by Susy Alexandre July 10, 2023

Find Your Slice of Canadian Paradise: A Brief Guide to Buying a Cottage in Ontario

In the busyness of daily life, it can be hard to find opportunities for downtime. Securing those windows for family vacation can be challenging, not to mention extremely costly. At Royal LePage Your Community Realty, we know that popular property types go far beyond traditional residential homes. In Canada, there is a massive appeal for cottage properties that cater to the unique needs and “wish-list” wants of each family. Not surprisingly, when the summertime rolls around, the desire to buy a cottage in Ontario only amplifies. 

After spending so much of the harsh winter months indoors, the spring and summer seasons in Canada are flagged by longer days, warmer temperatures and that unmistakable “summer buzz” in the air. 

Eager to make the most of the season, it’s no wonder so many people flock north to “cottage country” each year. With some of the world’s most exquisite natural landscapes and breathtaking water views in our own backyard, you don’t have to venture too far to take it all in and enjoy it for yourself.  

The solution for many is clear. Investing in a cottage in Ontario has long been a popular choice for those looking to clear out of the hustle and bustle of the city and secure their own slice of Canadian paradise. 

The Pros Of Cottage Ownership 

The benefits of cottage ownership in Canada are not hard to identify. For one thing, investing in a cottage allows you to offer your family the opportunity to get out of the urban grind and into one of the world’s most beautiful natural landscapes. The cottage country in the Great North is truly one of a kind. 

Families can enjoy the fresh air, lush greenery and sprawling landscapes of natural terrain. And in many cases, the proximity to lakes and beachfronts. 

Getting up north and outdoors is understandably hugely appealing to individuals and families in Canada for obvious reasons. The long winter months and time spent indoors, safe from harsh weather and gloomy conditions leaves us eager for a reprieve and change of scenery once the weather starts to turn. 

Having a cottage to escape to is the ideal solution for providing your family the luxury of a vacation - minus the need to board a plane or worry about things like a hotel and rental car. 

For many parents, the idea of giving their children the chance to experience the spring and summer months in an environment that supports “offline” forms of entertainment is the ultimate goal. 

Popular Areas In Ontario For Cottage Investment 

One thing Ontario is not short on is an abundance of popular cottage destinations. And there are definitely a few top picks for those who are familiar with the “cottage-country” scene. If you’re looking for the ultimate in lakeside indulgence, these three destinations are some of the most popular in Ontario.

Muskoka (Huntsville, Gravenhurst & Bracebridge)

Luxurious cottage lifestyles will certainly come at a cost in Ontario, and in the Muskoka region, which encompasses Huntsville, Gravenhurst and Bracebridge, there is no doubt a price to be paid for exploring one of the province’s most sought-after regions for cottage investment. 

The area offers an abundance of options for entertainment and recreation, with the widely-known “Big 3” being the top picks for local (and luxe) lake destinations: Lake Rosseau, Lake Joseph and Lake Muskoka. Here you’ll discover some of the best in local golf, dining - even spas! These areas also ensure they have plenty of basics within reach for locals and seasonal guests alike, with amenities like grocery stories and pharmacies available. 

Kawartha Lakes 

90 minutes North East of Toronto, you’ll find Kawartha Lakes. 

Just a few of the popular activities to take part in in this region include: biking, hiking, paddling, fishing, watersports, birding, canoeing and kayaking, golf and country clubs, parks, beaches and trails. 

With 250 lakes and rivers to explore, this region boasts some of the best water-access across the board. 

Generally less expensive for investment compared to areas like Muskoka, the Kawartha Lakes present a more affordable option for those on the hunt for a cottage in relatively close proximity to the city. 


Known for its ruggedly-beautiful terrain, the landscape in Haliburton is not only rich in natural scenery, but it’s also distinctly more quiet than some of the other popular regions, where watersports including jetskis and power boats account for the majority of resort and hotel noise levels. With less resort destinations in this region, the noise level is less of a concern, making it an ideal area to explore for those hoping to find a cottage someplace that is less of a tourist hot-spot. 

Things To Consider With Cottage Investment In Canada 

There are pros and cons to every property investment, and while it might seem hard to spot the downside to having your own cottage, many of these properties will require some compromise on the urban amenities so many of us are used to having access to. While some cottages, especially the newer builds and luxury styles, will typically come equipped with all the bells and whistles one could hope for, this is not the case for many existing cottages. 

Access to and from many cottage properties can prove tricky once the colder weather brings with it snow and ice. And while you may not plan to spend much time at your cottage property during the winter months, you will have to factor access in as you consider ongoing maintenance and any plans you may have to rent out the property during the off-seasons. 

Cellular reception may not sound like a deal-breaker when you envision yourself “logging off” for those magical weekends up north, but it is something to consider. What is the reception situation in the area, and what would your alternative options be for ensuring some basic connectivity during your time spent at the property? Operating on data alone can be costly and impractical to those with families who are used to easy-access wifi, so this is something to look into when narrowing down areas of interest for cottage investment. 

Enlist Professional Help You Find Your Dream Cottage 

As with any property investment, it comes down to the details. Cottage properties come with their own specific set of unique considerations, so you’ll want to ensure you have the support and guidance of a professional at every step of the way. 

A few of the basic points of consideration when buying your first cottage include:

  1. Insurance 
  2. Access
  3. Whether or not the cottage is winterized
  4. Maintenance costs 
  5. The water situation - is it drinkable, is there a well system, etc?
  6. Septic system
  7. Cost of hydro 
  8. Local area highlights, including special attractions and recreation
  9. Proximity to emergency services 
  10. Cellular and wifi access

A real estate professional who is experienced in cottage-style properties will be able to help you navigate all of the particulars and establish a thorough list of items to keep in mind and look into for each area and property considered in your search. 

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