Ah, the long weekend. There is nothing like excitement of knowing that you have a glorious three-day weekend to look forward to.

In Canada, approximately one day per month, most workers can look forward to a paid day off work. Those who are required to work on holidays enjoy extra bonus-pay (time and half) for working on these holidays.

Aside from widely-known celebrations such as Easter, Christmas, and New Year’s Day, Canadians also get to look forward to some uniquely Canadian breaks from work.

For most Canadians, long weekends take on a special meaning in the summer. they are an opportunity to finally enjoy the warmer weather and get outside! Starting with the first long weeekend in May (Victoria Day), followed by Canada Day in July, the Civic holiday in August, and Labour day in September- these long weekends are something to look forward to after the long, cold, winters! Many people treat the extra day off as an extension of the weekend and use the holiday to run errands, go on day trips, or relax at home, while others take the weekend to escape to cottage country.

“Cottage culture” is uniquely Canadian, probably due to the extensive amount of nature and land surrounding urban areas across the country.

So what is “Cottage Culture” exactly?

Many Canadians own very simple cabins or cottages, usually up North, in the woods close to a lake or pond. Cottages are usually older, have very few modern amenities (think no internet, T.V., or phone), and are in remote locations, hours away from the city. Some don’t even have modern plumbing!

Now, you may be wondering, “Why on earth do people go to the middle of nowhere with no Wi-Fi and, occasionally no toilet?” The answer is: To escape the hustle and bustle of the city and surround themselves with the plentiful nature that Canada has to offer.

Instead of hiding away in a room, playing video games and watching YouTube videos, people go for hikes through mountenous paths, splash and play in the lake, and canoe or kayak across the pond to visit neighbours. Cottage-goers embrace the bugs and the dirt. They spend the majority of the day outdoors, basking in the sun. They fire up the barbecue for burgers and hot dogs, then build fires and make s’mores (delicious graham cracker cookie sandwiches filled with fire-roasted marshmallows and chocolate).

A weekend up at the cottage is synonymous with long days on the beach ending with a campfire and, maybe, if you’re of age, an icy-cold beverage. It’s a chance to get back to nature and spend time with your loved ones away from the distractions of daily life (and daily technology).

But, what can you do on the long weekend if you don’t have a cottage?

  • Rent a cottage! Why not gather your friends and rent a cottage somewhere? PROS: you could experience what cottage culture is all about and it can be pretty inexpensive if a friend’s family owns a cottage already or if you have a lot of people (from 8 to 10) splitting on the costs. CONS: You will probably need a car to get to the cottage and cottage rentals can get expensive.
  • Spend the day at the beach! One hour away from London, you can find Grand Bend – a wide sandy beach surrounded by cottages and little shops. You can get a taste of cottage country and cottage life without having to make the long-drive and without paying for an overnight stay.
  • Check out a local festival! Many of food, live music, and special interest festivals are hosting during long weekends- both in and outside of the city. Visit the Tourism London website for details about upcoming events and attractions!
  • Release your inner child at East Park, London’s amusement park! Open every long weekend this summer, East Park has mini golf, a driving range, arcade games, go karting, and rock climbing.

Happy Long Weekend Everyone!

P.S. Are you doing anything this long weekend? If so, share with us below!