Closing the Cottage for the Winter

    Sad that the cottage season is over? Us too. Don’t carry any stress into the winter season by making sure your cottage paradise is safely guarded against the Canadian winter. Ensure you’ve followed the steps below so you can enjoy your cottage to the fullest next summer season!

    Outside The Cabin

    Winter preparations are made easier when you follow the right steps. Doing a proper job when closing up the cottage for the winter season means you will have a more enjoyable weekend opening up the cabin in the spring.

    Cabin Windows
    Board up the gazebo and any screen windows on the cottage and guest cottage.  The extra effort is worth the trouble as you may otherwise spend even more time in the spring repairing damage and cleaning up after the animals that have broken-in.

    Canoes and Kayaks
    Stack the canoe and kayak on sawhorses or on a rack that is out of view from the lake or the road.  Chain them together with a good lock.

    Outdoor Tables
    Move the picnic table inside the cottage if you have room.  It preserves the table and gives you something to place boxes on.

    BBQ and Propane Tank
    Clean the BBQ and disconnect it from the propane tank. Store them in a protected place.

    Lawnmower, Chainsaw and Weed Whacker

    • Run them until you burn off all the existing fuel.
    • Clean the equipment thoroughly.
    • Inspect and clean the air filter
    • Spray all moving parts with WD-40 or Quick Lube.
    • Sharpen all the blades.
    • Store the equipment in a locked shed.

    Garden Tools and Storage Sheds

    • Clean out and organize the work shed and storage shed.  You will be much happier in the spring.
    • Arrange all tools and equipment neatly.
    • Take an inventory of the tools – make notes of what should be replaced or taken home
    • Remove all empty cans, containers, etc. and take them to the garbage transfer station.


    • Inspect the roof for damaged shingles and replace them if necessary.
    • Clean out the eaves troughs to allow the melting snow to drain properly in the spring.
    • Trim overhanging branches that risk dumping extra snow and ice onto the roof.


    Tear down the dock and store it in an organized way so you can quickly re-assemble it in the spring.
    Re-paint the crib with rust-proof paint.

    Under The Cabin

    Remove all garbage that has been stored under the cottage and take it to the dump. This improves air and water flow, and removes potential homes for the critters.
    Spread mothballs liberally around the support posts to deter mice and other wildlife from trying to enter the cabin. Fill all holes with steel wool.

    Septic System And Outhouse

    Consider having them pumped or cleaned out if they are due.
    Otherwise, add some approved “good” bacteria to your septic system and outhouse to help breakdown the waste over the winter.


    Inside The Cabin

    Gather all the clothes, hats, shoes, pots, pans, etc. that have accumulated but never get used and donate them to charity.  This is the perfect time to reduce the clutter.

    Wood Stove

    • Clean out the wood stove completely.
    • Close the damper vent.
    • Inspect the chimney stack for rust, tar build-up, and loose strapping where it attaches outside.
    • Repair or replace the gasket / seal if needed.
    • Oil the hinges, levers, and other moving parts.

    Refrigerator And Freezer

    • Remove all of the remaining food.
    • Disinfect and thoroughly wipe them clean.
    • Place chop sticks between the door and the fridge or freezer.  This leaves them open just enough to allow air to flow and avoid mildew buildup.
    • Place an open box of baking soda inside to control odours.

    Note: Remove all food from the cabin, even the canned goods.

    Beds And Furniture

    • Cover bed mattresses with plastic sheets.
    • Use plastic sheets to cover any chairs or sofas that are susceptible to mice.
    • Place sheets of fabric softener liberally in dresser drawers, on furniture, and in closets.  It helps to keep the mice out.

    Cabin Water System

    The water system must be drained properly.  Residual water in the system will freeze during the winter and may cause the water pipes to burst.

    Drain The Water Heater

    • Turn off the electricity switch on the electrical panel for the water pump and water heater.
    • Close the cold water intake valve to the hot water tank.
    • Attach a hose to the water heater drain valve.
    • Run the hose outside or into a bucket.
    • Open a hot water tap.
    • Open the drain valve and let out all of the water remaining in the tank.
    • Remove the hose and place a cup under the valve to catch the remaining drips of water.
    • Close the drain valve once the water stops dripping.
    • Close the hot water tap.

    Draining The Rest Of The System

    Ideally, gravity does most of the work and the water in the line all runs back to the lake once you turn off the power to the water pump.  Some water will remain in the water traps ( u-shaped parts of the pipes).

    • Open all taps inside and outside to use up the existing pressure in the line.
    • Pour a liberal amount of plumbing approved anti-freeze into all of the drains (sink, bath, shower, washer) and toilet as you finish the last flush.  Also put some in the toilet tank.

    For Land-Based Water Pumps

      • Unplug the water pump to avoid it running if the power gets switched-on by accident.
      • Open all the levers / taps on the water pump to drain any remaining water.
      • Remove the water filter and allow the remaining water to drain.
      • Disconnect the water line from the water-side of the water pump and tie it off to something solid.
      • Close the water pump drain tap and priming valve lever once the water has drained.
      • Pour some anti-freeze into the filter opening and / or directly into the top of the water pump (there is likely a square plug you have to remove) until you see the anti-freeze come out the intake valve.
      • Put the water filter cap and / or the plug back on.
      • Cover the open end of the water line and the intake end on the water pump with tin cans and seal them with duct tape.  This will keep the critters out.

    Note: Some people also remove the intake line and foot valve from the lake and store them. While not necessary, the practice is a good idea and allows you to inspect for damage and clean the screen.

    Leaving The Cabin

    • Disconnect all appliances.
    • Shut off all breakers at the electrical panel.
    • Review the checklist to make sure everything has been done.
    • Take photos of everything. In the unfortunate event of fire, theft, or weather damage, it will make the process with the insurance company go more smoothly.
    • Do a final inspection of the property.
    • Check and lock all outbuildings.
    • Take the keys, phone, computer, and garbage.
    • Lock the cottage.

    Once you know that you have closed the cottage properly, it is time to relax and enjoy the ride home. Until next season!



    11 Tips to Find the Perfect Summer Cottage

    Summer is coming! Jayne weighs in on how to find the perfect cottage for you and your family.

    1. Well Water Or Lake Water?
    First of all, well water does not mean you will be pumping your water directly out of a well. Many cottage owners prefer to have water enter their cottage through a well system, rather than out of the lake. That’s because well water is naturally filtered through the earth and is therefore, cleaner than lake water. Lake water often has traces of grit and pesticides, depending on the location of the cottage. Most importantly, lake water is not appropriate to cook with, even after boiling it, since solid grit doesn’t evaporate.

    2. Surrounding Stores?
    There’s always a chance you might run out of food while you’re enjoying the outdoors. Renters should find out ahead of time where the closest stores are so they can stock up on what’s needed. Keep in mind though that food isn’t the only thing you may run out of. You may also run out of booze (or forget to bring some in the first place), so it’s important to know where the closest liquor and beer stores are. Other items you may need to purchase are ice and bait. Bait shops are common in popular cottage destinations and they are a necessity if you hope to do some fishing.

