The Last Minute Club

Canadian summers, because of their brevity, can inspire a mild sense of panic: “Summer is half over!” we say a couple weeks into summer. “Fall is coming soon!” we say in early July.

Rest assured: There is much summer ahead, and you can still achieve idyllic cottage bliss – likely at a healthy, mid-summer discount – even if you haven’t got any invitations lined up (or a cottage of your own). Here, the guide to last-minute cottage rentals.

Get a recommendation
Use the cottage rental sites below as your guidelines, but it’s always best to get a reference. Ask around widely for recommendations and advice; you’ll learn more about the lake/area you’re considering, and you may even find a deal through a friend.

Consider a partial stay
Though owners obviously prefer weekly rentals, this late in the season, they may be open to “partial stays.” Ask about weekends-only or a few days mid-week.

Don’t pick the most popular lake
You’ll get a better price for something off-Broadway, so to speak, and the smaller lakes are quieter as well. You could also consider renting on a river.

There’s no such thing as a dumb city slicker question
Ask lots before you commit: Can you swim in the lake? (Some lakes are healthier than others.) What do I have to bring? (Probably your own towels, linens, toilet paper, paper towels and tissues.)  How accessible is the cottage? (Some roads are better than others. Will the underside of your Porsche 911 get destroyed on the rocky dirt road? Does the Globe & Mail come right to the door? (Probably not.)

Useful websites
Cottage County
Cottages on the Web
Cottages in Canada
Cottage Connections
Cottages Canada Online

Image courtesy of Grant MacDonald.
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