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Prince Alfred Island

Written by on May 16, 2017 in The Thousand Islands

It’s hard not to notice this little Canadian island off the shores of Brockville. The cottage is built to resemble a ship called the HMCS Prince Alfred after its isle’s royal namesake. 

Ship Ahoy! Dave Delorme converted this cottage in to a ship-shaped retreat on Prince Alfred Island near Brockville. Photo by Kim Lunman.

Located in the Brock Isles with a view of the shipping channel, it seems more than appropriate as freighters nearby glide through the Brockville Narrows.

Prince Alfred Island, above left, is next to Royal Island. Photo by Kim Lunman

It’s no accident this summer retreat looks like a ship stuck on a shoal – from it’s portal windows, to the propellor on the back, and a wooden plank that also doubles as a diving board off its deck on the ‘bow.’ The island ‘ship’ is the passion project of its owner, Dave Delorme, a Montreal businessman. The scuba diver discovered the place while exploring nearby shipwrecks in the Brock Isles. Delorme learned Prince Alfred was for sale in 1999 while boating in the area. A realtor took him to look at the island. “I bought it the next day,” he said. His new summer retreat took on a ship’s shape almost by accident when Delorme ’s contractor started expanding the cottage with front and back decks. Delorme used his transportation and custom business in Quebec to obtain authentic renovation pieces including a real ship’s door for the cottage. A bar built on the back deck looks like a pirate-themed 1000 Islands Margaritaville decorated with stuffed parrots, bar stools emblazoned with skull and crossbones and a street sign for Beer Belly Boulevard. 

Delorme shares the cottage with his wife Lori Hinds and their two sons, Codyy and Chance. The couple held their wedding here with 125 guests ‘aboard’ the HMCS Prince Alfred. He holds an annual fishing derby and golf tournament on Prince Alfred and threw a pirate party here last summer.  Most guests are well behaved, he jokes, though “there’s a few that should walk the plank.” Delorme even has a business card for Prince Alfred Island featuring an illustration of the HMCS Prince Alfred and the official coat of arms for Prince Alfred, a British prince during the 1800s. Prince Alfred Island is located next to another private isle named Royal Island off the shores of Brockville. It’s not clear how either of these islands were named though it likely stems back to the area’s British roots. Many British officers who fought here during the War of 1812 are commemorated in the Brock Isles. There were 4,000 British forces stationed along over 1,600 kilometres of the border under the command of General Isaac Brock. Brockville, ‘The City of the 1000 Islands’ is named after Brock. Prince Alfred was a member of the Royal family born to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert at Windsor Castle in 1844. A lieutenant in the Royal Navy, he survived an assassin’s bullet during a visit to Sydney Australia in 1868 to resume command of his ship and return to Britain. He died of throat cancer in 1900 at the age of 55.

“It’s a one-of-a-kind cottage for sure,” said Peter Jorgensen, one of a crew busy at work on the HMCS Prince Alfred last fall. The captain of this unique cottage spends as much as six months of the year visiting the island, working on renovations when he’s not enjoying island life.  “It’s a nice getaway,” said Delorme. “It’s so peaceful and no one can ring your doorbell,” said Delorme. And if any unwanted visitors should arrive, he can always direct them to the plank.