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Best Places To Buy A Cottage in Ontario, Canada

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Ontario, Canada is a beautiful province with a rich natural environment and plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities. 

It’s no surprise that many people choose to purchase cottages in Ontario, either as a vacation property or as a permanent residence. 

In this article, we will explore some of the best places to buy a cottage in Ontario.


Muskoka is one of the most popular cottage destinations in Ontario. It is known for its stunning natural scenery, crystal clear lakes, and endless opportunities for outdoor recreation. 

Located just a couple of hours north of Toronto, Muskoka offers easy access to a variety of small towns and villages, each with their own unique charm. 

This area has been a draw for seasonal residents and tourists since the late 1800s. Some of the first private summer cottages were built on a strip of land on the shoreline of Lake Muskoka. 

The rugged landscape and pine trees, rocky shores and beautiful blue waters of Georgian Bay is an area that is extremely popular, especially in the summer months. 

One area in Muskoka was dubbed “Little Pittsburgh” as a nod to the American businessmen Carnegie and Mellon whose families had cottages there. 

Whether you’re looking to go boating, fishing, hiking, or simply relax in a quiet, peaceful setting, Muskoka has something for everyone.

Georgian Bay

North Eastern Georgian Bay shoreline in Killarney Provincial Park. Rocky outcrops with pine trees lining shore.
Northeastern Georgian Bay – Killarney Provincial Park

Georgian Bay is another popular cottage destination in Ontario, known for its rugged, rocky coastline and clear blue waters. 

This Canadian region is home to numerous small towns and villages, including Parry Sound, Honey Harbour, Midland, Collingwood, and Owen Sound, each with its own unique character and charm. 

There are numerous national parks that have unspoiled forests and miles of hiking trails and inviting shorelines. 

The Georgian Bay area makes a great base for a cottage retreat. There are plenty of beaches, restaurants and shops. 

Georgian Bay offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities like boating, fishing, kayaking, and other water activities, as well as hiking, and biking. Collingwood and the Blue Mountain area are also popular for skiing and other winter activities.

Person skiing at Blue Mountain, with views of Georgian Bay in the background
Credit: Blue Mountain Facebook.

Kawartha Lakes

Located just about 90 minutes east of Toronto, the Kawartha Lakes region is a popular cottage destination known for its scenic beauty and abundant wildlife. 

‘MoneySense’ reader survey ranks Kawartha Lakes as the second best place to purchase property in Canada.

The area is home to numerous small towns and villages, including Bobcaygeon, Fenelon Falls, and Lakefield, that are distinctive in their own right. 

While there is an abundance of shops in Kawartha Lakes, it is just an hour and a half to get to the major city of Toronto…which is a very doable day trip.  

The Kawartha Lakes offer plenty of opportunities for boating, fishing, kayaking, and other water activities. This area of Canada also offers plenty of hiking and biking trails along with with other outdoor activities. Also, it’s home to the famed Butter Tart Tour, which features more than 50 locations where you can try Canada’s best sweet treat!

Prince Edward County

Located on the eastern edge of Lake Ontario, Prince Edward County is a popular cottage destination known for its scenic beauty, sandy beaches, and excellent wineries. 

The area is home to numerous small towns and villages, including Picton, Wellington, Hillier, and Bloomfield. Prince Edward County is not to be confused with Prince Edward Island. 

The county borders the Bay of Quinte and Lake Ontario. The county has world-class beaches, resorts and inns.  

Prince Edward County offers plenty of opportunities for boating, fishing, and other water activities, as well as hiking, biking, and other outdoor activities.


Located just a couple of hours north of Toronto, Haliburton is a popular cottage destination known for its rugged natural beauty, pristine lakes, and excellent outdoor recreation opportunities. 

Better known as the Haliburton Highlands, it has over 500 lakes and 10% of the county is located within Algonquin Park. The Haliburton Highlands draw people who want to experience cottage life year-round. 

The area is home to numerous small towns and villages, including Haliburton, Minden, and Dorset. 

While in a rural setting, the Highlands still offer art galleries and photography studios, museums and a Sculpture Forest. 

Haliburton offers plenty of opportunities for the usual boating, fishing, kayaking, hiking, biking, and other outdoor activities. 

It also has the opportunity to experience a one-of-a-kind Winterdance Dogsled Tours

Canadian Property And Citizenship

There is no residency or citizen requirement for buying or owning property in Canada, which is good news for anyone who would like to own a cottage in Ontario. While there have been some changes in Canada recently with foreigners purchasing property, cottages are not be included in that.

It is important to know that, while anyone can buy property in Canada, owning property does not give the owner any residency or immigration rights. 

Owning property in Canada is not taken into consideration if you plan on immigrating. 

It does, however, show an interest in Canada and property ownership will be considered part of your overall net worth, and so it is a positive thing if you consider applying for citizenship. 

The Rich And Famous Love Cottages, Too

For decades, Americans have appreciated the majestic country to the north. Canada has spectacular scenery and unspoiled beauty that draws those who love nature and the outdoors. 

Lots of famous people around the world have property in Canada, and those in the US have the advantage of being close in proximity. 

 In the thirties, actor Clark Gable and Nobel winning writer Ernest Hemingway had homes in the Lake of Bays (Muskoka area). 

Today, actor Tom Hanks and director/producer Steven Spielberg have properties in Muskoka.

For over seventy years, politician Mitt Romney’s family has had a cottage in the Lake Huron beach community of Grand Bend. 

Actresses Goldie Hawn and Halle Berry and model Cindy Crawford have cottages in Canada.

There is no end to the number of people, famous and otherwise, who appreciate the rugged beauty and splendor of Canadian landscapes and Ontario offers everything from mountains and forests to golden sand beaches.

Final Thoughts

No matter your walk in life, everyone appreciates a slower pace, and a relaxing environment that renews your spirit. 

A home-away-from-home, a cottage on a Canadian lake in Ontario is a peaceful paradise that embraces a simpler, less hectic lifestyle. 


What is the average cost of a cottage in Ontario?

The cost of a cottage in Ontario varies depending on the location, size, and condition of the property. On average, a modest cottage in a popular area can cost anywhere from $300,000 to $500,000, while larger, more luxurious properties can cost upwards of $1 million or more, especially in the Muskoka region.

Do I need a special permit to own a cottage in Ontario?

No special permit is required to own a cottage in Ontario, but you will need to comply with local zoning regulations and obtain any necessary permits for construction, renovations, or other major changes to the property.

What are some of the most popular activities to do at a cottage in Ontario?

Some of the most popular activities at a cottage in Ontario include boating, fishing, kayaking, swimming, hiking, biking, and simply relaxing and enjoying the natural surroundings. Many cottagers also enjoy visiting local attractions, such as wineries, farmers markets, and historic sites.