Tag Archives: Cottage Life

The Brigade: Race to the Hudson paddles into the past on Cottage Life

I’ve made no bones about my love of Canadian history on this website. From slightly fictionalized stories in Frontier to documentary series like Future History, 1491: The Untold History of the Americas and even The Other Side, I love it all. But would a program retracing the route of The York Factory Express, the 19th-century fur trade route, pique my interest?

Heck yeah.

Airing Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Cottage Life, the eight-part The Brigade: Race to the Hudson, follows 750 miles of the 2,600-mile fur trade route linking waterways from the coast of Oregon, through two states, four Canadian provinces, two mountain ranges and five river systems before ending on the icy shores of Hudson Bay in Manitoba. As an added bonus, the series cast 10 participants and placed $500,000 to split at the finish line. The catch? Working together as a team, just like the traders of the past, is key. And, with 750 miles of the route to cover in 28 days—from Castlegar, B.C., to York Factory—the task proved to be tough.

In last week’s debut, we were introduced to the participants, told no modern-day things like GPS or cell phones were allowed, and headed out. Food and other key supplies were planted along the way and the only way out was to quit or be medically evacuated. And, with military veterans, noodlers and folks used to the outdoors, spirits were high. But, as the miles passed by, bugs descended and dehydration became a concern, reality set in. This was going to be immensely difficult.

In Tuesday’s newest instalment, concerns surrounding Vincent are swirling. Will he be the first to go? Meanwhile, reaching the first cache successfully bolsters everyone’s spirits and gives them some much-need energy via vittles. But some bright yellow helmets hint at the white water coming up and navigational mistakes threaten to derail the team.

And while there is a cache of cash at the end of this journey, this isn’t Survivor or The Bachelor. People aren’t voted off. You have to work together to survive, success and cash in.

The Brigade: Race to the Hudson airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Cottage Life.

Image courtesy of Blue Ant Media.

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Adam Holman tackles weekend projects in excellent and entertaining Cottage Coach

I don’t have a cottage. I wish that I did. Someplace to get away, relax, sip a cool adult beverage. The thought of it makes me downright wistful. And yes, I realize there are lots that aren’t so fun about them—daily or seasonal upkeep, opening and closing them for the season and renovations—but even Adam Holman makes that look fun.

Each of the six episodes of the web series Cottage Coach—available now on cottagelife.com—features Holman as he takes on projects. The challenges range from building a removable flagpole and updating the deck at Cottage Life founder Al Zikovitz’s cottage to creating a pond float and a pergola. The projects are meant to be done in a few hours or a weekend—writer/director Chris Jackson, producer Cynthia Mutheardy and director of photography and editor Amanda Fusco all help Holman in his quest—and are packed with safety tips and facts (flip over a deck board instead of replacing it, or a super-cool way to remove a headless nail) that fit perfectly within a webisode.

We spoke to Adam Holman about Cottage Coach; catch him at the 2019 Fall Cottage Life Show that runs from Friday, October 25 to Sunday, October 27 at the International Centre, Mississauga. Tickets are available now on cottagelife.com.

Give me your background. Are you a professional carpenter? Are you a professional DIYer? Are you a guy that just does stuff on the side? How does it work for you?
Adam Holman: I’ve always loved building things. I’ve always loved working with my hands and taking chances and opportunities, and just going for it, and making mistakes and learning from my mistakes. And that’s kind of what got me into building things, to begin with. My school background is media and television. And it all just kind of came together. I started working for Cottage Life cutting promos for TV shows. And an opportunity came up to start doing DIY projects. And we started small, just doing little projects, and it kind of grew. And then I started hosting my DIY projects, and that’s kind of how we fell into the idea to do Cottage Coach.

