One-Tank Trip for March 25-17
(c) By Jim Fox
Take it from a veteran cottager whose grandfather bought an isolated property on Raven Lake, near Coboconk, and built a modest cabin years ago.
Life would never be the same, as it is a rite of passage for so many Canadians.
Your kids, grandkids and family pets will thank you for keeping the tradition and memories alive – with all the enjoyable hard work and bankroll.
The days of roughing it are long gone with no electricity (coal-oil lamps and stoves instead), a block of ice in the so-called fridge and a well to manually pump drinking water.
Now it’s four-season escapes with Wi-Fi, satellite TV, central heating and air-conditioning, washers, dryers, dishwashers and all the comforts of home.
|Dogs have as much fun as their human companions at the cottage. (Jim Fox photo)|
Before heading off to the lake, stream or river to a cottage, cabin, bunkie, trailer or motor home, there’s an easy primer by attending the Spring Cottage Life Show to see if you’re up to the ownership challenge.
This harbinger of summer and ritual for Ontarians preparing to open their seasonal retreats runs from March 31to April 2 at the International Centre (6900 Airport Rd. at Derry Road) in Mississauga.
For cottage doers and dreamers alike, the show has expanded this year to feature 600 exhibitors.
It celebrates Canada’s 150th birthday and offers ideas and advice on renovation and design, eco-smart landscaping, entertaining and outdoor recreation including boats, water toys and docks.
Lots of inspiration
Highlighting the love of the great outdoors, features include stargazing, biodiversity and wildlife, cottage games, learning to fish and enjoying refreshments at the Dock Party.
|“Can you point me
towards the nearest lake?” ask a visitor to the Spring Cottage Life Show. |
Show-goers will find “plenty of inspiration” for cottage living at a Bonneville Homes model home with rooftop patio surrounded by a lush garden with native and pollinator-friendly plants.
Experts will give advice on opening the cottage, estate planning and DIY projects along with cooking demos.
“Grow a Forest” is a special highlight for Canada’s sesquicentennial.
“We’re encouraging cottage owners to plant a native tree on their property to preserve and nurture the natural beauty of Canada’s cottage country,” said Michelle Kelly, Cottage Life Magazine editor-in-chief.
The initiative will be “brought to life” at the Cottage Life booth with a mini-forest and tree-planting station, she added.
Don’t miss these
Andrew and Kevin Buckles of the TV show Brojects will share their “wacky and ingenious” cottage project ideas.
|An Eco model cottage with a rooftop patio by Bonneville Homes is on display at the show.|
Contractor Wayne Lennox builds a deer-proof herb planter in the workshop.
There are animals from cottage country while families can learn to fish and the Cottage Kitchen serves up “tasty outdoor entertaining ideas” and samples.
Some 100 realtors specializing in cottage properties will help visitors learn the realities of cottage ownership and rentals.
|Gather up a few cottage friends to help paddle a Voyageur canoe. (Jim Fox photo)|
Today’s “most-predominant trend” is four-seasons cottaging, according to a survey of 1,100 cottage owners by Cottage Life in partnership with the Ontario Real Estate Association.
Sixty-four per cent said year-round use was the primary reason for buying while 56 per cent plan to or have converted their “summer” cottages.
It also found 44 per cent plan to retire or live at the cottage part-time within the next 10 years.
|Cisco always wants to drive the boat at the cottage, assisted by writer Jim Fox. (Barbara Fox photo)|
Some 81 per cent of Canadians have spent time at a cottage and the popularity of user-friendly vacation rental sites is growing.
Canada Day was said to be the most popular weekend for cottagers, followed closely by Thanksgiving.
If you go
Show dates/hours are March 31, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; April 1, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and April 2, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Tickets are $20; $10, ages 13 to 17; free, 12 and younger; $28, weekend pass. Seniors are $15 on March 31. Adult $4 discounts after 4 p.m. on March 31 and April 1. Free parking. shows.cottagelife.com
Jim Fox can be reached at email@example.com
For more One-Tank Trips: http://1tanktrips.blogspot.ca