"Going to the cottage", a Canadian tradition explained by a Luxembourger


Lots of new Canadian experiences this weekend! Friends of ours invited us up to their cottage at the Georgian Bay in Ontario. "Going to the cottage" is a favourite Canadian pass time activity that has to be experienced at least once a summer.

This is when all the city dwellers and suburb creatures drive North from anywhere between one hour and two days to spend the weekend or in some cases two months during the school summer holidays in a wooden cabin somewhere in the middle of nowhere and usually right next to one of the thousands of lakes in Ontario. This is a nice break from the structured and well-designed city life and great opportunity to experience nature in it's wildest form.

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driving in Ontario

It is not rare to see all sorts of animals from a moose to a bear, from a humming bird to a vulture, from an ant to a… mosquito. Yes, many many mosquitoes and other small annoying biting insects with wings.  

Some of these wooden cabins don’t have running water, electricity, toilets, glass windows,… I was lucky because our cottage had all of the above (I cheated on the experience you could say) :-)

Once we arrived at the cottage, the first thing to do was to fire up the barbecue and prepare the burgers. We had brought dessert but nobody could really resist the water any longer than absolutely necessary so we dove right into the gorgeous Georgian Bay waters. Rocky landscapes = deep waters that look completely black when you go in… a bit spooky at first, but it wasn’t too cold and just such a liberating feeling to be swimming in a big lake. 

Canadians are great outdoor lovers and have perfected the art of making the absolute most out of every outdoor activity. They don’t just swim in lakes, they add floating slides, volleyball nets, trampolines and giant see-through balloons you can get in to and start spinning. Our friends also happened to have a boat which adds another layer of fun. I left the waterskiing to the pros but did experience “inner tubing”, something I had never heard of before. The name comes from the inner rubber tube of a tire which people used to hook up to boats that would then drag the tire and them sitting on top of it, through the waters at high speeds. Nowadays the inner tubes are a bit more luxurious with handles to hold on to and support for your back so you can sit comfortably and enjoy the beautiful landscapes while you’re being dragged along by the boat. There is a relaxing way to use the inner tube and then there is a fun way to use it. The fun way consists of driving the boat pretty much as fast as you can while zigzagging along the way to try to make the people on the inner tube fly off. Pardon my French but this is the activity that goes along with the phrase “to laugh your ass off”. :)

At night, when the sun sets and the mosquitoes are getting too bad outside, you go inside and prepare a “beer can chicken” which is literally a can of beer stuck inside a chicken’s bum roasted on the barbecue. Delicious! Dessert, by law, is “S’mores” which are made in the following fashion: you make a fire in a fire pit near the cottage, take a random stick from the woods to serve as a holding device for your marshmallow you’re going to hold over the fire until it is roasted. Then you take two graham crackers and sandwich a piece of chocolate together with your roasted marshmallow. Yummy! 


Leave it to the Canadians to show you what good old-fashioned outdoor living is all about and how to make it even better with modern equipment! 


Like this story if you wanted us to see a bear and share it if you’re glad we didn’t!

Liz WengerTourism, Canada