Great Muskoka Paddling Experience includes SUPs this year

(August 26, 2015 BRACEBRIDGE) More races, more prizes, more fun! That’s what organizers have in store for anyone who takes part in the fifth annual Great Muskoka Paddling Experience on October 10. The event is for paddlers of all ages and skill levels and features categories for kayaks, canoes and stand-up paddleboards (SUP).

With the rising popularity of SUPs, a special 5 km race has been added to the 20 km long course, 10 km short course and 2.5 km fun run. The 5 km race is open for a limited number of categories (recreational canoe and kayaks, planing paddleboards paddled by novices, ICF K1 Sprinters, and Hobie foot pedal driven) and  the female and male SUP winners of this race will each be awarded a carbon-fiber displacement SUP donated by KayakSportCanada.

Trophies and medals will be awarded to the top finishers in the more than 35 categories and all participants are eligible for the prize draws, with prizes donated by Paddle Shack, LIV Outside and Algonquin Outfitters. The event, sanctioned by the Ontario Marathon Canoe & Kayak Racing Association (OMCKRA), is also the site of the 2015 Provincial Marathon Championships, so it will be a great opportunity to check out some of the fastest equipment and paddlers in the province.

The 2015 Great Muskoka Paddling Experience will take place on Saturday, October 10th at Annie Williams Park in Bracebridge. For more information, visit

Fire quickly put out at Bracebridge Hospital emergency department

(August 26, 2015 BRACEBRIDGE) Fire broke out in the Emergency Department at the South Muskoka Memorial Hospital in Bracebridge this morning.

Staff took immediate action to extinguish the fire that started at 8:40am. Patients were evacuated from the affected area until the fire department arrived. No patients, staff and physicians were injured during the incident. At 9:30 a.m., the fire department cleared the scene as the fire had been fully extinguished. Clean-up in the department is under way. Patients are being cared for in an alternate area of the hospital until the Emergency Department is ready to accept patients once again.

Tremendous Response to Fire at SMMH site, says MAHC

Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare (MAHC) CEO Natalie Bubela commended staff for their immediate response.

“Public and patient safety is of utmost importance at MAHC,” says Bubela. “Staff and physicians followed protocols we have in place and did a tremendous job managing the situation and keeping our patients safe.”

A debrief was held immediately following the incident to determine further remedial action and to discuss ways in which to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.

In a release, MAHC expressed gratitude to the emergency services for their quick response.


New Muskoka Lakes CAO hails from South Dundas

(August 25 PORT CARLING) The Township of Muskoka Lakes has a new Chief Administrative Officer (CAO). In a release today, Mayor Don Furniss and Council announced the appointment of John Stephen McDonald (Steve) to the position, effective September 14, 2015.

McDonald brings over 30 years of municipal experience, with the last 10 as the CAO of the municipality of South Dundas in Eastern Ontario. Steve has held positions of increasing responsibility during his municipal career, in the areas of finance, human resources and also as a municipal Clerk and Treasurer.

South Dundas shares many similarities to Muskoka Lakes. Both are lower tier municipalities in a six-municipality upper tier government. They also have similar size permanent populations that are predominantly rural with small urban centres.

Mayor Furniss stated that; “We welcome Steve to the Township of Muskoka Lakes and look forward to the benefit of Steve’s administrative and people skills in providing leadership to our staff and moving forward with the implementation of the Township’s Strategic Plan.

Furniss also extended thanks to Interim CAO, Mr. Clayton Harris who Furniss said “has done an exemplary job for the Township over the past 14 months.”

Good Brothers wrap Barge: will cruise Gravenhurst again August 29

Review and photos by Mike Tombs

(August 16, 2015 GRAVENHURST) It was as good as it gets last Sunday as the Good Brothers brought the season of music on the barge at Gull Lake Park in Gravenhurst to a close. In front of a massive crowd, these iconic performers dazzled everyone with their country/bluegrass style music with sounds that have gained them recognition and earned them a place in the music hall of fame.

24th time closing Music on the Barge

The band opened with a rousing jig style instrumental that made it obvious to the audience why these three brothers have been the longest running act at the barge. goodBros-3goodBros-1-groupFiddle and banjo, along with a harmonica, set the stage for the night’s tempo of uniquely Canadian country/bluegrass/soft rock sounds the Good Brothers are known for. MC and Program Director for music on the barge, Fred Schulz, called them “the icons of the barge.”

Songs such as “Honey and Heartache” and “St Anne’s Reel” and other classic Good Brothers tunes filled the evening with the tempos that had the crowd singing and moving in rhythm on this humid August night.

Bruce Good spoke to the crowd telling a story about a song that they composed after a bus tour across Canada in which their father, Harold Good, accompanied them on. He said it started many years ago at the Palace Hotel in Toronto. On a particular day, Good decided to go the Palace for a beer while his wife, Albina Good, was out on other errands. As it happens, Good was told about an employment opportunity in which he decided to follow up on as a part-time job. As it turns out, that job lasted 35 years of service at Massey Ferguson.

