It was absolutely nuts. It took 45 minutes to find a place to park. The aisles were jammed with eager cottagers filling little brown bags with brochures, products and neato giveaways.
From our side of the counter at this year’s Cottage Life show at the International Centre in Toronto, it was an amazing experience. One elderly lady remarked to me that the crowd would be insufferable if everyone wasn’t so well behaved. It did seem as though everyone was having a good time, seeing the latest in cottage-related gizmos, trying out interesting new sporting goods and ooohing and ahhhing at supercharged motorboats, humongous water trampolines and a miniature menagerie of forest friends for the kiddies.
The number of visitors dropping by at the CottageLink booth was way, way up, judging from the amount of time that Craig White spent in front of photocopy machines that weekend, printing out thousands of information sheets and web ad applications.
"It’s been the best ever show," enthused the president of CottageLink. "There’s been a remarkable number of people interested in cottages and it’s going to be a terrific year for us. All three days have been amazing in terms of traffic."
As gratifying as it is to get new customers - Craig usually books off a few days from work after the show to handle the volume of new entries that arise - the best part of the show, as always, is meeting existing customers, especially the ones who faithfully re-up year after year. "It’s always great hearing their success stories about how many weeks they’d already had booked for the coming summer."
It’s been five years since Craig and Kerry launched their CottageLink website and attended their first cottage show. Back then, perhaps one in seven had Internet access and were able to check out the fledgling site.
"Now it’s amazing how many come by our booth, point to the sign and say, ‘Oh yeah, we’ve checked out your website and we’ve got it bookmarked,’" Craig says.
The Internet has arrived. And, with over 900 listings and more than 7,500 hits a week, so have we.
Glenn Garnett/Editor, CottageLink Magazine
Every year in Ontario, fires ravage thousands of hectares of forest land and present a hazard to home and cottage owners in vacation country. The majority of these fires are started by people, but there are steps you can take to protect your property from wildfire. See story 1.
An American chainsaw instructor has described the tool of his trade as the most dangerous that can be purchased on the open market, noting it requires no licence and no training to own or operate. Small wonder, then, that approximately 40,000 Americans suffered injuries using chainsaws last year, and most could have been prevented. Scot Magnish has compiled the "ten commandments" of chainsaw operation that could safe life or limb in story 2.
When I was growing up, one of the neat things about getting away to the cottage was letting the family dog run free. Almost invariably, he’d disappear into the brush and get into all kinds of trouble. If paying for a fence to surround your cottage property isn’t an option, there is a hi-tech way to keep your pooch off the neighbour’s lawn and out of harm’s way. Check out story 3.
How many times have you arrived at the cottage, then slapped yourself on the forehead because you forgot to bring some important item that the general store down the road probably hasn’t got in stock? Packing all your necessities takes some time, planning and ingenuity, especially if you’re a mom with two energetic kids. That’s why Linda Fox talked to one of the most organized mothers she knows for story 4.
In our summer edition, we take to the lakes - first on personal watercraft, both a boon and bane to cottagers, depending on whether you’re riding one or bemoaning the lack of peace and quiet on shore. Our motorsports expert Scot Magnish says a solution is on the way. We’ll also take a look at new boating safety regulations and how they’ll affect you in the years to come. And Linda Fox will check out a number of attractive options for sitting down and putting your feet up. All this and more coming July 1.
If you have any comments or suggestions on articles you’d like to see in CottageLink Magazine, just drop me a line at email@example.com. Remember - this is your magazine!
Cover photo: Island, Algonquin Provincial Park © Peter Griffith/Wonderfile www.wonderfile.com