Four years after rock legend Ronnie Hawkins failed to sell his 175-acre Hawkstone Manor, it’s back on the market — for $10.65-million less.
In 2013, Hawkins listed his home and its 3,300 feet of Stoney Lake frontage for $14.9 million.
This summer, the more than 5,600 square feet of home — split between a main house and two guest cottages — is up for sale for a more modest $4.25 million.
“My wife says we’re moving closer to the doctors and the hospital. That’s what she says about me because I’ve got one foot in the grave and another in a pile of WD40 so she’s looking after me,” says the 82-year-old Hawkins with his Arkansas twang inside his home of 46 years on a phone he says is “messed up.”
The home is lined with thousands of framed photos and memorabilia of the famous rocker and his friends, including his Order of Canada medal — one of just a few given to non-Canadians.
“Well I’ll tell ya, we’ve had an awful lot of people here — superstars — over the years,” he said, laughing. “In fact, if this house could write a book, a bunch of them would have to leave the country!”
Dubbed “Canada’s Graceland,” it has welcomed John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Oscar Peterson, Blue Rodeo, Garth Hudson, Rick Danko, Richard Manuel, Mickey Jones, David Clayton-Thomas and Ian and Sylvia Tyson, among others.
Rush’s double-platinum album Moving Pictures, including its smash hit “Tom Sawyer,” was mostly written in Hawkins’s barn while the band lived in his home (the recording was done in Quebec).
“It says on the back ‘the best sound they ever got’ and it was the biggest album at the time. They recorded at the Ronnie Hawkins farm right here on Stoney Lake,” he adds of himself.
Kenny Rogers once recorded music in Hawkins’s living room, too.
“The Hawk,” who has recently battled pancreatic cancer and is a candidate for cataracts surgery, continues to live life to the full and open his home up to his friends, according to those around him.
Last year, Gordon Lightfoot — who wrote his hit “Sundown” at one of the property’s cottages — returned to Hawkstone Manor with Kris Kristofferson to record a new version of “Me And Bobby McGee.”
But now Hawkins, a pioneer of rock and roll and friend to Bob Dylan and President Bill Clinton, is moving on and downsizing with his wife Wanda.
“It’s time. I can’t look after it anymore and I can’t play any dates. As long as I could play dates I could keep it up but I can’t anymore so we decided to sell this beautiful place baby,” Hawkins said, laughing again. “It’s one of the bestest I’ve ever seen. I’ve got to stop chasing the girls, I guess.”
Ross Halloran, the couple’s real estate agent, hopes a potential buyer will be someone who intends to build a family compound and continue the property’s rich history of entertainment and hosting in the Kawarthas.
“They have become synonymous with the area. It’s just a wonderful focal point in Canada,” said Halloran, who describes the home as a museum but understands new ownership may want to knock it down — hence the $10-million discount.
“When people come and look at Hawkstone Manor, they don’t just see a piece of property, they see a piece of Canadian musical history.”
Wanda’s convinced theirs is the most beautiful property on Stoney Lake.
“We have an incredible view. The sun sets here every day and the sky changes colours and it reflects off the water, it’s just the most beautiful place to be,” she said. “We’re excited to pass this beautiful property onto someone who will enjoy it as much as we have.”