During goodBros-6his time there, Harold planned to make enough money to move his family west, a long time dream of his that didn’t become a reality. As fate would have it, his chance came when his sons were on a Canada-wide tour. After several weeks of traveling the tour bus finally made a stop at a place that encompassed an amazing vista, and Good senior was noticed to be shedding tears. When asked why he was tearful he told his sons that for 35 years he had longed to see the west, and finally seeing it reminded him of lost army buddies that never had the chance. Thus the country ballad titled “An Old Man’s Tears” was born, a sad and solemn tune that moved the crowd and honored the vets worldwide. A single lyric line spoke volumes: “an old man’s tears are falling, one for every soul” – truly a heartfelt and dedicated song for our warrior heroes.

As the evening wore away Bruce Good also spoke about an interview they had once done and were asked what they thought was their favorite gig to play, responding “the barge in Gravenhurst: it’s one of the most beautiful spots to gig.” Good also said “we are proud of our association with the Gravenhurst music on the barge, and with Fred Schulz.”

The Good Brothers are coming back to Gravenhurst August 29 to play an afternoon cruise. Details to be announced at a later date.

About Muskoka News Watch – consider donating to keep your Muskoka info flowing: Muskoka News Watch exists primarily on donations. If you like being informed, please toss a few dollars our way using the Donate Button on the top right hand corner of our Home Page (you can use PayPal, Credit Cards or Debit your bank account). Your support is needed and appreciated. Thank you!



Flatmuzik review: exhibit by Canadian music icons on to August 23

Review and photos by Mike Tombs

(August 19, 2015 PORT CARLING) Muskokans are seeing another side of the two creative minds of musicians Marc Jordan and Murray McLauchlan at the Muskoka Art Gallery in Port Carling. Their exhibit Flatmuzik runs until August 23. MNW’s Mike Tombs took in the exhibit

opening and here is his review.

As the skies opened up and the rain pounded mother earth, inside the Muskoka Art Gallery in Port Carling a number of art lovers had

flatmuzik by murray mclauchlan and marc jordan
Jesus of the Lobsters draws fans

gathered to take in the gala opening of Flatmuzik, an art exhibit by Marc Jordan and Murray McLauchlan on August 14.

The mix and mingle gala was casual, light and visually enhanced by the artistic works of Jordan and McLauchlan.

faltmuzik-3Jordan, a composer, musician and artist, displayed his “Red Canoe” series along with two very unique and eclectic Picasso-style paintings that infused art and music in a mixed media presentation with stunning results. McLauchlan showcased his landscapes, along with a portrait of a lobster fisherman, entitled, “Jesus of the lobsters”, proving that his creativity and talent isn’t limited to a score sheet by any means.

When asked how their music and art influence each other, he answered, “It’s like putting pictures in an order. When I write I have a vision of how I want the song to go. Painting is the same, except I put paint to canvas until what I see is there.” Jordan, when asked the same question, replied. “ When I compose I will jam to a tape pushing words around, and it’s pretty much the same when I paint.” Jordan also commented on what was the influence behind his Red Canoe series saying. “There is no better technology, it’s something I enjoy and appreciate”.

Red Canoe by Marc Jordan
Red Canoe by Marc Jordan

Host and co-owner Gary Froude, a 20-year veteran in the Muskoka region as a gallery owner stated “these two creative minds have certainly put the music on the canvas and it’s an honor to display their fine artistic works.”

As the visitors strolled among the colorful, vibrant and bold artistic productions, Steven Blevins and Sonja Morawetz, local art fans,

Sold: McLauchlan and Steven Blevins frame "Storm Coming"
Sold: McLauchlan and Steven Blevins frame “Storm Coming”

announced quietly that they had purchased a McLauchlan painting named “Storm coming”, a beautiful rendition inspired by the Stoney Lake area in Ontario. Another visitor, CPC candidate Tony Clement, said the piece he was particularly impressed by was McLauchlan’s “Jesus of the lobsters”.”

Muskoka Art Gallery will exhibit the inspiring Flatmuzik until August 23 and the owners invite everyone to come and view these works.

For more information call 705-765-1048 or email: Muskoka Place Gallery is found at 1182 Foreman Road in Port Carling.

About Muskoka News Watch – consider donating to keep your Muskoka info flowing: Muskoka News Watch exists primarily on donations. If you like being informed, please consider a donation using the Donate Button on the top right hand corner of our Home Page (you can use Credit Cards, PayPal or Debit). Your support is needed and appreciated. Thank you!

Woodlands and Wildlife Forest Festival and Gifts of the Forest Marketplace in Huntsville

(August 20 4:30pm HUNTSVILLE RELEASE) As part of the Healthy Trees Program launched in 2014, Muskoka Conservancy and Westwind Forest Stewardship will host two public events in October: the Woodlands and Wildlife Forest Festival on Friday, October 2 and the Gifts of the Forest Marketplace on Saturday, October 3.

The Woodlands and Wildlife Forest Festival will provide a forum for discussion of current hot topics related to forest and tree health, and will offer opportunities for learning and sharing knowledge for practitioners and the general public. The festival will take place on Friday, October 2 between 8:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. at the Active Living Centre in Huntsville, Ontario.

This year’s day-long event will bring together local professionals and private landowners to hear about topics including: “The Future of Ontario’s Forests”, Emerald Ash Borer, Beech Bark Disease, Flying Squirrels, and Wolves and Coyotes. Peter Schleifenbaum, owner of Haliburton Forest, an 80,000-acre forest that was recognized as Canada’s first certified sustainable forest, will be the keynote speaker for the day.