    3. Road Or Water Access?
    Asking if the cottage is accessible from a main road may seem like a silly question, but the reality is quite the opposite. This isn’t a regular residential development; this is cottage country. Many cottages aren’t accessible from a main road and renters should know what their path will entail (and if your vehicle can survive it) before you embark on your adventure. Another common cottage feature is to be on an island and that means no road access at all. If you have to take a boat over to the cottage, you not only need to make sure you have access to a boat, but also a valid boating license.

    4. Scope out the Neighbourhood
    Even if you’re set on a region — you’ve heard about the clear water, the nearby vineyards, the place with the best baked bread — don’t take anything for granted. Once you’ve narrowed down some options, start scrutinizing Google Maps. Read online reviews of the area. Ask the owner about what’s close by, such as grocery stores, beaches and boat rentals. “If you’re a family with young kids, ask if there is a sandy beach. That’s more important than a deep dock dive,” says Rayson. If you’re travelling with grandparents, she adds, think about accessibility. Are the paths well maintained? Are there steep stairs or hills? “The messages we see most frequently back and forth are more about the geography than about the property.”

    5. Pet Friendly?
    Dogs will love the idea of running around in the outdoors and taking a swim in the lake but before bringing them along, make sure the cottage owner allows pets. Better yet, ask if they have a dog as well. That way, they ought to be equipped with a water bowl, food bowl, and anything else your pet may need.

    6. Rocky Or Sandy Beach?
    Most cottages are on or around water, but that doesn’t mean the shores are automatically barefoot-friendly. You should find out if the cottage is on a rocky or sandy beach. Though many vacation-goers prefer a sandy beach, a quick fix to a rocky beach is water shoes. You can purchase them at most grocery and department stores and they will protect your feet from cuts and scrapes you may experience while walking in or out to the water.

    7. Internet/Phone Access?
    Yes, the idea of a getaway is to stay away from your phone and laptop. However, you should always know if you have phone or internet access while at the cottage. Many cottages are in areas with poor cell phone reception and if there’s an emergency, you’ll want to make sure you have a method to dial out.

    8. Communal Amenities?
    If you’re renting a cottage in a ritzier area, you may have access to nearby country clubs, golf courses, pools, tennis courts and more. Talk to the owner about the amenities in the area and find out if you’ll have access. Other attractions you might be interested in could include water parks or playgrounds that may appeal more to the kids.

    9. What are your must-have amenities?

    Think of everything. Do you want a coffee maker, air conditioning and a TV? “Wi-Fi is pretty important these days, especially if you have kids coming,” says Rayson. “They need it more than the adults at this point.” Make a list of necessities. Also look for outdoor perks: Rayson points out that many owners have kayaks, canoes and other water-sports gear available to use. “The barbecue is almost always there and in good working condition. Some of them have fire pits, and hot tubs are often available to guests.” Lastly, if you’re bringing the whole family — four-legged members included — find out if pets are welcome.

    10. Where To Look?
    When looking for the perfect rental, rather than renting from classified sites, such as Kijiji or Craigslist, seek out trusted vacation rental platforms like Jayne’s Cottage. Platforms that encourage two-way communication, offer clearly written contracts and payments by credit card can typically be trusted. Pick websites that are targeted specifically for cottage rentals; these sites will have more information about rental properties and ensure your rental experience is as seamless as possible. Further, by working with a private rental company you can tap into local expertise and other services, such as Jayne’s Concierge Services.

    11. Insured?

    If renting in Ontario, ensure that the rental platform is registered with the Travel Industry Council of Ontario (TICO). When you purchase your travel services from a TICO registered travel agency (like Jayne’s Cottages) you are protected by an industry financed Travel Compensation Fund.


    Celebrities Who Summer in Muskoka

    Martin Short, Lake Rosseau

    One of Canada’s most beloved comedians, still lauded for his SCTV and Saturday Night Live days, is Martin Short. To get away from it all, he heads to Ontario’s Lake Rosseau, a location he’s called “staggeringly beautiful.” In fact, he loves the region so much that last year he partnered with artist Tony Bianco and the Royal Canadian Mint to design a commemorative coin showcasing Lake Rosseau. The “Martin Short Presents Canada” coin is a $3 silver collector coin that features an image of his cottage, a sailboat, and two Muskoka chairs.

    Steven Spielberg, Lake Muskoka

    Ontario’s Muskoka region has frequently been called the “Malibu of the North” or the “Hamptons of the North” because of the many celebrities often spotted there, including those along Lake Rosseau’s “Millionaire’s Row” and Lake Joseph’s “Billionaire’s Row.” Among them is one of the biggest movie names of all, director Steven Spielberg. The man who made movies like E.T., Jaws, Schindler’s List, Jurassic Park, and the Indiana Jones series is said to spend his summers in Ontario.

    Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell, Lake Rosseau

    One of the most beloved (and long-lasting) Hollywood couples, Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell are also one of the most well-known summer residents of the Muskokas—Goldie has frequently been spotted shopping in Gravenhurst. Their mansion-like cottage sits in a quiet bay on Ontario’s Lake Rosseau, offering a peaceful retreat for the former Laugh-In and Disney stars.

    Kate Hudson, Lake Muskoka

    Since her mom, Goldie Hawn, calls Muskoka her summer home, it’s no surprise that Kate Hudson is also regularly spotted in the region. She’s even been the victim of some paparazzi shots while trying to get away from it all, most notably in 2007 when the Toronto Sun ran front-page shots of the Almost Famous star and her then-boyfriend Dax Shepard getting cozy on a Muskoka dock.

    Tom Hanks, Lake Muskoka

    Another resident of Ontario’s cottage country is one of the biggest names in Hollywood. Tom Hanks, famed for movies such as Forrest Gump, Captain Phillips, The Green Mile, Catch Me If You Can, and Toy Story, is said to have a summer home in Muskoka, a purchase he made after friends Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn moved into the area.

    Justin Bieber, Lake Muskoka

    Whether or not you are a Beliber, you know Justin Bieber. And like you, Justin Bieber knows Muskoka! Rumored to be quite a pest on a jet-ski, Ontario-native Justin Bieber is not stranger to the Malibu of the North. Whether he’s ripping down Lake Muskoka on one of his many water toys, or throwing a massive dock party complete with fire performers and the best catered patio, Justin may not own his own Muskoka mansion, but he’s certainly rented.


    Cottage Spring Cleaning Hacks

    DIY Cottage Spring Cleaning Hacks

    The warm weather has returned, and you have only one thought in mind: being able to enjoy your summertime weekends ensconced in your comfortable country cottage!