In the first webisode, you’re at Al Zikovitz’s cottage.
AH: Al started Cottage Life. And we thought that would be a great way to start Cottage Coach, to take it full circle and bring it back to Al’s cottage and have him put me to work. We knew we wanted to do builds that involved the crew and have that behind-the-scenes feel to the show. And we thought having Al in the first episode or first two episodes would just go full circle. And it was really humbling for him, too, and he loved being part of it.

You don’t just show people how to do things. You also pack a ton of little tips in, like ‘Click the link below to find out how to sharpen your chainsaw,’ ‘Firepit safety.’ You have fit so much information just into a five-minute segment or a seven-minute segment.  
AH: Yeah, 100 per cent. When we sat down and first started talking about this whole Cottage Coach idea, we didn’t want the show to look like every other show out there. I wanted to make it so that we weren’t hiding things from the audience, and you got that behind-the-scenes feel where you saw me talking to Chris, our director. And you see the crew helping out when I can’t carry everything myself. And it just made it a little bit different from anything else out there. That’s the plan. We want to keep it going like that and keep it open for people and let them see what actually happens.

One of the things that really stuck out for me was flipping a deck board rather than replacing it. So simple and so genius. So often on a home reno show, it’s, ‘OK, we need to replace everything.’ You said, ‘Flip it over. If it’s not rotten, you’re good to go.’
AH: Exactly. And there’s little tips and tricks like that that we want to get out there for cottagers, because when you’re in cottage country there sometimes isn’t someone to call every time, and you have to do those things yourself. It’s a great way to get these little tips and tricks across to people, and it’s fun and it’s entertaining all at the same time.

It looked to me as though each of these projects, even some of the bigger ones, are the type of thing that you can either knock off in a day or maybe in a weekend. Was that the whole point? 
AH: Yeah. The pergola, we wanted to go out with a big bang and kind of do something exciting and a little bit bigger for the end of the season. But I also wanted to keep it simple enough that somebody could do it. You didn’t have to go and dig a whole bunch of sono tubes in, and pour concrete. I attached it to an existing structure that was already there. But the other ones, yeah, we wanted to make it easy enough that people could just go pick up some wood and build these projects, show how easy it was to build a raft, and just the tips around the cottage, the flagpole. Most people are only up at their cottage for the weekend, so we wanted to make those projects easy enough for people to do in one weekend.

What’s going to happen when you show up at the fall Cottage Life Show? 
AH: I have three main stage presentations, every day at 11:30 a.m. And then I’m going to be going back to the Cottage Life booth where I can chat with fans, meet and greet, and just talk about the show. There’s a lot at the show. There’s tons of things like fall prevention, renovation, real estate, entertaining at the cottage. And there’s so many vendors. It’s just a great place for anybody to come, who have a cottage or don’t have a cottage, and learn about what the great outdoors is and just living up north.

Catch the web series Cottage Coach with Adam Holman, exclusively on cottagelife.com.

You can also catch Adam Holman at the 2019 Fall Cottage Life Show that runs from Friday, October 25 to Sunday, October 27 at the International Centre, Mississauga. Tickets are available now on cottagelife.com.

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Danielle Bryk renovates her family’s getaway in The Bryk Cottage

When Danielle Bryk agreed to renovate her family cottage, she had no clue that—partway through the project—cameras would arrive on the scene to capture everything for a television show. She’d been consulting on the renovation of sister Terry and brother-in-law Norman’s dilapidated, outdated Georgian Bay property but Norman had been running the project. Then a television producing job came calling and Norman had to leave.

“He said, ‘Oh god, you need to take over. You need to help Terry out,” Bryk (Home to Win) says over the phone. “I’m the resident renovator in the family, so I couldn’t really refuse.” Then, totally by coincidence, Cottage Life came calling and asked if Bryk had any projects on the go. She mentioned the cottage reno and they jumped on board.

The Bryk Cottage, debuting Thursday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Cottage Life, isn’t your typical renovation series. This is a true documentary that, over the course of six episodes, shows Bryk organizing and executing the project under the watchful eye of Terry. Episode 1 introduces the folks involved and expectations; Terry and Norman bought the property years ago and it’s served as a homey getaway for the burgeoning family. Now it’s time for an upgrade. Terry has high-end plans for the home and it’s up to Bryk to keep costs down and the project on schedule.

