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Heron Cay Island

Written by on October 15, 2018 in Island Life Magazine


Whether you’re boating or flying over the world famous 1000 Islands in a floatplane it’s hard to miss this distinctive  bunky perched over a granite rock on this island near the village of Ivy Lea.


Heron Cay Island. Photo by Kim Lunman.

The California couple who have called this island their summer home for decades were kind enough to give me a tour of their Canadian cottage and the bunky appropriately called Eagle’s Nest several years ago.


Photo by Kim Lunman.


Discovering Heron Cay Island

Sailors Raymond and Sheila Buhr found themselves on an unchartered voyage 44 years ago when they discovered this Thousand Islands hideaway known as Heron Cay.

“It was utter happenstance,” recalls Sheila of their trip in the fall of 1974. “We had a wet rainy weekend with two young kids and were trapped on a sailboat, so we thought let’s go look at islands so we did.”

Eagle’s Nest Bunky. Photo by Kim Lunman.

“The  island was derelict,” recalled her husband Raymond, a retired computer science professor at Carleton University in Ottawa.  But the couple saw potential in their rustic retreat near Ivy Lea overlooking the St. Lawrence in between neighbouring Ivy and Pumpkin Islands. It was then known on the nautical chart as Island 78 so they renamed it after a popular winged visitor, the Great Blue Heron, as Heron Cay Island. Raymond and Sheila spend their winters in San Francisco to be closer to their children and grandchildren in nearby Silicon Valley.

Eagle’s Nest


Raymond and Sheila Buhr. Photo by Kim Lunman.

The cottage and guesthouse were built in the 1960s and renovated in the 1980s. The distinctive bunky was once called “Iggle’s Nest” by the Buhr’s young children but was actually named Eagle’s Nest. The small guest cottage is perched high on a granite rock overlooking a channel near Ivy Lea. This breathtaking shot of the bunky below by 1000 Islands photographer Ian Coristine was featured on  cover of Island Life Magazine in 2014.

Heron Cay Island. Photo by Kim Lunman.

Island Life Magazine 2014. Photo by Ian Coristine.

I interviewed the Buhrs and toured the island for a feature story about the unique property profiled in the the same issue.

They told me  during my visit there that their spectacular view of the 1000 islands never gets tired. “It’s home,” said Raymond, who grew up in nearby Gananoque. “It’s an utterly unique place,” said Sheila. “Now we divide our time between two of the most beautiful places in the world.”

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