    With the snow on the ground finally melting there is no shortage of spring cleaning to be done in cottage country. After many months left alone, things can get a little musty and rusty—not to mention all that dust! We have a few tips that will help you tackle your cottage spring clean and get your summer home ready just in time for May long weekend


    1. Load up your dishwasher (not with dishes).

    Don’t overlook the convenience of this hardworking appliance. It can take on unusual things, like your glass light-fixture globes, beach toys, toothbrush holders, and so much more. Just choose a gentle cycle and skip the heated dry.



    2. Wash your windows when it’s cloudy.

    Wait for an overcast day and start on the shady side of the cottage: Direct sun may dry the cleanser before you can wipe it off, leaving streaks. And use vertical strokes on one side of a window and horizontal ones on the other — this way, when you spot a streak, you’ll know which side it’s on. As for dusting, wait for a sunny day, when particles will be easier to see. You want a beautiful view of your outdoor paradise, so don’t skip this step!

    window wash

    3. Dust all your forgotten places.

    Like your lamp shades and drapes! Put your dryer to work and toss drapes, curtains, and even throw pillows in the dryer for 15 minutes on the “air-only” cycle, then rehang immediately to prevent wrinkles. Another spot to tackle? Your lampshade. Speed up the process with a lint roller.

    4. Swipe away fur.

    Removing pesky pet hair from upholstery and drapes is tedious, and cleaning a lint brush is a nightmare. But all you need are rubber gloves to rid your furniture of fur — just pull on your traditional gloves, dampen them and collect the problem fuzz.

    5. Revive your mattress. revive mattress

    Spring cleaning is the perfect time to pay attention to the thing under the sheets. Press firmly with your vacuum’s upholstery and crevice tools to clean the sides.Then, spot-clean stains with upholstery cleaner or mild suds. After spraying, let dry, then sanitize with a disinfectant spray like Lysol.


    7. Deep clean drawers and cabinets.

    No one wants mice droppings in their panty! Suck up dust and debris with the your vacuum’s nozzle. Genius, we know.

    8. Dig into grimy grout.

    Stained spaces between your tile are a serious eyesore. To fix that up quick, mix 3/4 cup household chlorine bleach with 1 gallon water. Wear rubber gloves and eye protection. Use a stiff brush to apply to one small area at a time. Be careful not to let the liquid spatter onto surrounding surfaces. Let it sit for several minutes, then scrub and rinse.


    9. Attack dirty drains.

    To freshen drains (not unclog them) and help keep them free-flowing, mix 1/2 cup baking soda with 1/4 cup table salt. Pour the mixture down the drain, followed by 1 cup heated vinegar. It will foam and bubble. Let it stand for 15 minutes — longer does not work any better. Follow by running hot tap water for at least 15 to 30 seconds. This is especially good for seldom-used drains, like in a guest bathroom.


    10. Get rid unnecessary items.

    That means magazines and catalogs, junk that’s been lying around the cottage for seasons, old toys, broken electronics, etc. If they’re just making your cottage way more cluttered, it’s time for a trip to the recycling bin and second-hand store.

    11. Attack oven gunk.

    After gently chipping off any loose pieces from your range, liberally spritz burnt-on food with ammonia from a spray bottle. Then sprinkle some baking soda and add just a few drops of white vinegar. Let it bubble for a minute or two, then whisk away the grime with a scrub sponge.

    12. Focus on your fridge.

    Scan for items from last summer that absolutely need to go. Pop out the door shelves and bins, and wash in warm, soapy water to get rid of food bacteria and spillage. Get ready to load iup your newly cleaned fridge with new condiments and other staples.

    13. Freshen up your sink.patio

    Got kitchen stink you just can’t kick? Try running a couple of lemon rinds through your garbage disposal, and follow with cold water to dispel the smell.

    14. Prep your patio furniture. 

    With warm weather almost here, it’s time to get your outdoor furniture ready for use. To do this, add a squirt of dish detergent to a bowl of warm water, then wipe down tables and chairs. Finish it all off with a spray of water from the garden hose. Pull it out of the basement and onto the patio – time to enjoy the outdoors again!


    Apply Jayne’s Cottages hacks for spring cleaning your cottage and we guarantee you will spend less time cleaning this summer and more time enjoying the great outdoors! Let us know how these spring cleaning tricks worked for you!


    $6-7k Family Getaway

    Family Approved Cottages

    To most Muskoka cottagers, the cottage is synonymous with family. Jayne’s Cottages is all about celebrating family and providing memorable getaways to cherish this special time. In this blog, Jayne features five cottages that are ideal for the family or extended family. Even better, each cottage is available between $6,000 and $7,000/week.

    Robin’s Nest – Full availability ($6,000/week)

    Experience the luxury of a Muskoka cottage vacation in beautiful Lake Of Bays. This 3 bedroom plus bunkie is light and airy and beautifully decorated. Boathouse with boat slip for your use and a beach make this a perfect getaway.

    robins nest1Property: 15 minutes to Huntsville for your large shopping, 10 min Dwight, 15 min to Baysville’s renown bakery Humble Pie (for butter tarts and more) and 20 minutes to the Night Clubs shows at Deerhurst Resort.

    Down a private road and through large electronic gate opens up to a luxury Lake of Bays property.  Structures include Main Cottage, Bunkie and Boathouse.  Beautiful landscaped, heavily treed,  and pine needles providing ground cover, this property is private and exclusive. Boathouse contains a boat slip dedicated to the guest plus ample dock space for additional boats.  The boathouse rooftop is a great place to enjoy the sun, with wicker love seat and 2 chairs and coffee table as well as a dining table.

    Cottage: A beautiful open concept with log beams frames this canary-yellow cottage.  A window of walls overlooking Lake of Bays and a floor to ceiling stone fireplace are the highlights of the main floor.

    Kitchen is alley-style with stainless appliances and beautiful rock-faced leather granite countertops.  Dining table seats 10. Second floor contains 3 bedrooms, master is a King bed with a door from the master to the second floor bathroom.  The two other bedrooms are Queen size beds.  The Master and the 2nd bedroom overlook the Lake and contain a double-sized gas fireplace and ceiling fans.

    Inclusions: Internet, Satellite TV, 2000 DVDs, Fire pit, Paddle boat, Housekeeping of 2 hours mid-week included in rental.

    Features: Sandy Beach and Shallow Sandy Water, Boathouse Rooftop for Tanning or Cocktails, Private Road with 5 km of Walking Trails, Electronic Gated Entry, Level Lot.

    Notables: 6 car parking, sleeps 8 maximum, children welcome, non-smoking, pets welcome!


    Bigwin Luxury Golf Retreat – Full availability ($6,000/week)

    Monthly rentals only! Includes full membership privileges during the time of rental at the exclusive Bigwin Island Golf Club! Rated as one of the top courses in Canada!  The Bigwin Island Golf Course was designed to capture and reflect the spirit and elegance of the original grand resort known as the “Bigwin Inn”. Relax after a day of golf in the hot tub or get a massage or mani/pedi, there is even a hair stylist available!

