Thursday, November 17, 2011
Is This Elton's New Canadian Castle?
Nestled in the iconic rolling hills of Northumberland County, the estate will be a quiet country retreat for his family when he’s not on tour. And who knows, maybe he’ll perform in the town square’s gazebo, given his preference lately for smaller venues.
Or so the story goes.
Brighton’s abuzz with rumours that the legendary British singer/songwriter is adding a local piece of property to his collection.
“How can it be anyone else, it’s so humongous,” reasons Bonnie Gruen, who drives by the muted olive-hued stucco and stone building on a weekly basis. “Most people agree it’s definitely true.”
The story has made the rounds of lawyer, dentist, courier, financial adviser, post office and even city council, say residents.
“We heard it from our neighbour who heard it from his mother who heard it at the hairdresser’s,” says Frances Linton-Schell, who runs Loughbreeze Bay B&B, about 10 minutes west of Brighton. “We have no accurate information at all. But it’s so massive and with the satellite surveillance signs, it looks like someone very important.”
The town of 10,000 is the latest stop on a grapevine that has wound its way around the province. Rumour has it that Sir Elton and his Toronto-born partner, David Furnish, have bought or built homes in Caledon, Stouffville, Cobourg, Hamilton and Port Stanley. They’re even said to be proud owners of a private island in Prince Edward County.
News of the Rocketman’s lakefront landing really took off last summer when Belleville radio personality Justin Anderson repeated what he’d heard from three different sources.
“Word has it,” he says, “that (John’s) husband wants to be closer to his family in Cobourg. His yacht has been there many times.”
The Brighton estate has all the trappings of a celebrity fortress, says the afternoon show host on MIX 97. “It’s got a guardhouse, a big-ass fence, the whole deal.”
One believer tells of a neighbour being approached about a fence with a note signed by the music man himself. But Laurence Stevenson, who lives across the road, nixes that notion.
No offence, says the electric violinist, “but I’d rather have Sting or Phil Collins or Peter Gabriel as a neighbour.”
Stevenson complains the drive-bys never stop. “Four or five every day,” he says. “Everyone wants to know whose castle that is. They say, ‘Is that Elton John’s place?’ ”
Definitely not, declares the office manager for builder Jeffrey Wallans, insisting the house belongs to a local family.
“People have been talking since they put the first shovel in the ground,” she sighs. “They say, ‘You guys must be excited.’ But it’s actually Brighton, England, where he’s building a house.”
“Connections,” she confides, have said he’s buying a waterfront condo in Cobourg.
Gruen suggests a smaller town like Brighton is more likely to leave John alone. She’s half-expecting to bump into the Crocodile Rocker stocking up on homemade scones at Lola’s, the popular coffee shop.
“He seems to be adopting Canada,” she says. “If you put the pieces together, it won’t be long before he’s appearing at the gazebo in Brighton.”
- The Star