Painted Land kicks off Chautauqua Film series Tuesday, July 5

Muskoka Chautauqua invites everyone to its first Film Night of its Chautauqua summer film festival in Port Carling on Tuesday, July 5, 7:30pm.

“We’re so pleased to be able to screen Painted Land: In Search of the Group of Seven,” says Muskoka Chautauqua co-founder Gayle Dempsey, “and to have producer Nancy Lang here to talk about making it is really exciting. Anyone who has ever admired a Group of Seven painting should see this film.”

About the film:

One hundred years since the Group of Seven created Canada’s most iconic paintings, little is known about the artists themselves.

Past meets present in this beautiful film energized by breathtaking aerial and landscape cinematography, exploring the rivers and lakes of 10. Mongoose Lawren HarrisAlgoma and the land north of Superior.

Colm Feore, Eric Peterson, R.H.Thompson and Paul Gross read the letters and diaries of Lawren Harris, AY Jackson, JEH MacDonald and Fred Varley.

Painted Land weaves seamlessly the experiences of these artists with three modern day sleuths, Gary and Joanie McGuffin and Michael Burtch who are determined to find the precise locations the artists painted.

Join them on this most artful journey from the comfort of the Muskoka Place Gallery, 1182 Foreman Road, Port Carling. Admission is free. Free will donations for arts education programs in Muskoka accepted with gratitude.

About Muskoka Chautauqua

Muskoka Chautauqua is a community nurturing curiousity and creativity. Encompassing the arts, entertainment, education and reflection, Muskoka Chautauqua springs from a tradition that started almost 100 years ago – when the beauty of the region attracted North America’s leading thinkers to its tranquil retreats. Our vibrant, charitable organization continues to entice visitors seeking personal growth and enrichment, and to share innovative, creative ideas. To learn more about how Muskoka Chautauqua promotes, organizes and delivers multi-disciplinary arts and cultural programming in Muskoka, visit, on Twitter @artsinmuskoka and on


Concerns raised about new $7.5 million firehall/ambulance base

Bracebridge councillors have given their blessing to a new $7.5 million joint District ambulance/Town fire station, but not without some concerns.

This week focus was on how traffic will enter and leave the property, which is located at 225 Taylor Road.

The main entrance will be off Taylor, while a secondary gated entrance/exit is located off the relatively quiet Joseph Street.

Councillor Archie Buie asked why the secondary entrance, to be used only during emergencies, would be restricted with a gate, noting that at times, Taylor can be especially busy with traffic.

“There can be lots of traffic on Taylor while fire trucks are trying to get in and out in a hurry,” he said, adding that this might make things difficult at times. Buie raised the spectre of resulting traffic jams and accidents.

“Why are you suggesting staff coming and going can’t use Joseph Street versus Taylor and avoid the possibility of congestion?” he asked.

Bracebridge Fire Chief Murray Medley replied that the issue will likely be addressed as they move forward with the site plan agreement.

Medley said years ago, the affected area had been zoned residential and at that time, area residents were concerned with the possibility of traffic buildup from potential condominiums or apartments going in and they wanted traffic access restricted.

“That’s the reason it’s there (the decision to put up a gate),” he said. “(It’s) not to stop a firehall from using it.”

Town CAO John Sisson said the restriction to prevent ongoing usage of Joseph Street as a regular entrance into the property was put into the Town’s Official Plan at the time.

“Ultimately, council may have the authority to change the official plan,” he said. “But this is not part of this proposal.”

Another concern at this week’s General Committee meeting was the issue of shared space at the property between the District ambulance staff and the Bracebridge firefighters.

Councillors were assured this issue had been keenly looked at during the design phase and that more tweaks to improve it could happen as the plan moves forward.

“The concept of a design-build has served us well,” said Mayor Graydon Smith. This is a pretty big day for us. This is the culmination of years of work, of site identification, of planning for what will be the central fire station and EMS station for this community for decades to come. Taxpayers should be heartened we’ve combined these facilities into one. It does present a significant amount of cost savings in terms of sharing some space, common HVAC facilities and common site planning which otherwise could have been duplicated.”

Smith expects councillors may see a revised floor plan of the facility at some point in the future.

Built into the design is room for a full time Bracebridge Fire Department, in order to be prepared for the day the Town service changes from a volunteer force.

Muskoka Natural Food Market opens doors at new location

Over 60 people celebrated with the staff of the Muskoka Natural Food Market tonight at the advanced ‘reveal party’ of the store’s new location on 229 Manitoba Street in Bracebridge.

Guitarist Jamie Sherman kept people entertained from in front of the living wall designed and planted by Seasons in The Country. Jamie Sherman & LIving WallMany people were in awe of the floor to ceiling murals gracing the walls. There were a lot of treats to sample from the Deli Lama and the new Buddha Bakery, and the aisles were full of products with surprises in every corner.

Co-owner Curt Dunlop expressed thanks to all the “superheroes involved,” including all the volunteers and companies, such as Quemby Electric, EZ Flow Plumbing, LaserTrim, Red Lion Workshop, Frostek , along with the general contractor, Propellor Fine Homes.

“We had no flexibility on our timeline or budget,” says Dunlop. “Through sheer JebPoursforce of will, Propellor brought us in on time and on budget.”

Dunlop says they got the keys to the place (the former Sears building) on May 2 and here they are open today on June 29. A time-lapse video of photo footage shot by Scott Turnbull was on display that gave a sense of the hectic pace over the past 58 days of renovations.

He also thanks Shannon Corbeil and Gavin Hammond for their help and vision of the store design, adding more HelpDeskaccents will come in the next few weeks. A next phase is already in place for transforming the mezzanine and office and planting space.

