No man is an island, but in the pursuit of summer solitude it
doesn't hurt to own one. Three years ago Los Angeles Kings center
Jason Allison plunked down $2 million for Reef Island, five acres
of birch-and oak-studded forest rising out of Lake Joseph, 100
miles north of Toronto. Allison razed the island's 75-year-old
cottage, and last year he and his wife, Christine, and their two
young children opened their new summer compound: a
4,800-square-foot clapboard house with seven bedrooms and lake
views from every room; a two-story, three-slip boathouse with
guest quarters; a sandy beach and several decks overlooking the
crystalline water; and nearly a mile of trails that wind through
the wilderness to a basketball court and a batting cage.
Lake Joe, as it's known, is among the largest of the 1,600 lakes
that glisten in the Muskoka region, cabin country for Canada's
rich and famous since the 1910s. Over the last two decades
putting up NHL stars for the summer has become Muskoka's cottage
industry. Red Wings captain Steve Yzerman and Hurricanes wing
Jeff O'Neill are among the other players who summer on Lake Joe.
"I wasn't looking for an island," Allison says, "but when I saw
this place, I felt obligated to buy it. I can't think of a more
relaxing spot in North America."