Cottage country

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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.

In the Greater Toronto Area, 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,[1] 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 fines for motor vehicle violations.[2][3]

One of the most well-known areas in Ontario cottage country is Muskoka, with its most famous lakes being the "Big Three" lakes which include Lake Joseph ("Lake Joe"), Lake Muskoka and Lake Rosseau. In the summer, cottage rentals become one of the most popular trips for families and groups alike in Ontario and while Muskoka remains the most popular destination, there are many other locations to rent a cottage in Ontario, including the Kawartha Lakes, Kawarthas, Haliburton, Parry Sound and Simcoe, which is the closest "big lake" to Toronto. The District of Muskoka, which encompasses six different municipalities within Cottage Country, sees over 3.2 million visitors annually[4] with many of those visiting during the summer months.

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.[5]

Areas commonly referred to as cottage country[edit]

The term cottage country is applied locally in vernacular use. For example, Greater Toronto residents might say, "I am heading up to cottage country this weekend," which is locally understood to be referring to Muskoka, the Kawartha Lakes, or the Haliburton area. On the other hand, a speaker from Ottawa would typically use the same phrase to denote the Rideau Lakes area or parts of the Outaouais.

Areas referred to as cottage country include:

Other popular summer vacation areas[edit]


According to the Realtors' Association of Edmonton official map (2010), the following are resort communities within 100km of Edmonton (clockwise starting from the east):

Further afield:

British Columbia[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ n:Two-thousand traffic fines laid in Ontario this weekend
  2. ^ "CTV Toronto - Breaking News - Weather, Traffic, Live and Sports". Archived from the original on February 25, 2012. Retrieved 2 August 2018.
  3. ^ "Labour Day highway blitz off to inauspicious start". 4 September 2009. Retrieved 2 August 2018.
  4. ^ Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, Muskoka District, 2016. As per Muskoka District Economic Developmeny & Community Profile (2019).
  5. ^ "Only in Cape Breton, you say? - Cape Breton Post". Retrieved 2 August 2018.