A relaxing, weekly dip into what matters most to cottagers


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Season 4

/Catch up from Season 3

E8: Summer romance with novelist Carley Fortune

In the final episode of season 4, we ponder two of our favourite summer fantasies: reading and romance. Looking for a book recommendation for your last few weeks at the lake? Michelle sits down with Canadian author Carley Fortune to chat about her two best-selling romance novels that take place in cottage country. Then, to close out the show, we’ll listen to an old editor’s note written by Michelle about her favourite cottage love story of all time. 

E7: “Building a Legacy” with Mike and Sherry Holmes

Anyone who has ever done-it-themselves knows the name Holmes. Canadian building legend Mike Holmes, along with his daughter, Sherry, and son, Michael, star in “Holmes on Holmes: Building a Legacy,” a new television series premiering next spring on the Cottage Life channel. Mike and Sherry chat with Michelle about the show and share their best tips when it comes to cottage construction. And what’s a hard day of work without a delicious meal to cap it off? David Zimmer’s essay about outdoor cookery answers the question: are we grilling or barbecuing tonight?

E6: Behind the scenes of the cottage-country comedy series, The Lake

“The Lake,” a television series set in cottage country, just completed its second season on Amazon Prime. Creator and writer, Julian Doucet, gives us a sneak peek into the series, shot on location in and around North Bay, Ont., and shares his own experience as a cottager. Then, we turn to a term all cottagers know well: kitsch. We’ll hear an essay by Charles Wilkins that will make you cherish all of your tchotchkes. 

E5: Why you should grow native plants in your cottage garden

Grab your trowel—it’s time to dig into the world of plants. Gardening expert Lorraine Johnson joins Michelle to share the benefits of native plants, which not only look great but have best adapted to the tricky growing conditions of cottage country. Then we’ll listen to an essay about one of the most delicious native plants: blueberries.

E4: Chatting music and mental health with Serena Ryder

You may know indie rock star Serena Ryder for her chart-topping hits, but did you know she’s also a cottager and mental health advocate? Michelle sits down with the singer to talk about her latest album, which chronicles her journey, as well as her piece of paradise that gives her solace. Former editor Penny Caldwell knows all too well about the serenity you can find at the lake. We’ll listen to her essay about how cottaging, if done right, can offer the ultimate state of relaxation.

E3: Tick talk

Lyme disease is on the rise—but ticks shouldn’t stop us from enjoying the wilderness. Epidemiologist Dr. Katie Clow specializes in blacklegged ticks and Lyme disease and answers our FAQs, including how long it takes a tick to start transmitting Lyme to how we can measure and mitigate our risk of dealing with ticks while at the cottage. Another bothersome cottage-country creature is the beaver. Writer Andrea Curtis shows how to embrace Canada’s largest rodent.

E2: Cottage country is expanding. Fast.

Since the onset of the pandemic, cottage communities have seen unprecedented growth. Michelle chats with longtime contributor Philip Preville about his recent CL story “Talk of the Towns,” which explored how these communities are adapting to the influx of both part-time and full-time cottagers. What does this population explosion mean for culture in rural areas, and development and infrastructure? Then, we’ll listen to an essay that reflects on cottage life at the time of Canada’s 150th anniversary that will take you right to your piece of paradise.

E1: Hope for the climate

The climate crisis doesn’t have to feel overwhelming, we promise. In the premiere episode of season 4, Michelle sits down with renowned climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe to share how we can reframe the climate crisis as something we can take action on. Once we’re equipped with a few tips on how to feel empowered when it comes to the environment, we’ll listen to an essay by Wayne Grady about finding your own corner of unspoiled wilderness. 

Season 3

/Catch up from Season 2

E8: Q&A with Cottage Life founder, Al Zikovitz

In the season finale, we commemorate our 35th anniversary by hearing from the founder of Cottage Life, Al Zikovitz. Michelle and Al chat about how the brand got its start, the culture it’s created, and how cottaging has changed over the last three decades. Then we’ll listen to an essay by treasured Canadian writer, and CL fan-favourite, Roy MacGregor.

E7: Regulating the short-term rental industry

The pandemic saw new levels of short-term renters flocking to cottage country. Michelle sits down with the executive director of the Federation of Ontario Cottagers’ Associations to chat about solutions to problem renters and what cottage owners who rent out their properties can do to keep their neighbours happy. Then, we’ll listen to an essay about a favourite culinary delight of late summer: fresh corn. 

E6: What’s going on with the loons?

This fall, the Cottage Life channel will be airing a fascinating documentary, “Loons: A Cry from the Mist,” all about the mysterious state of the loon population in cottage country. Michelle chats with filmmaker Julia Nunes and Dr. Doug Tozer from Birds Canada about the doc and about what cottagers can do to help the loons thrive. Then, we hear an essay from David Zimmer about one of his favourite sounds of summer. 

