In the 1800’s initial shore road allowances were established. They were 66 feet wide (a chain) and were created adjacent to many navigable rivers and lakes.


A Shore Road Allowance (sometimes referred to as the original shore road allowance or SRA) runs parallel to the shoreline of most lakes and rivers.  Originally they were  66 feet wide, the old measure of a chain. They can be found on old and new plans of survey and some reference plans. They  refer to the original high water mark. Keeping in mind that some lakes have changed in water level due to a variety of circumstances since they were surveyed, the actual distance to the water’s edge may be different. In many cases the shore road allowance may be completely under water.

Some of the reasons the shore road allowance was created include  a road for public and commercial travel and access to the waterways for the public. Remembering before roads were established, a lot of travel was conducted via lakes and rivers. The shore road allowance provided safe haven to travellers in case of storms or to spend the evening. It also provided for loggers when and if they lost a log from their booms. The logs would not become the private property of the land owner, as it would ground on crown land.

Can the Shore Road Allowance be purchased?

A SRA when not owned is considered OPEN, The SRA when purchased is considered CLOSED. Most SRA’s have never been used for roads, but this does not change the original purpose or obstruct the right of use by the public. To establish whether a SRA is owned, review the property deed and search for the following wording; save and except that portion of land consisting of a sixty six foot shore road allowance. In most cases the SRA can be purchased. Municipalities have been given the authority to sell shore road allowances. The SRA may only be purchased by the property owner directly in front of or adjoining the SRA. The Ministry of Natural Resources has also put forward guidelines concerning wildlife habitat that may effect shore road allowances. Each township has their own policy concerning SRA’s. Most applicants will be required to have a current survey of the SRA and cover the application, administration, legal fees, etc. associated with purchase.

Should I purchase my SRA or not ?

There are many factors to consider. We recommend seeking professional advice. Some cottages or boat houses may be built on the SRA and require ownership of the SRA for bank financing.

When building or making additions to present structures, zoning may limit the percentage of lot coverage requiring the purchase of the SRA to increase lot size. Adding a dock or boathouse may often require purchasing the SRA to give adequate lot coverage.