Vacation rentals vary. In Florida, it may be a house in a subdivision. In Manhattan, a studio apartment. In Italy, a villa. Or in France, a small chateau. In Ontario, a vacation rental may be referred to as a cottage. It could be a mobile home in a trailer park, or a chalet on a ski hill.
Camp is another term by Canadians for that place the family goes when the weather improves. Renter beware, regardless of what we call it, you might find the place rustic – no running water or hydro, just the bare necessities.
Camps, chalets and cottages have become more like a second home. Some are air-conditioned, have multiple bathrooms, and amenities like movie rooms or laundry facilities. Vacation rentals in Canada do not guarantee waterfront views. When searching for your perfect getaway, read the fine print, or use the keyword waterfront.
Waterfront can mean a river, a lake, or the ocean, depending on the locale. Lake can mean something small enough to be called a pond, or as large as a Great Lake, which are the size of the Mediterranean Ocean. Ontario has only one sea coast – Hudson Bay in the far north. If you want a cottage with a sea view, then try BC, PEI, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick or Newfoundland.
Not all waterfront properties come with a dock. The docks in the photo belong to the neighbours’ cottages. The cottage from which the photo was shot did not have a dock. A boat would have to be moored some distance from shore.
If you plan to canoe or boat during your cottage stay you will need PFDs – personal flotation devices or life jackets for each person in the canoe or boat. That is the law. If your vacation rental includes the use of a water vehicle, ask if PFDs are supplied.
Linens and towels may not be supplied. If you are coming a great distance, inquire about a linen service, the extra charge will save you time and effort. The more rustic the rental, the less likely that the service is available. You may have to pack sleeping bags.
A Canadian vacation tradition are ‘Smores. The tasty treats are comprised of toasted marshmallows in between graham crackers and chocolate pieces. The warm marshmallow melts the chocolate. Messy and scrumptious, they go best with an open fire. The ability to make open fires at a vacation rental is not guaranteed. If your dream includes sitting around a campfire, you could be disappointed. Campfire bans are not uncommon during drought conditions when an open flame could ignite a forest fire.
Fishing usually requires a license, which comes with a book explaining catch limits etc. Read it before your wet your line. Fish and Game wardens have the right to charge you with an offense if you exceed your limit or break a regulation.
Renting canoes, boats, all terrain vehicles and other noisy toys is possible in well-developed vacation areas. The farther into the bush you go, the fewer amenities are available.
One last hint – sound carries on the water. If you don’t want your vacation neighbours to know intimate details of your family dynamics – whisper!