    Bigwin Luxury Golf RetreatProperty: Very family-friendly resort Bigwin Island, Baysville. Huntsville 20 minute drive. The cottage property is fit for discerning luxury tastes and includes the full amenities of Bigwin.

    There are continuous boat shuttles from the mainland to Bigwin Island.  Includes a golf cart to transport yourself around the island, although everything is also walking distance.  ​​

    Cottage: The open concept dining area has over-sized vaulted ceiling with a wall of tall windows for those breath-taking outdoor views.  The dining room opens to the Muskoka Room’s porch. This blends into the comfortable living room with the large stone fireplace and the continuation of the wall of windows for a panoramic view.   The royal treatment continues to the outside where the property backs onto a full service world class 18 hole championship golf course.

    The large Master suite has a Queen bed with a 3 piece ensuite and walk in closets.  There is a walk out to the large deck.  The second and third bedrooms both have Queen beds plus a twin bed.  Both bedrooms share a 3 piece bathroom with tub/shower combo.  The 4th bedroom is the upper loft which is a private enclave away from the rest of the cottage.

    Inclusions: Exclusive Bigwin Golf membership privileges during the time of rental, private dock, fire pit and golf cart, Cottage includes 2 hours of midweek housekeeping.

    Features: Cottage backs onto Golf Course, Full amenities of Bigwin, Mainland Parking, Golf Cart.

    Notables: Mainland Parking Spots for 4 cars, Shuttle Boat every 5 minutes, 4 car parking, sleeps 9 maximum, children welcome, non-smoking, no pets.


    Licensed to Chill – Available for July ($6,250/week)

    Fresh new renovation and decor! New mattresses and linens! Located in the heart of Lake Rosseau and Lake Joseph near Port Sandfield. Three bedroom and three bath cottage with large principal rooms! Sandy beach! Tennis, fire pit, 2 TVs! Internet!

    licensed to chill1Property: Wonderfully located 5 minutes from Port Sandfield and Minett (Cleveland’s House and JW Marriott) and 12 minutes from Port Carling and 15 minutes from Bala.

    Walk out to beautiful deck.  Outdoors is a Muskoka lover’s dream.  Tennis court, beach, play structure for kids, large grassy field to play soccer or football.  Fire pit, horseshoes…this cottage has it all!

    Cottage: Cottage was recently purchased.  All furniture, beds and linens are brand new.  Large principal rooms and bedrooms. Living Room with wood burning fireplace and TV.  Cottage was previously 2 self-contained units – full 1 bedroom suite on upper level with large principal rooms, living/dining, separate kitchen and Muskoka Room.  The bedroom contains 1 Queen and 1 Double bed and 3 piece ensuite.  There is also a large main floor bathroom with standalone bathtub.  The Muskoka Room is nicely decorated with light wicker furniture and windows that open to bring the breeze in.  Walk out from here to a deck that runs down the side of the cottage outfitted with 4 new Muskoka chairs and a patio umbrella table.  Also on the other side of the Muskoka Room is a walk out to a small private deck on the other side of the cottage.

    The lower level is comprised of 2 bedrooms (King bedroom and Family Bedroom – contains bunk bed and 1 single and 1 double bed).  Lower level also has a brand new kitchen and large sectional, fireplace and flat screen TV.  There is a 3 piece bathroom with shower.

    Inclusions: Included in rental is housekeeping 2 hours of housekeeping weekly.

    Features: Newly renovated with new furniture, beds and linens, Tennis court, Kids Play Structure, Sandy Beach and Shallow Water, Protected Swimming Alcove, Gorgeous view of Lake Rosseau.

    Notables: 5 car parking, sleeps 10 maximum, children welcome, non-smoking, pets considered!

    Hemlock Ridge – Availability last 2 weeks in July; any week after August 14th ($6,500/week) 

    Muskoka wish-list granted! Something for everyone! 25′ to water’s edge! AC! Boathouse! Shallow sandy bottom water! 280′ frontage of Privacy! King bed! Babbling brook runs through the property. Paddleboat and Canoe! 4 Bdrms, 3 Bath, Bunkie!

    Hemlock ridge1Property: Located on Mortimers Point Road, a picturesque road that runs along Lake Muskoka’s northern shoreline for beautiful south views of the lake.  Cottage is within 5 minutes to Port Carling or the quaint villiage of Bala. Property is privately located down a driveway.  Hemlock Ridge consists of a Main Cottage, Bunkie and Boathouse.

    Cottage: Main level consists of the Great Room with comfortable chairs around a wood-burning fireplace, dining table to seat 8, modern kitchen with granite counters and island with 3 bar stools and stainless steel appliances.  The Muskoka Room is off the kitchen containing a separate sitting area with screens to let the lake breeze fill the room after a day in the sun.  The Great Room and Muskoka Room walk out to the deck.  Main level has one bedroom with a double bed and large main floor bathroom with large bathtub and separate shower.  This room also walks out to the deck.

    The upper level consists of two bedrooms that share one large bathroom with a shower.  One bedroom has 2 double beds, the other bedroom has a kingsize bed.

    Inclusions: Internet, Generator, Paddleboat, Canoe, Cottage includes 2 hours of midweek housekeeping, bunkie.

    Features: South Facing All Day Sun, Boathouse Slip available to rental family, Great Privacy along 280′ Lake Muskoka shoreline, AC, Babbling brook, Generator, Family-Friendly sandy and shallow shoreline, 5 Minutes to Port Carling & Bala, Extra Fridge and Freezer, Paddleboat, Canoe, Great Internet Plan!

    Notables: 4 car parking, sleeps 10 maximum, children welcome, non-smoking, pets considered!

    Linger Longer –  Availability starting August 13th ($7,000/week)

    Check out this well designed cottage on the north end of Lake Muskoka, 5 minutes from Port Carling! Spacious large principal rooms and lots of space! Light and bright! Large Games Room. Very well equipped! Views of lake from all rooms!

    linger1Property: Secluded on a quiet bay, yet within the close proximity of Port Carling, Port Sandfield, Lake Rosseau and Lake Joseph. The shoreline offers over 200′ of private frontage (cottage has 153′ frontage, plus 70′ plus vacant lot to the east).  The lake is shallow with hard packed sand yet deep enough at the end of the dock for a shallow dive (6 feet deep).  Plenty of dock space and water depth to park boats.

    There is a deck outside the kitchen with some seating and the BBQ and stairs down to a outdoor dining table for outdoor dining. Fire pit area with Muskoka chairs.  Lounge chairs and Muskoka chairs on the dock.

    Cottage: Cottage is extremely functionally designed and great for a large or multi-generational family.  It is a split ranch in style – walk into the upper level from the driveway and exit on the lower level to the lakeside.

