Canadian Recreation: Cottage Country

July 22, 2008 at 4:46 pm 2 comments

I spent the last four days participating in what many consider to be the quintessential Canadian summertime activity: Cottaging. I was in what is known as Ontario’s Cottage Country. The building I was staying in was a cottage in name only, as it was actually a big house with all the creature comforts of home.

Since going to a cottage is part of the natural-way of things for people that live in Southern Ontario, I automatically assume that everyone understands the concept of going to a cottage, but is this really so?

In the other parts of North America that I’ve lived there didn’t appear to be such a cultural milieu surrounding weekend places/cottages, and definitely not in the vein that it appears in Ontario. The closest thing to cottaging I observed was on the west coast where some people own a mountain cabin. This practice, though, didn’t appear to be as prevalent or as big a part of the culture as is cottaging in Ontario.

A cottage in Ontario–in case it means something different to people in other parts of the world–is a housing structure located on a lake. The structure can be as rustic as a shed or a trailer, and can be as extravagant as a mansion, and includes everything in between. Some people live in these places year round, while most people own them as their weekend getaway abode. Most activities while at the cottage are water-based. Cottage-people own boats, canoes, and other floating recreational-craft, have docks, often fish, and spend much time sitting around and looking at the lake.

In Ontario it is almost expected, if you can afford it, that you will buy a cottage. Ontario is a land of lakes, and starting about an hour’s drive north of Toronto you enter into Cottage Country.

Is cottaging important in other parts of Canada? What about other place around the world? What do people do for weekend recreational activities in the summer?


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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Sun Warrior  |  July 23, 2008 at 11:27 am

    I don’t know.

    It’s a special Toronto ritual. First, say mass in a massive traffic jam to get to ‘nature.’ Then do the same to get back to civilization.

    Somehow, I don’t think cottage country would be the same without 6 lanes of hwy 400 jammed with maniacal drivers…

  • 2. C. Fraser  |  July 23, 2008 at 12:32 pm

    Too true about the traffic. Going up Friday, the traffic wasn’t bad. Came back on Monday to avoid the Sunday craziness.


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