E5: A visit to the Canadian Canoe Museum

Ready to play tourist? This week, we’re going on a private on-site tour of the Canadian Canoe Museum in Peterborough. Michelle speaks with museum Executive Director, Carolyn Hyslop, and Curator, Jeremy Ward, and learns all about the museum’s collection of more than 600 watercraft. We’ll also hear an essay by journalist Paul Rush about dealing with a medical emergency when you are alone at the lake. 

E4: Interior design tips with Jillian Harris

Looking to renovate your cottage but not sure where to start? Interior designer and television personality Jillian Harris joins Michelle to talk about one of her latest passions: cottaging. She shares her experience reviving an old farmhouse in Kelowna, B.C., and offers tips on how to revamp on a budget. One way to add some personality to your space is with collectibles and memorabilia. We’ll listen to an essay by journalist Ellen Vanstone about collecting classic kitsch for a newly built cottage. 

E0: All about ticks

Our very own Cottage Coach, Adam Holman, and his wife, Jennie Holman, are here to chat with you about ticks, including what every cottager should know and what to do if one attaches itself to you. Then, Adam and Jennie debunk some of the biggest tick myths in cottage country. We’ll also hear an essay that will inspire you to go on a hike at the lake, especially now that you have the information you need to protect yourself against ticks.

E3: Fido at the lake: Pet chat with the Wild Rose vet

Every cottager knows having a pet at the lake is a little different than having it in the city. Dr. Savannah Howse-Smith, from Cottage Life’s television show Dr. Savannah: Wild Rose Vet, is here to share what pet owners need to pay special attention to when their furry friend is in the wilderness. Pets may be a big commitment, but nothing is quite as much work as the upkeep required when you own a cottage. Journalist Orland French explores the seemingly never-ending to-do list at even the smallest cabins. And reader Ann Mittag shares a real-life experience that proves the ongoing maintenance is worth it.

E2: #DontDoItForTheGram

We love a good wildlife shot, but nature photography can quickly become dangerous for both humans and animals. In this episode, Michelle chats with Erin Ryan, a biologist and wild animal welfare specialist at the British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, about the potential threat of irresponsible wildlife photography practices and easy tips to remember the next time you shoot flora and fauna. Then, journalist Jennifer Kingsley reveals her unexpected suggestion to replace the beaver as Canada’s national animal. 

E1: Get lost and found

You don’t need a map to get to the cottage, but do you know why? In the premiere episode of Season 3, Liann Bobechko, Deputy Editor of CL, joins Michelle to dig into the science of wayfinding and shares why we shouldn’t always rely on GPS. Equipped with new map-making skills, we revisit an essay about a treasure hunt on Georgian Bay by Giller-Prize nominated Canadian journalist, playwright, and novelist David MacFarlane. Then we kick off a new series featuring readers’ favourite tips and quips to celebrate the 35th anniversary of CL—this week, it’s one way to deal with rude guests at the cottage.

Season 2

/Catch up from Season 1

E8: The expert on all things cottage

On the last episode of the season, we chat with a true cottage expert—former editor and publisher of Cottage Life, Penny Caldwell. She shares an insider look into working on the magazine for 18 years, what she’s learned from cottagers, and what makes cottaging in Canada so special. Plus, she answers the most common Q&As we get to the magazine. Also, we’ll revisit an essay about the traditions we form while being a kid at the cottage. 

E7: Weather lore: True or False?

Should a red sky at night really give sailors delight? Michelle interviews David Phillips, senior climatologist for Environment and Climate Change Canada, about the weather lore we love to share. Whether the sun is shining or rain is coming down at the cottage, it’s always a good time for a nap. We revisit an essay by journalist Elamin Abdelmahmoud about the rebellious act of catching a few zzzs when you’re at the lake. Plus, if you’ve got ants marching in and out of your kitchen, our quick tip will help.

E6: Slow your boats

Safe boating practices continue to be a hot topic among cottagers. On this week’s episode, we chat with Diana Piquette, the president of Safe Quiet Lakes, an organization with the goal of making cottage-country lakes safer for everyone. Then we’ll hear about journalist and Lake Simcoe cottager Sasha Chapman’s experience making maple syrup. Last, we offer a key tip for potential cottage guests: what never to bring for a weekend at the lake.

E5: Save the shorelines

For this week’s episode, we called on Dan Kraus, a Senior Conservation Biologist with the Nature Conservancy of Canada, to discuss how cottagers can protect their lakes through the restoration of their shorelines. However, when it comes to personal health, the cottage is the place where calories don’t count (right?). We’ll listen to an essay by award-winning food writer Mark Schatzker about the way we eat at the lake. Plus, our tip will help with live staking red-osier dogwood along your shore.

E4: Living with wildlife

Should you or should you not feed the deer? Michelle interviews the star of the Cottage Life channel, Hope Swinimer, about how to live in harmony with cottage wildlife. And while we’re on the topic of nature, we revisit an essay from writer Lisa Moore about how she gets wild at the cottage—the answer may surprise you. One memory you may want to forget: stepping on a porcupine quill. Our quick tip reveals the secret to safe removal without a trip to the hospital.

E0: When mosquitoes attack!