    There are 3 wings in the home, the upper wing which features the Master bedroom (King) with ensuite as well as a twin bedroom.  Also on the upper level is another bathroom and the Great Room with wood burning fireplace and flat screen TV. On the lower level is a large Games Room with games and a shuffleboard table.  There is a huge sectional sofa, flat screen TV, wood burning fireplace and walk out to lakeside fire pit.  There are 2 bedroom wings off the Games Room, king bedroom and twin bedroom and their own bathroom to share.

    Inclusions: Includes Satellite TV and Internet, Cottage includes 2 hours of midweek housekeeping.

    Features: South Facing All Day Sun, Beautiful Star Gazing in Southern Sky, Family-Friendly flat grassy land, Excellent proximity by boat or car to Port Carling, UV Filtered Water, Extra Fridge and Freezer, AC in Master Suite.

    Notables: 8 car parking, sleeps 12 maximum, children welcome, non-smoking.


    Finding Value in Muskoka

    Finding Value in Muskoka

    People always ask us, what cottages do you have available this summer, under $5,000/week?

    Read on to learn about 8 beautiful cottages that are available for less than $5,000. From lakefront properties to tucked away family havens, learn about a selection of Jayne’s great value cottages, including their unique features, location, and month(s) of availability.

    Please feel free to contact Jayne to discuss individual cottages and whether they will meet your needs.  These cottage owners are looking for minimum rental of 2 weeks.

    Under $3,000

    Bala Boathouse – July availability.

    bala boat houseCan you imagine living in a Boathouse? Hear the waves as you sleep? Watch the sunrise on the water? And a 10 minute to ice-cream or stumble home from the Kee to Bala after a concert?

    Property: Very compact Boathouse Cottage located literally right on Lake Muskoka! Pristine Lake Muskoka frontage yet so close to enjoy the amenities in Bala! Outside deck wraps around the Boathouse. The interior Boathouse slip is available for your boat and there is ample additional dock space for additional boats.

    Cottage: Consists of 3 bedrooms, 1 additional “hallway” bedroom and pull out sofa. 1 Bathroom and a separate shower. Ceiling fan in living room, all bedrooms have room fans. Kitchen has all updated appliances, including dishwasher and washer dryer. Kitchen table seats 6. Screened in Muskoka Sunroom in Lower Level has a walkout to the side deck contains a outdoor dining table which seats 8 as well as a sitting area with 4 Muskoka chairs to lounge on. There is an upper level Juliette Balcony on the front of the Boathouse overlooking Lake Muskoka.

    Features: Family-Friendly flat land and Shallow Water, Walking Distance to Bala, Water Cooler Provided.

    2 car parking, maximum 7 guests, children welcome, non-smoking cottage, cleaning turnover fee is an additional, pets welcome!

    Sunny Brae – July or August availability.

    sunny braeTrue Cottage Feel. Lovely family Muskoka Cottage with a great southern sun and view of Lake Rosseau!

    Location: 5 minutes by boat or car to Cleveland’s House, JW Marriott and The Rock Golf Club.

    Property: Beautiful hard packed “rippled” sand right level lot – no stairs! Shallow water, very quiet location. Deep enough for boats to park at end of 75 foot dock. Wonderful for children and young families!  Large fire pit at water’s edge. The dock can park many boats.

    Cottage: Consists of 3 bedrooms with 1 Double and 2 Queen beds and 1 Bathroom with combination shower/tub. Kitchen has a new dishwasher and laundry facilities. Dining table seats 8. Outside dining table seats 6 on a large deck that extends from edge to edge on front of cottage to overlook the water.

    Inclusions: Canoe, Tin boat

    Features: Sandy Beach, Shallow Water, Level Lot, South-Facing

    Notables: 2 car parking, sleeps 6 maximum, children welcome, non-smoking, pets welcome!


    Under $4,000

    Shangra’Lai – July availability.

    ShangGreat family location with all the cottage comforts one wants in Muskoka – spacious interior, beach, firepit, lots of level land for kids to play, screened in deck, firepit, wifi, satellite etc. Relax, unwind or play, the memories will be priceless!

    Property: Located on Dudley Road, just outside of Bala and 10 minutes to Port Carling, in the heart of Lake Muskoka. Close to Don’s Bakery, The Cottage Butcher, ice cream, Foodland and Olivers Coffee Shop in Bala and of course, the legendary concert locale, The Kee of Bala. Within 5 minute drive to the shores of Lake Joseph and Lake Rosseau.

    Cottage: Located on a quiet bay that has very little boat traffic.  Extremely peaceful and quiet mornings to watch the sunrise.  Great for swimming or kayaking or kids playing safely in the paddle boat where you can keep an eye on them. Beach consists of hard packed sand super for easy shallow water entry and swimming.  Deep water off the end of the dock.  Relax in the Muskoka chairs on the nice new dock.  Lots of dock space to park boats.

    Interior is charming and nicely appointed, this cottage has ample room for a large family or multi-generational family.  The main level consists of 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms and there is a large lower level Queen bedroom and large extra sitting room with TV and walkout to front.

    Inclusions: 2 Kayaks, Paddle boat, Lifejackets, Hammock, Fire pit, Housekeeping of 2 hours midweek

    Notables: 3 car parking, Maximum 8 guests, Children welcome, Non-smoking cottage, Pets welcome!


    Fox Hollow – July or August availability.

    foxSpace for everyone with five bedrooms two bathrooms, with a slip boathouse for your use. Hang out in the Muskoka Room, Living Room & Games Room. Five minute boat ride to Rosseau’s Friday’s Farmer’s Market and Muskoka Woods Camp! Very private.

    Property: Directly across the lake from Muskoka Woods camp. 5 minutes by boat to the town of Rosseau. See the Segwun Steamship pass by your cottage on it’s way to the town of Rosseau.

    All the fun is at the dock with the sandy shallow area and roasting marshmallows at the fire pit.  Take some amazing pictures on the new dock.  Explore the shoreline in the canoe provided.  Kids will like a paddle over to an island a ways off the shoreline.

    Cottage: Put your feet up in this charming cottage with all the comforts.  Living room has a wood burning fireplace, TV and a walk out to sun on the deck equipped with patio dining table and outdoor furniture.  The screened in Muskoka Room will allow you to breathe in the fresh morning air, enjoy cocktails as dinner is being prepared or a quiet reprieve away from the dock.

    Lower level has a games room with a TV, pool table and two bedrooms with twin beds.

    Inclusions: New for 2016 – New Stain on Cottage Exterior, new deck railings and stain, new floor in Muskoka room, new floor in Kitchen. Rental includes 2 hours of housekeeping per week.

    Features: Boathouse use of one slip, Sandy shallow water, Canoe and aluminum boat, Fire pit near shoreline, Great view of east shore of Lake Rosseau, 2 Satellite TVs, Privacy.

    Notables: 3 car parking, Maximum 10 guests, Children welcome, Non-smoking cottage, Pets considered, inquire within!


