You are here:

Docks and Structures


Shoreline structures are those built at the water’s edge or extending into the lake which interact or interfere with natural processes and the aquatic ecosystem. Examples include docks, boathouses and shoreline protection structures.

Impact or Importance

Callander Bay and Lake Nipissing are Living Entities.

  • The shore area of the Bay is a very productive zone of the lake ecosystem which is vital to the Bays overall health. Any disturbance should be minimized.
  • A natural shoreline is stable; it has reached a point of equilibrium over many years and protects the land from such forces as wind, waves and ice. The existence of rocks at the shores edge is a result from these forces. Moving or removing this armour could expose your property to erosion.
  • Shorelines experience natural movements of water and sediment laterally in relation to prevailing winds. Protrusions into the Bay will interfere with this natural movement and thus catch sediment and debris. Build structures that allow movement underneath or, better yet, stay out of the aquatic zone if possible. Dock styles, in order of preference, are as follows:
    1. floating dock
    2. cantilever dock
    3. post supported dock
    4. crib dock
  • Water levels fluctuate by almost a metre between normal high and low periods, so be aware you can affect fish habitat or be susceptible to flooding even though your structure was high and dry during construction. Please contact agencies below to help you plan your project.

Regulations and Recommendations

  • A permit may be required from the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources to build a new dock or shoreline structure. Contact them at the planning stage – they have pamphlets and suggestions. Remember the bed of the lake belongs to the Crown and you may require approval to occupy or alter it.
  • A permit may also be required from the North Bay-Mattawa Conservation Authority for shoreline structures, lot grading, docking foundations, lot grading and the placement of fill at the shoreline which may cause or be damaged by erosion or affect the flood plain.
  • A building permit is required from the Municipality of Callander for some types of structures such as boathouses and retaining walls. Check it out at the planning stages!
  • Authorization may also be required from the Federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans if work will impact on fisheries habitat in any way. Contact the North Bay-Mattawa Conservation Authority for more information.


  • The most effective and most economical option is to leave it natural, why fight Mother Nature?
  • Ask First – Act Second.
  • Build your dock so it is easily put in in the spring and taken out in the fall.
  • If you must modify the shoreline – modify only the amount needed to swim or moor a boat, be a good aquatic neighbour.
  • Stay out of the flood plain if possible, use construction products that are compatible with the aquatic lake environment.
  • Wood preservatives should not be applied over water and keep creosoted construction material away from the water.
Municipality of Callander 705-752-1410
North Bay District Ministry of Natural Resources 705-475-5550
North Bay – Mattawa Conservation Authority 705-474-5420
This information has been prepared as a guide only. Please contact the appropriate authorities prior to any works on your property to ensure that rules and regulations are interpreted appropriately for your individual circumstances.