x 0.6m (2'x2'x2'), and can only be used between the hours of 8 pm and 11pm. When it is particularly dry, the Township often has a burn ban. Please check for this before you buy your permit/light your fires. Follow the regulations and burn during the coolest, dampest time of day and not when it's windy. 

Waste and Recycling: As of mid October 2016, the township has re-committed to maintaining the Sunday Service Depot on Glover Road for waste and recycling pick up from 4-6 pm every Sunday at the Sand Lake public boat launch. This was a major change from what the Township had originally stated, and the service was maintained for us (and other water access properties around the township) following the intervention of your Association. The Township has rather complicated rules about sorting and packaging their waste and recyclables. Please read the Township rules carefully. Tags can be purchased for $2.50 at several locations, including Gordanier’s grocery store in Elgin. All bags must be tagged. Larger items must be taken to the dump (also known as the Portland Transfer Station).
Get a full calendar and other info from the Township’s web sites:
All of these Rideau Lakes Township links and more, can be found under the Contact/Links section of this site.

Septic Systems: The Municipal Septic System Re-Inspection Program was slated to begin mandatory re-inspection, starting in 2016. Go to the Township of Rideau Lakes web site and check the Development Services Department for septic tank information.

Numerous cottagers had their systems pumped out in 2016 by Docks Are Us. If you missed out on this service last year and are interested in having your system pumped, you can give Docks are Us as call at 613-888-9200.
Butternut recovery program: The Eastern Ontario Butternut recovery effort is being led by the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority (RVCA). An RVCA site visit took place this fall and the forestry people were excited to find some live butternut trees on the island. They have promised to donate a number of saplings and a big bag of butternuts for planting in the spring 2017. If you have questions or would like a sapling to ‘foster’, contact Laura Davis ( Further details are included in the “latest news” section of the site. Lots more information on the RVCA website:

Municipal Councillors: If you have concerns that you would like to bring up with our elected councillors for the Township of Rideau Lakes Ward 3, South Crosby, feel free to contact them (whether or not you voted for them!):
Linda Carr Phone: 613-272-2227 email:
Claire Gunnewiek Phone: 613-359-5324 email:
The full list is here:

Freezing cold in Ottawa this weekend, but only four (or so, depending on the ice) months to go until the 2017 cottage season starts! Looking forward to seeing everyone on the island. Don’t forget to set aside the Sunday of August 1st weekend for our annual AGM.

Mike Davis, President BIRPOA 2016-2017

Discover with us one of the most beautiful islands on the Rideau Canal system. Take a stroll in woods and meadows, wander in only a few minutes from dockside to the depths of island, let island foliage plants enchant you and feel the warmth of long Summer days by the dock and cottage living with all your senses.

Plunge in the fresh waters surrounding the island and take off for a trip far away from the fuss of the city. As many people say, time will run slower here. And after the water play, deepen your impressions in our astounding wild life on a cross island trail adventure. Admire extraordinary giant pine trees, rare geological formations, and deep forest wonders, let yourself be fascinated.

Several pairs of Loons call Birch Island home, and it is common to hear them calling each other through out the day and evenings

Looking to Own a Cottage on the Rideau System at an Affordable Price? Check out Birch Island located on Sand Lake. Kelly Blair Real Estate Group is the #1 Selling Team on the Island year after year!

You can always find turtles bathing in the warm summer months around the island

This year, make a resolution to engage with nature on the island trails. Follow a scenic path on a calm summer day and take in the beauty of the rugged surroundings.

Stroll to the far end of the island and discover our own Birch Island Library where you will find reading for all tastes, and puzzles for the young at heart. Don’t miss out on Jelly Roll rock – a rare geological find.

Our updates:

Association AGM

Mark your calendars for Aug.6 11:00AM. Location is at #70 (Kelly & Todd Blair)

Parks Canada: Free canal passes for 2017

Parks Canada is inviting Canadians and visitors from around the world to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary at our national treasures from coast to coast to coast. To mark this special year, we’re offering free admission to all Parks Canada locations, and we want you to join us for the celebration.... Read more

Events & Activities
for everyone

There is so much going on this Summer in our own backyard. Check out the Rideau Lakes calendar of activities. Rideau Lakes event calendar


Adventure racing
on the Rideau

Do you love paddling... a lot?. Then this event is for you. It's the Kingston to Ottawa (K2O) annual paddle race. 200km of pure paddling fun.
K2O Read more