The Healthy Trees Program, launched in April 2014, is a joint program of the Muskoka Conservancy and Westwind Forest Stewardship.

“This program is a resource for landowners who are looking for answers about tree and forest health on their own properties – whether it is a small lot on a lake in Muskoka, or a property in town,” said Jenn LeMesurier, Property Management Coordinator with Muskoka Conservancy. The theme for this year’s event is “Forests of the Future”.

“We are looking forward to hearing about the status of our forests in the Muskoka region, and also some of the threats we may soon face. We have some great speakers lined up to share their expertise,” said LeMesurier.

Registration for the Friday event is $50 per person and includes lunch. Businesses and organizations are welcome to register and bring a booth at a cost of $100 per booth, which includes one registration. Students can register for $30.

New this year, for Saturday is the “Gifts of the Forest Marketplace” event in conjunction to the Forest Festival.

“This event will host artisans and crafters from the Muskoka region who work with materials found in the forest”, says Becca Ferguson, Stewardship Technician. “We will feature paddle making, chainsaw carving, bowl turning, and bird carving to give you examples of the types of displays”.  This will be a fun and interactive day for families to browse, watch demonstrations, learn how to make their own gifts from the forest and purchase handcrafted items, and support Muskoka Conservancy. The Marketplace will take place on Saturday, October 3rd between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the Active Living Centre in Huntsville, Ontario. Entrance to the event is by donation.

For more information and to register for the Forest Festival, please contact 705-645-7393 ext. 200 or email:

Updated: Half million for local hospital infrastructure upgrades announced


(August 19 2pm MUSKOKA – Updated 11pm with reaction from MAHC & provincial release) Just over half a million dollars has been earmarked for Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare (MAHC) as part of a multi million dollar announcement to shore up hospital infrastructure across Ontario.

Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare is receiving $506,291, and in this fiscal year, will get $338,484 in Health Infrastructure Renewal Fund (HIRF) grants. Premier Kathleen Wynne made the announcement today that the province was providing approximately $125 million in total through 2015-16 to hospitals to renew critical infrastructure. She says the investment will help ensure patients continue to receive high-quality care in a safe and healthy environment.

She made the announcement at Toronto East General Hospital. Hospitals in the North Simcoe Muskoka LIHN (Local Integrated Health Network) include South Muskoka Memorial Hospital and Huntsville Memorial Hospital under Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare. There’s no word yet on whether both hospitals in Bracebridge and Huntsville will benefit from the upgrade funding.

Reacting to the announcement today, however, MAHC CEO Natalie Bubel said “MAHC is fortunate to be receiving hospital infrastructure renewal funding to upgrade our aging facilities. This is good news for us as we recognize our buildings are old and in poor condition, and don’t meet standards. We will be reviewing our greatest needs across the organization and the criteria around this funding to determine the best use of these funds.”

A ministry of health official says the amounts below are funds the other North Simcoe and Muskoka hospitals will receive from the HIRF as a result of this announcement (a LIHN release also shows the total allocation for infrastructure funding expected, including money previously committed for planning. You can view that release by clicking on this link: Hospital Infrastructure Funding Aug19-15E).

The new money coming from the HIRF for each hospital:
*   Collingwood General and Marine Hospital ($48,525)
*   Georgian Bay General Hospital ($669,927)
*   Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital ($354,735)
*   Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (($12,046)
*   Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care ($915,497)

The money for hospitals in our regional LIHN is expected to be used for upgrades such as roof replacements, new windows, improved heating, ventilation, air conditioning and more.

In the 2015 Budget, the government committed to providing more than $11 billion in hospital capital grants over 10 years, including grants administered through the HIRF.

Here is the province-wide release from the Ontario government today, reprinted verbatim.
Ontario Investing $125 Million in Hospital Repairs and Upgrades

Fund Will Help 128 Hospitals Continue to Provide High-Quality Health Care

Ontario is providing approximately $125 million in 2015-16 to hospitals across the province to renew critical infrastructure, helping to ensure patients continue to receive high-quality care in a safe and healthy environment.

Premier Kathleen Wynne made the announcement today at Toronto East General Hospital, which will receive approximately $1.7 million in 2015-16 through the Health Infrastructure Renewal Fund (HIRF). Across Ontario, 128 hospitals will receive HIRF grants to support crucial infrastructure projects to extend the useful life or improve the quality of their facilities. Projects will include:

>Structural upgrades such as roof replacements and new windows
>Upgraded heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems
>Improvements such as upgrading back-up generators
>Upgraded fire alarm systems and other work needed to address requirements under the Ontario Building Code and the Ontario Fire Code.

In the 2015 Budget, the government committed to providing more than $11 billion in hospital capital grants over 10 years, including grants administered through the HIRF. This funding is part of the largest infrastructure investment in Ontario’s history — more than $130 billion over 10 years. This investment is helping connect regions, develop new economic opportunities and improve quality of life for Ontarians by supporting infrastructure projects in cities, towns, and rural and remote communities across the province.

Upgrading health-care infrastructure is part of the government’s plan for Ontario. The four-part plan is building Ontario up by investing in people’s talents and skills, making the largest investment in public infrastructure in Ontario’s history, creating a dynamic, innovative environment where business thrives, and building a secure retirement savings plan.


