BY ROBERT KOUMARELAS
Get a head start on summer with what the Spring Cottage Life Show showcased this year.
Cottage Life started in 1988 as a magazine focusing on a cottage lifestyle for Canadians, and since then has grown into a TV channel and annual exhibition show.
About 600 exhibitors showcasing their latest products and innovations, filled the International Centre ranging from simple food and beverage sampling at the Dock Party section, to appliances and furniture that could spruce up the place, to hulking boats and cottage units.
One of the highlights of the exhibit was unveiling of Bonneville Homes newest model of cottage, known as the Luna.
“What we do is prefab building, as we managed to build this house in matter of just a few days. It is fully winterized, 800 square feet, fully customized, with two bedrooms in this case. We have maximized every inch of space in this house,” explained Benoit Larochelle, the technical director for Bonneville Homes for 32 years and lead designer of the company’s newest model. “We have basically broke it down to the simplest way, because life is complex, life is fast, so we want to make things simple.”
Alongside the countless vendors at the show was University of Guelph’s own Wild Ontario, there to remind people of how beautiful and fragile many of Canada’s winged creatures truly are. Moet, a barred owl found commonly throughout the province, was injured by a car while looking for food and unfortunately can no longer go back into the wild to survive on his own, but has now become a sort of “species ambassador” for Wild Ontario.
While most students wouldn’t be interested in a show about a lifestyle that’s very hard to acquire at this point in their lives, the show offers inspiration and even direct ways to help students and get them interested.
For Sheridan’s visual arts students, Jamie Maclean, an artist specializing in oil paintings, offered some helpful tips that he picked up with his own experience in artwork.
“When you start showing your work and you want to sell it, you have to take off your studio hat and put on a business hat for a while. Coming from a business background, the one thing I notice is that a lot of artists I meet and deal with, they think in terms of art only. The art component is really important for sure, but you’ve got to be prepared to do the business thing as well.”
This is Maclean’s 10th time as an exhibitor at the Cottage Life Show. He also has six galleries throughout the province representing him.
Offering avenues of direct help, College Pro is a student-run window cleaning and painting business, originally founded to help college students with debt and help them learn how to eventually start their own business.
“For me personally, I’ve been running a business of my own for a few years, but I didn’t have that managerial sense until I joined. It helped me develop my skills as an entrepreneur, and gave me a sense of what it’s like to manage a bigger corporation. And I was happy being with this big group of people, and providing awesome services to the communities that we’re serving,” said Eli Smyth, the franchise manager of College Pro in Huntsville.