Monday, February 2, 2015


On this Groundhog Day, it seems ironic that Crystal Beach is going through a repetition of the same events that almost destroyed the Beach in the past. Namely, speculators coming in to the beach and making promises to (while taking advantage of) the hard-working people of the village. Remember what it was like after the amusement park closed? Speculators bought numerous cottages that were up for sale or lost when the financial anchor of the Beach caused a mass exodus. The Beach was red-lined so that only those who had access to private money could pick up a property, many for less than $20,000. The cottages were fixed up just enough to be rent-worthy for people on social assistance who were transferred from the GTA to save the taxpayers some money. The policy further degraded the Beach for several years. A prestigious study (C.A.U.S.E) concluded that Crystal Beach was a "hidden gem" and it could come back if certain recommendations were followed. Thus, the renaissance of Crystal Beach began. Slowly the demographics changed: retirees bought cottages and gave up their pricey homes in the GTA to return to a summer paradise full time. Once the red-lining ended, families began to buy or build in the Beach because there were better choices offered. Despite the contentious Bay Beach Project, new builds and cottage renos continued. The future looked bright for Crystal Beach.

Then, along came Gary Fraser, convicted and jailed for investment fraud, with a grand idea for development in Crystal Beach. Déjà Vu all over again. (Read more about Gary HERE)

And that brings us to the "Then and Now" project that may have been the brainchild of Gary Fraser or one of his followers. It caused a major problem in the Friends of Crystal Beach. Thankfully, the FOCB exercised caution and withdrew an application for a grant that may have helped fund the restoration of the so-called "painted ladies" around Queen's Circle and other places in the Beach. It was unclear as to how much the FOCB would be on the hook for its part of the project. Could have been thousands. 

So, without further ado, I offer you Gary Fraser's (through a company his girlfriend/wife is president of) vision of Crystal Beach Then and Now:
22 Queen's Circle c.2013 (listing photo)

Picture posted on Facebook this weekend (thanks, Lorrie)

A closer look at the house shows that it has been stripped to its rafters and studs. Gone is the wainscoting, antique mouldings and all the features that made this stately former tourist home special. It is now a sad shell. A smaller vintage cottage next to 22 Queen's Circle was removed entirely, termites were cited as the cause. Odd that no other homes in the area have termites. The property was recently listed at one million dollars.