Andy’s Ride rides again around Muskoka Lakes – CORRECTION

(August 18, 11:30am CORRECTION). The Andy’s Ride pictorial did not properly recognize those who worked so hard to provide food for the Ride.  Stephen’s Butcher Shop and Jason Fitzsimmons of donated all the food and did all the volunteering regarding food, while Field of Greens helped with the rest stops. The latter had been credited originally with the lunch. Muskoka News Watch regrets the error.

(August 16, 2015 9pm MUSKOKA LAKES) Over 70 cyclists rose to the 30, 97 and 103kilometre challenge of Andy’s Ride to raise money for Andy’s House Hospice today. The first group of riders left at 8:30am for their route and everyone was pretty much done by noon. The organizers want to thank all volunteers.

(Muskoka News Watch editor Norah Fountain followed the cyclists around the lakes and provides the pictures of the day below. Funds raised for the day had not been tallied as of time of publishing.)

Many riders were curious to know how things were going in terms of construction of Andy’s House, one of three buildings on Brock and Willa Wellness Centre site (the other two are the Port Carling Nursing Station and the Hub of the Lakes Retirement Resident). The area for the hospice has been cleared and staked, and some fill is going in as site preparation continues.

Nursing station broke ground July 1

Construction is also moving ahead on the Nursing Station. Contractors broke ground for it on July 1st and Linda Edwards says they are now working on the footings of the building.

Volunteers are still looking to donors to raise capital to raise the roof on Andy’s House, along with monies to sustain the hospice. As a charitable organization, Hospice Muskoka can issue tax receipts for entire donations to Andy’s House.

Donations and events like the recent Sinatra celebration are still bringing needed funds for all three buildings planned.

“For many people, hospice is an unknown,” said Andy’s House volunteer Bob Potts today as he and our MNW Editor waited for the 103K riders at Baycliffe Park in Milford Bay. Potts would like to change that.

People often don’t know that hospice can be for anyone. With a hospice in place, anyone who is experiencing terminal illness or near death can choose to be in a homey place where family can visit around the clock. In the case of Andy’s House, it also means that those who love Muskoka can pass in a place looking out over the Indian River.

To learn what you can do to donate to Andy’s House Hospice, contact Matt Hanes at 705 644-0202 or Hospice Muskoka. To learn more about Andy’s House Hospice, click here.

About Muskoka News Watch – consider donating to keep your Muskoka info flowing: Muskoka News Watch exists primarily on donations. If you like being informed, please toss a few dollars our way using the Donate Button on the top right hand corner of our Home Page (you can use Credit Cards or Debit). Your support is needed and appreciated. Thank you!




Sinatra celebration raises another $4K for Muskoka Lakes Health Hub

Review and photos by Mike Tombs


(August 12, 2015 PORT CARLING) Born August 12, 1915 the legacy known as Frank Sinatra was celebrated at the Port Carling Community Center on the 100th year, to the day, of his amazing career and life. And celebrating the legacy also meant another $4,020 raised for the Muskoka Lakes Community Health Hub.

Peter Jennings of “Be My Guest”  was the host and the night included a highly acclaimed list of performers for a night of Sinatra songs that have traversed the test of time: hit songs that today are still easily recognized and enjoyed since the first rendition “ole blues eyes” performed. When the doors opened, it became obvious that this evening’s entertainment would be a huge success and the 260-seat capacity would be fully realized.

June Garber and Mitch Beube
It Was A Very Good Year: June Barber and Mitch Beube

Jazz dynamos Mitch Beube and Mike Lewis warmed up the crowd

Mitch Beube was on the saxophone and Jennings commented that Beube “is the best friend a sax ever had”. Beube was joined with Mike Lewis on the keyboards, providing an entertaining and mood setting series of pre-show musical melodies. An audience made up of a mature assemblage was first entertained by Jennings, singing songs such as “A Foggy Day In London” and “Don’t Worry About Me” in a manner that portrayed Sinatra`s essence and class. Head gestures, subtle hand motions and finger snapping so common of the late great Sinatra were obvious and true to “ole blue eyes” style and stage presence.

Beckoned back to the stage once more were Lewis and Beube, who with  Jennings, performed songs of Sinatra fame that received a hardy applause, especially the sax solo and keyboard solo that was jazzy and typically jumpy of the vaudeville days from that era.

Once more Jennings graced the stage for “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” and ballroom dancers John and Joanne Baird joined him. These dancers extraordinaire showed the audience that dancing in that time period was an art, and they performed with flair and form.

Jazz guitarist Jim Chapman and his 51-year-old guitar took to the performance platform, and along with sax man Beube showed the audience the power of lyrics and music, made famous by Sinatra, that even in today’s age are still favorites and timeless. “The Girl From Ipanema” and “It Was A Very Good Year” were the attendee favorites and earned a rousing applause.

SCC-1 Jennings and Sandler
Remembering Ruth Lowe: Peter Jennings and Tom Sandler with a portrait of Sandler’s mother

Remembering Ruth Lowe, songwriter

Tom Sandler, son of the famous Canadian musician and lyricist Ruth Lowe, was next to take the stage. Speaking to his mother’s connection to Sinatra and the Tom Dorsey Orchestra, Sandler informed the audience that Sinatra`s theme song “Put Your Dreams Away” was written by Lowe. Sinatra, for 25 years, sang that musical wonder as the last song at every performance he gave, along with another well known song also written by Lowe called, “I’ll Never Smile Again”. With Jack Hutton at the keyboards, Sandler sang his mother’s amazing and fame-making song. “I’ll never smile again” was the song that launched Lowe’s amazing career.

