One of the enduring myths of Canada is the pleasure of escaping from the city during the summer to spend holidays in a humble and probably homemade cabin beside a lake in the woods. That at least is the myth, but the myth has not caught up with reality. Cabins were replaced by cottages, and soon the cottages got electricity and running water and most of the comforts of urban life. More recently the cottages have been replaced by mansions or the cottages have simply started to cost as much as mansions. These days that escape to the woods may well cost C$1 million ($6.2 million), and some cost much more than that. Although there are many cottages available for less than C$1 million - and prices vary tremendously from region to region - the prices of all cottages have shot up dramatically in recent years, thanks to the same pressures that have driven up city prices. Whether as an investment or for personal use, cottages are a hot commodity because of low mortgage rates and because there are more people eager to buy than there are cottages for sale. Christine Martysiewicz of ReMax Canada, one of the largest real estate firms, summed it up neatly with the statement: 'They're not making any more waterfront for cottages.' Although there are cottages set back from water, most cottagers prefer waterfront properties. Ms Martysiewicz said that there were still affordable cottages without waterfront access, but they were less in demand. There are also affordable cottages in Atlantic Canada, where all real estate prices are far lower than in Ontario and on the west coast. But cheap prices in the Atlantic region are no solution for Canadians who want a weekend escape. Ms Martysiewicz said those with high incomes or who had inherited money were eager for a second home beside a lake. Although the peak season for the sale of recreational property was just beginning, there was every indication that this year's increase in prices in central Canada would match the 15 or 20 per cent jumps seen in recent years, she said.