Summer rentals begin as early as December, with previous year's renters given first opportunity to rebook cottages. Cottage availability is posted to the cottage web pages as it is received from our cottage owners. New listings and availability are added throughout the season however, so continue to check our site if you don't find the right cottage when you first visit.
The online calendar is updated daily but availability changes very quickly during the busy booking season. As a rule, for booking requests with less than 2 weeks notice, we have to verify availability with our cottage owners. We will confirm availability with you when you call to reserve your cottage.
Cottage availability calendars that are 'grayed' out (not showing any available weeks) are cottages that are either fully booked for the current year or we are waiting for the cottage owners to determine their rental dates and they will be posted when they become known. Please check back frequently for updates or check the "auto notification" box to be notified when the availability has been posted for a cottage.
Each of our cottages has a Minimum Booking Duration for both Low and High Season periods. Most of our cottages are available for one week rentals but some must be rented for a minimum of 2, 3 or even 4 consecutive weeks. Cottages that rent for longer periods may become available for shorter, one or two week rentals in late spring if there are any vacant periods remaining available. Bookings at cottages that rent for longer periods must also be rented back-to-back so that there are not any short, vacant periods between bookings.
From mid-June to mid-September, there are no weekend bookings. Some cottages will provide three night weekend rates outside of that time period, and if so, their rates will be noted on the web page. If you would like some help in selecting a cottage for a low season weekend booking - please contact our office. Please note - Christmas and New Years are considered 'high season'. There is a five night minimum booking duration at that time. (The rate is pro-rated based five nights at the high season rate.)
If a cottage is showing available during the winter months, the property has ploughed road access. However, the road conditions are much different than in the city - the snow removal may be delayed, and conditions may be more challenging than you are accustomed to in the city. Renters are advised to travel in four wheel drive vehicles with snow tires.
On each of the cottage webpages, there are a series of tabs, the last of which is 'Booking'. Click on that tab, read the instructions, complete the 'Cottage Request Form' and submit it to our office. Alternatively, on the Rates/Availability tab, you can click on the week you wish to rent to go directly to the 'Cottage Request Form'. We will verify the availability, put the cottage on 'Hold' and reply with a partially completed Booking Application Form for your review, completion and return to our office. Once it has been determined that all of the "Conditions of Rental" have been met, the booking will be processed and confirmed.
All cottage rates and prices are quoted in Canadian dollars. Payment is in Canadian funds only. A deposit on the rental is due within 2 days of the date we put the cottage on 'hold' for you (one day if we are within 2 weeks of check-in).
The total cost of the rental will include the cost of the cottage accommodation for the time period being rented plus our per booking agency service charge of $90.00 (+ $11.70 HST). You will have the option of purchasing Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance from Manulife Financial (payable at the time of booking) and our Accidental Damage Waiver as well. Depending on the cottage, there may be several other, optional charges for extra services. Some cottage owners may be able to offer a full cleaning service and /or linens service and in a few cases, there are some extra facilities such as the use of an outboard motor, for which the owner charges extra. These optional services must be confirmed at the time of booking.
As a registered travel agency, we are able to offer holiday cancellation insurance with Manulife Financial.
The insurance covers the cost of the vacation accommodation, should you have to cancel for one of Manulife's 'risks insured'. Normally, that means accident, sickness, death in the family, transfer out of province, call to jury duty, etc. For more details, visit the following page that explain coverages in detail.
Manulife has a 'Cancel for any Reason' policy benefit that provides a 50% refund, even if you have to cancel for a reason not covered under 'risks insured', provided that you have purchased the insurance at the time of booking and cancel 14 or more days prior to start date of travel. Please Note: Cancellation Insurance is NOT health insurance coverage for out of province visitors. Visitors to Ontario must obtain the necessary out of province health coverage for stays in Ontario.
If you don't take the insurance, or have to cancel for a reason that Manulife Financial does not cover, our standard cancellation policy takes effect. If you have to cancel under these conditions, we would attempt to rebook the cottage on your behalf. If we are successful in doing so, we will refund any monies paid to us, less our agency service charge of $90.00 + HST. If we are not able to rebook the cottage, your deposit (or full payment if within the forty-five days prior to occupancy) are forfeited.
The security/damage deposit (amount varies - please check cottage description - General tab - for the amount relevant to the cottage you have selected) is taken to ensure that the cottage is left in the same condition as found, including cleanliness. The owners are responsible for checking the cottage before and after each booking but renters are expected to leave the cottage clean and undamaged. Renters are also expected to use a credit card or their own mobile phone for any long distance calls.
