Sunday, 26 July 2009

Cottageocracy?

I am so insulted by this article! There have been some great days this past month. I love the changing days. Muskoka is one of the beautiful places to be in this world.
I read

Muskoka's sodden summer of discontent

"This year, the Ontario cottageocracy doesn't deserve your envy"
Don't read it! Back away and resist the urge to click on the link! What a scathing, cynical, negative, stereotypical sarcastic diatribe, written by Leah McLaren, published in the (formerly) respectable Globe & Mail. She thinks she cleverly invented the word 'Docktails', but it is a store in Bala. Beautiful shop, with some very nice products run by a founding family (Burgess) who have put roots down for many years. Dear people, who give back much to the community.

The comments are rather telling following McLaren's article, despite my opinion of 'reader comments', as differentiated from "Letters-to-the-editor", if you get my drift. Some see the shallowness of her article. Others similarly disdain Muskokans.

Who is her target market?
  • Young 20-somethings, discontent away from the city, technology and the real world?
  • The writer's dippy friends?
  • The other bored 12-year-olds who cannot be surgically detached from their technology?
  • People who cannot afford a trip to Muskoka?
  • The very rich, those who employ citizens, entertain us on the screen, guide our investments, help us with our dreams?
Those who come from monied families have earned the right to inherit multi-million dollar properties. They do not deserve our wrath. Get an education, get a haircut, get a real job. Many visit Muskoka with a tent or trailer. Some visitors suck off their hosts, like parasites, and contribute little to the economy, like McLaren. It is a place to get in touch and heal. For 40 years we have been here in the summer.

We get some people in Muskoka who do not understand it. The citot who complained, on a Saturday, that 'locals' should be clogging grocery stores in w/e. Rural myth has it that someone hauled off and slugged him. Mind you, the one who complained about the 3-day power outage in the grocery store line-up did piss me off. The rest of us are, perhaps, chumps? As if no one else was affected - but she is the minority. And I digress.

Yes, it is a wet, cool July. But LAST year was a wet, cool July and many of us have learned to live with it. I feel badly for my friends who are business owners trying to recover from a 30% drop in tourist dollars last year. The fine men and women who staff my dearly beloved LCBO, then there is Annie who makes us feel so welcome in her cafe!



The delightful folks who welcome us and our business and make us feel good to support their establishments. The folks in Robertson's who go out of their way to order in items we refuse to look for in Cheap*Mart, phone us when they arrive, and even shipped them when we still lived in Ottawa.

Muskoka has a broad range of folks: from honest, hardworking residents who live and work here, to seasonal visitors, renters and citiots who expect perfection. Deal with climate change. It is reality. There are many issues with life outside the city. Citiots do not understand it. The stereotypes abound and need to be dismissed. What pisses me off is that some are paid to perpetuate myths and have their vague notions, not yet ideas, put into print.

My Muskoka is a place far different than this. The Globe is ridiculous for printing edutainment more fitting for a blog, and not articles and news. We are not miserable. We consider it a privilege to live here, aside from the fact that we inherited our fine abode, most of my bloggie friends understand the life. Sure you can buy mansions, but that is not the norm. We (the royal one) bought this property in 1960 for $2000. Many have inherited cottages and you can pick up a fine one for good prices, depending upon what you want. I cannot imagine that if you have a kid in private school AND a pricey cottage, that you are giving up one for the other. Times change. People move. The Muskoka cottager is changing and evolving.
McLaren complains, "The weather might not matter so much to those with oceanview cabins, but let's face it: Without the sun, most Ontario cottages are damp suburban bungalows on the edge of a weed-choked lake."

Baloney. Cottaging is a lifestyle. It is a retreat. It is an escape from the big city and a chance to look around you. You beg, barter or steal a chance to be outdoors, and seek nature. Play cards, board games and visit with dear friends. We love our visitors. We can educate them about nature. It is a place to heal and rest.
H1N1 in Muskoka she complains? Yes, brought from the city by young campers. What did you expect? This is like the pioneers bringing disease to the Native Peoples. It is to be expected. It is a pandemic and predictable. BTW Our population is composed of 15% seniors, and they seem to have some antibodies that prevent them from getting the bug. Live long and prosper!
No, there is no great rush to sell off property up here due to some rain. Town is busy. Yes, temperatures have been 4 degrees below seasonal temperatures. And, yes, we had 72 mm of rain yesterday. But many got into the lake for a swim, went for a walk, appreciated nature and supported local businesses. Those of us who adore the lifestyle, far from the madding crowd, are quite happily living out our lives here. Go home, McLaren, leave us be!
  1. Read: Dos & Don'ts of cottage life!
  2. What to bring to the cottage.
  3. What to do.
  4. How to be 'a good guest' or didn't your Momma tacher you manners?

9 comments:

Megan said...

Well said.

Lorac said...

I agree! I find that most people have no idea of The cottage lifestyle. When I tell people I love to work at the cottage they think I am nuts. They say "Why bother then! You can work at home!" When I try to explain that it is different, more relaxed and enjoyable they can't see it. When I say that I don't care what the weather is like they don't understand it. I just want to be there. It makes me at rest even when I am working.So let the naysayers stay home. The near north is better off without them.

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

I don't know what you are writing about but I never let facts or clear thinking affect my opinions but I agree with you.

Ed said...

It is sad that Leah Maclaren has spent time here but does not get it. She is unfortunately typical of the new breed of fancy coffee cup holding, horn-honking city dwellers that push their way around and wear Muskoka like its their shi-shi trinket.

Most of us come to Muskoka to escape these people

An Unconventional Mummy said...

If it's tourist season,why can't we shoot them ?

Powell River Books said...

I did read the article and agree with you completely. Where we are there aren't cottages, but there are the cabins up the lake. Most are owned by locals and are used extensively in summer, especially on the weekends. They are a great place for families and friends to head to get away from town. Now that many of the "children" have gone away to find work in cities like Vancouver and Victoria, it is a place they can return to remember their roots. Most cabins have been handed down for generations. We are just now seeing some come on the market because some of the kids can no longer take them over. We were fortunate enough to get one in 2001. We love it in any kind of weather, sun, rain, snow and everything else in between. We wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. - Margy

Nancy Tapley said...

well, good golly Miss Molly, I missed this article. And am I ever upset... why, without this article, how would I have known that I'd had a terrible summer so far... To quote: "The weather might not matter so much to those with oceanview cabins, but let's face it: Without the sun, most Ontario cottages are damp suburban bungalows on the edge of a weed-choked lake." Gosh, here I was, snug and comfortable, enjoying the scenery, taking kids out for hikes in the rain (frog spotting!), swimming, watching my guests get suntans in between the quickly passing rain showers... without any rising damp, nor a weed choked lake to my name.
Why, there I was, feeling sorry for Toronto, in the throes of a wet, cold, garbage clogged July, with the occasional flood, pools closed, day camps closed, H1N1 lurking behind every garbage rat... when I should have been saving my sympathy for myself, up here, with the rain-washed air, song birds everywhere, deer on the lawn, and all our guests at the resort asking to re-book Same time Next Year.

Who knew? I should have been miserable... but here in Muskoka... well, it never happened...

at the cottage said...

Bravo Jen *clap* *clap *clap*

You tell them and kick some journalist wannabe butt!

at the cottage said...

PS I like Docktails, Cottage Friends and the Fudge store...MMMMMMmmm