Heading up to the cottage, cabin or chalet? It all depends on where you’re from

by | May 25, 2016 | Social Media, Travel and Tourism

Cottage? Cabin? Chalet? Say each one right now in your head. Each one makes sense, but chances are only one of them will feel right to you.

With the Memorial Day weekend fast approaching, and Canada’s Victoria Day long weekend now behind us, many sun-seekers are no doubt planning on heading up to their vacation properties.

But after running our media analysis software from content over the long weekend, we discovered that what’s in a name often depends on where you live.

We used our media monitoring and analysis software to analyze all Canadian online news content that mentioned either “cottage”, “cabin”, or “chalet” for the Victoria Day long weekend timeframe of May 20 to May 23. For the sake of common-speak, we omitted more official nomenclature such as “recreational property” and “vacation getaway”.

The result? The vast majority of Canadian media uses the word “cottage” when referring to summery getaway locations.


“Cottage” was the overwhelming favourite in Ontario (74% of all cottage mentions were from Ontario) and BC (12%), with the former driving most mentions of all content (around 75% of all content came from Ontario). Ontario also seemed to be the province that used the term “cottage country” most often.

As for “cabin”, most mentions came from Western Canadian provinces such as Manitoba, Alberta, and Saskatchewan. While, as mentioned, BC also used the word “cottage” quite regularly, other Western provinces did not with the term only popping up sporadically.

The majority of content mentioning “chalet” came from Quebec (70% of all chalet mentions came from Quebec). Unlike in other provinces, where the words “cabin” and “cottage” were sometimes used interchangeably when it came to Quebec-based content (including English media) there was no other word used besides “chalet” to refer to a vacation property.

Mentions of “chalet” in Ontario and Manitoba were often in conjunction with the word “ski”, to separate it from the more summery words of “cottage” or “cabin”.

So while there are some variations across the country, it seems that “cottage” is the overwhelming favourite for Canadians heading to their summer properties — most likely because of much of the country’s British roots.

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