Internationally acclaimed June Garber, a lady of truly fascinating and substantial fame, was the last singer to bless the crowd with her renditions of “Mack The Knife”, “All The Way” and many other marvelous songs of Sinatra fame. With a voice that was crisp, clear and sweet, this lady gave the community center a taste of class and heart, and as Jennings described it, “this woman has a big heart and didn’t hesitate when asked to perform here tonight, donating her time to our cause.” Graceful and full of feeling, Garber astounded the full capacity crowd, prompting a standing ovation she rightly deserved.

Peter Jennings at Sinatra Celebration
Stand in Sinatra: Peter Jennings and jazz guitarist Jim Chapman

100% of the evening’s ticket sales went to the Muskoka Lakes Community Health Hub on the grounds of the Brock and Wellness Centre in Port Carling – and the performers waived their normal fees.

To view future “Be My Guest” events with Peter Jennings, click here.

Featured photo: John and Joanne Baird dance to “I’ve Got You Under My Skin”

About Muskoka News Watch – consider donating to keep your Muskoka info flowing: Muskoka News Watch exists primarily on donations. If you like being informed and/or reading indepth reviews of events like these, please toss a few dollars our way using the Donate Button on the top right hand corner of our Home Page (you can use Credit Cards or Debit). Your support is needed and appreciated. Thank you!

Man seriously injured by boat prop in accident near Big Chute

(August 16, 2015 GEORGIAN BAY) A man was seriously injured by the propellor of the boat he was driving on the inland side of Big Chute yesterday.

Members of the Southern Georgian Bay OPP detachment say they were called to help shortly after 7pm on Saturday, August 15.

They report the male boater was towing a person on a recreational floatation device. After stopping his boat. He jumped in to the water to take a turn and that’s when he came in contact with the boat’s propellor.

The unidentified 32-year-old man was airlifted to a Toronto area hospital where his condition was unknown at press time.

Lightning strike sparks Bunkie fire near Minett

(August 14, 6am MINETT) It was a rough night for some on Peninsula Road last night. A small bunkie at 1901 Peninsula Road, Unit 23 went up in flames after being struck by lightning. Fire crews were dispatched from Minett, Port Carling, and Foot’s Bay. On arrival, they found the 10 x 10 bunkie to be fully engulfed in flames. The fire was quickly brought under control and extinguished. There were no injuries. Damage is estimated at $6,000.

Just before the lightning strike, a driver called MNW to say a power outage at one point had made the bridge at Port Sandfield impassable for a short while.

Near drowning for summer camper off Beausoleil Island

(August 12, 9:30am GEORGIAN BAY) A 14-year-old narrowly escaped drowning when quick thinking summer camp staffers pulled him out from under a sailboat that had capsized.

The Southern Georgian Bay detachment of the OPP reports they were called to Beausoleil Island to help shortly after 2pm on Wednesday.

Police say the boy was operating a sailboat off of the island when it capsized and he became tangled underwater in the sail rigging, which kept him held underwater.

Quick action by camp staff members brought the unconscious boy back to the surface. They began CPR and he regained consciousness. He was then taken to mainland and airlifted to an area hospital. His condition is unknown at this time, according to police.

The camp and camper have not been identified.

Cruzin for Veterans: classic car day in Bala

Article and photos by Mike Tombs

(August 9, 2015 BALA) Sunday afternoon in Bala was the place to be if you were a classic car buff or owner. The Royal Canadian Legion Branch 424 used the back field as the setting for a great event, great food, great people and stunning classic motor vehicles.

Half Ton Pride and Joy: Judy Gallant of Barrie behind the wheel of her a 1937 Ford V6

The 10th annual Classic Car and Motorcycle Show, “Cruzin for Veterans”, attracted 84 participants. Makes and models ranged from a 1928 Mercedes Roadster right up to a 2003 Indian Chief motorcycle, a 1931 Model A Ford sitting close to a classic 50s Thunderbird, and a myriad of truly stunning restored vehicles from many eras of mobile ingenuity.

MC and event coordinator Greg Foord, former president of the Bala Legion, has for the past 10 years that this increasingly popular event has run, provided another classic CFV-5car show that rivals the biggest shows in the Muskoka and Georgian Bay area. With the help of fellow Legion Branch 529 in Port Carling, and the many volunteers that made this event possible, Foord stated that “this event owes its continued success and thanks to the thousands of dollars in member volunteer time, as well as the Bala community and surrounding area corporate sponsors.”

Foord also mentioned that the event “is the second largest fundraiser for the Bala Legion each year while the Cranberry Fest is by far the biggest, and funds raised go to help several local charities.”

Charities that are the benefactors of this event include and not limited to are, the veterans and their dependents, seniors, youth and sports in the immediate area that are not for profit organizations and personal considerations.

Runner Up: Stew and Liz Tufford beside their Boysenberry 1953 Chevy Coupe and 1st runner up of the Classic car category 1900 to 1990

Stew and Liz Tufford of the Parry Sound area own a beautiful 1953 Chevy Coupe. They say it takes a lot of commitment to own and maintain these beauties. Tufford said, “ I spent 8 years trying to CFV-3locate a 53 coupe, traveling and searching as far south as Texas and finally found one listed in Tillsonburg in a now long gone news periodical, The Triad from Niagara Falls.”