“We’re glad people took time out to come and check out our new space,” adds Dunlop. “We’re proud of what it is, what it will become and of all the great people who are part of the Muskoka Natural Food Market family. We really want to see this become a community hub, and we will be listening all summer to our staff and patrons on how best to make that happen.”

An official grand opening celebration is planned for 11am on Canada Day and the party will continue throughout the long weekend. See below for an inside view of the new digs and tonight’s celebration.

Huntsville man charged with cocaine trafficking

A Huntsville man is facing numerous charges including one of possessing cocaine for the purpose of trafficking.

On Monday, police say they observed activity in a parking lot on Howland Drive in the town of Huntsville which led to the arrest of 62 yr old Gordon Markle.

As a result of their investigation and a subsequent search warrant of his residence, the accused now faces several charges including:

Possession of a Schedule I Substance for the Purpose of Trafficking – Cocaine – Controlled Drug and Substances Act
Possession of Property Obtained by Crime over $5000.00 – Criminal Code of Canada
Possession of a Schedule I Substances for the Purpose of Trafficking – Other Drugs x2 – Controlled Drug and Substances Act
Possession of a Schedule II Substance – Cannabis Marihuana – Under 30 grams – Controlled Drug and Substances Act

The arrest led to the seizure of over $6,500.00 in drugs, and almost $5,500.00 in property.

The accused was held for a bail hearing and will appear in the Ontario Court of Justice in Bracebridge on July 4th to answer to his charges.

Breaking News: Muskoka District Councillor found guilty of defamation

Township of Muskoka Lakes District Councillor Ruth Nishikawa has been ordered to pay $30,000 in damages for defaming one of her former peers.

In a judgment obtained by Muskoka News Watch, the court finds Nishikawa did defame Ron Brent by suggesting in an email that Brent leaked closed session municipal information in relation to the controversial Bala Falls issue. The court has decided it was Nishikawa herself that leaked the information.

In deciding against Nishikawa, Justice MacKinnon draws this conclusion regarding Nishikawa’s actions:

“The impugned words were and are defamatory of Mr. Brent. They were untrue. They remain untrue. They have never been withdrawn. They were published by this defendant to all District Municipality of Muskoka (DMM) councilors, DMM chairs, and to all Township of Muskoka Lakes councilors, the TML Mayor, and to Pat Arney.”

Demonstrated evidence of malice

MacKinnon adds “the defendant knew both at the time of publication and again two days later, and again now, that her written words were untrue. There is demonstrated evidence of her malice. Ms. Nishikawa’s communication was reprehensible and calls for condemnation.”

Counsel for the defendant argued that the truth of Nishikawa’s words in her email communication was irrelevant. Justice MacKinnon disagreed, stating

“Truth is always important and always relevant.”

Brent vs Nishikawa
Brent vs. Nishikawa decision

The Justice also said that damages awarded would have been more if it had appeared Nishikawa’s actions had resulted in him losing the election. Brent lost his seat by 44 votes.

As well as the $30,000 in damages, Nishikawa may also pay yet-to-be determined legal costs. Originally, Brent had only asked for an apology. Had she done that, Brent said he would not have sought legal action.

Vindication for Brent, says lawyer

Brent’s lawyer, Michael Anne MacDonald, says yesterday’s decision is “a complete vindication for Mr. Brent, whose integrity was wrongfully defamed by a sitting councilor during an election campaign. It is now up to the Township of Muskoka Lakes to deal with the Township Code of Conduct and I would hope sanction her conduct.”

Related Articles:

Featured Photo from Township of Muskoka Lakes website

$1.2 million public transit deal gets the nod in Bracebridge

A $1.2 million public transit deal for Bracebridge was given the nod this week as councillors voted to enter into a six year agreement with a local bussing company.

Once final approval is given by Council as a whole next week, the General Committee decision to award Hammond Transportation Inc. the contract would mean hourly bus service could start as early as sometime this August.

Public Transit will mean ‘a level playing field’ for residents

Deputy Mayor and Chair of the Transit Working Committee Rick Maloney sees the agreement as “a hallmark” that will move the community to the next level, providing mobility to residents ensuring they can get around town to where they need to go.

“It’s an opportunity for us to level the playing field for (all) residents,” he said.

If at some point council sees that the agreement is not working due to low ridership or some other reason, a clause in the contract allows the municipality to end the service by giving Hammond’s three months notice.


The service will operate within the boundaries of the town’s urban centre six days per week, running Monday’s to Saturday’s. (7:30am to 6:30pm Monday to Friday and 8:30am to 6:30pm on Saturday.) See fares at right.




There are now two preferred Bracebridge Library options

And then there were two.

This week Bracebridge’s General Committee voted to narrow their focus to two future options for the Bracebridge Public Library.

Pending Council’s ratification next week, a consultant will set to work on cost comparison reports, looking at two options – maintaining and expanding the library at its current site on Manitoba Street or co-locating it with a future Bracebridge arena on Salmon Avenue outside the downtown core.

Consultants could cost between $10,000 & $15,000

Asked if this consultant work would be expensive, Town CAO John Sisson said he’d been told it would be “not that costly.”

“$10,000 to $15,000 – could be in that range,” he stated, adding that the resulting reports would provide “value added analysis for council” when it comes to picking a location.

Council hopes to take advantage of any funding that’s available from the Federal government in the future to help finance the library project, whichever option is chosen.


Councillor Archie Buie (right) says the Town should “move quickly” with the cost comparison work.

“We don’t know when the funding door will open and we want to be prepared for that,” he said.

Other options for the library include relocating it to another area in the downtown or leasing space in another area outside the downtown. No set locations for either of these options, (which are not preferred by council at this time), have been decided.

