August 3 11

You know how sometimes you see someone and before any words are even exchanged, you just know that the person is going to have an accent of some kind? There’s just something. Ewan McGregor. Robert Pattinson. James McAvoy. Alan Rickman. Pretty much everyone who is in the cast of any Harry Potter movie. There’s just something. I will admit, however, that while I have the uncommonly excellent gift of predicting accents, I was fooled by exactly two celebrities — Christian Bale and Hugh Laurie. I swear, I didn’t know that either of these dudes sported lovely, lovely accents. Remember when Christian Bale had that whole meltdown fiasco where he ripped that dude a new one on the set of what? Terminator? No? There was nothing lovely and Welsh about that. And Hugh Laurie? Well, I mean, to me, he’s House. I once heard him at an awards ceremony and he got up and I swear to you, I thought his accent was FAKE. My mins was completely blown that Hugh Laurie was not, in fact, the same person as Greg House. Side note: I occasionally have this problem. Separating an actor from his role. For example, Adam Brody IS Seth Cohen.

Recently on the subway I spotted this woman and I was sure about her. I was 100% sure this woman was going to have an accent. South African, maybe. Australian, even. New Zealand, perhaps? And when she spoke? She had an accent alright. THICK ONTARIO. “We have to decide a-boat that. If we are going to go to Veh-gas or to THE COTTAGE.”

Which, of course, prompted me to write this.

And I didn’t even have time to erase the tweet and fix the typo and put it back up

(oh like you never)

before people were RTing it left right and center. And no one ever retweets me. But the Canadians get it. The Americans, of course, had a million questions. What’s a cottage? What are you talking about Ali? What is even happening right now?

This, friends, is a typical cottage. Some are smaller, some are bigger. Some are nicer, some are…um, less nice. But, essentially, a cottage is a summer home somewhere in Ontario. People who live in Toronto own these cottages, or have families to who own them, or have friends who own them. They typically spend weekends in the summer at their cottages. Relaxing, swimming, boating, escaping the city. In other places, they could be called Summer Homes? Or Beach Houses? Or Lake Houses? Or, if you are this lady‘s family, you call it CAMP.

But you see, when I first moved to Toronto, I would overhear conversations such as this:

“What are you weekend plans?”

“We are going to THE COTTAGE.”


“I’m thinking about going to THE COTTAGE.”


“Are you going to make it up to THE COTTAGE this summer?”

“Not sure. My parents have friends up there, like, pretty much all summer.”


And I thought…

“What is this THE COTTAGE place? Is it like Disneyland? Is it a resort? A hotel? Is it where Snow White lives? Is it like The Dells in Wisconsin? Why does every single person in the entire world go there? I want to go! Are there baked goods there?”

I, naively, didn’t realize that each person was referring to his or her own cottage as THE COTTAGE.

I think I need to own one of these THE COTTAGE places…so I can be part of the club.

“Hey Ali, are you going to THE COTTAGE this weekend?”

“Why yes I am!”

  1. People here go to the cottage or the cabin, too. Although, Michigan is practically Canada (the farther north you go, the more Canadian we sound) (we even had a Canadian as governor for 8 years), so it doesn’t surprise me we have this in common too.

    Comment by Jessie on August 3, 2011
  2. But should it not be MY cottage instead of THE cottage?

    As in, “i’m going to my cottage this weekend?”

    Comment by ali on August 3, 2011
  3. That would probably make more sense. I’ve lived here my whole life, so hearing someone talk about heading to THE cabin or even THE lake (because we’ve only got the one in Michigan – ha) seems pretty normal to me.

    Comment by Jessie on August 3, 2011
  4. See, to me, THE lake makes sense…since many, many people use that particular lake. I guess it’s just a sentence structure that doesn’t feel right on my ears, since there are thousands of different cottages, belonging to thousands of different people, located in different places. Heh.

    Comment by ali on August 3, 2011
  5. I still remember my feeling of shock when I heard Kate Winslet speak in Brit after seeing her in Titanic.

