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Up and coming cottage communities in Western Canada

Whether you call them cottages, cabins, camps, or summer homes, Canada is brimming with lakefront properties and vacation properties tucked away in some of the world’s most spectacular nature. And while Ontario’s “cottage country” often gets a lot of the attention (and the traffic), a number of cottage hotspots in Western Canada are on the rise, giving the Great Lakes region a run for its money. 

In fact, according to Royal LePage’s spring 2021 report, the price of property in cottage areas throughout every province in Canada is expected to rise by 15% in 2021. That means now is the time to act—and to protect your investment with cottage/cabin-specific insurance. And if you’re in Western Canada, here are eight regions that are worth your attention.

Lac St. Anne, Alberta

Located less than an hour away from Edmonton, the communities dotting the shores of Lac St. Anne have become increasingly popular with city dwellers looking to escape for the summer. It’s also one of the few cottage destinations within drivable distance of both Edmonton and Calgary where you can still find waterfront property for just over $500,000. Alberta Beach, which sits on the southeast shore of Lac St. Anne, is especially popular with cottagers for its warm, shallow water and sandy beaches.

Gibsons, British Columbia

If you’re old enough to remember affordable homes in Vancouver, you may remember Gibsons as the setting of CBC Television’s The Beachcombers during the 1970s and 80s. While this tiny, laid-back community on the Sunshine Coast is still accessible only by ferry or floatplane, it’s become increasingly popular as retirees and telecommuters alike abandon plans to buy in BC’s bigger cities. As you’d expect, the town offers outdoor activities like hiking, kayaking, and fishing, but its proximity to Vancouver (about 50 minutes by ferry) has blessed it with a vibrant arts community, as well as plenty of pubs and fantastic restaurants. Local favourites include the Blackfish Pub, Smitty’s Oyster House, and the Farm to Feast food truck in a converted Airstream trailer.

Wabamun Lake, Alberta

Another lake that’s close to Edmonton (but drivable from Calgary) is Wabamun Lake, which is a favourite of boaters and anglers. Its eponymous provincial park keeps you connected to nature, with endless opportunities to hike, bike, and paddle, while the surrounding tiny lakefront communities offer plenty of places to find your dream vacation property. Plus, the hamlet of Wabumun itself, located on the northeast shore, gives you all the amenities you need to enjoy a full summer away from the city.

Ucluelet, British Columbia

Tofino gets all the Vancouver Island love, but in-the-know islanders all agree that Ucluelet is the real star of the show. As you explore the pristine coastline along the Wild Pacific Trail, you’ll find secret beaches against the backdrop of temperate rainforest. But while the hiking, paddling, and surfing options are all world-class, the town has just as much to offer, with tea shops, bakeries, and restaurants ranging from fine-dining to incredible seafood food trucks all at your fingertips.

Manitou Beach, Saskatchewan

First Nations have long believed in Manitou Lake’s healing properties, as its mineral-rich water contains sodium, potassium, and magnesium. But while the lake is always the main attraction for residents of Regina and Saskatoon, both of which are an hour’s drive away, the area also features a vibrant arts scene with 50 local artisans, one of Canada’s few remaining drive-in theatres, and a curious dance hall with horsehair-padded floors.

Lake Newell, Alberta

If you’re partial to sunshine, Lake Newell and its surrounding communities should be on your radar. In fact, the nearby town of Brooks books more than 300 hours of glorious, blazing sunlight during each of the summer months, making it one of Canada’s hottest communities—literally. All the more reason to spend some time soaking in the warm waters of Lake Newell, which, at more than 64 sq. km, is southern Alberta’s largest human-made lake. And according to local anglers, the fish love it just as much—they’ve been known to catch 20 fish an hour, ranging from walleye, perch, pike, and whitefish.

Osoyoos, British Columbia

BC retirees would prefer that Canada’s “pocket desert” remain under wraps, but the secret’s out: Osoyoos, with its annual 155 days above 20°C—and the correspondingly warm waters of Osoyoos Lake—is one of the sunniest and warmest places to cottage in Western Canada. Its decidedly un-Canadian climate produces oodles of fresh produce for its crop of farm-to-table restaurants, along with some of the Okanagan region’s top grapes for local wineries.

Fraser Canyon, British Columbia

Each an hour’s drive apart along B.C.’s Fraser River, the towns of Lillooet and Lytton are twin record-holders for Canada’s second-hottest temperature ever recorded: 44.5°C. That’s thanks to Fraser Canyon’s unique geography, which sucks the moisture out of the air to create a hot, sunny climate that beckons Vancouver’s rained-out residents. But guaranteed sunshine is just the start—you’ll also find plenty of opportunities to mountain bike, kayak, fish, and hike among some of the province’s most picturesque nature.

Looking to buy a cottage or vacation property? Aviva’s RetreatLife cabin and cottage insurance is the perfect way to protect your investment.

The content in this article is for information purposes only and is not intended to be relied upon as professional or expert advice.