Shanty Bay estate transformed into luxurious 'MILF Manor'

The tourism marketing slogans write themselves.

“Welcome to Shanty Bay — home of MILF Manor.”

“Welcome to Shanty Bay — where MILFs come to play.”

“Welcome to Shanty Bay — Canada’s MILF playground.”

Granted, they may not be the slogans most communities would want to be associated with, but they’re certainly going to be out there now that The Learning Channel (TLC) has aired the episode of MILF Manor 2 that was filmed in Shanty Bay last September.

The manor used in the television show hugs the shores of Lake Simcoe, in the heart of Shanty Bay, which is a quiet, rural village of about 1,300 residents and located just minutes north of Barrie.

There’s a general store, an elementary school, a boat launch, a baseball field and an abandoned fire hall, all within walking distance of each other.

The manor is located between the general store and the elementary school, down one of the dozen or so laneways that twist and turn through heavily covered forest to the water’s edge.

It’s as secluded as you’d imagine a manor to be.

And equally impressive.

Eight bedrooms. Seven bathrooms. Great rooms overlooking the lake. Outdoor multi-sport court, numerous outdoor seating areas, hot tub, dock, boat, personal watercraft and so much more.

According to the promotional materials for MILF Manor 2, the premise of the show that is centred in Shanty Bay is: “sexy, single mums hope to find love with younger men at a Canadian lakeside manor; while getting up close and personal in a maple-syrup challenge, connections form and tensions rise; a shocking twist shakes the manor right down to its foundation.”

Kris Puhvel, executive director of Orillia and Lake Country Tourism, which includes the Township of Oro-Medonte, where Shanty Bay is located, says television productions can have a significant tourism impact on the region in which they were filmed.

“As long as the production is done respectfully and responsibly, TV or movie productions are certainly beneficial,” Puhvel told BarrieToday in an email. “Initially, they contribute to economic development, as production and casting crews, which can be quite large, use local food and hospitality businesses during their stay.

“Moreover, these productions can lead to awareness of the region it is filmed in and lead to increased visitation,” he added.

Puhvel admits he’s never seen an episode of MILF Manor and was not aware that the production had been filmed in Shanty Bay.

He’s not alone.

Most of the folks who live in Shanty Bay had no idea the production was being filmed in the village.

Dale Walker, who lives just down the street from the "MILF Manor," was one of the few who did.

He said he talked with a person from the production crew, but they were of little help.

“He told us they were filming a TV show, but he wouldn’t tell me the name of the show or any other information,” Walker said. “That’s about all we got out of him.”

Walker’s neighbour, Greg Pfrimmer, tells a similar story.

He recalls seeing a lot of traffic and numerous vehicles parked across the street last September, but says he was never told by the production team or the township what was going on.

He found that odd, since the cars were parked on township property.

“They parked across the street, at the old fire hall and on the baseball diamond,” said Pfrimmer, gesturing across the street from his home.

“They all seemed to be shuttled up the road to a property on the waterfront, 15 to 20 cars every day for a month," he added. “It was quite the mystery."

According to Jenny Leggett, Oro-Medonte's manager of communications and public relations, the township approved a request to park on the old fire-hall grounds and the adjacent ball diamond.

“The township was aware of activity in Shanty Bay in September 2023, and we did provide permission for two township facilities to be used for parking,” she said in an email, referring to the Shanty Bay ball diamond and unoccupied Shanty Bay fire hall.

“The township did not receive any complaints about noise, congestion or unusually heavy traffic during the timeframe," Leggett added.

Leggett wouldn’t confirm who requested permission to park in the township facilities.

“The ball diamond and fire hall were used to keep cars off the road and minimize traffic disruptions,” she said.

Jayne McCaw, president of Jayne’s Luxury Rentals, which is the firm that manages the Shanty Bay property on behalf of its owner, said she signed a non-disclosure agreement forbidding her from discussing the production.

“We didn’t know the name of the series until it aired,” she said in an email.

Contacted directly by the production company’s location scouts, McCaw said this was the first time the Shanty Bay property has been used in a TV show. She’s not allowed to disclose how much the manor rented for, nor could she divulge the identity of the owner.

She said it was a positive experience and she’d be open to it again, if the property owner she represents is willing.

“It really depends on many factors but most likely, if the owner is in agreement,” McCaw said. “The production company followed the terms of the contract, was good to work with and did not cause any neighbourly issues.”

In fact, according to one of the neighbours, who didn’t want to give their name due to the nature of the show, the experience was relatively painless, save for the occasional boisterous evening or two.

“Overall, it was OK. No complaints from us,” said the neighbour. “There were a lot of rehearsals. We could hear them yell ‘cut!’ and ‘action!’ over and over again.

“Sometimes, they had well over 100 people on the property up until 10 at night.”

According to the neighbour, the manor’s owner approached him one day last August and told him a production company was going to be filming in the house for the month of September.

The neighbour thought nothing of it until the production started up. That’s when they began to notice some noise and a lot of people coming and going.

The neighbour said he chatted with the production team, but was never told what TV show was being made.

“I think it was the props guy who told us we didn’t want to know what it is,” he said. “We only found out recently.”

When the episode aired, the neighbour watched with interest.

“The thing was put on the air about three weeks ago,” he said. “We watched the first film and didn’t want to see anymore.

“We don’t want our name associated with this."

McCaw admits the show is not for everyone’s taste.

TV critics were a bit more direct.

Its first season was roundly panned by critics.

“Toe-curling in all the wrong ways,” wrote the Daily Telegraph.

“On a societal level, and for a number of reasons, MILF Manor is a deeply distressing series,” opined The Daily Beast.

And last, from the New Yorker, “It might be a new low for reality TV, perhaps even a rock bottom.”

Wayne Doyle, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter,