Cottage country is a common name in Ontario, New Brunswick, and other regions of Canada for areas that are popular locations for recreational properties such as cottages and summer homes. Cottage country is often socially, culturally, economically, and politically distinct from other rural areas in that it is populated by a notably higher concentration of urban vacationers and residents who have an affinity for the outdoors, in contrast to more traditional rural populations, which are largely absent of "city folk," but that is less true in Western Canada. Any major population centre may have its own popular "cottage country" area.
The name is sometimes applied locally in vernacular use. For example, Toronto residents might say, "I am heading up to cottage country this weekend," which is locally understood to be referring to Muskoka, the Kawarthas, or the Haliburton area. On the other hand, a speaker from Ottawa would use the same phrase to denote the Rideau Lakes area or parts of the Outaouais.
In Toronto, cottage country traffic refers to traffic bound to cottage country on Friday afternoons and returning from it on Sunday afternoons. Cottage country traffic is usually extremely heavy on long weekends, such as Victoria Day in May, Canada Day on the July 1st weekend, Simcoe Day in August, and Labour Day in September, particularly on Highway 400 and Highway 11. The Ontario media has often referred to these times of the year as a "highway blitz," which also refers to the related Ontario Provincial Police efforts to step up highway enforcement on those congested roads, which often yield record numbers of motor vehicle violations and fines.
Canadian English has a regional distinction for the name of a summer recreation house. In some areas, "cottage" is used, but in other areas, terms like "cabin," "camp," "country house," and "bungalow" are preferred. Since lakes are smaller and scarcer on the drier southern prairies, the few lakes that are large enough to support development can be intensely used. However, the boreal forest region has thousands of large lakes, and many are undeveloped. In the mountain regions of Alberta and British Columbia, lakes are not the only attraction, and mountain views are often the most prized. In the Maritime Provinces, the coastal beach serves as the location for rest and recreation.
Areas commonly referred to as "cottage country"
This section needs additional citations for verification. (August 2014)
- Prince Edward Island
- Nova Scotia
- New Brunswick
- Central Ontario, including:
- Eastern Ontario
- Northwestern Ontario
- British Columbia
Other popular summer vacation areas
According to the Realtors' Association of Edmonton official map (2010), the following are resort communities within 100km of Edmonton (clockwise starting from the east):
- Antler Lake
- North Cooking Lake
- Hastings Lake
- South Cooking Lake
- Miquelon Lake
- Pigeon Lake
- Buck Lake
- Spring Lake
- Wabamun Lake
- Isle Lake
- Lac Ste. Anne
- Sandy Lake
- Nakamun Lake
- Lac la Nonne
- List of summer colonies, the term summer colony is often used, particularly in the United States
- Summer village, a type special municipality in Alberta used in resort areas, of which there are 51
- Resort, resort town
- Cottage, cabin, summer house, beach house, dacha
- List of lakes of Canada - which includes sub-lists for each province
- n:Two-thousand traffic fines laid in Ontario this weekend
- "CTV Toronto - Breaking News - Weather, Traffic, Live and Sports". toronto.ctv.ca. Archived from the original on February 25, 2012. Retrieved 2 August 2018.
- "Labour Day highway blitz off to inauspicious start". 4 September 2009. Retrieved 2 August 2018.
- "Only in Cape Breton, you say? - Cape Breton Post". www.capebretonpost.com. Retrieved 2 August 2018.