Many Canadians find that after living and working many years in the city, they crave a simpler lifestyle in their retirement. This view has led to the increasing popularity of the "retirement cottage".

Cottages once enjoyed only in the summer are now being converted to year-round homes. But what should you look for when determining whether your cottage will make a suitable year round home? The most important issue to consider is whether or not there is suitable access to your property. Although it may not be a factor in the summer, poor roads can definitely affect you mobility in the winter.

As well, you need to consider whether or not you have access to all the necessary facilities, including hospitals, police, water and garbage collection. Another service worth exploring is 911. Having an emergency response team within close range can be very important for the elderly.

One example to look at is the District of Muskoka. Several cottage communities exist in Muskoka and the municipalities have responded to various demands by cottage retirees. They have implemented a 911 service, snowplowing on low traffic cottage roads, year-round curbside garbage collection and water and sewer upgrades. All these services have made their communities more attractive to the retiree.

Another very important issue to consider is the community itself. Will you be able to have a social life in your new surroundings? Although it may be a different atmosphere from the one you are used to, there is plenty to do at the cottage. There is a multitude of outdoor activities to enjoy in the summer and winter. If that's not enough, you can get involved with local charities to do volunteering or meet people through the local church or community centre. With more and more people choosing the cottage as their main residence you shouldn't have problems meeting people to enjoy activities with.

If you're retiring and looking for a change from the hectic pace of city life, consider the cottage life!

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