Welcome and Cottage Country Etiquette

Welcome to cottage country!

You are joining 250,000+ families who live on water and dearly love Ontario’s camp, cabin, and cottage experience at the waterfront. FOCA’s members are seasonally or year-round waterfront property owners (WPO) and waterfront enthusiasts. 

FOCA has tips and hints to help you get the most out of the cottage country experience.

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August 2023 – 6 things you may not have considered (but should) when buying a waterfront property (Cottage Life) – shoreline development restrictions, protected areas and endangered species, aquatic weeds, invasive species, reservoir lakes & water levels, zoning bylaws and building permits

New to cottage country? Spend a few minutes with FOCA’s Executive Director Terry Rees in one of the videos below…

Looking for resources to share with neighbours who are new to cottage country? FOCA has templates of Welcome Messages, a Lake Association Binder and more… Visit our Association Toolkit webpage for more.

Video Resources:

Thinking about buying a cottage? Start here: Watch this video (online; 7 mins) for tips from FOCA about choosing an area, finding the perfect cottage or building your own, learning about your property, and connecting with the local lake association.

Ready to “make the jump” to more time at your cottage this year? Here’s what you need to know: Watch the video discussion (online; 15 mins) with FOCA and our partners at Cottage Life, for tips about year-round considerations and how to get the most out of your cottage investment. (recorded at the 2021 Virtual Cottage Life Show.)

Be #WakeAware! An important message for ALL boaters about sharing the lake with others. Learn about the impacts of boat wake on shorelines, loons and other water users, and how to reduce your wake or take it to the right zone, in this video created jointly by FOCA, the Muskoka Lakes Association and Safe Quiet Lakes. Watch now (online: 1 min)

Natural Shorelines Matter. Wondering why we love “natural” shorelines and what we mean by that? Spend a couple minutes with FOCA’s Terry Rees and learn about the role of shoreline plants in water quality, fish habitat, goose deterrence and erosion control. Watch now (online; 2 mins)


Have questions about any of these topics?

Use the search field below to find out more about these & other hot topics:

More tips:

Support your local Association!

Local Associations are the backbone of our communities. They consist of volunteers who dedicate themselves to the betterment of life at the lake, and devote their personal time to ensure everyone’s experience at the lake is safe, fun, and sustainable.
Helpful links to connect you to your local group and make the most out of your cottage country experience:

For more about what Associations do, read an earlier article from the August 2017 edition of the Huntsville Forester: Cottage Associations working to protect Muskoka’s pristine lakes.

In the Summer 2014 edition of LakeLine (the newsletter of NALMS – the North American Lake Management Society), FOCA wrote about The Role of Lake Associations: Connecting People for the Good of the Lake (download PDF, 3 pages). This article also provides a great overview about FOCA’s work on behalf of waterfront Ontario!