Share on Facebook

13 Things You Didn’t Know About Cottaging

Nothing says summer vacation like a weekend getaway to the cottage. Here are 13 fun facts about one of Canada’s favourite pastimes.

1 / 13

Cottage, Cabin, Cabina, Chalet, Hut…

A cottage is a cottage is a cottage. Or not? Only southern Ontarians, Nova Scotians and Prince Edward Islanders head up to the “cottage.” Newfoundlanders, British Columbians and Albertans use the term “cabin”, while the Québécois opt for “chalet”. Residents of northwestern Ontario spend their holidays at “camp”, and Manitobans prefer the more abstract moniker “the lake”. 

2 / 13

Cottagers Prefer Kayaks Over a Canoes

Writer/cottager Pierre Berton-who famously said, “A Canadian is someone who knows how to make love in a canoe without tipping it”-must have had some J-stroke. His adage may need some updating, though: in the past five years, kayak sales have outstripped those of the iconic two-seater. 

3 / 13

Cottage Enemy Mosquitos Are Louder Than You Think

That dreaded humming sound comes from the mosquito‘s wings, noted enemy of the cottage, which beat between 600 and 1,000 times a second. When mating, male and female mosquitoes synchronize their wingbeats to buzz in unison. Cute.  

4 / 13

You Won’t Find Yuppies at the Cabin

Save early, save often: the average age of a cabin owner in Canada is 52.  

5 / 13

The Lake Market’s Pretty Good Now

That said, you might get lucky! Now is a good time to buy a cottage. According to a recent report from RE/MAX, it’s a buyer’s market for many regions in Canada, as average prices are dropping and low interest rates are giving cottage hopefuls a sense of urgency. For example, the average cost of drive-in waterfront properties in Alberta’s Pigeon Lake went from $400,000 to $600,000 in 2008 to a more manageable $350,000 last year.  

6 / 13

Bringing Gifts to Camp is a Must

Bringing a present for the host of a camp weekend is a must, according to New York City etiquette expert Dana Holmes. If you’ve arrived empty-handed for a weekend away, don’t worry: a post-cottage gift will make up for it. Avoid local items, as cottage owners likely already have their favourite spots. Go-to gifts include plants, wine, chocolates and fancy spices.

7 / 13

At the Lake: We’re Not the Fastest Learners Around

The lake doesn’t come with swimming lessons! Who says humans are superior to animals? Baby moose are competent swimmers within hours of birth. Human babies don’t usually learn until about age 4. Slackers.  

8 / 13

“Cottaging” Doesn’t Mean the Same Thing Everywhere

In England, the term “cottaging” refers to the practice of soliciting gay sex in public bathrooms. Take-away: be careful when you divulge your weekend plans.  

 

9 / 13

Recreational-Properties Have Come a Long Way

Today’s recreational-properties would be unfathomably opulent to a medieval “cottar,” the feudal term given to serfs living in small homes called “cottages” in return for labour.  

10 / 13

Summer Homes Don’t Need a Weatherman

Most summer getaway aficionados believe in the old sayings “Red sky at night, sailors’ delight” and “Red sky at morning, sailor take warning” are actually fairly accurate methods of predicting weather.  

11 / 13

Secrets of the Cabin: Adirondack Chair is a Fraud

Your summer home comfort is a lie. The carpenter commissioned to build the popular Adirondack chair-or Muskoka chair, to Ontarians-stole the original designs. Harry Bunnell filed for a patent in 1904 of the chair he had been asked to build by his friend Thomas Lee, and the chairs eventually reached cult status. 

12 / 13

At the Lake We Avoid Poison Ivy With Poetry

Up at the lake we all know more than 10 popular rhymes exist as mnemonic devices to help identify poison ivy. A catchy, and fairly obtuse, one: “Side leaflets with mittens, will itch like the dickens.” You’re probably better off with “Leaves of three, let it be.

13 / 13

Keep the Cabin Clean

Spring cleaning at the cabin pays off. One lucky man recently found $30 million worth of paintings, drawings and journals by abstract artist Arthur Pinajian in a dilapidated Bellport, N.Y., cottage he had purchased to renovate and resell.