Muskoka stops social assistance mailouts due to postal strike concerns

Due to possible rotating postal strikes, the District of Muskoka announced today it has stopped mailing social assistance cheques and drug benefit cards effective June 27, 2016.  Instead, for the time being, cheques, statements and benefit cards will be available for pick-up from District Community Services offices and at the Township of Georgian Bay municipal office.

Cheques and/or Direct Bank Deposit statements with Ontario Drug Benefit Eligibility Cards will be available as of noon on Tuesday, June 28, 2016 at the following locations:

  • 141 Main Street, Gravenhurst – (District of Muskoka Community Services Office)
  • 205 Manitoba Street, Bracebridge (District of Muskoka Community Services Office)
  • 1 King William Street, Unit #5, Huntsville (District of Muskoka Community Services Office)
  • 99 Lone Pine Drive, Port Severn (Township of Georgian Bay Municipal Office) 

Hours of Operation:

  • All of the above offices open at 8:30 a.m. and close at 4:00 p.m. daily.
  • Canada Day – Please Note: All offices will closed at 4:00 p.m. on Thursday and will not NOT OPEN on Canada Day. The offices will open again at 8:00 a.m. on Monday, July 4, 2016.

Please contact the Ontario Works Office at 1-800-461-1705 (in a 705 area code) or 705-645-2412 if you are unable to get to one of these location and/or with any questions or concerns.

Husky rescued from extremely hot car

A Scarborough man has been charged after he left his Husky in a car on Huntsville’s Main Street.

At about 4:15pm on Sunday, police were made aware that the pet had been left in a car on Main St. E. and when officers arrived, they found a group of girls around a black Hyundai concerned for the dog inside.

Police say the rear window was down a few inches, but none of the other windows were down. The Husky named ‘ACE’ appeared to be in stress.


The officers managed to unlock the back door and get the dog out. The temperature outside on Sunday was about 30 degrees Celsius, the inside of the vehicle was reportedly extremely hot.

The dog became ill once taken out of the vehicle; he was taken to nearby store, given water and although his condition was not good initially, had improved once inside.

As a result of the investigation the owner 27 year-old Amir KHOJASTE-GALESHKUALE, of Scarborough ON was charged with Cause Damage or Injury to an Animal under the Criminal Code of Canada.

He will appear in the Ontario Court of Justice in Huntsville on July 27, 2016 to answer to his charges.

Huntsville OPP would like to remind everyone that leaving any animal in a vehicle for a short time in the heat can lead to illness or even death of your pet. If you are traveling, take the steps to keep your animals safe on hot days.

Muskoka Pride Festival runs July 15-24

Muskoka Pride Festival this year is packed with activities from July 15 through July 24. The annual week of activities celebrates the Muskoka lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community.

According to Muskoka Pride board member, Shawn Forth, there are big things planned for this year’s Festival. “Probably the most exciting announcement is that we will be celebrating the wedding of two same-sex couples at this year’s Picnic in Bracebridge.”

The Pride Festival week begins on Friday, July 15 with the annual Pride Kickoff BBQ in Huntsville at River Mill Park. This year it will feature many more activities that last year. Local singer, Briar Summers, will be performing under the new band-shell. There will be community displays, free yoga classes, and participatory art for people to take part in. From 4:00 to 6:30, come and enjoy music, play some games and activities in the park, and enjoy a free BBQ

On Monday, July 18, there will be flag-raising ceremonies at all Muskoka municipalities. For the first time, Wahta First Nation will also be raising the Rainbow Pride flag.

Pride Week, Muskoka Pride, gay, LGBT, Muskoka, Gravenhurst
Happy group at rainbow flag raising at Gravenhurst Town Hall in 2013

The times of flag raising ceremonies are still being finalized.

Contests show support for LGBTQ community

Muskoka Pride is also launching two contests during the Pride Festival. Members of the community are invited to submit a photo showing Muskoka’s support for the LGBTQ community. Photos can be emailed to

Businesses across Muskoka are also invited to create window/shelf displays of rainbows to celebrate the LGBTQ tourists. In surveys done at the annual Picnic, participants commented about the support shown from local businesses to welcome them to Muskoka through displays of rainbow colours.

Pride Picnic features singer Irish Mythen

Muskoka Pride will come to a close on Sunday, July 24, with the eighth annual Muskoka Pride Picnic. The annual Picnic takes place once again at Annie Williams Park in Bracebridge from noon – 4pm.

This year features a performance by East Coast folk singer Irish Mythen. From her website: “Mythen is a globetrotting troubadour – an Irish-born, contemporary Canadian folk artist who’s been amassing accolades and achievements across several continents over the years. Her presence and charisma simply command attention…she delivers a sonic and emotional experience that transcends language and location… It’s an experience that, in recent years, has earned her spots performing alongside Rod Stewart, Gordon Lightfoot, and Lucinda Williams and billings on major festival stages the world over.”

Also part of this year’s Picnic will be a double wedding, featuring two same-sex couples. Local cottager Jane Craig completed her journey to be a Lay Pastoral Chaplain this winter, and she brought the suggestion of a wedding to Muskoka Pride and everyone loved the idea. Two couples will be exchanging their vows during the Picnic in a ceremony conducted by Craig.

The public is invited to bring a lawn chair or picnic blanket as they enjoy this relaxed afternoon event. Food and beverages will be provided at this free family event.

Everyone, gay and straight alike, is welcome to attend all Muskoka Pride events. For a full list of events, please go to or go to our Facebook and Twitter feeds.

The Muskoka Pride Festival has many sponsors, including the Bala Cranberry Festival and the RBC branches of Muskoka. Muskoka Pride received an Event Tourism grant from the Town of Bracebridge.

