Ontarians love their cottages, and with good reason. They’re a private retreat away from the hustle and bustle of daily life where all you have to focus on is nature, your family, and the crackling of the fireplace. At different points throughout the winter, you may likely pack everyone into the car to go spend a pleasant, quiet weekend at the cottage. It’s a Canadian pastime, but it does require some pre-planning.
Before you venture out into the pristine white snow and head off down the road, make sure that you’ve got the five essential items to make your trip to the cottage as safe and cozy as it can possibly be.
1. Snow Tires
Even if you quit reading after this one tip, that’s fine. Just do not – under any circumstances – set out for your cottage in the winter without snow tires. If you’re new to Ontario winters, then it’s important you understand how important snow tires are for your safety during this season. Snow tires are made with softer rubber than their year-round counterparts, and this softer rubber allows the car to grip more securely to snow and ice. It’s often what makes the difference between a pleasant ride to the cottage or a dangerous slide down a snowy hill.
Plus, as an added bonus, snow tires can provide you with a discount on your auto insurance (they do have to carry the snowflake symbol on the tire itself).
2. Wood for the Fire
Many cottages get their heat from a central fireplace, but unless you’re used to regularly chopping wood in the winter, it’s best not to assume that you’ll gather wood when you get there. Cold weather numbs your fingers quickly, and locating dry wood, especially if temperatures have been fluctuating, can be tricky. Instead of fighting with a frozen axe, pick up some firewood before you leave.
Do make sure that you’re using seasoned wood (wood that has been allowed to sit for two years before being burned, as green wood will coat your chimney with creosote). If you buy wood pre-cut, ask the seller how long the wood has been allowed to season. The risk of creosote is that it will lead to chimney fires, which is why you should learn to inspect the chimney or hire a professional to clean the chimney. For your safety, woodstoves will also require a WETT certification to ensure it meets code.
3. Bring Your Own Light
Winter can get terrifically dark, which is why it’s always a bright idea to bring your own source of light rather than relying on daylight or the light from your fire. Candles are convenient (just don’t forget matches!) and long-lasting, so make sure to practice good safety awareness while they’re lit. You can also rely on lanterns or battery-powered flashlights as long as you remember to pack enough oil or batteries to keep them going.
4. Skates, Snowshoes, or Other Recreational Gear
No matter whether you’re going snowshoeing or taking your snowmobile for a rip through the trails, you’ll want to be properly outfitted to make the most out of your time at the cottage. If you’ll be operating some kind of recreational machinery, like a snowmobile, make sure you (and your ride) are protected with the right recreational insurance. You should also check to make sure all your gear is in good working order. If a strap is loose or the engine’s making a strange noise, don’t take it out on the trails.
5. Food & Cooking Utensils
No cottage evening is complete without some hot soup and fun stories around the fire. Make sure you’ve got enough food for everyone for the duration of your trip, as well as everything you’ll need to make it. It’s also a good idea to pack some energy bars in case your visit goes a little longer than you’d planned. A camp stove is always a smart idea, so you won’t be without warm food in the event of a power outage.
Plan Ahead With Recreational Insurance
Your cottage is where you go to relax and unwind, which means the last thing you want is to try and figure out how you’re going to cover the damage that occurs from a tree limb on the roof or an icicle through the front visor of your snowmobile. Recreational insurance is insurance designed to provide the coverage you need for your recreational vehicles and motorcraft.
For over 35 years, Will Marshall Insurance Brokers have been providing residents of Barrie and Orillia with dependable insurance policies, peace of mind, exceptional service, and a variety of insurance solutions. If you’d like more information about recreational insurance from Will Marshall Insurance Brokers, give us a call at (705) 726-2551. You can also contact us online.