Don’t own a cottage? Rent.

If you thought owning in the city is becoming out-of-reach, it’s only going getting worse for country escapes – especially lakeside properties. People almost never sell their cottages, hoping to pass them on to their kids instead. And baby boomers are snapping up what’s left for their pending golden years.

But at least with rentals, you can enjoy variety. A decent place will set you back somewhere between $750 to two large a week. Here are some popular areas, their merits and drawbacks from one writer’s POV:

Collingwood/Wasaga

Pros: Just 2 hours from downtown: you’re there fast. Year-round, 4 season stuff to do. In summer, great golf, cycling, hiking.
Cons: Just 2 hours from downtown: your day-tripping friends are “in the area” and just dropped by. If you’re not on Georgian Bay, there’s no waterfront property. If you are, you’re sharing it with barbecuing families from Mississauga, up for the day.

Muskoka
Pros: It’s caught the eyes of the famous: you might see Eric Lindros. It’s actually far enough north that you can see the stars at night, sometimes even the Aurora Borealis.
Cons: You might see Goldie Hawn. Traffic on Highway 400 beggars your expletive vocabulary.

Grand Bend/Lake Huron

Pros: Pretty country drive is not stressful. Bitching beach. And sunsets to die for.
Cons: A summer-only retreat, but, hey, it’s summer.

Gananoque/1000 Islands

Pros: Most Torontonians have never heard of it. Pretty villages full of old stone buildings.
Cons: It’s far & 401 all the way. Without a 3-day weekend, good luck relaxing. Stoned hosers who hate Torontonians.

Here are some resources for finding a cottage:

www.northerncomfort.com/cottages.htm
http://www.cottageconnections.ca
www.cottagevacations.com
www.cottagerental.com
www.visitmuskoka.com

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