The security/damage deposit is provided to the Company by way of credit card at the time of booking as noted in the Booking Application form. The amount is not held against your credit card. Provided the cottage owner does not make a claim and there are no outstanding long distance charges or excessive data download charges the credit card is not debited. (Note: For some rentals including weekend, low season and short-notice bookings, the security/damage deposit will be charged to the credit card when the balance payment on the rental is made and will be refunded after the booking, providing there are no charges.
This is an optional service provided by our company which allows you to purchase coverage in the event of accidental damage you or a member of your party cause while at the cottage. It's happened to everyone - a broken window, an accident with a mattress, a lamp is knocked over, a BBQ cover is placed on a hot BBQ damaging the cover and the BBQ - all of which happened at cottages this past summer.
If you purchase the waiver ($50.00 + $6.50 HST), you are covered for up to $2500 in accidental damages you caused while at the cottage. This waiver does not cover charges relating to claims made by the owner relating to cleaning, garbage removal, long distance telephone charges or accidents not reported to the owner or agency immediately. These charges would still be covered by the Security/Damage Deposit which is required on ALL bookings. Note - accidental damages MUST be reported to the agency prior to departing the cottage or waiver is void.
On our Booking Application Form, we will require the following information:
Renter Contact Information - we will require your name, address, telephone numbers and email address.
Guests - we require that you provide us with the names, addresses and phone numbers for all adult guests as well as the names and ages of all children that will be occupying the cottage during your stay. (Only those persons names on the Booking Application Form) may be present at the cottage during the rental.)
Drivers License # - This is required - the only proof of ID that we request.
Homeowner Insurance Information - this is required because negligent or willful damages are not covered by our Damage Waiver Protection Plan and the Security Damage Deposit is limited to a fixed amount (generally from $700 - $2,000). Proof of homeowner insurance allows the cottage owner's insurance company to accept any additional risk of them allowing your tenancy.
Credit Card Information - we will require a valid credit card to which we will charge the Deposit on the rental and/or Full Payment (depending on the booking date) as well as a guarantee for the Security/Damage Deposit on the rental.
Signature - on the final page of the Booking Application form we will require your signature and date, acknowledging your understanding of the Term and Conditions of the rental.
Additional - Some property owners may also require additional information such as personal references, employment information, etc. and if so, you will be advised during the booking process.
NOTE: We do not keep Drivers License, Homeowner Insurance or Credit Card information on file. This information is required on each Booking Application Form.
Visitors from out of Province may require travel documents (passports, visas, etc) to enter the country or return to their own. Renters are responsible for obtaining all required documentation prior to confirming their vacation in Ontario. Neither the agency nor the property owner is responsible for cancelled holidays, or refunding for unused holidays, in the event a traveler was denied entry for any reason.
Cancellation Insurance does not provide health insurance coverage for non-residents. Visitors to Ontario are required to obtain appropriate health insurance coverage for stays in Ontario.
Within 10 days of receiving and processing your initial deposit and booking form, we will forward a TRAVEL PACKAGE which contains:
A Booking Confirmation, showing balance owing, dates and time of check in and check out.
A print out of the Cottage Web Page - with bed sizes (bed & bath linen are not normally provided - you must bring your own) and the other facilities provided.
A Map - showing the route/directions from the nearest major community. When available, we will also provide a cottage address that can be confidently used to locate the property using an on-line mapping system.
A set of Cottage Instructions - these are the owner's instructions and notes on using the cottage including the cottage telephone number if there is service. Please review carefully, prior to going to the cottage and call if you have any questions. The owner's name/telephone number and/or alternate contacts are noted here as well.
PLEASE PUT THE TRAVEL PACKAGE IN A SAFE PLACE - THIS IS THE ONLY TRAVEL PACKAGE/INFORMATION YOU RECEIVE FOR YOUR BOOKING AND IT IS SENT OUT WITHIN TEN DAYS OF OUR RECEIPT OF YOUR BOOKING FORM AND DEPOSIT. IF YOU DO NOT RECEIVE THIS PACKAGE WITHIN 15 DAYS PLEASE CONTACT OUR OFFICE IMMEDIATELY.
Most cottages will have a lock box which contains the keys. You will receive the combination for the lock box (by email) approximately one week prior to the start of your holiday. If there is no lock box, the keys will be forwarded to your home address approximately four days prior to the start of your booking.
Most of our 'high season' i.e. summer bookings, start and end on Saturdays - to allow the owner to check the cottage between bookings.
