Moored at Colonel By Island
Moored at Colonel By Island
photo by: Ken Watson, 2002

A popular destination in Big Rideau Lake is Colonel By Island which offers Parks Canada dockage.

The present building on the island was built in 1949-50 for Danny Arnstein, the owner of the Yellow Cab Company of Chicago and New Your City. The architect of the building was Horace Roberts of Westport. There is someconfusion regarding whether this is the second or third building to occupy this site. The previous building(s) burned down.

The island was originally known as the "Isle of Guernsey", owned by Richard Sheldon. In the mid-1800s it was used as a cow paddock. The first building, the Angler's Inn was built by R.G. Harvey in about 1889. Some sources say it burned down (year unknown) and was replaced by another Inn built by I.T. Ogden of the C.P.R. Other sources say that the original building (Angler's Inn) was purchased by the C.P.R. Either way one or both had burned down before the present building was erected.

In the 1940s, the Long Island Club was formed with at least three families involved, including Danny Arnstein (Yellow Cab Company). The front of the building contained four large bedrooms with baths, a very large living room and dining area and a game and sun room. All these rooms were fitted with call buttons to the kitchen. Behind the kitchen was a small sitting area for the servants, their two small bedrooms and shared bathroom. Mr. Arnstein visited the island every summer until his death in 1960 and always brought his cook and maid from New York City. The large central section of the cottage had 14 foot ceilings to match the Arnstein apartment in New York City. It boasted two 18th century chandeliers designed to hold 36 candles each. The stone in the four fireplaces was locally quarried limestone.

After Mr. Arnstein's death in 1960, the island was acquired by Gerry Livingston of Smiths Falls and the island became known as "Livingston Island". It was sold to Parks Canada in 1979 who renamed the island "Colonel By Island".

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This page was last updated on: April 8, 2003
URL: www.rideau-info.com/canal/images/places/img-colbyisle.html
© 2003 Ken Watson