Trent-Severn Waterway National Historic Site

Any person who occupies the land in a National Historic Site requires a licence of occupation. National Historic Sites are owned by all Canadians.

Our Realty office will assist you with all aspects of licences of occupation which include cottage lots, access lots, commercial water lots, and utilities.

Please contact us when:

  • Considering in-water, shoreline work or aquatic vegetation removal.
  • Repairing, removing or installing a utility crossing or infrastructure.
  • Designing renovations for the exterior of a building and/or enlargements to a building footprint or new building or structure.
  • Demolition/removal of a structure.
  • Planning to remove or plant trees, install fences, trenching or any other alteration to the land.
  • Selling or buying privately owned structures on Parks Canada lands. This includes:
    • All licensees selling to another person or persons, or a corporation.
    • Removing names from a licence, or adding names to the licence.
  • Updating your mailing address and/or other contact information, and/or:
    • Changing your legal name due to marriage, divorce or other.
    • When a licensee passes away.
    • Replacing directors with signing authority (when the licence is held by a corporation).
    • When the licensee’s control and authority has been given over to a Public Trustee or Guardian.
    • If a Power of Attorney giving authority to others to manage your licence or other form of written instruction is in place.

For questions or concerns, please email

Frequently asked licences questions

When does my licence expire?
Some licences have no expiry date as long as both parties wish to remain in the agreement. Other licences have a term with an expiry date. Please consult your licence to confirm.
What does “during pleasure” mean?
During pleasure is a term used to establish the length of time that you are in the agreement with Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada. As long as Parks Canada wishes to licence the land to you, your agreement remains in effect.
Why do I have to pay taxes on Parks Canada’s land?
As you are the person using the land, you are responsible for the taxes, as set out in your licence agreement. Under the Municipal Assessment Act, Section 18. (1), a tenant of land owned by the Crown shall be assessed in respect of the land as though the tenant were the owner if rent or any valuable consideration is paid in respect of the land.
Who collects the taxes on my licenced property?
The city or municipality in which your licenced property is located.
When is permission required?

Licensees who occupy Trent-Severn Waterway land require prior written permission from Parks Canada in order to make any changes to the lot, including tree trimming and removal, in-water and shoreline works (including the installation, repair and replacement of in-water structures such as docks, boathouses, boatlifts and shoreline stabilization, etc.) new buildings, and additions or exterior modifications to existing structures.

  • Constructing, altering or renovating any building, accessory structure such as a shed or a deck
  • Changes or new installations water/sewer/wastewater systems
  • Connection to the water/sewer system
  • Demolishing or moving a building
  • Changing the use of a lot or building(s)
  • Installing, changing or relocating a sign
  • Changing the landscaping, digging, or grading (including tree removal and fencing)

Any major repairs such as demolition/renovations, changes in size, shape, use etc. would need approval from Parks Canada and a building permit from your local municipality/township.

Parks Canada must be notified first and issue approval prior to applying to your local municipality for a building permit.

Can we have RV’s or motor homes on Trent-Severn Waterway licenced land?
RV’s or motor homes are not permitted to occupy Trent-Severn Waterway licenced lands.
Why do I need permission from Parks Canada to put a structure/fence on land that I licence?
As you are licencing the land from Parks Canada any changes you wish to make to the land requires permission to ensure that what you are proposing to change meets with Parks Canada guidelines and policies.
There is a dead tree on the land I licence, who is responsible for removing it?
The licensee is responsible for removing the dead tree, once approved by Parks Canada, at your expense. Approval is required. Submission must include: photographs, site plan, copy of insurance for licenced land, replanting plan, and a possible environmental review.
Can I renovate/repair/replace the structures on the licenced land?
Minor maintenance/repairs/renovations are welcomed as Parks Canada requires that your site be kept in a neat and tidy fashion. Any major repairs such as demolition/renovations, changes in size, shape, use etc. would need the approval from Parks Canada and your local municipality.

Parks Canada must issue approval prior to you applying to your local municipality for a building permit. Submission for approval includes but is not limited to: site photographs, site plan, copy of insurance for licenced land, and detailed description of the work that is being requested; which must include size, location, and design (including colour).
Can I landscape the property?
You are able to cut the grass and trim dead limbs from trees. For any other work permission is required. Submissions for approval must include site photographs, site plan, copy of insurance for licenced land, and detailed description of the work that is being requested.
Can I install a dock?
You would need to apply for an In-Water and Shoreline Work Permit before installing a dock to ensure that it meets our policies.
What would make Parks Canada cancel my licence?
If you were not following the clauses set out in your licence agreement, this would call for cancellation of your licence, ie. not paying the annual rental, not keeping the site/buildings in a neat and tidy fashion suitable to Parks Canada, and/or erecting structures without the permission of Parks Canada.
If I don’t come under licence, what will happen to me?
You will be considered as trespassing and any structures will need to be removed at your expense.
What should my insurance policy say?
A licensee must obtain and maintain liability insurance as per the terms of the licence, with Her Majesty the Queen In Right of Canada as an additional named insured.
If I licence the land am I liable – do I need an extra rider on my insurance?
You are responsible for any and all actions that take place on Parks Canada’s land that you are licencing. You will be required to provide an insurance policy showing Her Majesty the Queen In Right of Canada as an additional named insured.
Why can’t I transfer my licence?
Licences are not transferrable. Your licence would need to be cancelled and a new licence created between Parks Canada and the new licensee.
How do you determine what my annual rental will be?
The annual rental for residential and cottage lots is calculated based on 7.5% of the appraised land value (ALV) of the land you are licencing. Commercial agreements are a negotiated percentage of gross revenue. Access lots are a minimum of $100 to a maximum of $500. Commercial water lots are based on the rates set out in the Canada Gazette. This amount is reviewed every five years.
Does having a cottage lot licence give me year round access?
No, your licence states that you have “permission for a seasonal, not a year round residence”. Seasonal for a cottage site is considered as being from May to October. You do have the right to attend your cottage during the winter months for insurance purposes.
Why can’t I just purchase the land from Parks Canada?
The Trent-Severn Waterway is a National Historic Site of Canada. Parks Canada is mandated to protect and present the natural, cultural and scenic values of the Canal for present and future generations.

The impact of shoreline development on the waterway is continually reviewed and the Trent-Severn Waterway has evaluated this against the practice of shore land sales to third parties. It has been determined the federal Crown lands are best administered by Parks Canada.

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