Cottage County – Dream Retirement Locations in Canada

If you live in Canada, the term ‘cottage country’ is nothing new.  Visiting cottage country is considered a seasonal trip but many also view cottage country as a retirement destination.

The warmer months are amazing with birds chirping and cicadas singing.  Walk for 5 minutes and you are surrounded by nature.  Fast forward to winter and the song birds have all flown south.  Winter is a completely different world in cottage country.  

Tobermory, Ontario

Many cottage country destinations are not ideal for retirement.  You need to consider more than just the view if you want to live in cottage country full time.

Health Care

Not all cottage country communities have sufficient health care because at least 8 months of the year, that community has a small population.  It can’t support a large hospital and specialized health care services.

Choosing a location that has a viable population all year round is important so you have access to all the health care you need.


If your adult children live in an urban area, they will be happy to come visit you in the summer.  But what about winter?  What about driving in the winter?  What will the grandkids do if they can’t swim? 

Choosing a destination that includes winter and summer attractions is important for all family members involved.

Owen Sound, Ontario

Community and Culture

Many of these small communities have a lot to offer for entertainment in the summer but not much in the winter.  Some organizations only provide entertainment when the tourist season is at its peak.

Choosing a community that has cultural elements for 12 months of the year will allow you to socialize and expand your interests during any season.

Access to Nature

Again, during the warmer months, access to nature is easy and fun.  Winter brings icy roads and whiteout conditions.  As Canadians, we know that the winter is long, so finding way to pass the time is important.

Choosing a community that provides appropriate winter activities and indoor entertainment you enjoy is key when seeking a retirement destination.

Snow Birds

Some retirees have enough income to support a cottage country home in the summer and a snow bird destination in the winter.  If you can swing it, that is great… back in 2019… but 2021 has a new spin that limits international travel for some. Need I say more?


The best solution to finding a retirement cottage country destination is to do your research and plan, plan, and plan ahead.  It is possible and attainable if you find a community that is active all year-round.  These communities do exist.  I live in one.

Owen Sound, Ontario is the central hub for Grey Bruce County and has a year-round population that supports a regional hospital, has year-round culture and entertainment, lots of nature, shopping facilities and is still close enough to access larger city centers within a 2-hour drive time.  The population does not fluctuate much and is minutes away from the water, beautiful hiking trails, golf courses, and sailing opportunities.  Owen Sound is also a historical municipality with an immense amount of culture and sense of community too.

Owen Sound Harbour

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