My youngest son asked me recently what the difference between a chalet and a cottage is. And what’s a cabin? And why do people call a house a camp? He looked confused. He was doing project at school about going away for a weekend and the class was asked to write about their weekend visits outside the home, where they go and what they see. My son wrote about our cottage and our cottage rental business. This led to a whole bunch of questions that confused him, specifically in the reference terms a lot of the kids in his class used to describe the dwelling. So for clarity, here come my own definitions of what all the different spots are referred to for weekend getaways and vacation rentals:
- Cottage: most commonly used term for a smaller sized seasonal home often adjacent to a body of water; usually having some form of power for cooking and heating, some plumbing and at least one bedroom, most often two bedrooms and a full bathroom; found in Muskokas, Highlands, Bruce Peninsula; most commonly rented dwelling in the cottage rental season.
- Cabin: or “Bunkie”, usually situated in the deep woods, or sometimes found as an “extra” sleeping space on a larger sized property; one room generally that would have the basics for sleeping, often without hydro or plumbing; hunters will often have these at their disposal when they travel by foot for long distances into the bush to hunt deer, moose, or elk; found in Canadian Shield, off the beaten path; avid anglers and hunters will rent these types of spots for the pure desire of hunting.
- Chalet: generally a sloped roof on a wood style structure, and usually situated at the base or in the mountain; usually linked to winter style sports and hobbies, more commonly found in places like Collingwood, St. Saveur, in Quebec; all the comforts of home and generally in mountainous regions; often are rented during the ski and skidoo seasons to attract snow loving renters.
- Camp: a northern Ontario term to describe a property that may or may not have a dwelling but is owned by a family and passed down from one generation to the next; usually very sparse with the extras and the comforts of home, but often will be close to a body of water, and usually off the beaten path; Sudbury and North Bay and further; you’ll see ads for people looking to rent a “camp” for the weekend; that’s just a sneaky way of asking for a spot to have an outdoor “RAVE” and “Grad Party”.
- Campground: often privately or publically owned by the Crown, Municipality, Township or by an independent family or business; divided up into sections, may or may not have water near it; rates are often very nominal for one night, a weekend, or a week; sometimes outhouses are provided, often nothing is provided but the space to set up a tent and start a fire; RV renters and owners will often use campgrounds as they travel through somewhere for a more economical way of vacationing across country.
- Boathouse: almost always on a body of water, and most often without any permitted toilet (if situated in Ontario after 2002), they are sometimes rented out as extra living/sleeping space; a dwelling that sits predominantly above or adjacent to water, they offer renters the option of being right “on the water”; but will not have the same types of amenities of a regular home.
- Condos: you’ll find them everywhere from resorts to timeshares; they are another way of enjoying nature with all the comforts of a resort style lifestyle; great for seniors and for renters for something upscale; the price is often a reflection of what you do get.
There is a word to describe the style of dwelling you are looking to rent for your week or weeks away. Remember to ask for what you want, and be clear on what you are looking for so you don’t end up with something that you either cannot afford, or wish you hadn’t even heard of…ever! Enjoy your vacation, and vacation rentals.