    Millie’s Bluff – July availability.

    milliesBest Location in all of Muskoka, and private! Clean pine bungalow style cottage right on water’s edge! In Port Carling close to all amenities. Boathouse is available to rental family.

    Property: Right in Port Carling! 2 minutes to restaurants, pharmacy, grocery, caffe lattes and shops! By boat, you are at the southern end of Lake Rosseau. Beautiful big lake views to the north and low boat traffic. Surrounded by some of the most beautiful cottages on the lake!
    360 ‘ Lake Rosseau frontage.  Very nice lot with great privacy.  Shallow at water’s edge and deep water off end of dock.  There are 4 Muskoka chairs on the dock and 2 tables.  On the cottage deck there are 6 chairs, end tables and a picnic table.  Gardens and planters adorn the property and are professionally maintained during the summer season.

    Cottage: Beautiful shiny knotty pine floors, walls and furniture. Galley kitchen between living room and family bedroom wing.  Pine dining t

    able expands to seat 8. New sofa and flat screen TV in summer of 2016.  The family bedroom wing has 3 bedrooms, master has a queen bed, there is a bunk bed room and a twin bedroom (1 bed) with couch.  The family bedroom wing has another full bathroom with bathtub with shower head as well as laundry facilities.

    There is a guest bedroom wing at the one end of the house with twin beds (can be pulled together to a king size bed).  Guest bathroom is a full bathroom with bathtub and shower head.

    Inclusions: Canoe, Wireless Internet, Satellite TV, Housekeeping of 2 hours per week included in rental.

    Features: Cottage set back 20 feet from shoreline, Excellent proximity to Port Carling, Canoe, Fire pit, Boathouse interior slip available to rental, New couch and flat screen TV for summer of 2016.

    Notables: 3 car parking, Maximum 7 guests, Children welcome, Non-smoking cottage.


    Rosseau Getaway – July or August availability.

    rosseau getawayGetaway to this lovely modern three bedroom, fully renovated cottage with everything new, including new deck, waterside deck and dock. Gorgeous view of Rosseau situated in quiet bay.

    Property: Located 8 minutes from the town of Rosseau, this cottage is an awesome private haven for a couple or small family. Nature is abundant here, quiet majestic Muskoka, as this cottage is located in a very quiet bay with virtually no neighbours.

    Wonderful cottage that has it all, including a great price point!  New dock and there is also a dock that runs along the property that has shade.   Also new for 2016 is a 15′ x 15′ deck that is being built into the rock formation at the water’s edge.

    Area is known for great fishing.  The water depth at end of the dock is about 4 feet and shallow at the water’s edge so good for families with children.

    Cottage: Chic modern cottage includes Muskoka room, Caesars counters, stainless appliances, indoor and outdoor dining, large deck and dock with Muskoka chairs, Internet, Satellite TV.

    Three bedrooms, Master with Queen, second bedroom has walk-out to deck and 3rd bedroom has bunk beds.  One bathroom with glassed-in shower.

    Inclusions: Fire pit, Kayak, Rental includes 2 hours mid-week housekeeping per week.

    Features: Very private, Everything brand new, Fire pit, Kayak, New 15′ x 15′ deck at water’s edge, Netflix.

    Notables: Children welcome, Non-smoking cottage.


    Under $5,000

    Lakeview – July or August availability.

    lakeviewWonderful family getaway in Muskoka! Fresh new cottage decor! Has everything! Muskoka pine-panelled cottage with 3 plus bedrooms. Sleeps 8! Beautiful view of the big Lake.

    Property: Located between Foots Bay & Gordon Bay. Outside of the Muskoka room is a large deck with a grouping of 4 Muskoka chairs, Weber Gas BBQ and 2 other teak chairs on the wrap-around deck for morning coffee overlooking lake!

    Cottage: Lovely family cottage includes 3 plus bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, Muskoka Room, large kitchen. Dining table in the Muskoka Room seats 10.

    New mattresses and linens. Master, at end of hallway, has Queen bed with 2-piece ensuite. Off Living Room is a bedroom with 2 twin beds, and off the kitchen is the 3rd bedroom also with 2 twin beds. Main bathroom is 4 piece with separate shower and tub.

    Kitchen is large with open pass-through window to Living Room. Comfortable Living Room with a wall of operable windows overlooking the lake. This Great Room contains nice comfy furniture, wood-burning fireplace and TV monitor on an artist’s easel with Satellite TV. Muskoka Room has a small seating area, flat screen on the wall and dining table. 4 Muskoka chairs are also dockside for a relaxing day on the dock!

    Inclusions: Use of boathouse, 1 kayak, 1 canoe and 9 hp tin boat, rental includes 2 hours of midweek housekeeping.

    Features: Boathouse Slip, Satellite TV including HBO and Movie Network, Ceiling Fans in living room and master,

    Notables: 3 car parking, Maximum 8 guests, Children welcome, Non-smoking cottage, Pets welcome!


    Sunset Beach – July or August availability.

    sunset beachSunset Beach has a true cottage feel and offers a wonderful private view of Lake Rosseau including speckled islands and sunsets. Cottage is close to shore and is a perfect fit for any family looking to enjoy Muskoka’s natural beauty. Beach! Location!
    Property: 7 minutes to Windermere, 10 minutes to Port Carling, 25 minutes to Bracebridge. With a beautiful swimming area off of shallow sandy at beach and deeper off the dock, low boat traffic and a nice deck to enjoy amazing sunsets, Sunset Beach is everything you want in a Muskoka cottage. The calming aspect of the cottage is unmatchable and you may be hard pressed to find a ‘cozier’ cottage getaway.  Outside dining table seats 6 on a large deck that extends from edge to edge on front of cottage to overlook the water.  Deck also features a covered gazebo for shade and dining.
    Cottage: Consists of 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, with Master ensuite.  Large principal rooms and bedrooms.  Great room consists of large dining table to seat 10 and wood burning fireplace and large seating area with flat screen TV.  Enclosed den off Great Room is a great space for kids or an office (room is also a walk out from Master bedroom wing) containing a desk and comfy sectional sofa.

    Also there are also 2 rustic cabins on the property, great for kids camp outs and forts.  One contains a bunk bed and small sitting area and the other has a bar area and couch.  Both are decorated and fun places for kids.

    Inclusions: Beach features a huge fire pit, Canoe, Paddle boat, Includes 2 hours mid-week housekeeping.

    Features: Sandy Beach, Shallow Water at Beach, Deeper Water at End of Dock, 2 Rustic Cabins both with sleeping quarters, Level Lot, Southwest facing

    Notables: 5 car parking, Maximum 6 guests, Children welcome, Non-smoking cottage, Pets welcome!


    Farmhouse Lake Retreat – July or August Availability (one-month minimum)

    farmhouse lake retreatDesigner couple have opened up their chic century farmhouse for vacationers! Bannockburn Farm is a cool and quirky 60 acre property situated 200 metres back from Lake Muskoka.

