Northern Ontario boat dealer creates unique floating sauna
By combining two camp staples, a sauna and pontoon boat, a northern Ontario dealership has created a houseboat dubbed the Sauntoon.
Loonie Toons Pontoons and Powersports is located in Desbarats, Ont., on Highway 17 just over 50 kilometres east of Sault Ste. Marie.
Owner Daniel Cedolia said he built the first Sauntoon boat five years ago and custom built the second one earlier this year.
A customer from Pine Island, Phil Murray, approached Cedolia with the idea of building a sauna on top of a pontoon boat in 2015. Cedolia used Murray's shop and hired some contractors for the build. It took the crew two months and two float tests to get the right capacity to hold 14 people, a wood stove, chimney pipe and pile of western cedar, he said.
Using a Tritoon pontoon for the base, made by JC Manufacturing, the upper portion of the boat is built by Loonie Toons from white cedar and even features a wood burning sauna stove.
A Sauntoon boat is a sauna built on a pontoon frame. (Loonie Toons Pontoon and Powersports)
A creation of this magnitude does not come cheap due to all the work involved in building it. There is currently one listed on the company's website with a new Mercury 40 HP, 4-Stroke outboard motor and trailer with a price tag of $56,500.
Cedolia saw an opportunity to sell pontoon boats about seven years ago after sourcing one for a friend only to discover it was too small for their needs. After only an hour of listing the boat online, he said he had eight people from across the province fighting for it.
"I then knew what my next venture would be," he told CTV News. Prior to that, he had been a documentary filmmaker for 27 years. "We started doing this in 2014 and everything was unplanned, it was just a natural flow."
Cedolia said his team has done other custom builds on pontoon boat frames, including building a houseboat to allow customers to camp on top of the water, similar to a camping trailer.
"I'm a passion driven guy and take pride in my work and I work in craftsmanship," he said. "The sky is the limit when it comes to custom boats. I can't think of a better way to enjoy the summer and share my passion with customers wanting to make memories for their families."