Unique floating accommodations invite tourists to anchor their vacation in a beautiful, but often overlooked, corner of P.E.I.

“Checking in, or checking it out?” Cal calls out to people up on the bank overlooking his small dock. Along with the seasonal boats, there are two houseboats, and four large wooden barrels floating along the walkway.

“If I’m not busy, I’m always happy to give them a tour and show them around,” he said. “Because everybody is very curious.”

When a customer shows up, Cal Fraser makes sure to show them the lounge area, the tiki bar and fridge, the three bathrooms and showers, the outdoor kitchen and tables. And then he finds out what their plans are.

Sometimes, people have plans of their own. But sometimes, Cal can share his home-court knowledge.

“My main goal is to get them to just stay in the area,” he said.

Ideally, he would love people to unpack their things and not get back in their car for their whole stay. He’d prefer if they rented one of his e-bikes, downloaded one of his tour guides, and went off to a more secluded beach, or a nice trail, or the lighthouse, or the winery, or the cidery, and then come back and go to one of the nearby restaurants.

“We try to promote everybody here,” Cal said. “There’s a lot of people that worked hard to establish businesses, and I like to try to run off each other.”

Cal grew up in the area, and always knew it was beautiful. He went away for a short while, but came back and worked as a fisherman with his brother.

“I was always proud to say I was from here,” he said. “I thought it had a lot of potential and I think it had a lot of tourist traffic, you know, but people just didn’t … stay long.”

People would stop and take pictures to show off the picturesque little town they drove through, when they got back home. But they would always continue on.

“[Murray Harbour] just needed a little reason to stay,” Cal said.

Cal’s partner, Jen Smith, first had the idea of floating AirBnB’s. They had already bought the business as a private marina, Nellie’s Landing Marina Inc., and then they saw houseboats for sale on Kijiji. Jen thought it could work. Cal laughed, but thought it was worth a try.

“After that idea, I think we did a little bit of research,” Cal said. “There wasn’t any on P.E.I., for sure.”

The original owners of the floating barrels were pushed out of town by new bylaws in their Ontario home that limited properties to a single AirBnB rental. They eventually decided to move out of the country entirely. But they had had great success in Canada, and no one saw any reason why it wouldn’t work just as well in P.E.I.

Cal and Jen ended up buying two houseboats and the four “wine barrels” from the same people.

Adding rentals to the property meant accommodating more cars, which meant moving the parking lot, which meant adding a new ramp to the dock, and then new washrooms and showers, and spaces for people to enjoy themselves.

“We needed the extra help to get our vision going,” Cal said. “We could have, you know, picked away and saved money and saved money, but it probably would have taken two or three years to get it to this state.”

The couple had the vision, but the revenue stream wasn’t proven yet. They couldn’t imagine a traditional bank loaning them the money they needed.

“We went to CBDC (Community Business Development Corporation), and told them our idea and showed them our business plan and everything,” Cal said.

Cal appreciated the rapport established with the CBDC rep, and felt her excitement helped progress the project and get approval from the local CBDC PEI East board of directors. The information about different funding and training programs was valuable, but some of the help for market research really solidified the validity of the idea. There was a clear lack of nightly accommodations in the area.

“There was a lot of weekly rentals, but some people weren’t looking for weekly. A lot of people just want one or two days,” Cal said. “This is a small little village. It’s beautiful and it has things to offer, but maybe not enough for a week’s stay for people.”

They’ve been getting a lot of tourists, with their July and August booked at nearly 90% capacity, in only their second season of renting. But they were surprised to find out that Islanders themselves, from other parts of the province, were providing a steady stream of business. You apparently don’t need to be from far away to recognize the beauty of the area, and the benefits of a relaxing weekend in an idyllic community.

“They just jump in the car and it’s a couple of hours drive and they love it here,” Cal said. “I think it’s beautiful.

“This is a small little village. It’s beautiful and it has things to offer ...” 


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