$1.2 million Bracebridge Public Transit deal

Hammond Transportation Ltd is being recommended as Bracebridge’s Public Transit Service provider to the tune of $1.2 million over the next six years.

This week Bracebridge’s General Committee will look at the Town entering into transit service and vehicle lease agreements with Hammond, which was the sole bidder in the Request for Proposals.


Under financial implications, a report going before councillors this week states that the cost to provide the service in just year 1 of the agreement would be $191,506 excluding HST.

August 28th 2016 is cited as the tentative start up date for the service.

Any recommendation on agreements made by General Committee this week would still need Council’s final approval.

To see the full report, which will be discussed by councillors Tuesday, visit

Neighbours and firefighters help each other fight blaze

Neighbours and firefighters helped stop the spread of flames early this morning at a Breezy Point Road residence.

At 1:54am, the Township of Muskoka Lakes Fire Department were dispatched to a brush fire and possibly a structure fire located at 1305 Breezy Point Road, in the Walker’s Point area.


Upon arrival, firefighters say they were grateful no structure had become involved as neighbours had brought over their personal portable water pumps and hoses and were able to control the flames in order to stop it from reaching any buildings.

The fire department took over the extinguishment operations and were assisted by their Marine Unit’s portable pump and hoses. It took 3 hours to ensure hot spots were extinguished as the fire had begun to tunnel under the surface vegetation.

Damage was limited to the forest’s surface vegetation to an area approximately 60’ X 200 ‘(18m X 66m).

Upon investigation, it was revealed the fire had begun at the resident’s stone surrounded fire pit.

The residents stated they had a fire earlier that night and believed it was extinguished when they went inside a half hour prior to the call. The resident became aware of the situation when the neighbours had alerted him.

The resident later stated: “I honestly thought it would never happen to me.”

In total, seven (7) pieces of Fire Department Apparatus were dispatched with 15 firefighters. There were no injuries.

“You can surely tell it is dry out there when fires are beginning in the middle of the night,” stated Deputy Fire Chief Baranik.

The current Fire Rating in the Township of Muskoka Lakes is at High which still allows for open air burning, but as dry as it is, extreme diligence must be used and one needs to ensure they comply with all conditions of the burning by-law which includes constant supervision of the fire until it is completely extinguished.


Local Non-profits receive funding from Bracebridge

On Thursday, Bracebridge Mayor Graydon Smith presented seven local non-profit agencies with over $8,000 in grants through Bracebridge’s annual Community Grant Program.

The organizations receiving funds this year include:

Alzheimer Society Muskoka – $1,500

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Muskoka – $1,500

Bracebridge Agricultural Society – $120

Community YWCA of Muskoka – $1,500

Hospice Muskoka – $2,000

Muskoka Rowing Club – $1,000

Safe Quiet Lakes – $500

In a press release its stated  the Town says it recognizes the valuable contributions being provided through non-profit organizations and other community groups on behalf of the citizens of Bracebridge.

Local community groups and not-for-profit organizations are invited to submit applications in the fall of each year for specific projects or one-time funding that benefit the residents of the Town of Bracebridge.

Rebecca Paul, Executive Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters Muskoka is excited to be putting their grant allocation toward a Volunteer Recruitment Strategy: “This funding will allow us to make some media spends in support of growing our much needed volunteer base,” she said.  “Big Brothers Big Sisters has a waiting list of over 30 children who are looking for a volunteer Big Brother or Big Sister.”

Mayor Smith thanked the recipient organizations for the contributions they make in the community and was happy to see the funding go toward the valuable projects and programs provided by these agencies.

“Groups such as these are the back-bone of a vibrant community,” he said. “These agencies engage volunteers in a meaningful way to make positive impacts in Bracebridge and the surrounding area. Council is pleased to support that work”.

Since its inception in 2009, the Town has contributed almost $50,000 to non-profit projects through the Community Grant Program.

MAHC announces hospital award winners

Five people working for Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare (MAHC) were honoured with awards of excellence at the MAHC’s annual general meeting on June 20, 2016 in Huntsville.

The winners of the ninth annual 2016 Board Award of Excellence awards are:

  • Alanna Major, Registered Nurse, Intensive Care Unit (absent from featured photo)
  • Dan Moloney, Manager, Information Technology
  • Carolann Woods, Environmental Services Aide
  • Laura Derbyshire, Registered Nurse, Clinical Lead
  • Natalie Bubela, Chief Executive Officer

This year, 20 individuals were nominated by their hospital peers. The award is presented to recipients who exemplify MAHC’s values of Accountability, Respect, Optimism, Leadership and Engagement, and recognizes staff and physicians who have made significant achievements in patient- and family-centered care, outstanding management of people, financial or material resources, successfully completed a major project or special assignment beyond what is normally expected, and/or an extraordinary commitment to patient safety.

“The Board Award of Excellence is something the Board looks forward to each and every year,” says incoming Board Chair Evelyn Brown. “We are delighted to be able to recognize the work of MAHC staff and physicians in this manner and congratulate this year’s winners and commend all those who were nominated.”
Other nominee:

Ann Swan, Medical Transcriptionist

Dr. David Mathies, Physician

Dorothy Green, Dietary Aide

Elizabeth Robins, Registered Nurse, Clinical Lead

Erika Strok McLellan, Project Coordinator

Heidi Huggins, Physiotherapy Assistant

Irene Murray, Manager, Ambulatory Services

Kim Rose, Manager, Human Resources

Kristen Bell, Registered Nurse, Obstetrics

Michelle Moseley, Human Resources Business Partner

Noreen Chan, Manager, Diagnostic Imaging & Cardio Respiratory

Patti Connick, Nurse Educator

Dr. Paulette Burns, Physician

Sandy Daughen, Occupational Therapist

Shari Leblanc, Registered Nurse, Intensive Care Unit

Monday’s AGM also included presentations by staff about stroke care and waste diversion at MAHC, and work to create a council to support Muskoka & Area Health System Transformation that will include representation from MAHC.

