The Death of Cottage Life as We Knew It!

I’ve  invented a new  term. It is cottage life as it was meant to be…ImageIn fact, I’ve created a new TV series around it and will be shooting the pilot episode in a few weeks.  The series will focus on individuals, events, locations and activity that reflects the raison d’être behind coming to the cottage…TO GET AWAY FROM IT ALL AND HAVE FUN!

Cottage country is out of control, and no where is there a better example of the insanity than right here in Muskoka. There’s a cottage going up down the road on Lake Rosseau. I use the word “cottage” very loosely. The building under construction  looks like a stone mansion that belongs on Old Forest Hill Road in Toronto. In fact, it reminds me of Boldt Castle in the Thousand Islands or Hearst Castle in California. The architects should be excommunicated from whatever architects belong to! There is absolutely nothing in the design of this place that reflects  Muskoka, Northern Ontario, trees or lake.

The lot itself has no depth. It can’t be more than one-hundred and fifty feet deep and is on an angle of at least 45 degrees.  The back of the structure is about fifty feet from the road.  The piece de resistance are the three, not one, but three infinity pools being completed so one does not have to swim in the lake. Uggggh! Rumour has it the price tag so far is near $20,000,000.

I recently told this story when I was speaking at the Muskoka Lake Association AGM. Afterwards a woman came up to me to tell me about her neighbour who is blasting three levels down through the granite and installing an elevator for his cars. Who are these people and why are they here?

This year more than ever traffic on the lake is way down. Someone commented to me the other day that it used to be on a Saturday night the shoreline on the lake was dotted with lights from the various cottages across the lake. Now, they said, the shoreline is almost completely dark.

There are two schools of thought at play here. The first is those who still believe in the Cottage Simple lifestyle are finding it increasingly more difficult to fight the traffic or afford to come to the cottage every single weekend, not to mention fill the boat with gas.

The second one is that these “megalacottages”, of which there are more and more each year, are only one of several in a portfolio of properties and are used for a few weeks each summer.

I’m not envious of these people. In fact I am embarrassed for them. They just don’t get it. Cottage life is supposed to be one step above camping. When I was a kid our cottage on Lake Muskoka was called “Chateau For Now”. The reason being that if my father saw someone throwing out a perfectly good door in the city it would end up at the cottage because it was “good enough for now”. Somehow memories about the imported Italian tiles lining the bottom of the infinity pools aren’t exactly the same as recalling the the full-length glass door dad found and installed on the outhouse.

It’s just sad.

’til the week ends….Vince


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