“When I first saw it, it was knee deep in grass and weeds, and after the first initial hesitation my wife said buy it you have been waiting 8 years and here is your chance,” he said. With the help of a restoration expert and 6 months of intensive labor their Boysenberry 53 Chevy Coupe was finally a dream come true. That commitment and dedication was obvious by the detail and pride shown by every owner at the car show.

Tony Cauch, a local actor and musician who is featured in a newly released TV show from the USA called “Untouchable, Power Corrupts”, playing the part of a corrupt police officer named Art Dugan, said that “the Legion and its members certainly knocked this years event out of the park.” And seeing as the event was presented on the ball field at the Bala Legion, his comment was dead on: it was truly a car and motorcycle show that was fantastic and enjoyed by car buffs and gear heads alike.


Muskokans invited to meet and greet with healthcare admin August 20

(Tuesday, August 11, 2015, Muskoka, ON) – Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare is inviting members of the community to drop in for “coffee and conversation” during an open house on Thursday, August 20, 2015.

The event is taking place between 1 and 3 p.m. in the Boardroom at the Huntsville District Memorial Hospital at 100 Frank Miller Drive in Huntsville.  Light refreshments will be served.

“As part of our commitment to open dialogue with our community, we wanted to offer this opportunity for an informal meet and greet with members of the Board and Senior Leadership Team,” says Charles Forret, Board Chair. “There are new faces on the Board and on our senior team and we look forward to having members of our community join us and engage in casual dialogue.”

For more information, or to RSVP, please email Allyson Snelling or call 705-789-2311 ext. 2544.

Featured image attribution: Copyright: <a href=’’>nasirkhan / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Muskoka model railway show still chugging along

Feature and photos by Mike Tombs

(August 11, 2015) Whistles and the pounding of steel wheels against railway tracks are sometimes thought of as a nuisance, yet without the railroad our small communities in Muskoka could never have blossomed. In the early years, the CPR and the CNR were the lifeline of the settlers to this region, bringing in the supplies that in today’s age we simply buy in local stores.

The annual Muskoka Model Railway Show, hosted by the Muskoka Model Train Club (MMRC) of Bracebridge, Saturday and Sunday August 8 and 9 at the Bracebridge Fairgrounds, paid tribute to this legacy of history that encompasses Canada from coast to coast. The show is in its 18th year.

MMRC-1 RailwayModel train clubs from as far away as Collingwood and Bradford were there to educate and entertain the community with working models of railway lines and trains. Murray Taylor, president of the MMRC, said that “the show has been very busy, and the weather today is a factor and works well for attendance.” Taylor also stated that “we expect to have between 1200 – 1400 visitors of all ages over the next two days, enthusiasts that come from as far away as North Bay, Toronto and beyond.”

Muskoka train show
Wireless control: Martin Alborough of the Nottawasaga Model Club demonstrates wireless system to control model trains.

George Warren of the Nottawasaga Model Railway club spoke about the transition from hand operated models to technology enhanced model systems and the trend toward model railway clubs. “This trend really picked up in the 70s and 80s due to automation, minimization and the introduction of technology.” Warren also said that “with the new technology and the ability to program a fully functional railroad model layout, limited only by imagination, the sky’s the limit.”

The scale models at the show ranged in size from N models, which are the portable versions most clubs bring to these events, HO scale models which are secured setups that are built in place, and G models that are usually reserved for outdoor settings. N models are 1:87 scale and can range from a few hundred dollars upwards to a thousand and more, with older models in mint condition going for several thousand.

Train lover ingenuity on display: 18th year of Muskoka show

In a conversation with Ed Sutherland and Jim McCuaig of the Bracebridge club, both members mentioned “the vendors at the show are the backbone of this industry and a large drawing factor for the audience this event draws.”

Model railway show in Muskoka
Mesmerized: 3 year old Thomas watches trains roll by. All photos by Mike Tombs.

Everything from DDC systems (dedicated data controls), hand crafted buildings, circus models and even vintage models and parts were available from many vendors and talented specialty model builders locally and afar. Wireless technology, computer software and mini cams built into the model engines were a highlight and amazement to many of the spectators and a source of excitement for the young children at the show.

On a historical note: when the railroad companies first started to make their way into uncharted territory, a law was in effect that stated that “any community, settlement or village that was in the process of being established could be no further than 25 miles from a major line.”

Next time you hear a train whistle or the rumble of steel on steel take a moment to reflect on the importance and historical value this mode of transportation provided in the early days of Muskoka.

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Update: Tragic slip at High Falls in Bracebridge

(August 9 8pm BRACEBRIDGE) A young man is dead after being swept over High Falls in Bracebridge.

A police spokesperson told MNW earlier that it was believed 19-year-old Matthew Clark of Guelph lost his footing above the falls and the current swept him over and into the water below.

Divers recovered his body at about 5:30 today. Members of the Bracebridge OPP are investigating the death. The follow-up OPP release states Clark had been swimming at High Falls Park on Cedar Lane in Bracebridge just before 1:30pm. He reportedly got caught up in the current and was carried over the falls. Members of the public helped with the search until the OPP Underwater Search and Recovery Unit attended. The young man’s body was found at the base of the falls.

