Friday aka Exodus to the Cottage

Mom at the cottage

On Fridays in Toronto everyone seems to get off work at 1pm and begins their trek to the cottage.  Often I ask myself why my husband and I didn’t buy a cottage in Ontario, sure the prices can be obnoxious but 2 to 3 hours and you can be in your own little paradise away from it all.  Then I remember, the 2-3 hour drive can be extended by 2 hours on weekends, both getting there and coming back and all the things you’re trying to get away from are coming too.

So we do the 18 hour trek and stay longer than a weekend, it’s a trade-off but it does work for us. The main problem I have with the cottage crowd is that they make it impossible for those of us staying in town to actually move while they do their grand exodus.  For instance, I’m having lunch with a friend today just off the 427 around Eglinton, usually we have lunch on Thursdays and I don’t have to worry about this however it’s his birthday this weekend and we’re doing it as close to the day as we can (next time Al maybe we should pick Monday!).  The drive, to the restaurant where we meet, usually only takes me 15-20 minutes, it’s all highway. Today, I’m going to leave an hour early and take a book incase I arrive before 2pm, which, the chances of that happening are fairly slim.

I do have to admit a certain amount of jealously is involved in my rant, I love going to the cottage.  I love that in Ontario we have such beautiful clean lakes and I love that there is such a wonderful history involved with cottaging here. When I was a child my parents had a cottage in the Halliburton Highlands, I loved going there, and have wonderful pictures of our time spent there. The picture in the blog is of my mother and the car I guess they had in the late ’50’s or ’60’s.  

My parents sold the cottage when I was ten, my father promising to get my mother another one, since this cottage was part of her engagement “ring”.  Unfortunately, my parents never did get another cottage, it was shortly after this that the cottage boom began and the small affordable cabins became monster 2nd homes with monster prices.  My parents sold our cottage for $25 thousand dollars, you can’t seem to buy one on water these days for less than $300 thousand, that can be the cost of some peoples 1st  homes never mind a summer home. 

Ontario seems to have its own cottage “lingo” for instance, every time I use the term “Bunkie” out east, I get a blank look from whom ever I’m talking.  Also, the phrase “going to the cottage” seems to be another Canadianism, it sounds like we have 1 giant cottage that everyone goes to.  Not to mention that the term “cottage” is different here than in other countries, England’s version of a cottage is completely different from ours. People vary even in Ontario on what a cottage is, my idea of a cottage is some place smaller than my house, no tv, no phone, quiet and peaceful.  Of course, I also want indoor plumbing and a dishwasher so our cottage is already more advanced than my parents was.   

The basics of cottaging in Ontario haven’t changed since the late 1800’s when the trains would begin to take families north.  The women and children would spend their summers at the lake, while the husbands would travel back and forth on the trains for the weekends. 

Even though I understand the allure of the cottage weekend, I’m still going to be complaining about the drive to lunch today.  I’m sure and I’ll be glad to get to my own little cottage tucked away on the island where they don’t seem to have a cottage rush.   

Dream Big,   


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3 Responses to Friday aka Exodus to the Cottage

  1. Mary says:

    I loved reading about your take on Ontario cottages. I had a long history of going to cottages on Lake Scugog and am writing about the experience on my blog.

    Is there anything more fun that sleeping in a bunkie? My friends near Thunder Bay and others in Calgary call “going to the cottage”, “going to camp”.

    Fortunately I lived in Scarborough and the drive to our cottage on Washburn Island was 1.5 hours. Easy peasy.

    Mary E. McIntyre

    • Break Free says:

      Hi Mary,

      Thanks for reading my post, I love hearing from people. Lake Scugog…wow I haven’t been there in years! Fun memories! I’ll check out your blog for further cottaging memories!

      We leave this weekend for our cottage in PEI on the ocean – in this heat it won’t be soon enough and although I love our little cabin in the middle of nowhere I do miss the lakes here in ON.

      I’ll be blogging ocean side I hope you’ll check in again.

      Happy cottaging,

  2. Mary says:

    Sadly I haven’t been to PEI since the 70s. I remember Lobster dinners at St. Annes in the 60s, and meeting some fun guys in Rustico. Hubby and I took our kids to Brudnell Resort in the 70s. That’s another story about jellyfish season!

    Have a lovely holiday.

    Mary E. McIntyre

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