    Property: With 5 km of walking trails on the property and a private dock, these top Canadian designers have made this farmhouse their ‘country’ project – a truly a rare find in Muskoka. It is as beautiful inside as Muskoka is on the outside. Centrally located, 5 minutes to Bala off Hwy 169, 15 minutes to Port Carling and 2 hours from Toronto. Shallow water, new dock and located beside Bannockburn Church make this an ideal location for a family to enjoy peace and serenity.

    Cottage: Farmhouse has 3 sitting rooms (Screened-In Porch overlooking the lake, Great Room with Fireplace and Entrance Reading Room), electronic games table, 52″ TV, Apple TV, outdoor patio with dining table and fire pit.

    Inclusions: Baby Grand Piano, Apple TV, Electronic Game Center with 50 games, Bicycles, Housekeeping of 2 hours mid-week included in rental.

    Features: 5 km of Walking Trails on the Property

    Notables: 6 car parking, Maximum 8 guests, Children welcome, Non-smoking cottage, Pets allowed – must sign pet waiver


    A Global Travellers’ Vacation Rental Wishlist

    JC Square

    Imagine a sprawling villa in the heart of California wine country, a Hawaii home overlooking a 19-foot waterfall and swimming grotto, or a rustic Alaska cabin with nighttime views of the northern lights. These aren’t fantasies; they’re actual vacation rental properties available online.

    Today, holiday-makers can choose from numerous Vacation Rental Platforms, allowing travellers to look outside the typical boxy hotel. From a luxurious villa to a spare apartment bed, there’s probably one to be found online. But what kinds of rentals are getting the most love, and what rental offerings are most popular?

    In order to answer this question, Jayne’s Cottages looked into Airbnb’s round up of most ‘desirable’ listings. This list includes those rentals that compelled users to use the “wish list” saving feature the most.

    #10: Pioneertown, California’s Off-Grid Abode

    This off-grid it-house is a green, eco-friendly abode once lauded by Dwell Magazine as one of the “Best Homes in America.” The $380/night rental sits near natural attractions, including Joshua Tree and Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, and offers serene “views and vistas in all directions.”


    #9: Rome’s Modern Mini Loft

    A tiny and inexpensive rental option in the heart of the historic area of Saint John (for only $41/night!), is close to the Colosseum, the Basilica of St. John, the Lateran Palace, the Scala Santa, and more major Italian points of interest.

    roman mini

    #8: Bali’s Tropical Treehouse

    A poolside retreat on a beach in Bali’s Selemadeg Barat, is the ideal vacation destination for surfers looking for a low key hideaway. The one bedroom home and deck is just a few minutes away from the beach, and sits near myriad fruit trees, including lemon, coconut, passionfruit, and papayas.

    bali treehouse

    #6: Aptos’ Mushrome Dome Cabin

    This geodesic dome loft in Aptos, California near Santa Cruz, offers ten acres of natural land for hiking and exploration, a small “farmette” in case renters want to hang with a few goats, and a “hummingbird airport,” where visiting birds guzzle 80 ounces of syrup daily. The interior is bigger than it looks, too — it houses a loft bed, a futon, kitchenette, and updated bathroom.

    mushroom cabin

    #5: San Salvatore Treehouse

    This Aromatica Treehouse in San Salvatore Monferrato is the second Italian treehouse on this list, and with good reason. Just like its Florence counterpart, it offers sweeping pastoral views, easy access to wine country, and beautiful rustic decor.

    aroma treehouse

    #4: Mayne Island’s Cob Cottage

    This unique Cob Cottage on Mayne Island in British Columbia is a woodland hideaway obscured from city life, but it still offers the conveniences of modern retreats. Plus, its cozy interior looks like it was pulled straight from a fairy tale.

    cob cottage

    #3: Tuscan Treehouse

    This Italian treehouse tucked in the Tuscan landscape in Italy is a mere twenty minutes from the Duomo and just an hour from Siena. The countryside location sits among gorgeous olive and cypress trees, but still allows easy access to Florence.


    #2: Isla Mujeres’ Seashell House

    The Seashell House in Isla Mujeres, Mexico boasts a private pool and a 15 minute golf cart commute to the nearest beach. The quirky house on the tiny island, which is located 13 kilometers off the coast of Cancún in the Caribbean sea, is the ideal destination for those looking to escape the “tourist bubble.”

    seashell house

    #1: Georgia’s Intown Treehouse

    Suite of three beautifully furnished rooms set amongst the trees. Just minutes from downtown, this secluded property is an urban retreat like no other. From $496 CAD per night, you too can enjoy the tranquil night sky from the window of your very own adult-treehouse.

    1 treehouse

    Describe your dream vacation rental in the comments below!

    Your response could be featured in Jayne’s next blog 🙂


    Jayne’s Blog

    Top 10 Winter Activities in Muskoka

    Ontario’s cherished summer playground has a winter life you may not have discovered! With exceptional trails and great snowfalls, Muskoka transforms into a winter wonderland equipped to satiate the mightiest adventurer to the coziest reader. Whether you’re seeking a winter family getaway or a couples winter escape, you will find exactly what you’re looking for on Muskoka’s snowy shores.

    Read on to discover 10 Jayne’s Cottages approved winter activities in Muskoka:

    1. Arrowhead Ice Skating Trail. Ontario’s best kept secret…is not a secret anymore! This 1.3 km ice skating trail winds through the spectacular Muskoka forest and is one of the region’s most popular winter attractions. Located in Arrowhead Provincial Park less than five minutes from Downtown Huntsville, this ice skating trail offers the perfect winter day with the kids or a romantic hand-holding expedition for you and your loved one.

    Top 10 Winter Activities Muskoka









    2. Snowmobiling. Muskoka’s vast trail system has some of Ontario’s favourite tracks, stretching from the spectacular shores of Georgian Bay to the snowy pines on the outskirts of Algonquin Park. With over 1,200 km of exceptionally groomed trails, we’ve got your snow!

    3. Craft Beer Brewery Tours. Muskoka boasts some of the best craft beers Canada has to offer. Sample and taste seasonal (and other) beers from Lake of Bays Brewing Co. and Muskoka Brewery!

    4. Ice Fishing. Those who like ice fishing, like it a lot! Ice fishing is one of those experiences you have to try to really have an appreciation for it. Many times, the fishing comes second to spending quality time with friends and family. Spending a day on the lake in the winter sun with some warm hot chocolate and good company is an excellent way to spend an afternoon in Muskoka. If you succeed, there is nothing more rewarding than cleaning and frying up your catch right on the lake!

    Top 10 Winter Activities Muskoka

    5. Snowshoeing. The Muskoka back country is ideal for exploring on snowshoes. With acres of unspoiled forests, you will be able to unleash your sense of adventure as you trek through the light, fluffy snow on one of Muskoka’s many snowshoe trails. Some accommodations have snowshoes available for guests, or you can rent from one of our local outfitters.