Last Sunday, a man drowned when his canoe flipped over on Grass Lake, near Kearney. The victim was identified as Michael Yenovikan of Toronto. And to the south of us, a 64-year-old man drowned the day before on the Saturday of the long weekend at Sibbald Point Provincial Park in Georgina.

Updated at 9:47pm. Photo: High Falls.

Ryde Co-op hopes to keep its home in former public school

(August 9 5pm RYDE)  Members of the Ryde Community Co-op have sent a clear message that they want to keep the roof above their heads – and that it wants the Town of Gravenhurst to take over the Ryde Public School.

Almost 60 people were at a Co-op community meeting last night to learn more about the pending sale of the school at 1624 Barkway Road by the Trillium Lakelands District School Board (TLDSB).

Following a question and answer session, Co-op members were asked to vote on two motions relating to the Town of Gravenhurst successfully acquiring the Ryde Public School and property and 96% voted yes to:

  • accept the transfer of ownership of the Ryde Public School and property to the Ryde Community Co-op Incorporated by the Town of Gravenhurst.; and to
  • help cover a percentage of the purchase price up to and including $50,000.

The school board announced in early May that it was working toward selling the former school and must get an appraisal to determine market value for the building before it can consider offers. The Town of Gravenhurst has gone ahead with its own appraisal but a report still needs to come before Council to decide on whether it will move on the property. As a result, it could still be awhile before the Co-op members know exactly how much the school will cost to retain.

The membership also voted on a Bylaw Amendment that will allow members the opportunity to vote by email or by post. That motion also passed and the change in voting procedure is effective immediately.

Featured picture of school courtesy of

Update: No foul play suspected: Man found dead in car between MacTier and Foot’s Bay

(August 20 Update) Members of the Bracebridge Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) along with the Muskoka Crime Unit and OPP Forensic Identification Services (FIS), under the direction of Detective Inspector Jim Gorry of the OPP Criminal Investigation Branch (CIB) have concluded their investigation into the discovery of a body inside a car located on McCombs Road in Georgian Bay Township.

Police were called to McCombs Road shortly after 10:30 a.m. on August 7, 2015 when a passerby noticed the vehicle and became concerned.  When police arrived, a male was discovered deceased inside the vehicle.  As a result of the investigation, this death has been deemed as non-suspicious and no foul play is suspected.

(August 9 7am GEORGIAN BAY) Police are investigating after a man was found dead Friday inside a car near MacTier. A passerby made the shocking discovery. The dead man’s identity has not been released yet.

Members of the Bracebridge Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) along with the Muskoka Crime Unit and OPP Forensic Identification Unit, under the direction of Detective Inspector Jim Gorry of the OPP Criminal Investigation Branch (CIB), are investigating the discovery. The man was found in a car on McCombs Road, north of the MacTier Curling Club and below Foot’s Bay (McCombs Road runs alongside Lake Joseph Road) in Georgian Bay Township.

Police were called to McCombs Road shortly after 10:30 a.m., August 7, 2015 when a passerby noticed the vehicle and became concerned. The identity of the man will be released upon notification of next of kin.

Police are asking anyone with information to contact the OPP at (888) 310-1122 or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800- 222-8477. You can submit your information online at if you have any information on this crime or any other crime. Crime Stoppers does not subscribe to call display and you will remain anonymous.  Being anonymous, you will not testify in court and your information may lead to a cash reward of up to $2,000.


Celebrating 100 years of Dispro heritage in Port Carling

UPDATE (August 8 5:30pm PORT CARLING) About 250 people, many gathered in period correct costume, gathered to give the 100-year-old Dispro its due in Port Carling today. A plaque commemorating the history of the Disappearing Propellor Boat (or Dippy) was also unveiled by the Ontario Heritage Trust at James Bartleman Island Park with Bartleman in attendance and speaking to the crowd about his boyhood memories of fishing — and breaking down — in Dispros. Mary Storey, president and an original member of the Dispro Owners’ Association, and the champion behind the centennial celebration, was greeted with thunderous applause from the crowd.

Muskoka News Watch was there and it is our pleasure to bring you this heritage moment in pictures. Details about today’s event can be found in the pre-event article that follows this pictorial.


The Dippy gets its 100-year due: Celebrating a century of Dispro pleasure and great marine innovation in Port Carling

(August 8 9am PORT CARLING) The Dispro Owners Association and the Ontario Heritage Trust along with James Bartleman are gathering in Port Carling today for the unveiling of a provincial plaque in honour of the Disappearing Propeller Boat. It is the 100th anniversary of the invention of the famous Dispro device that allows the propeller and shaft to be retracted into a protective housing to avoid rocks in the water.

Event Details:

Date: Saturday, August 8, 2015

Time: 2 p.m.

Location: James Bartleman Island Park, Port Carling, Ontario

Special Guest: James Bartleman

The Greatest Little Motor Boat Afloat

The beloved Dippy, the nickname for the Disappearing Propeller Boat also called the Dispro represents a unique Canadian contribution to North American pleasure-boating history.

Device photo by Norah Fountain
Device photo by Norah Fountain

First built in Port Carling in 1916, the Dispro was developed to navigate the lakes of the Canadian Shield. The core of the boat’s design consisted of the famous propeller haul-up device which was first built in 1915 and then put in rowboats. Then came the Dispro in 1916.

