Explore Canadian cottage culture guide, Canada lakeside properties, Rustic charming homes
Explore & Immerse Yourself in the Canadian Cottage Culture
post updated 9 March 2023
For many around the world, the mere mention of Canada conjures images of lakeside cottages nestled among gloriously vibrant treelines, roaring woodfires and quintessential red plaid décor. In addition to hockey, the maple leaf, and Canada’s iconic wildlife, the archetypal Canadian cottage is a true national symbol and an integral part of the country’s identity.
But there’s more to cottages in Canada than a mere romanticized vision of coziness and rustic charm. The Canadian cottage is immersed in a rich history. Here’s everything you need to know about Canadian cottage culture.
A Brief History of the Canadian Cottage
In 1868, the government launched an Act whereby areas of land were given to settlers to encourage them to farm remote plots. As settlers from across Europe became established, they started offering tours of their properties to wealthy hunters visiting from abroad. Impressed by the rugged beauty of rural living, these hunters began to build their own cottages.
Back then, cottages were reserved for elite, affluent city-dwellers who’d make their way to the countryside for short stays. Many were eager to escape the city as it had become a common conception that city life was detrimental to physical health. The elite monopolized one lakeside area of Ontario so heavily that it eventually became known as Millionaires Row.
This narrative began to shift after the Second World War, which saw a new thriving economy, which allowed more middle-class citizens to make their way to the country so that they, too, could enjoy the luxuries of cottage life.
Canadians Covet Their Cottages
Today, there’s a growing number of Canadians who own cottages themselves (10%, in fact), with many renting their cottages out to holidaymakers through booking sites like RentCottage.com. Here, vacation goers can secure cottage accommodations to suit their party size, wants, and needs — pet friendly, on a beautiful sandy beach, or a cottage that’s superb for winter adventures — all in sublime cottage country.
Canada is a vast country, and for many, there’s no need to look abroad to find a new lakeside, woodland, or mountainous cottage to enjoy every season. For these reasons alone, cottages are go-to vacation spots for those who don’t own their personal slice of Canadiana.
The Stylings of a True Canadian Cottage
For Canadians, a cottage passed down from generation to generation is a point of pride; many cottage owners entertain their visitors with tales of their great-great-grandparents clearing the land, digging basements and hoisting logs themselves.
With tradition and family pride taking precedence, many Canadian cottages have shirked the stylings of American or European cottages, which traditionally roll with contemporary design trends. Canadian cottages are quintessentially rustic, comfortable, functional, and cozy.
Traditional or traditionally inspired homesteads will be filled with rich colours, repurposed dark woods, warm woollen textiles, picture windows overlooking scenic landscapes, exposed wooden siding and historied photos of family members enjoying the property.
Cottaging in Canada Is a Relaxing Break from the Norm
Unlike hotels or time-share apartments — tall, sometimes soulless concrete buildings — cottages represent a true break from everyday life. Far from urban centres, cottage renters will find quaint townships with local guides offering outdoor expeditions ranging from the most advanced and vigorous, to low-key and ambling — offering you the opportunity to truly connect to with your natural surroundings.
Some cottage owners are happy to give first-hand tips and insights into the area (rural Canadians are often a friendly lot).
Another perk of renting a cottage in the Canadian wilderness is the price. A cottage is often far more affordable than an urban loft, apartment, or hotel — and can be even more cost-effective by preparing your own food on-site and splitting the bill with friends and family.
If you’re looking to visit Canada this year, staying in a Canadian cottage is key for vacation-goers keen to have an authentic experience — in the sunshine of summer, or in sparkling winter snow.
Comments on this guide to Explore Canadian Cottage Culture article are welcome
Toronto Architecture Designs – chronological list
Toronto Architecture News – major new property developments from the largest city in Ontario, Canada on e-architect
Toronto Architectural Designs – architectural selection:
Markham Centre Campus, Regional Municipality of York, Southern Ontario
Design: Diamond Schmitt Architects
image : Diamond Schmitt Architects
Markham Centre Campus
Axis Condos, Church Street, Downtown Toronto, Ontario
Architect: IBI Group Inc.
photo courtesy of architects studio
Comments / photos for the Explore Canadian Cottage Culture advice page welcome