“My sister is such a great sport,” Bryk says. “She has no filter. We finished filming one bit and she said, ‘Great, I’m probably going to come off as a total b-word!’ I said, ‘Dude, you knew they were rolling!’ She is a great sport and she knows it does make for great TV.” It certainly does.

But aside from the siblings butting heads over materials and budgets, The Bryk Cottage is educational. Constructing a passive building is explored for Terry and Norman. Bryk first heard of the concept about 20 years ago in a book by Sir Terence Conran. The idea of keeping a home heated or cooled passively stuck with her and she jumped at the chance to capture and utilize the sun’s heat to its full advantage through the use of windows and insulation. She recalls filming The Bryk Cottage through the winter and the building being nice and toasty thanks to just a small space heater the drywall guy was using. The Bryk Cottage is educational and entertaining, but it’s also telling a story many can relate to.

“The crux of all this is family and of connection,” Bryk says. “It’s so important these days to carve out spaces and time to do that kind of thing. To me, it’s the only thing that matters.”

The Bryk Cottage airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Cottage Life.

Image courtesy of Blue Ant Media.

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Cottage Life celebrates spring with seven new and returning series

From a media release:

After a long winter, Cottage Life is celebrating spring with an eight-week, national free preview running until May 5, with a slate of brand new series that showcase weekend and lakefront living. Headlining the new lineup is The Bryk Cottage (6×30), a documentary series that follows professional contractor and TV contractor and designer, Danielle Bryk, as she knocks down and rebuilds her sister’s beloved, but dilapidated cottage with thoughtful design and eco-friendly materials. Also new this spring, the channel gives audiences an advanced look at the first episode of the fan favourite series Life Below Zero: Canada (1×30), which will air in full in 2020. Popular Canadian-shot series Lakefront Luxury (10×30) and Hope For Wildlife (10×60) are both back with new seasons and Bondi Vet: Coast to Coast (10×60) introduces new vets to Bondi Vet fans.

As an added springtime bonus, Cottage Life fans in Toronto, Ottawa and Edmonton have the chance to meet Danielle Bryk, Hope Swinimer, two of the Australian Bondi Vets, as well as Sue Aikens from the original Life Below Zero series at different upcoming Cottage Life consumer shows. For more information on the TV talent lined up for each Cottage Life Show visit shows.cottagelife.com.

Free Preview Premieres on Cottage Life

World’s Wildest Weather (Canadian Premiere, season two)
Mondays at 9 p.m. ET/PT starting March 11
From freak tornadoes to hailstones the size of footballs, this fast-paced, adrenaline-filled documentary series charts some of the most extreme weather from around the world with first-hand, witness statements and personal footage, bringing viewers right into the panic and drama of being caught up in a storm.

Lakefront Luxury (World Premiere, season two)
Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT, starting March 14
The second season of this aspirational series, gives viewers more stunning views, gorgeous waterfronts and serene sunsets. With unlimited budgets and endless wish lists, each episode explores three opulent properties, which a featured buyer chooses from.

Bondi Vet: Coast to Coast (World Premiere, season one)
Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET/10 p.m. PT, starting March 27
Fan favourite series Bondi Vet has been revamped and will introduce five new Australian vets from across the Australia who offer a myriad of exciting animal stories, ranging from the exotic and wild to our favourite domestic creatures.

The Bryk Cottage (World Premiere, season one)
Thursday at 9 p.m. ET/PT, beginning March 28
This documentary series follows contractor and designer Danielle Bryk as she knocks down and rebuilds her sister and brother-in-law’s much-loved, but dilapidated cabin into a new stunning vacation home. Danielle deals with real-life issues as she works with a team of local contractors to use passive building standards that create a low carbon footprint cottage and a new getaway the entire family can cherish for generations.