We love going to the cottage, but there is something that bugs us about life at the lake. It's not the maddening commute, the frantic Friday packing, or the iffy plumbing—it's the mosquitoes. In this special bonus episode of the podcast, brought to you by the experts at Off!, we’ll share how to keep those pests (and their bites) at bay. Then we’ll listen to CL favourite Roy MacGregor’s take on the big five bugs of cottage country.

E3: “Is it okay if…” Appropriation vs. Appreciation of First Nations’ culture

Join us as we dive deep with writer and educator David A. Robertson, who wrote about the difference between appreciating and appropriating First Nations culture for our June/July 2021 issue. Then journalist Clive Thompson shares his most perfect memory of the wilderness. And for anyone who fears the lake because of leeches, there’s no need to worry. If one finds its way onto you, use this leech-removal tip and never fear the drink again.

E2: We’ve gone to the birds

If there’s one thing we can thank the pandemic for, it’s our deeper connection to nature. Join Jody Allair from Birds Canada as he teaches us about common cottage birds and how to identify them by their sound. Then we’ll listen to an essay about everyone’s favourite cottage pastime: the puzzle. Plus, have you ever been kept awake by a leaky tap at the cottage? Don’t lose sleep—do this instead. 

E1: Cottage real estate madness!

In the premiere episode of season two, we interview Scott McGillivray about the booming cottage real estate market. One perk to the madness is that more people will experience the joy of cottage living, which we explore in an essay about the magic of being completely alone at the lake. And we share the solution to a stinky cottage situation: how to remove the skunk smell from your dog. 

Season 1

E8: Catching up with Roy MacGregor

For the final episode of the season, we take a look at some of the greats, starting with treasured Canadian journalist and author Roy MacGregor. His work explores what is so special about cottaging in Canada and what makes it unique. Then we’ll listen to the sounds of the regal Great Blue Heron. And to close out the episode, an essay by Roy that’s received one of the greatest responses from CL readers.

E7: Getting there

Once you pack up the car and put the key in the ignition, your cottage experience is under way. We talk with Dr. Eric Miller from the University of Toronto Transportation Research Institute about how traffic works and the surprising ways drivers can cause problems on the road . Then we’ll listen to the sound of an animal you could mistake for a car coming down the road. And we ask: are you a bullet driver or a meanderer? 

E6: The art of entertaining

Nothing makes the cottage feel more special than when it’s full of family and friends. But the idea of entertaining everyone can seem overwhelming. Thankfully journalist, cookbook author, and cinnamon bun magician Amy Rosen is here with tips to take the pressure off when it comes to feeding a crowd. Nothing will wake everyone up in the morning like the sound of the woodpecker alarm clock. We’ll share what a yellow-bellied sapsucker is really up to when it’s pecking away first thing. And then we visit something all cottage-goers love: a well used deck of cards. 

E5: Our crowning glories

There is nothing more beautiful than the green canopy of trees that make up cottage country. But the health of our trees is just as important as the beauty and arborist Matt Logan is here to answer reader FAQs. Then we’ve got even more tree talk—you’ll learn how trees communicate through their roots, share nutrients, and can warn one another of infestation. We also discover how planting a tree grows more than just a forest. 

E4: Have you had the talk?

A conversation about cottage succession can be awkward, but it shouldn’t be avoided. On this episode, we chat with estate planning lawyer Peter Lillico to get his expert advice on the three pillars of a successful cottage succession plan. Whether you’ve inherited your cottage or bought something new, chances are you can hear frogs chirping around your property. We’ll learn about the sounds of some of the most popular frogs in Canada. And then comes the eternal debate: is cottaging better in July or August?

E3: #cottagesowhite

Editor Michelle Kelly sits down with Elamin Abdelmahmoud to reflect on his 2019 Cottage Life article “Breaking the Colour Code” and to discuss race and how people of colour experience the culture of cottaging. Resident bird-lover Liann Bobechko is back to share why we should give a hoot about owls and their calls. And we take a look at how nature can help us come together to find our roots as a community, whether at the cottage or as a country.

E2: Going wild!

Life Below Zero star Sue Aikens, who is famous for living off the grid, shares her thoughts about what it’s like to live in isolation, especially during COVID-19, and offers advice to the cast of Life Below Zero Canada, the Cottage Life channel’s newest hit show. If you spend time in the wilderness, you might meet an otter—a silent and stealthy creature, until it’s not. Find out what sounds the otter makes and what they mean. One sound every cottager is familiar with is the buzz buzz of a particular pesky insect. We share a classic essay about taming the mosquito.

E1: In search of peace and quiet

Let’s make some noise about...being quiet. We interview longtime Cottage Life contributor Leslie Garrett about “Killing Us Softly,” from our June/July 2020 issue, about the importance of silence and its surprising effects on our wellbeing. Some noises, however, we love. Like the call of a loon. Deputy Editor Liann Bobechko decodes loon calls. And, in true cottage style, we revisit an essay about relaxing at the lake. 

E0: Introducing the Cottage Life Podcast

In Canada, we get just 14 summer weekends every year, and only three of them are long weekends. So we created the Cottage Life Podcast to help you get more out of every single one of them.