    And I’ll take a cottage, please. Or someone else’s. Does it come with maple syrup and poutine?

    Comment by Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] on August 3, 2011
  6. It does indeed.

    But then you have to say THE cottage. 😉

    And you have to say Eh?

    REALLY? Kate looks accenty to me. I even feel like it came out a whole bunch of times during Titanic.

    Comment by ali on August 3, 2011
  7. In North Dakota, it’s the “lake house” but it turns out that the so-called “lake houses” are usually mobile homes parked on a plot of land next to the lake. Still a nice place to go in the summer, but slightly deceiving naming convention there.

    THE COTTAGE sounds even more intimidating.

    Comment by burghbaby on August 3, 2011
  8. So Funny! Thank you so much for the laugh today!

    Comment by Maija @ Maija's Mommy Moments on August 3, 2011
  9. weird! and weird to the milk in bags too!

    Comment by Tammi Marie on August 3, 2011
  10. I’m from BC and had never heard this use of cottage before moving to Ontario. I still double take.

    Comment by Anne on August 3, 2011
  11. As an Ontario girl living in cottage country this has completely made my morning. I haven’t stopped giggling. And to Angie – if you’re lucky your cottage will come with maple syrup and poutine, but mosquitos and blackflies are all part of the all-inclusive package!

    Comment by Kerri on August 3, 2011
  12. I grew up in the Okanagan in B.C and here it is “the cabin.” My husband grew up in Ontario and made fun of me and makes fun of me to this day when I say cabin instead of cottage. Unfortunately we don’t have a cabin or a cottage.

    Comment by Lisa on August 3, 2011
  13. On the Westcoast we call it “The Cabin” but everyone always adds where it is. Like The Cabin at Christina Lake or The Cabin at Shuswap. The Cottage sounds like Hansel & Gretel’s house to me

    Comment by Naomi Jesson on August 3, 2011
  14. In Manitoba we call it The Cabin or The Lake. My husband is from Ontario so we have issues of what to call it.

    Just wondering Ali, have you heard of a “bunnyhug”?

    Comment by Dawn on August 3, 2011
  15. Bunnyhug? No Ma’am…I have not!

    Comment by ali on August 3, 2011
  16. In Saskatchewan they call a hooded sweatshirts a bunnyhug!!

    Comment by Dawn on August 3, 2011
  17. It’s like Canada’s version of The Shore. With less Guidos.

    Comment by Kristabella on August 3, 2011
  18. nope! THE SHORE, I get. It’s ONE place that people go to. THE COTTAGE is a different place for everything single person.

    Comment by ali on August 3, 2011
  19. You should check out “Jeeves and Wooster” if you like Hugh Laurie. It is a british comedy from his earlier days. My husband introduced me to them (he lived in England briefly) and we love it. So, when I hear him on House, I think it sounds wierd for his English accent to be gone.

    Comment by Laura on August 3, 2011
  20. It makes sense if they’re talking to someone who knows they have a cottage. But if they’re just throwing around “the cottage” to random strangers, then they should use “my” or “our” instead of “the.”

    Related to milk in bags…a friend of mine hates the whole snack duty thing that coaches assign parents. So, she decided to bring the worst snack ever in the hopes of never being assigned the duty again. I have no idea where she found them, but she brought single serving size water in bags and the kids wanted nothing to do with them. Talk about looking like breast implants!

    Comment by alison on August 3, 2011
  21. The cottage is very popular in United Kingdom.I want to visit this country one time in my life and enjoy it

    Comment by Suteki on August 4, 2011
  22. Wow! I just love that cottage! How I wish I can take a vacation there.

    Comment by ebangz on August 4, 2011
  23. THE COTTAGE Sounds like a name to a book or movie!

    Comment by Beach Livin on August 22, 2011
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    Comment by vitdreambox on June 28, 2013
  26. […] Remember when I first moved to Canada and I was confused about loonies and milk bags and THE COTTAGE? […]

    Pingback by THE COTTAGE—Redux | Cheaper Than Therapy on August 26, 2013

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