Hope for Wildlife (World Premiere, season nine)
Friday at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT, beginning April 5
A brand new season follows beloved nature advocate Hope Swinimer and her team as they rescue animals at her Halifax-based wildlife refuge and release them back into the wild. In this season, Hope forges a new partnership with an expert rescue crew.

Log Cabin Fever (Canadian Premiere, season two)
Saturdays at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m PT, starting on April 6
New episodes follow southern jack of all trades Charlie Norman, as he and his crew travel throughout Tennessee and the Carolinas to salvage log cabins, barns, churches and old mills. To the Log Cabin team, they are hidden gems waiting to be mined for rare raw materials or carefully resurrected.

Life Below Zero: Canada (30-minute premiere episode; World Premiere Sneak Peek) This 30-minute, premiere episode airs Sunday, April 21 at 8 p.m. ET/9 p.m. PT
Based on BBC’s successful format, Life Below Zero: Canada is an observational documentary series about people who live off the grid in remote regions of northern Canada. The new series is being shot on location in Canada with a focus on Canadian people and stories. The full series airs on Cottage Life in 2020.

Engage with Cottage Life: @cottagelife #cottagelife

Cottage Life, is a Blue Ant Media multi-platform brand, celebrating the people, activities and places that make leisure time special. Exclusive content covers real estate, food, DIY projects and much more. Both informative and entertaining, no one captures the essence of weekend living like this.

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Colin and Justin return to their roots in Great Canadian Cottages

Colin McAllister and Justin Ryan’s recent Canadian television programming has seen them up to their elbows in rotten wood, bugs and questionable style choices in three seasons of Cabin Pressure. In that series, the duo purchased and renovated their own cottages while offering tips and tricks to DIY projects.

Now the pair is back with a new series—Great Canadian Cottages, debuting Thursday at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Cottage Life—that harkens back to their early days in the business.

“This is really us going back to Colin and Justin, Stage 1,” McAllister says over the phone. “Our background is newspapers and magazines and we’ve interviewed stars and celebs about their homes. We’ve always been in the market to listen to people and share their stories. We’ve done it in print media for years but this gave us the opportunity to do it on-camera.”

McAllister says Great Canadian Cottages is a natural evolution from Cabin Pressure. In that program, episodes followed their story from destruction and renovation to completion. Great Canadian Cottages turns the cameras on other cottage owners as they explain the inspiration for their getaways and digs deep into the nuts and bolts of building outside of big cities. There are also experts on hand who weigh in on some of the construction choices made. In Episode 1, that includes the windows utilized in a shimmering glass block built for a professional photographer so he could make the most of natural light.

Each 30-minute episode finds McAllister and Ryan telling the stories of distinctive cottages with amazing architectural flair, uncovering the carefully crafted design features of each home and learning more about the geographic regions they are built upon. (Fans of the pair can meet them in person at the 2018 Cottage Life Show in Toronto this weekend. Click here for more details.)

There have been plenty of surprises in Season 1. Among them are a getaway made out of straw and clay that has no 90-degree angles and the abode built by former Toronto Maple Leafs great Wendel Clark. It turns out the gritty goal scorer has a knack for gardening and a flair for fashionable homes.

“He’s a real bruiser, so we figured [his cottage] would be like a sports bar with a giant TV,” McAllister recalls. “We get to this beautiful house and gardens that you would pay money to visit. Wendel and his wife, Denise, are the most humble, down-to-earth lovely people. He talked us through the house they made, the garden that they do themselves with their own four hands. And he talks about transitional furniture and just bloody owns it.”

“Colin and I walked away from that saying, ‘If a hockey player can become an interior designer, do you think an interior designer can become a hockey player?” he continues. “I think it’s time for Colin and Justin to take up the puck!”

Great Canadian Cottages airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Cottage Life.

Image courtesy of Blue Ant Media.

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