The AGM was also an opportunity to thank Charles Forret and Gregg Evans for their commitment and dedication as they stepped down from the Board of Directors, and to welcome newly elected Director Beth Goodhew who brings over 20 years of clinical and IT healthcare experience, including expertise in Diagnostic Imaging, EMR and Perinatal services.

The new executive of the Board of Directors includes Board Chair Evelyn Brown, Vice Chair Phil Matthews Treasurer Brenda Gefucia as. The updated list of Board members can be found online <> .

The MAHC Board of Directors is a volunteer body that plays a key leadership role in setting policies and visioning for the hospital and the delivery of health care in the communities served by MAHC.

Update: Fire rating high in Muskoka; fireworks ban in Muskoka Lakes

Update July 1: Due to the continuing dry weather and despite rain today, a fireworks ban is in place in the Township of Muskoka Lakes. The ban does NOT affect Bracebridge and weather permitting, fireworks are expected to go ahead as part of Canada Day celebrations there tonight.

June 24. 2016: Due to the recent dry weather, the fire rating has now been set at High in Muskoka. At this rating, all people having open flame fires at night must be extremely diligent to ensure all fires are maintained within the set limits. It also means a ban on all fireworks in the Township of Muskoka Lakes while the rating is at High.

According to the Muskoka Lakes fire department, any fires must be continuously supervised with a source of extinguishment on-hand; and they must follow the By-Law regulations regarding no fires when the wind speed is over 16 km/h (10 mph) which can be found by going to Environment Canada’s website. Fires can only start two hours before sunset and must be totally extinguished two hours after sunrise. Officials also say fires need to be located at least 6 meters (20 feet) from any building, structure, hedge, fence, road overhead wire or overhead obstruction of any kind.

Daytime burning is only permitted with those who currently have a permit; however during High and Extreme ratings, no new permits will be issued.

Ban on Fireworks could affect Canada Day

Lastly, while the fire rating is at High and Extreme there is a TOTAL BAN on Fireworks within the Township of Muskoka Lakes. Ignoring the ban can result in a summons.

Unfortunately, if the rating does not lower over the course of next week – this will have to include the Canada Day Weekend Celebrations.

Should the FIRE RATING be upgraded to EXTREME, there will be a total ban on all open fires (as well as fireworks). 

Councillors asked to consider moving Bracebridge library out of downtown

Bracebridge councillors are being asked to consider moving the town’s library out of the downtown to a potential new site on Salmon Avenue near Gagnon’s Independent Grocers.

In a report going before Bracebridge’s General Committee next week, several future options for the library are outlined.

Library options include two locations outside of downtown

One is to co-locate it with a possible future Arena/Recreation Complex planned for Salmon Avenue – others include expanding the library at its current site, relocating it somewhere else in the downtown or relocating it to outside the downtown at a facility leased by the Town.

The full report can be found here in next week’s General Committee agenda under the heading ‘Bracebridge Public Library site selection options.’

The map above identifies the potential sites up for discussion.

35 yr old Enniskillen woman facing charges following collision

Tips from the public led police to a suspect after a vehicle was seen leaving the scene of a collision on Wednesday.

Bracebridge Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officers received complaints from motorists travelling on Highway 11 North in Gravenhurst of a vehicle that had collided with another while driving and had taken off on Wednesday, just before 5pm.

A short time later, officers received information from concerned members of the public that the suspect vehicle was in a nearby parking lot on Talisman Drive in Gravenhurst.

Police attended and as a result of their investigation arrested and charged 35 year-old Danielle South of Enniskillen Twp with the following offenses:

Impaired Operation
Over 80
Fail to Stop at the Scene of Accident
Dangerous Operation of a Vehicle
Operating a Motor Vehicle Without Insurance
Driving a Motor Vehicle with Open Liquor

The accused will appear in the Ontario Court of Justice in Bracebridge on July 19th. Further, the accused received an immediate 90 day driver’s licence suspension and had her vehicle towed and impounded.

Police would like to thank the members of the public who were attentive to their community and took that time to call police with their concerns, ultimately taking an impaired driver off the road.

Miller hosts annual seminar for Muskoka seniors

A number of seniors and local residents turned out at the Gravenhurst Seniors Activity Centre Wednesday to join Parry Sound – Muskoka MPP Norm Miller for a seminar on issues facing local seniors.

Presenters Hani Jaber, Barb Kerr, Shawna Torkoff and Ann-Marie Kungl-Baker led discussion on important topics, including: financial planning for later years, the patient-pharmacist relationship including the importance of compliance with medication and safe disposal of prescription drugs, and raising awareness on the various forms of dementia including building a more dementia friendly society.

Muskoka Seniors
Presenters: Shawna Torkoff, Hani Jaber, Norm Miller, Ann-Marie Kungl-Baker, Barb Kerr

“I get frequent calls at my constituency offices relating to these issues and made a point to have the opportunity to provide more information and a friendly forum for discussion. The feedback that I receive is also very helpful for debate at the provincial legislature as well as input for upcoming legislation,” said Miller.

Miller also cited the impacts of more recent policy decisions as well as the rising cost of electricity as posing significant challenges to seniors and people living on a fixed income.

“I am pleased that so many people were able to attend and I look forward to hosting more informative events in the future. I’d like to thank our presenters, and all those who were able to attend. I would also like to say that input on topics to cover for the next seminar is welcomed,” stated Miller.