Disappearing Propellor Boats, Dippys, Dispros
Dippies get together. Photo by John Storey

Over four decades of production, more than 3,000 boats were made, with several exported around the world.

Through its fame and association with Ontario and Muskoka, the boat played a role in the early development of the leisure and recreational sectors in the region. Today, with approximately 300 boats surviving, the Dispro retains a following of dedicated enthusiasts. There’s even a book and song in honour of the Dippy. This year’s Antique and Classic Boat Society Boat Show was dedicated to the Dispro in the show’s theme, ‘From Dippys to Ditchburns’.

Today’s unveiling event is part of the Dispro Owners Association Centennial Celebration (MNW will be there to bring you more photos of the event and the new plaque in the park).

The Ontario Heritage Trust’s Provincial Plaque Program commemorates significant people, places and events in Ontario’s history. Since 1956, over 1,250 provincial plaques have been unveiled.

We hope you enjoy reading good news as much as we do writing it. Please consider Donating to Muskoka News Watch to keep your Muskoka info flowing: We exist primarily on donations. If you like being informed, please toss a few dollars our way using the Donate Button on the top right hand corner of our Home Page (you can use Credit Cards or Debit). Your support is needed and appreciated. Thank you!

Over 3,000 happy people at Session Muskoka beerfest

Photos by Mike Tombs

(August 5 BRACEBRIDGE) Over 3,000 people gathered to celebrate craft beer, great music and Muskoka sunshine at the Session Muskoka Craft Beer Festival

beerfest in bracebridge
Gateway to Beerfest at Annie Williams Park: More than 3,000 passed through

in Bracebridge Saturday (August 1, 2015).

That’s up from over 2,000 last year and organizer Curt Dunlop (also Proprietor, The Griffin Gastropub in Bracebridge) couldn’t be happier:

“We felt it was a great community event, with awesome music that spanned generations,” says Dunlop. “The Strumbellas delighted with their afternoon foot-stomping set, and Hawksley Workman was an awesome (and local) closer!” He adds the crowd was happy, and just as importantly, he says it was a responsible crowd, given it was an alcohol event.

Muskoka News Watch was there and here’s a frothy taste of the action we trust will bring back happy memories from the day or prompt you to make sure you get a ticket for next year’s fun event.

The CROWDS: From girls in short shorts to Booze Brothers, everybody had a great time at Annie Williams Park.

(See a photo you’d like from here? Email our Editor.)

THE SHOWS: From Lighthouse lighting up the afternoon to a killer closer by Hawksley Workman – the park never sounded better


THE BEER: Session Muskoka has grown into a beerfest of the best. Craft beers are holding their own in a tough market and more success is yet to come. Here, just a taster:


We hope you enjoyed our sunny pictorial. Please consider Donating to Muskoka News Watch to keep your Muskoka info flowing: We exist primarily on donations. If you like being informed, please toss a few dollars our way using the Donate Button on the top right hand corner of our Home Page (you can use Credit Cards or Debit). Your support is needed and appreciated. Thank you!

Iconic musicians open Port Carling arts festival with painting exhibit

(August 3, 2015 PORT CARLING – Release) Their songs are Canadian classics, and their recordings have sold in the millions. But this summer Muskoka audiences will get a chance to see a completely different side of Murray McLauchlan and Marc Jordan.

The two musicians will be showcasing their talents with brushes and books at two events in Port Carling hosted by Muskoka Chautauqua.

The first is FLATMUZIK, a gallery showing at the Muskoka Place Gallery. Featuring paintings by both McLauchlan and Jordan, it will offer a rare chance to see how their creative energies spill forth on to canvas.

The show opens with an artists’ reception on August 14 at 6pm, with both McLauchlan and Jordan in attendance. Space is extremely limited and visitors are asked to contact the gallery to RSVP. The works will be on display, with some available for purchase, until August 23.

“Marc and Murray are two very talented artists, and we’re delighted to be showing their work,” says gallery owner Gayle Dempsey. “We all know their songs – Rhythm of my Heart and Marina del Rey, Farmer’s Song and Down by the Henry Moore. But not everyone appreciates just how diverse these two men’s talents are.”

The gallery showing kicks off Chautaquafest, an annual ten day festival of the arts. From August 14 to 23, venues throughout Muskoka will be exploring all aspects of the creative arts, from opera and theatre to print-making, mosaics, book-binding and more.
Marc Jordan and Murray McLauchlan will be participating in another keynote event in the festival, when they take part in a panel discussion at Clevelands House on Saturday, August 22.

The two will be joining poet Margot Lettner and singer Beverlie Robertson for The Music of Words, a discussion of the space where lyrics and music intersect, as well as the relationship between different forms of writing. Marc will be speaking about his new book, Talking Through Pictures: My Life in Songwriting, in which he discusses his career and the way his dyslexia has affected his creative output.

The panel discussion takes place at 2pm., and is part of a Reading Circle Weekend which features a diverse array of readings, concerts and other events, ranging from historic boat cruises to self-guided poetry walks.

A full list of Chautaquafest events can be found at

Please consider Donating to Muskoka News Watch to keep your Muskoka info flowing: We exist primarily on donations. If you like being informed, please toss a few dollars our way using the Donate Button on the top right hand corner of our Home Page (you can use Credit Cards or Debit). Your support is needed and appreciated. Thank you!