This week’s Pontiac Journal, for an article on garbage collection, listed the permanent and seasonal populations for each municipality in the county. I didn’t know how many cottagers there were relative to the permanent population, so it caught my interest. There are 14,566 permanent residents in the Pontiac MRC, and, it turns out, 12,385 seasonal residents. Which is to say that for every 20 permanent residents, there are 17 seasonal residents — a lot more than I thought.
This seasonal population is not evenly distributed: municipalities with large cottaging areas have a lot more seasonal residents, whereas villages have few or none. This graph shows the raw numbers for each municipality:
It’s easy to see where the cottages are in this graph — and where the permanent residents aren’t. Mansfield is the largest municipality by population, but it also has cottaging areas; Bristol and Clarendon are agricultural townships with cottaging centres at Norway Bay, Richardson and Green Lakes, and Sand Bay.
And in some places the permanent residents are in the distinct minority during the summer. This graph charts the percentage of seasonal residents, where 1 equals 100 percent (i.e., there are as many seasonal residents as permanent residents):
Look at Sheenboro, whose permanent population (167) is the smallest of the 18 Pontiac municipalities; in the summer, that population is dwarfed by its 739 seasonal residents — nearly four and a half times as many.
When you have almost as many seasonal residents as permanent residents, you better believe that has implications for how this county runs — for its businesses, for the services provided, and for its politics.