$7.5 million for new Fire/Ambulance base in Bracebridge

The District of Muskoka could soon sign a deal with Greystone Project Management Inc. for the design and construction of an expensive new Bracebridge Fire Station and District Ambulance Base.

Outlined in a new report that’s to go before District councillors today, the project is a partnership between Muskoka and the Town of Bracebridge to co-develop the property at 225 Taylor Road in Bracebridge for a new ambulance base and fire station, the cost of which is currently pegged at $7, 535,034.


The report shows Greystone’s proposal price for the project is $6,210,000 worth of the total expenditure.

Once a contract is signed, the development of final project design and contract execution would start in August, while construction would start in October and wrap up sometime in October 2017. Councillors could approve the initial recommendation to enter into a contract with Greystone today.

Bala firefighters pitch in for Camp BUCKO

Firefighters in Bala tonight presented a cheque to Camp BUCKO for $1,000 along with over $250 in Canadian Tire money and gift cards.

The members of the Muskoka Lakes Fire Department Station 3 (Bala Station) raised the money during several community events, including car washes and boot drive they held and while collecting during community festivals. Camp BuckoDistrict Chief Dave Goltz handed over the cheque tonight to Robert Nagle, a Camp BUCKO volunteer, former camp counselor, and a member of Central York Fire Services.

About Camp BUCKO

Camp BUCKO (BUCKO stands for Burn Camp for Kids in Ontario) is a camp for persons 7-17 years of age who have suffered burn injuries. Suffering from burn injuries can be life altering. While at the camp, these young people meet other young people dealing with these injuries, and the camp allows them to understand that they are not alone. The attendees form life long bonds with one and another.

Over 70 children attend the week long camp in August in Toronto and there is no fee to go to the Camp BUCKO.

For more details on the camp, visit their website at:

Flavours back for 16th gourmet gala for the arts

Muskoka Chautauqua is proud to unveil its lineup of great food and beverage producers for the 16th annual gourmet event of the summer: Flavours of Muskoka Chautauqua on July 8.

“Every year we count on Flavours to raise money for arts education and lifelong learning opportunities in Muskoka,” says Muskoka Chautauqua co-founder Gayle Dempsey. “This year we’re calling it Flavours – The Spectacle because of the spectacular additions to our amazing graze.”
The event happens Friday, July 8 at the JW Marriott The Rosseau Muskoka Resort and Spa from 7 to 10pm. As well as 25 chefs, wineries, breweries and other food and beverage producers, it also includes some showy features, including a Theatre Arcturus artist suspended

Theatre Arcturus at Flavours
Theatre Arcturus at Flavours

in a plastic bubble and pouring tasty concoctions. There are also two flare bars with fun to watch mixologists from Cocktails, The Fluid Experience. The Dixieland My Regal Jazz Band and strolling violinists add to the spectacle. There are also plans for cooking demonstrations on an outside BBQ.

Some of Muskoka’s finest resorts, restaurants and food producers will be there with fare to sample, including Bartlett Lodge, JW Marriott, The Sherwood Inn, Rocky Crest, The Water’s Edge, The Griffin Pub, Black Angus Meats and Game, and the Milford Bay Trout Farm. There will also be items to choose from for vegetarians from Eat Local Muskoka, Four Season Greens, Totem Juice and Muskoka Springs Water. Muskoka Lakes Winery and Muskoka Brewery will be joined by Black Angus Meatswineries, breweries and distilleries from across the province: Kacaba, Sandbanks, REIF, Majestic, Georgian Bay Spirit Co, Miller Lite, Social Lite Vodka, Slava Vodka, Thornbury Beverage Company, and Beam Suntory.

Sponsor Hammond Transportation is offering discounted transportation to and from the event. “We couldn’t put on an event of this scale without the help of our sponsors,” adds Muskoka Chautauqua co-founder Gary Froude. “We would like to thank Port Carling Foodland, Muskoka Windows and Doors, the JW Marriott, Scotiabank and the Ontario Arts Council for their generosity,” she says.

Auction items include at home dining experience

Employees of Scotiabank also give of their free time before and during the event gathering items for the silent auction table. Funds raised from the silent auction are matched by Scotiabank. This year people will be able to bid on gift certificates for everything from yoga sessions and rounds of golf to

Muskoka Jazz Band
The joint will be jumping to the Dixieland sounds of My Regal Jazz Band

dinners in Muskoka and Toronto restaurants, like the Cactus Club. Plus, attendees can win a dining experience for six at their home or cottage that includes a chef, sommelier and food and wine package.

Flavours tickets partially tax deductible

Tickets are $75 and as this is a charitable event, attendees can receive a tax receipt for half the ticket cost. Tickets can be bought online at

Since Flavours of Muskoka Chautauqua began 16 years ago, it’s estimated over $250,000 has been raised to help pay for school and lifelong community learning programs in Muskoka. In one year alone, Muskoka Chautauqua’s programs reached 2,000 students in local schools. Funds raised also offset the costs of having artists-in-residence each summer, where anyone can take classes or join in art parties with celebrated artists such as First Nations artist Donald Chretien, community mural painters Greg and Susan Hindle and Sean William Dawson. At an art party, adults get together to socialize and create their own art with the encouragement of the artist host.

About Muskoka Chautauqua

Muskoka Chautauqua is a community nurturing curiousity and creativity. Encompassing the arts, entertainment, education and reflection, Muskoka Chautauqua springs from a tradition that started almost 100 years ago – when the beauty of the region attracted North America’s leading thinkers to its tranquil retreats. Our vibrant, charitable organization continues to entice visitors seeking personal growth and enrichment, and to share innovative, creative ideas. To learn more about how we promote, organize and deliver multi-disciplinary arts and cultural programming in Muskoka, visit, on Twitter @artsinmuskoka and on


24 year old Bracebridge man charged with assaulting an OPP officer

A 24-year-old man allegedly involved in a brawl with police on the weekend is facing several charges.

