Cottaging is in Erin McCoy’s blood. Since childhood she has spent countless hours at the cottage with family, creating memories and traditions that continue to this day. It was only fitting that she become the host of Cottage Life Television and share in the history, passion, and laughter of her fellow cottagers. Her enthusiasm for cottage country is infectious and after reading our interview with her, you’ll want to pack the car and head north.
CL: Okay, we’re a little bit jealous. You get to explore fabulous places in cottage country and meet wonderful new people as a part of your job. What’s been your favourite part about filming so far?
Erin: I am definitely guilty of living in a cottage bubble. I have played in Muskoka my whole life and know very little about other regions. Each episode reminds me how cottagers share the same passion and pride in their cottage, lake, and region. I have truly loved every minute of it, from getting to know the wonderful families who have graciously allowed us into their cottages to learning about the history and local attractions in various areas of cottage country.
This show has a fantastic track record and I get a real kick when people come up and tell us how much the show meant to them and are thrilled that it is back on air!
CL: Have you come across any towns you would say are hidden gems?
Erin: I am going to be careful not to single out any one place, but what I will recommend to those who have watched our episodes is to travel to the areas we have highlighted because the people, towns, and attractions are wonderful. You will definitely return inspired and likely with a car full of goodies!
CL: You’ve learned a lot about local and Canadian history on the show. Any regional facts you can pass on?
Erin: There are so many! We could do a whole feature on regional facts alone but one that really stuck with me since visiting Don and Marnie Ross in the Thousand Islands is the impending threat of the Asian carp on the Great Lakes and the devastating effect it will have on the whole ecosystem. This is a reality I don’t think is getting enough exposure. In fact, it’s more like a dirty little secret and anyone that has cottages on our beautiful Great Lakes and connecting rivers needs to be aware, become advocates, and fight for preservation.
CL: We hear that you’ve been cottaging since you were knee high to a grasshopper! What’s your earliest memory of being at the cottage?
Erin: I am too old now to remember that far back, but there are some things that stick out. I remember thinking I was the coolest kid when I got my tin boat with a 15hps Johnson motor, which I still have today. Back then I was clueless to the fact that my mother had it painted yellow to serve as a beacon, that way other cottagers on the lake could identify my whereabouts and notify my parents. Meanwhile, I am driving around thinking I have ultimate freedom
CL: What inspiration from the show do you plan to take back to your own cottage?
EM: First Let me say that nobody cottages like us Canadians. In fact, Canada is cottaging as far as I am concerned!
Jeffery Belisle and his paddle boarding skills inspired me—he made it look so easy. I am definitely going to buy one and try to tackle that this summer. The Belisle family also taught me to turn the lights out every once in a while and get back to what cottaging is all about!
I loved how Randy and Rita on Kahshe lake chose to re-use and recycle when they built their beautiful place, instead of going the easy route and building from scratch. I applaud them for maintaining the historical elements of their cottage and finding really unique ways to showcase them.
Then there was the Hogarth family. I thought I was active and they showed me what being busy at the cottage really meant! I have them to lovingly thank for not being able to move for a few days after that visit and my new found feeling of guilt every time I dare to sit back and chill at my cottage.
CL: What’s your cottaging style—are we more likely to find you boating, floating, hiking or lounging on the dock all day?
EM: All of what you listed and more depending on the weather, my mood, and what surprises occur in a day in cottage country. I do have a routine where I can usually be seen on my road bike cycling on Hwy 169. I regularly kayak with my two dogs, Angel a.k.a. “Pete” and Daisy a.k.a. “Willis.” (They’re both girl dogs but my daughter changed their names, so now that’s what they respond to.) I also go swimming in the lake with my daughter as much as possible.
CL: When you’re not spending time lakeside, where are we likely to find you?
EM: Motherly duties come first of course but then there is work and travelling. In addition to Cottage Life Television I am the co-host of The Real Estate Talk Show on 1010 CFRB with Simon Giannini, who I am partners with at The Real Estate Centre Team. I work with incredible people across the board, and I am very fortunate to love what I do.
CL: And finally, it’s a hot summers day on the dock. Is it going to be ice cream or watermelon? (The viewing public is dying to know!)
EM: I would love to say watermelon to sound health conscious, which I am, but anyone that knows me will roll their eyes if they read this, because I love my ice cream, so I’ll say both. In fact, lets mix them together. I’ll have to talk to Chefy, I know he will come up with something creative and tasty!