There’s nowhere as good as where your cottage (or camp) is, we know. The air is cleaner, the water more sparkly, the wildlife wilder. So show your regional pride by wearing a button from your neck-of-the-woods. Come see us at the Fall Cottage Life Show at the International Centre in Toronto on October 19-21 and pin one on!
There's nowhere as good as where your cottage (or camp) is, we know. The air is cleaner, the water more sparkly, the wildlife wilder. So show your regional pride by wearing a button from your neck-of-the-woods. Come see us at the Fall Cottage Life Show at the International Centre in Toronto on October 19-21 and pin one on!
You don’t have to look far in Georgian Bay to find pines that have grown up shaped by prevailing west winds in this area. Often featured in photography and paintings (they make a good showing in the Group of Seven paintings done here), these trees share the stage with sparkling waters, and the granite islands smoothed by glaciers and centuries of rough weather.
Only about an hour north of Toronto, the cottagers on Lake Simcoe’s shores have the benefits of easy access and big water. Ice fishing in the winter and boating adventure in the summer (on the lake and on the Trent-Severn Waterway) make for year-round fun.
Cottagers in the vicinity of Algonquin Park are perhaps the most likely to know their way around a J-stroke, cross-bow draw, and pry. Paddling is part of the allure of life on the lake for most cottagers, and in this area with hundreds of beautiful lakes connected by portages, this love affair is alive and well.
Cottage communities up and down the Lake Huron shore are known for their stunning sunsets. National Geographic even once listed them among the top ten in the world. The wide, sandy, west-facing beaches, the blue waters of the ocean-like Great Lake, and the warm hues of the dropping sun make for a nice campfire backdrop.
Is there a greater joy than stopping for ice cream on your way home from the cottage? People who make the Kawartha Lakes their summer destination feel an intense loyalty to their namesake ice-cream purveyors, in business since 1937. What’s up for debate is the best flavour from the plethora of options: Moose Tracks, Death by Chocolate, or Black Raspberry Thunder? Only you can decide.
This historically rich area is right on the border of New York State and southeastern Ontario. The bridge connecting the two is celebrating 80 years this year. The area has ruins and artifacts dating from the American Revolutionary War and the age of bootlegging. Wolfe Island, the largest, is home to many cottages, a golf course, and the town of Marysville. Ranging in size from 100 sq.m to small outcroppings of rocks, the archipelago has a reported 1,864 islands. To count in the total they must be at least one square foot above water year round and must support at least two living trees.
The Rideau Canal is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is the oldest continuously operated canal system in North America, having opened in 1832. The canal is a magnet for pleasure boaters, and boating is beloved activity for cottagers in the region.
A four-season fishing destination, the area is said to have over 5,000 lakes and rivers to explore. With lots of smallmouth bass, as well as largemouth bass, northern pike, and even some muskie, the area is a magnet for anglers and friends.
The iconic deck chair can be seen all over cottage country, but it’s Muskoka that has given its name to the symbol of relaxation and the simple joy of sitting down in front of a beautiful view of the lake and all its wildlife (human and otherwise). Just don’t call it The Muskokas.
Prince Edward County
Home to more than 23 winemakers, this region draws in foodies of course, but also has lots to offer cottagers who love nature, boating, and art. This region, on the north shore of Lake Ontario, is a great place to see birds as they set out on their fall migration.
Located within the 30,000 Islands and the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, Parry Sound has the beauty of Georgian Bay with it's own personality. One claim to fame: it's the hometown of hockey legend Bobby Orr (he holds the NHL record for most points and assists in a season by a defenceman) and houses the Bobby Orr Hall of Fame.
This area sees the transition from the St. Lawrence Lowlands to the Canadian Shield, and boasts a rolling landscape of woodlands and white-water playgrounds on four major river systems. With more than 900 lakes in the region, it’s a cottage paradise.
The largest region in the province by far, Northern Ontario is bounded in the south by Lake Huron and Georgian Bay, the French River, Lake Nipissing, and the Mattawa River and sits solidly on the Canadian Shield. With a population density of less than one person per square kilometre, those with camps in the area may be lucky enough to spot elusive but impressive wildlife such as black bears, moose, wolves, and cougars.
With many small, quiet lakes, and just a handful of larger ones, Haliburton’s lakes make a great home for the iconic loon. Having loons is a sign of a healthy lake, so Haliburton cottagers (and those elsewhere) with nesting loons can be proud when they see these birds with baby chicks. If mating pairs have been able to successfully raise young, it indicates not only good water quality, but under-control boaters who don’t swamp nests with their wakes, and natural shorelines that provide the lovebirds a spot to nest by the water.
Just an hour north of downtown Ottawa, the Gatineau region is one of many cabin hot spots in La Belle Province. Gatineau Park offers year-round activity for those who cottage nearby, with world-class cross-country skiing and snowshoeing on more than 200 km of groomed trails, plus at least 2,000 km of snowmobile trails in the larger Outaouais region.
This area, rich in mineral deposits, is home to the last old growth forests in Ontario. Temagami, in the heart of the Canadian Shield, is a canoeist and kayaker’s haven, providing launch points for remote trips on Lake Temagami, in Lady Evelyn Smoothwater Provincial Park and Finlayson Point Provincial Park. With the expansion of the railway to Temagami in 1905, the area opened up for tourism. The Temagami Lakes have had a cottage association since 1931.
Running from Lake Nipissing to Georgian Bay, the French River was named by the Anishnaabe because it was how the French came to their land. It was an important part of the route that was heavily used by the First Nations and later also by explorers, voyageurs, and loggers. Today it is shared by outdoor enthusiasts, anglers, and people with camps in the area.
Those who have camps and cottages in Hastings Highlands may be lucky enough to see what is by far the largest animal in central Ontario: the gentle (most of the time) moose. These huge plant-eaters can be seen munching on the leaves of water lilies, and minding their own business until the rut in late September and early October when they start to get aggressive. Remote enough for wildlife sightings, the area is a cultural hotspot with proximity to music concerts and arts festivals in Maynooth.
Cottage babies that are too cute to handle
40 years of Twiggy the waterskiing squirrel
14 more beautiful winter photos we love
The best cottage region is…
There’s nowhere as good as where your cottage (or camp) is, we know. The air is cleaner, the water more sparkly, the wildlife wilder. So show your regional pride by wearing a button from your neck-of-the-woods. Come see us at the Fall Cottage Life Show at the International Centre in Toronto on October 19-21 and …