Multi-Million Dollar Marina and Community Being Built in Port McNicoll


Crate Marine Sales and Skyline International Development, Toronto, Ontario, have entered into a joint venture to develop an upscale marina, yacht club and residential waterfront community in the harbour town of Port McNicoll, Ontario.

The marina facility, named Crate's Port McNicoll, will represent Crate Marine Sales' fourth marina and fifth sales office in Ontario. Skyline says the marina is the only privately owned deepwater port on Georgian Bay.

During the next three years, $10 million will be invested into developing the 333 hectares of waterfront land in Port McNicoll that Skyline acquired in 2006. Once complete, the development will include 1,300 residential units and 50,000 square feet of commercial retail space including boutiques, restaurants, a 300-room hotel and Crate's Port McNicoll marina. Skyline considers this development the centerpiece of it's $1.6 billion, 10-year restoration strategy for the region.

Greg Crate, Owner of Crate Marine Sales, believes the marina will “turn heads,” as he puts it, once it's complete. “We're looking at a 50 percent partnership with Skyline at this point,” reveals Crate regarding the marine facilities and restaurant portion of the project. “This is going to be a state of the art facility. There will be hot tubs, showers and washrooms on the docks so our customers won't need to walk very far. There will also be octagon-shaped gazebos with lounge chairs – so it's going to be pretty special.”

The primary marine facility, already in place, has 20 50-foot slips that Crate Marine Sales is utilizing for sales purposes. The yacht dealer presently has more than $5 million worth of inventory on display, including Marquis, Carver and Sabre yachts ranging from 33 to 52 feet in length. “There's also some transient dockage for people to check out the lifestyle here,” says Crate. “We've already had 25 people sign up for slips for next year.”

Crate says that by next year's boating season at least an additional 150 slips will be added. “We're taking reservations for slips and as demand increases we will continue to build,” explains Crate. “We can build up to 1,500 slips. Realistically, in the next three years you could see up to 500 slips here.”

Crate Marine Sales recently ordered a brand new 75-ton Travelift for the Port McNicoll site, which it expects will arrive in September. Crate wants to have a couple of hundred boats stored at the new location by fall. Later this year, construction will begin on a 50,000 square-foot, heated dry-dock facility (capable of storing 300 boats) as well as a 5,000 square-foot service facility, Travelift slip, and fuelling station, all at the former site of Duncan's Marina.  

Ron Fine, Director of Media Relations for Skyline International, believes partnering with Crate Marine Sales to develop Port McNicoll made sense. “Approximately 40 percent of the motor yachts currently being operated on Georgian Bay were sold by Crate's,” says Fine. “Therefore, it makes sense for them to have a sales and service centre in the region. From our point of view, it's a terrific opportunity to introduce the yachting community to the beauty of Port McNicoll. It really is a win-win arrangement for both companies.”

Skyline says it sees tremendous commercial and residential potential in the development. According to the company, Port McNicoll is the largest, deepest freshwater harbour on Georgian Bay, and the closest one to Toronto (a 90-minute drive). “Our research showed there was demand for deepwater lots, and brisk lot sales have proven this to be true,” says Fine. “It's also worth noting that Port McNicoll is also only three kilometres east of Midland, which is a medium-sized township with all the necessary infrastructure to support our community, so it makes sense for families to move here.”