Please check your Booking Confirmation to determine the check-in and check-out times (this information is also posted on each cottage webpage). Most owners need the time between rentals to cut grass, make a security check etc. When optional end-of-stay cleaning services have been arranged, the check-out time will be advanced by one hour from the time noted on the cottage webpage. Please check your Booking Confirmation.
IT IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT - that you leave by the check out time - and not arrive earlier than the check in time. Failure to depart on time means the owners are rushed in their work and the next people checking in are delayed. We do thank you for your consideration.
The short answer is YES! The cottages we represent are all privately owned - and one of the owner's primary concerns in renting out their vacation home is how the cottage will be left by renters. In most areas of Cottage Country, it is difficult to arrange cleaning services on a consistent basis. Therefore, we have found the only system that works, is to require renters to clean the cottage prior to leaving - basically leave the cottage in the same condition as you found it - and everyone will be happy. Cleaning supplies and equipment are always left at the cottage. As noted elsewhere, the owners will check the cottage between rentals to ensure that the cottage is in appropriate condition for your arrival but renters are responsible as noted above. Please refer to the Cottage Instructions.
Cleaning and Linen service may be available at some cottages at an additional cost. The availability and cost for these additional services must be confirmed at the time of booking and will require a one hour earlier check-out time.
Some amenities - such as hot tubs, or swimming pools - may not be available year round. Some owners discontinue satellite reception for winter months. Please check the web page description for notes to that effect. Please keep in mind that docks are often removed around Thanksgiving and are sometimes not put in until later in May or early June. If these facilities are critical to you - please check with our office about specific properties.
Please check the cottage web page print-out provided to you at the time of booking for a list of cottage facilities and amenities. Most cottages provide pillows and blankets, but unless otherwise noted, do not provide bed/bath linens.
Generally speaking, most cottage owners will provide at least a starting supply of such things as toilet paper, paper towel, etc., but renters are expected to bring all their consumable items. Please review the Cottage Instructions for your rental for a more detailed list of items provided.
Please do not assume that a property is pet-free just because the cottage is restricted re: pets. Some owners have pets but still restrict renters from bringing pets. If you have allergies, please check the Cottage Web Page to determine if the property is 'Pet-Free'.
Almost all cottage properties have some degree of gradient - from the driveway to the cottage and/or from the cottage to the waterfront and the terrain can be uneven to rugged. In addition, some cottages have steps inside the cottage as well, even if only a one story building.
If someone in your party has mobility issues, please contact our office to discuss with a member of our staff before booking a cottage. We have seen all of our cottages in person and can assist you in determining if a cottage is suitable for your party.
Some owners have allergies themselves, or concerns about damages, or their neighbour's peace of mind - so if the cottage is pet-restricted, please observe the restriction. Some cottage owners are ok with dogs, but not cats, and vice versa. Please check the Cottage Web Page under Conditions of Rental and please note - if pets are permitted - this permission is for ONE PET ONLY. If you expect to have more than one pet - please check with us to make sure the owner is comfortable with that situation.
NO PETS - means no pets - inside or outside the cottage - and ditto for guests who might have pets. Thank you for your consideration.
For many families, entertaining is part of cottage life. If that's the case for you, make sure the cottage you rent will accommodate the TOTAL group - guests, children, as well as your own family.
The MAXIMUM OCCUPANCY is clearly noted on the Cottage Webpage. It is the number of people the cottage can safely accommodate with respect to septic system, pumps, etc. Owners are very concerned about the number of people at a cottage with respect to the wear and tear on the cottage systems, which are much more sensitive than our city dwellings. Please note that the Booking Application Form you will complete once you have selected a cottage requires a full listing of all occupants.
You shouldn't assume that your cell phone will work throughout Cottage Country. Many areas of the province have little or no cellular service depending on the service provider. Check with your service provider to determine whether a specific area has service.
If a cottage has internet access, please note that most service packages have data download limitations. Streaming videos or downloading large files, such as movies may exceed the package limitations. Data rates may apply and if applicable, will be noted on the cottage web page. Renters will be charged for additional fees.
Renters are responsible for all long distance telephone charges made from the cottage during their occupancy. If a telephone is provided at the cottage, you are welcome to use it for local calls - without charge. If you make long distance calls, we would ask that you use a credit card. If you cannot - we will rebill you, adding a $25.00 admin charge, once the owner sends us the bill.
First, check with us. We will probably have the necessary information on file for marina/rental facilities in the area of one of our cottages. You can also check for a marina at www.marinasontario.com . It's worth noting that some marinas do not handle rentals at all while others are limited to certain types of watercraft.
The nearest Ministry of Natural Resources (Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources) is your best source of information on fishing in the lake you'll be on- you can check with the local Chamber of Commerce or Tourist Information Center for their location.