Bracebridge OPP received a complaint from a motorist on Saturday just before midnight about a vehicle travelling on Muskoka Road 118 in Bracebridge with a couch on its roof. The tipster said the vehicle was being driven aggressively and at times into oncoming traffic.

Police located it backing into a parking spot in a nearby plaza and dealt with the driver, who alternated between being cooperative with police and struggling and fighting to get free.

The police investigation revealed the driver was on probation and had actually stolen the involved vehicle from a family member.

24 year-old Brandon Righetti of Bracebridge has been charged with the following offences:

Dangerous Operation of a Motor Vehicle
Break, Enter & Theft
Theft of a Motor Vehicle
Possession of Property Obtained by Crime
Mischief Under $5000
Two counts of Assaulting a Peace Officer
Fail to Comply with Probation

Righetti was held for a bail hearing and will appear in the Ontario Court of Justice on Monday June 20th to answer to his charges.

Art of Storytelling workshop July 9th in Bracebridge

The Muskoka Authors Association (MAA) is pleased to present “The Art of Storytelling”, a workshop with Brad Woods, Spoken Word Storyteller.

Join Woods as he brings the Art of Storytelling to Muskoka. Described as equal parts performance, workshop and lecture, this workshop will explore the power and beauty of a story well told, examine how stories help us understand who we are, where we’re from, and where we’re going. Along the way Woods will explore how to find and tell your story.

]The workshop will be held Saturday, July 9th, 2016 at St. Thomas Anglican Church, 4 Mary Street in Bracebridge. The workshop runs from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm.  The fee for the workshop is $20.00 for MAA members; $40.00 for non-members.

What people are saying about workshops with Woods:
“Brad Woods is a master storyteller. With wit and wisdom, humour and heart, Brad skillfully weaves tales that leave his audience laughing and thinking, often at the same time.”  Terry Fallis (Award winning novelist)

“Brad Woods in an engaging and creative storyteller. He has a mix of personal and traditional stories and some that interweave the real and the fabulous.” Dan Yashinsky (Founder – Toronto Storytelling Festival)

Register to Attend:
David Patterson

Submitted photo: Brad Woods

Update: Teenager dies after car crash in Bracebridge

UPDATE: Eighteen-year-old John Pratt of Bracebridge died in hospital yesterday after a two-car collision in Bracebridge on Thursday, June 16. He had been in serious condition and succumbed to his injuries. Police are asking for anyone with any information at all about the crash that happened early last Thursday morning on Manitoba Street just north of Wellington Street North to please contact Bracebridge OPP at (888) 310-1122 or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

Original Post June 16, 2016: Driver airlifted to Toronto hospital after Bracebridge crash

One of the drivers in a two-car collision this morning in Bracebridge has been airlifted to a Toronto hospital and is reported to be in serious condition. Bracebridge Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officers, along with Bracebridge Fire Department and Muskoka EMS, responded to the crash this morning just after 7am. It happened on Manitoba Street, just north of Wellington Street North.

Both drivers were taken to South Muskoka Memorial Hospital for treatment of injuries, and one has been flown to a Toronto area hospital.

Manitoba Street in that area was closed to allow OPP Technical Traffic Collision Investigators (TTCI) to complete their investigation. Traffic was being redirected through an adjacent neighbourhood.



Doors Open in Muskoka Lakes and Gravenhurst

From April to October, residents and visitors are invited to discover first-hand Ontario’s hidden heritage treasures, some of which have never been open to the public, through the Doors Open Ontario project.

Some Muskoka municipalities are also throwing their doors open with sites promoted this month.

In Muskoka Lakes, the Township is promoting its Doors Open experience on June 18 by highlighting its hiking trails.

“With their abundance of natural beauty, Muskoka Lakes trails are a must-see attraction, says Economic development intern Corey Moore.”

The Township of Muskoka Lakes has six wonderful trails available for hiking, running, and snowshoeing. Downtown Port Carling offers up a beautiful mural walk and the Muskoka Lakes Museum will open the Hall Family Log Cabin. In Bala, you can take a self-guided historic walk with heritage plaques installed at various sites.

To learn more about sites Muskoka Lakes has open for Doors Open Ontario on June 18, visit

Doors open in Gravenhurst
Gravenhurst Opera House
Doors Open at Gravenhurst Opera House and other historic sites in Gravenhurst

Gravenhurst has nine Doors Open sites on June 25, ranging from the Bethune Memorial House to the Gravenhurst Manor, and Sawdust Brewing Company to the Ontario Fire College. To see the full list of heritage sites in Gravenhurst, visit

Since the program was launched in 2002, over six million visits have been made to heritage sites participating in this exciting initiative.

Featured image shows part of Hardy Lake Trail in Hardy Lake Provincial Park near Torrance

Almaguin Highlands OPP officer charged with impaired driving following rock cut crash

An Almaguin Highlands OPP officer is facing charges after a crash on Highway 141 this past weekend.

On Saturday just after 10pm, Huntsville OPP was notified about a vehicle crashing into a rock cut on Highway #141 in Utterson.

Police discovered that the 44 year old male, who police say is from Huntsville, had been drinking.

He was arrested and taken to the Huntsville OPP detachment for further investigation and has since been charged with Driving While Ability was Impaired and Refusal under the Criminal Code of Canada.

The driver has been identified as Provincial Constable Jaak Valiots who was off duty at the time of the collision. He is an 18-year member of the Ontario Provincial Police and is posted to Almaguin Highlands Detachment. The officer was uninjured as a result of the crash.