    6. Ice Skating/Pond Skating. There is nothing like getting back to the roots of our childhood, hearing the sound of your blades carving through the fresh ice of a frozen lake or historic Muskoka arena. Outdoor pond hockey personifies the great Canadian winter, and is the epitome of a genuine Muskoka winter experience. Outdoor rinks are scattered throughout Muskoka for your enjoyment.

    7. Dogsledding. The thrill of the Arctic and one of the great Canadian winter experiences is ready for you to try in Muskoka. Mush through the beautiful Muskoka wilderness behind your team of dogs on a guided dog sled excursion. This winter experience is on the bucket list for many and if it isn’t, it probably should be.

    Top 10 Winter Activities Muskoka









    8. Cross Country Skiing. Winters in Muskoka bring the ideal conditions for a long cross-country skiing season. With a large variety of groomed trails throughout the Muskoka region, cross country skiers flock from all corners of the province for a winter recreational getaway. A number of resorts even boast their own cross country ski trails so that you can sleep, eat and play, all in one place!

    9. Downhill Skiing. Hidden Valley Highlands Ski Area in the heart of Muskoka is ideal for families, and offers great downhill skiing for skiers of all levels with eleven runs, a terrain park, kids camps, childcare, as well as ski & snowboard instruction and rentals.

    10. Have an Après. The best part about Jayne’s Cottage’s Top 10 ‘Must-do’ Winter Activities is the Après! The origin of Après of course comes from ‘Après Ski’, however Muskoka likes to add Après to all winter activities because it gives us an excuse to cozy up by the fireplace, sip on a warm specialty coffee or a glass of wine, and delight in some light snacks.

    Please contact Jayne’s Cottages to learn more about Muskoka’s winter offerings or to have Jayne help plan your fantasy winter getaway.

    Jayne’s Cottages wants all our guests to experience the best that Muskoka has to offer. We would be thrilled to connect you with local businesses to help your Muskoka winter fantasies come to life!

    Top 10 Winter Activities Muskoka


    Muskoka Rental Scams and How to Avoid Them

    After a 15-month investigation led by London-based RCMP that concluded in December, police charged five Windsor-area residents with defrauding at least 45 people in cottage rental scams in 2014.

    Young families, couples and groups of friends of all ages from across Canada fell for the scam. They booked dreamy cottages through classified websites as such Kijiji and Craigslist – often paying upfront at an average cost of $1,200 per week – and headed to places in Haliburton and Muskoka.

    Though the location could be reached by GPS or an online map, when the renters arrived the cottage either didn’t exist or wasn’t for rent. That’s when the person who had been the main rental contact via email would stop all communication.

    To learn more details about this case, read full The article “Police Bust Fraudulent Cottage Industry, Five Charged” here:

    Muskoka Rental Scams

    Although bewildering, it isn’t surprising that online scams are penetrating the Muskoka rental market. With more and more people finding accommodation through online services, scammers have learned how to take advantage of prospective renters. Jayne’s Cottages cautions our guests against the two most prevalent rental accommodation scams – Hijacked Ads and Phantom Rentals.

    Hijacked Ads are when a scammer modifies an existing ad and replaces the original contact information with their own details and reposts the ad on another site. Scammers can also go so far as to hack the e-mail accounts of an existing real estate company or property owner and communicate with guests by these means. Hackers may even set up fake Twitter or Facebook accounts to further deceive renters.

    Phantom Rentals, on the other hand, are listings of properties that are not actually for rent, or posting a property that does not exist. Scammers hope to procure payment from you before you notice the error.

    Jayne’s Cottages protects our guests and cottage owners against Hijacked Ads by investing in specialized Property Management software that detects any fraudulent activity, such as “phishing” or “brand spoofing”. The software is highly sensitive to any suspicious activity and scans the Internet to detect fraudulent listings of its clients’ properties. Jayne’s Cottages also welcomes Guests to meet her in Muskoka to view the cottage before renting it to ensure that it meets the guest’s needs as well. Furthermore, she communicates and greets all guests at the day of arrival, so there is never any doubt in mind.

    However, as much as we would like to shelter our guests against all scams, many operate freely of vacation rental platforms. Please read on to see Jayne’s Cottages approved tips to avoid falling victim to rental scams in Muskoka and beyond.

    1. Opt for a Vacation Rental Platform that Offers Insurance. If renting in Ontario, ensure that the rental platform is registered with the Travel Industry Council of Ontario (TICO). When you purchase your travel services from a TICO registered travel agency (like Jayne’s Cottages) you are protected by an industry financed Travel Compensation Fund.
    2. Asking For a Wire Transfer. The first and most glaringly obvious sign of a rental scam is when a renter wants you to wire money, possibly as a security deposit or application fee. Wiring money is the same as sending cash, with no way to get it back once it’s sent. The safest way to transfer money is by credit card because they offer purchase protection. If goods or services are not delivered you can get a refund from your credit card.
    3. Too Good To Be True. The fact of the matter is that if it’s too good to be true, then it probably isn’t. Some red flags to watch out for are rental rates significantly below market value for an area or not asking for a signed contract. Do your research on average rental rates and use caution if you find a listing significantly under average. That being said, don’t allow this information to let you become jaded.
    4. No Pictures Or Addresses. A glaring warning sign for a potential scam is when an ad has no photographs or addresses. Again, not every ad without an address is going to be a scam, but always ask for more details before signing anything or sending any money. Ask the owner for detailed information on the property’s location and surroundings. Check Google Maps to confirm the information provided is accurate, as well to confirm an address if one is provided.
    5. Suspicious E-mail Usage. If a renter’s e-mail address is odd-looking or uses a string of unintelligible characters, take a closer look before closing any deals. Likewise, if the listing employs poor grammar or uses non-standard English, it could be computer generated or posted by someone overseas. Use caution if you detect either of the above.
    6. Out Of The Country. This common trick should raise concern. Like the rest of the suspicious activity on this list: if you can’t see the property, meet the landlord, or sign any kind of document before exchanging money, do not engage in a rental agreement or send money.
    7. Use Trusted Vacation Rental Sites. Rather than renting from classified sites, such as Kijiji or Craigslist, seek out trusted vacation rental platforms like Jayne’s Cottage. Platforms that encourage two-way communication, offer clearly written contracts and payments by credit card can typically be trusted.

    Remember, don’t let scammers give you negative feelings towards finding your dream vacation rental online. Your perfect cottage is waiting for you, just use caution finding it. Please contact Jayne’s Cottages at any time to learn more about how to avoid rental scams or how we are protecting our guests and cottages owners. Jayne’s Cottages is extremely concerned about our guests’ and cottage owners well-being, and we will continue to advise on tips for avoiding rental scams in the future.Muskoka Rental Scams