After years of sitting abandoned, things are finally happening at one of northern Ontario’s most infamous eyesores.

The Grant mansion on Lake Temiskaming in Haileybury is said to be the largest house in Canada, but it was never finished.

Now it is set to star in a proposed new reality TV show called Impossible Mansion.

“It’s spooky, scary, destroyed. It’s a mess,” producer Theresa Kowall-Shipp said of the inside of the 65,000 square-foot house.

Forestry magnate Peter Grant envisioned a sprawling lakefront mansion when his company purchased the land for $110,000 in 2004.

Plans were made for a massive subterranean boathouse, a golf course and a moat on the outside, while the inside would feature waterfalls, an art gallery and only one bedroom.

It was listed for $25 million in 2010, was sold to a numbered Toronto-based company, that has done little to the property other than putting up fencing and security cameras, although that has not been kept away from vandals and curious visitors from trespassing.

“Folks come into town and they want to know where it is and can they go have a look,” said Temiskaming Shores Mayor Jeff Laferriere.

A 'private property/no trespassing sign' on a chain link fence with a large house in the background
The Grant mansion was almost seized by the City of Temiskaming Shores for unpaid taxes in 2017, but the owners covered the $150.00 bill just before the deadline. (Erik White/CBC)

Kowall-Shipp says a Texas entrepreneur named Chris Fischer, who he describes as an “audacious, irreverent, master of sarcasm,” recently took possession of the house through a private vendor take-back mortgage agreement with the numbered company.

“He’s looking a lot of different possibilities for what this property could turn into, what this house could turn into. That’s a big part of the story we’ll be following,” she said.

Impossible Mansionwhich is currently being shopped around to TV networks and streaming services, would also tell the “fish out of water” story of a Texas family that moves to northern Ontario to take on this major renovation project, expected to take several years to complete.

“The plan is that we will be following them into the house in the spring and we will watch and record what happens when they get in there,” said Kowall-Shipp.

“I’m actually staring at the building right now from my office,” said Major Laferriere.

“You know, just seeing it rot has been a challenge.”

He says people in Temiskaming Shores are excited to see something finally happening with the house, and “it’s going to be a challenge, but at the same time, what a great idea.”