Family Cottaging in Ontario

cottage1My largest research project thus far has been a study of family cottaging in Ontario during the decades following the Second World War. During this period, the number of summer homes in Ontario exploded, and cottaging spread to new parts of the province, and to new segments of the population. The summer home also assumed new prominence within popular culture, as it became an iconic feature of Ontario’s cultural landscape, and a powerful symbol of the good life. My work focuses on the socio-economic conditions and public policies that contributed to this postwar cottaging boom. It also examines the social dynamics of cottage life, and assesses the environmental consequences of Ontario’s summer home tradition.

I am currently revising my research for a book, which hopefully will become part of the acclaimed Nature|History|Society series from UBC Press.

Some of my findings have already appeared in a series of scholarly articles, which are listed on my publications page.

On 7 May 2021, I gave a paper entitled “After the Boom: Family Cottaging in Ontario during the 1970s” as part of the Between Postwar and Present Day virtual conference, hosted by the University of Guelph. Click here to watch the recording of my presentation.

From time to time, the media has taken interest in my work on family cottaging in Ontario. A few examples appear below.

“Throughout Its History, Cottage Culture Has Been About Who We Want to be Seen As Rather than Who We Truly Are,” National Post, 7 August 2019.

“No, Being Canadian Doesn’t Mean You Have to Love Cottages,” Sharp Magazine, 2 August 2018

“Picking Berries, Playing Cards, Jumping in the Lake,” The New York Times Canada Letter, 6 July 2018

“A Place by a Lake or in the Woods,” The New York Times Canada Letter, 30 June 2018

“Decolonizing Cottage Country,”, 28 June 2018

“Cottage Culture ‘Erases Indigenous Communities From the Landscape,'” The Current (CBC), 5 March 2018

“Buying into Canada’s Wilderness,” National Post, 4 June 2008