Most cottages use the lake as the primary source of water, including drinking water. We recommend you bring in some bottled water or boil the water prior to drinking, regardless of the water source, and whether or not it is filtered. Most owners bring in drinking water and we recommend that you do the same.
Most cottages have propane barbeques. We ask owners to ensure that the tank is full at the beginning of the season - and to have a second, filled tank available to allow renters to switch as needed. If you need to refill a tank, please let us know and we'll be happy to cover the cost.
Sometimes, but not very often, there will be a noisy neighbour, or someone on the lake with noisy watercraft - or an unexpected construction project nearby. Unfortunately, there is little we or the owner can do in these circumstances, which like the weather, bugs and lake levels, are beyond the owner's control. (Please refer to the Booking Terms & Conditions on the Booking Application Form.)
We ask for all renters to consider the peace and enjoyment of the neighbouring cottagers. Sound carries over the water so please keep that in mind as well. There are noise by-laws in place in all Ontario municipalities (no noise after 11:00 pm). Please refer to the Booking Terms and Conditions on the Booking Agreement.
Cottage Life is very different than life in the city. Everything you bring up to the cottage has to be disposed of, one way or another, including garbage.
At most cottages, you have to bring your garbage to the local dump - and a dump pass may be required. Some dumps have recycling facilities. Some dumps have bag limits. All of them have odd hours of operation. A few cottages have curb side pick up. Check your Cottage Instructions for details.
The most important thing to remember is NEVER leave garbage outside unless it's in a metal or wood container. If you can't get to the dump on your last day - please take your garbage with you. (You may be charged a fee if any garbage remains on site at the end of your stay.)
If the property owner permits campfires, and has a site available, it will be noted on the Web Page facilities. If there is no site, or the owner does not wish to allow campfires, renters are NOT permitted to have an outdoor campfire on the property. If campfires are allowed, it is the renter's responsibility to determine if a permit is required, and to determine if there are burn restrictions applicable at that time. The property Cottage Instructions will provide additional information on what permits are required and how to obtain them.
Most cottages provide a limited supply of firewood for fireplaces and campfire pits, but please check the Web Page facilities list to determine if it is supplied at your rental property.
Fireworks are not permitted at any cottage under any circumstances.
The Federal government produces a 'Safe Boating Guide' we encourage all renters to read. It covers the safety equipment required in ALL watercraft (including paddle boats and canoes) and covers the new Operator Competency Requirements that are now in effect. Please obtain a copy of this booklet - (call 1 800 267 6687 or visit their web site at (Boating Safety)... Safe Boating is Everyone's Business...
If you have a question or a problem while you're at the cottage - by all means contact the owner or the local/alternate contact noted in the Cottage Instructions contained in the Travel Package you receive upon booking. Owners would much prefer to hear from you BEFORE a small problem turns into a bigger one.
Television reception is almost non existent in many parts of Cottage Country. If there is a television - it is usually there for use with a DVD player (you may have to bring your own). If there is a satellite system - it may have fewer channels than you are used to as well.
In Ontario, many of the lakes are on controlled water systems such as the Trent Severn Waterway System - and usually, the water levels will change during the course of the year, sometimes dramatically. This will vary from lake to lake and from year to year depending on precipitation levels and waterway system requirements.
We try to advise you about particular lakes - and if our photos were taken at a particularly "high" or "low" water level, we'll try and point that out too - but the bottom line - if you'll pardon the pun - is that we don't know - and cannot know or control the lake levels on your destination lake.
Or eight-legged for that matter - both flying and crawling, and scurrying animal and bug life, are a part of Cottage Country..... Life out there is usually pretty different from life down here in the city - after all - that's why you're going on vacation right? So relax - read a book - maybe a book on cottage country wild life - and remember that most critters are more frightened of you than you are of them.
Seriously, it is important to observe some rules when vacationing up north....for example - don't leave food out on the kitchen counters - or anywhere else - ants and mice love your leftovers. Don't leave patio doors open - chipmunks and squirrels are brazen little things - not to mention mice - and will enter at the slightest invitation. Lights at night will attract moths - and other types of flying insects, some small enough to penetrate screens...
Please remember that bats (now on the endangered species list) are actually our friends since they eat lots and lots of mosquitoes!
Mother nature, seasonal temperature variations, life cycles etc., can all create unexpected visitations... again, part of cottage life that we all have to deal with. Check your Cottage Instructions for any notes the owner may have made about visiting wildlife. If you have questions or need help - by all means call the owner or local contact - and have fun - it's all a part of Cottage Life.