'Getting ready for summer': Manitoba's cabin, cottage industry optimistic for another busy year

Preparations are underway for the start of cottage season. The industry boomed during the pandemic and another big year is expected. Teagan Rasche reports.

Preparations are underway for the start of cottage season as vendors get their booths ready at the Cottage Country’s Lake and Cabin Show.

This industry boomed during the pandemic and one family who took advantage of that is still finding success.

“My wife and I, we travel quite a bit and at that time, we couldn’t travel so we needed something to do,” Corey Gorrell said. “We decided to do a bit of woodwork and it took off pretty quick and here we are today.”

So in September 2020, Gorrell launched Blue Bay Saunas.

Two and a half years later, the family company expects another busy season.

Meanwhile, there’s also optimism in the real estate market as one agent sees people from all demographics looking for second homes across Manitoba.

“The spring market for cottages usually starts when the freeze is over with, so we are still a couple months away from the main activity of cottage season but there is still some pent-up demand from previous years,” broker and co-owner of Century 21 Sun Country Realty Reg Black said.

Even as the industry prospered over the last few years, it did come with other challenges.

The president of the Whiteshell Cottagers Association says it will be interesting to see how this year plays out.

“These last few years we’ve seen a huge increase in people wanting to use the cottage, but then we have these problems with forest fires, restrictions in the park and last year just a disaster with flooding,” Ian Baragar said.

Despite small concerns on the minds of some industry professionals, many say the excitement and optimism for the season far outweigh any negatives.

“Right now is our busy time of the year,” Gorrell said. “People are thinking of opening the cottage and getting ready for summer.”

Next Monday marks the first day of spring, meaning another Manitoba summer is just around the corner.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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