Year-round cottaging is here to stay: Colin and Justin

by Neil Sharma on 19 Mar 2021

Year-round cottaging is a nascent trend gripping Ontario, and according to two of Canada’s foremost cottage country experts, it’s showing nary a sign of abating.

Colin McAllister and Justin Ryan, whom Canadians will recognize from How Not to Decorate and Home Heist on HGTV, as well as Cabin Pressure and Great Canadian Cottages on Cottage Life Television, split their time between Toronto and Haliburton, where they own a cottage, and aren’t the least bit surprised by the burgeoning enthusiasm for arcadia.

While there’s certainly a strong contingent of empty nesters “winterizing” cottages, Ryan told CREW that they aren’t the only ones.

“Because of technology, people are able to stay connected to everyone and there’s a whole new breed of older and younger people who want to buy into cottagecore,” he said. “For the longest time, cottaging had been the reserve of people with spare cash who could either hire a cottage or purchase one as their second home, however, by our values and estimations, every demographic and percentile of the population seem absolutely hell-bent on taking their foot off the gas.”

In recent years, Toronto’s grown into a congested metropolis replete with increasingly expensive, yet shrinking, housing; a city in which desired abodes on detached lots have become the exclusive domain of the city’s truly well-heeled. However, the Bank of Canada’s decision to plunge interest rates in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic was an inadvertent panacea for the growing throng of disenchanted Torontonians “hell-bent on taking their foot off the gas.”

“There’s definitely an ambition now for people to work from home who ask themselves, ‘Why would I choose to be in the city?’” said Ryan. “So much of what we have to do can be done from home and that’s why the cottage market has done so well, and I anticipate it will continue doing well because more people than ever are looking to use cottages as their primary homes.”

It’s timely, then, that the duo are releasing Here With Colin and Justin, a magazine intended to introduce readers to the rich, vast nature of what they call the “New Rural Lifestyle.” The magazine will help tyro cottagers acclimatize to their new surroundings and teach them about the finer points of four-season recreation, food and drink, gardening and landscape, arts and crafts, home décor, and even ecology.

“For us, it’s about connecting with the great outdoors, being in the moment, living one’s best life and sharing, with like-minded individuals, the very best that cottage country has to offer,” said McAllister. “Covering all aspects of the perfect rural existence, we’ll be championing a respected stable of creative locals, whilst welcoming a new generation of explorers: an ambitious collective who’ve chosen to escape the city in pursuit of a decidedly calmer future.”

The first issue of Here With Colin and Justin will hit newsstands May 13, 2021.

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