A long weekend is the perfect time to get away to the cottage — if that’s what you call a “house in the country where people go on summer weekends.”

When Charles Boberg from McGill University conducted a nationwide study from 1999-2005 asking 1,800 Canadians to list the term they use to define that very phrase, there was a clear difference in what word respondents used based on where they live in the country.

Other Terms for Cottage

Depending on your local dialect, you may be heading to one of these places on your next summer weekend:

  • Cabin
  • Camp
  • Chalet
  • Cottage
  • Summer House
  • Vacation Home
  • The Lake

So what’s the difference between all of these terms? Nothing, really. They all were chosen to describe the same phrase, and could thus be used to define the same physical structure.

It’s a person’s location, however, that differentiates the terminology.

Cottage Terminology Usage in Canada

The terms can generally be broken down by region as follows:

Term Location(s)
Cabin Western Canada & Newfoundland
Cottage Ontario, Quebec & Maritimes
Chalet Quebec
Camp Northwestern Ontario & New Brunswick
The Lake Manitoba

For the most part, terms are clearly divided between regions, though there are some distinct peculiarities.

The majority of Ontario uses cottage as the preferred term — except for Thunder Bay and its surrounding region, which 3/4 of respondents use camp instead.

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Images courtesy of Lakefront Laurentian Cottages Quebec and Doug Bezovie.

In Quebec, both cottage and chalet are used. In Montreal, cottage also takes on another meaning to describe a two-story house. This may explain why chalet was adopted to distinguish between the two; however, further confusion is added because chalet is also used to describe a ski lodge.

It is also worth noting that although these terms are widely adopted in each region, that does not necessarily mean that they’re the only terms used. Notably, although camp is used in New Brunswick, it is actually only used by 29% of respondents from that region, whereas cottage is the more popular term.

With the sunshine starting to roll in, we hope your next long weekend is a fun one, whether you’re headed to the cottage, chalet, camp, cabin, lake, or whatever other term you use for your summer retreat. And if you need help with any last-minute repairs, find a trusted professional in your area today!

Posted by Michael Keshen