Rented "The Reeve Cottage", a three-bedroom "old-fashioned" cottage at Victoria Beach Manitoba, from Catherine Davidson in Victoria, British Columbia, for two weeks in the summer of 2010. The ad on Kijiji Winnipeg waxed nostalgic about the cottage, suggesting a typical 1950s era cottage in the woods near a fabulous beach.
The cottage was filthy and in disrepair; the overpowering odor of mould and mildew inside suggested that the place had been closed up for months; however, the smell was soon eclipsed by that of a skunk that had made its home underneath back of the place, surrounded by high weeds. The neighbour/caretaker had advised us shortly after our arrival that he was leaving for Winnipeg, but his daughter might be up. The linens I paid for in advance were nowhere to be found.
The cottage had once been ventilated to let heat escape, but the upper vents were sealed. [continued below]....
..... The temperature of the screened porch reached over 100 degrees, and it was hotter inside. The windows could not be opened at night due to the skunk's nocturnal wanderings. We bought 4 fans to help air the place out, in addition to bedding.
The place was covered in cobwebs inside and out; the floors left your bare feet black. We spent the first day washing and cleaning, as we had hoped our grandchildren were joining us. My husband made minor repairs as best he could to exposed nails, a broken door and ripped screens. The mould smell never went away. The first break in the weather introduced us to the leaks around the windows and the roof.
When we went to check out the beach, it was awash in toxic green algae; apparently the lake has had a problem with this for years (see "Lake Slimed" story, Winnipeg Free Press, August 3, 2010).
We had arrived on Saturday and advised the owner by telephone on Wednesday that we could not tolerate the place.
I requested a refund of the second week and my damage deposit. She refused to refund the second week, refunded the linens, and only half of the damage deposit. My husband had to call her common law husband; she "forgot".
Be cautious about renting any cottage at Victoria Beach due to the toxic algae, but especially this one, located at 309 4th Avenue. The absentee owner is merely interested in your money; the place is s filthy mess.