A few weeks ago, I learned a lesson in the obvious. About how easily we take things forgranted.
While showing Blue Mountain properties to some buyers who were here from Asia, one of them asked me what the difference was between a cottage and a chalet. It seems that in our discussions and in her research about Ontario real estate, the two terms came up at different times and she was curious.
It got me thinking about how I intrinsically just know the difference but it was challenging to explain in a way that made sense when I said it out loud. So, since then I did a little homework on Google and interestingly, the terms have different usages in different parts of the world.
Generally speaking, Webster’s Dictionary defines a chalet as “A wooden dwelling with a sloping roof and widely overhanging eaves, common in Switzerland and other Alpine regions.” In our part of Ontario, we typically refer to any mountain-oriented, recreational homes as chalets. For example, a stucco dwelling used for vacations and week-ends would typically be called a chalet around here. I’ve even heard many people refer to their condominium as their chalet.
In Canada, the term “cottage” usually refers to a vacation or summer home, often located near a body of water. However, according to a reference on Wiki, this type of property is more commonly called a “cabin” in Western Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador, a “chalet” in Quebec, and a camp in Northern Ontario, New Brunswick and in some northern US states. Here in the Collingwood area, people tend to call a waterfront, vacation home a cottage. A small and humble rural property might be referred to as a cabin.
“I’m going to the chalet this week-end to do some skiing” or, “We’re going to the cottage this summer” are phrases you’ll hear often. Very generally, the location and seasonal use will dictate the default term used.
When you think about it, it’s not a wonder that someone who grew up outside of Ontario may become confused about these terms. Either way, they are very nice to have!
When it’s time to buy or sell real estate in the Collingwood, Blue Mountain or Georgian Triangle area, contact Marg, an experienced and competent Broker who’s ready whenever you are!
Marg Scheben-Edey is a Broker with RE/MAX four seasons realty limited, Brokerage in beautiful Collingwood, ON. With three decades of experience, Marg is a leader in the local real estate marketplace and is ready to help guide both Buyers and Sellers in achieving their real estate goals. Email Marg