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Welcome to Practical Cottager

As you have found your way here, it is likely that you have some interest in cottages, either because you already own a cottage, have just acquired one, or are thinking of buying one. If none of these is true, you may still find something here to interest you, as there are many aspects of owning a cottage that also apply to owning a home, particularly if your home is in a rural area.

While most of our cottage experiences have been fun and rewarding, there have been difficult times too (some of which I will mention). These pages will hopefully help you to avoid some of the pitfalls that we have encountered over the years, so that your cottage experiences will all be pleasurable ones.

Colourful Fall Leaves

As our cottage is on the northernmost fringes of Muskoka, Ontario, this web site will inevitably focus primarily on cottage life in Ontario. Over time, I plan to expand it to cover other Canadian and U.S. jurisdictions.

These pages are organized to present the business of owning a cottage in as logical an order as possible. If you have any comments, detect any inaccuracies, or have suggestions for further articles, please use the feedback page to give us your thoughts.

What is a Cottage?

For my purposes, a cottage is a seasonal dwelling that is used only part of the year, and which may not have all the utilities or facilities common in year-round homes. It is the last resting place of appliances whose role in your home has been usurped by newer technology, and of clothes that still have wear in them but are out of fashion. Favourite shoes will linger for years, until the soles are falling off, or they no longer keep out the rain. Odd tools such as antique wooden planes and glass washboards are found in various nooks, and unused wood-and-rawhide snowshoes adorn the walls.
On the other hand, if your place is a "cottage" that is liveable and accessible the year round, has a full basement, is properly insulated, and is supplied with electricity and oil or propane heating (where the fuel can be delivered without problems), then you don't have a cottage, you have a second home! However, you may still find some of this material to be informative and useful, even though you may not be benefitting from the "true" cottage experience.

At some indefinable point somewhere along Highway 11 between Huntsville and North Bay in Ontario, cottages become "camps". For all intents and purposes, they are one and the same thing, so if you own (or are contemplating owning) a "camp", this site is for you too.

Those of us who own a cottage (by my definition, as described above) tend to be people with an independent do-it-yourself attitude, who are prepared to handle most of the maintenance tasks without outside help. For a number of reasons, we find ourselves ready to tackle all kinds of jobs rather than paying skilled help. A major reason is cost - it's cheaper to do it yourself - but other reasons come into play such as the availability of skilled help and the distance from resources or supplies. This site will cover a variety of topics of interest to the practically-minded cottager, and will be expanded over time to cover more.

Please enjoy....


This site comprises totally original material derived from my family's experiences in owning a cottage for about thirty years, discussions with other cottagers, and from original research. The site will evolve over time, and new material will be added. While I will make every effort to keep it up to date and accurate, I do not take responsibility for any legal issues or financial losses incurred through the use of this information. I may point you in the right direction to obtain any further information you need, but it is your responsibility to do your own research into any legal or financial dealings that you may be contemplating.

Because it requires a lot of effort to research, write and maintain this web site, all material is copyrighted, and no-one may use it in any way without permission.

© 2009 - 2019, David Mallinson. --- Last updated 17-Oct-2019