Valiots is to appear in the Ontario Court of Justice in Huntsville on July 20th to answer to his charges.

Thieves steal cash from Habitat for Humanity Restore

OPP are investigating a break, enter and theft from the Habitat for Humanity Restore on Muskoka Beach Road in Bracebridge that occurred sometime over the weekend between Saturday afternoon on June 11th and Monday morning, June 13th.

Police say unknown suspect(s) gained entry to the business and made off with a quantity of cash.

Police are asking anyone with information to contact Bracebridge 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.

30th annual golf tourney raises $30,000 for hospital

The Dave Ellis Pro-Am Annual Golf Tournament celebrated its 30th year in support of the South Muskoka Hospital Foundation on June 6.

Twenty-five golf professionals and 75 amateurs raised $30,000 for the Hospital Foundation in the tournament’s 30th year at the Muskoka Lakes Golf and Country Club.

The team of Tony Martin (Westmount Golf & C.C.), Marco Durante, Steve Lowden and Paul Feick won this year’s tournament. The professional with the best score at the Tournament was Greg Downer from Taboo Muskoka Resort.

Co-organizer Dave Bacon says “A big thank you goes out to the continued support of the amateurs and professionals that participate each year, the many sponsors and donors, and the Muskoka Lakes Golf and Country Club.”

Dave Ellis was the son of a Bracebridge physician and became an incredibly well-respected golf pro at the Muskoka Lakes Golf & Country Club. His passion for life, people and the game of golf was infectious and his friends are still involved in organizing the event every year.

Photo: Organizers Dave Bacon, Adam Wallace, Leslie Cleveland and professional Jordan Nathan present a novelty cheque for $30,000 to Dr. Kent Phillips and Ron Austin, representing the South Muskoka Hospital Foundation, from the 2016 Dave Ellis Pro- Am held June 6, 2016. (photo credit Ericka Ferguson)

New Huntsville Golf Tournament to support Parkinson Canada

If you love golf and want to have a great time on the links for a good cause, save the date of July 23 for a brand new golf tournament in Huntsville.

The McColl Golf Tournament in support of Parkinson Canada will take place on July 23, 2016 at Huntsville Downs. There is space for a total of 72 golfers, and the goal is to raise $6,000 for Parkinson’s research.

The tournament is being organized by Rob Dunn, a retiree whose Parkinson’s is well controlled through a combination of medication and diet. “Last fall I wanted to give back to help awareness and research in Parkinsons,” he said. “I set up a golf tournament, because I love golf.” He named it McColl Golf Tournament in honour of his great-grandfather, whose name was McColl.

In addition to 18 holes of golf, the tournament will have three off-kilter contests; a putt-the-farthest contest (using a small broom), a longest drive contest (using a training driver that is hinged to break if not swung properly,) and a “marshmallow smash.”

“I fully support this event,” said Huntsville Mayor Scott Aitchison. “It contributes to a great cause and I encourage others to attend.”

There will also be a silent auction and door prize. “There is no prize for whoever has lowest score, aside from bragging rights,” Dunn adds. “The object is to raise money and have fun doing it.”

Parkinson’s is a neurodegenerative disease. Movement is normally controlled by dopamine, a chemical that carries signals between the nerves in the brain. When cells that normally produce dopamine die, the symptoms of Parkinson’s appear. Parkinson Canada is the national voice of Canadians living with Parkinson’s disease.

For more information or to sign up, contact Rob Dunn at, call 705-636-9588, or or @mccollgolf on Twitter.

Music on the Barge lineup unveiled

The summer tradition in Muskoka, “Music on the Barge” returns to Gull Lake Rotary Park in Gravenhurst on Sunday, June 19th, starting at 7:30 p.m.. The first Sunday performance features The Gravenhurst Bifocals Concert Band under the direction of Conductor Neil Barlow.

This summer season promises to deliver a variety of sounds ranging from concert bands, 50s and 60s, country to pop and rock and roll. Some of the finest tribute artists in the country will also be performing during the upcoming season.

“It’s always great to see the support from our summer and local residents at the Sunday night concerts,” says Fred Schulz, series music coordinator.  “Music on the Barge concerts are an important part of summer in Gravenhurst and Muskoka.  We are very grateful to our season and individual sponsors who help financially to off-set the costs occurred by The Town of Gravenhurst,” he adds.

The Barge welcomes back The Good Brothers for their 25th year

This year’s lineup includes; The Gravenhurst Bifocals Concert Band, The Orillia Silver Band, The Rev-Tones, Brian Neale & Northern Harbour, The Becket Family, The Liverpool 4, Johnny Cash & The Honky Tonk Angles, Freddy Vette & the Flames.

Freddy Vette and the Flames in Gravenhurst
Freddy Vette and the Flames

The season finale welcomes back ‘The Good Brothers’, who have repeatedly named the Barge as their favourite performance venue. This year marks the 25th Anniversary performance of The Good Brothers at the “Barge” and will feature some special guests and presentations during the evening.

“Music on the Barge” concerts start at 7:30 p.m. unless otherwise stated.  Admission is a Free Will Offering that helps with programming costs.  Concerts will be canceled and not relocated to another venue in the event of inclement weather, rain or lighting for the safety of the audiences and the performers.

For the detailed full summer concert schedule please visit

Quick Barge Facts

The “Barge” was designed by Stanley White Jr., and was financed through the combined efforts of the Lions Club, the Rotary Club, the Board of Trade, the municipality of the Town of Gravenhurst and generous donations from citizens.  At a cost of approximately $14,000, the Barge was completed by July 4th, 1959.

The first official performance on the permanent and present “Barge” structure was held on that day for the official visit of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip.

Photo of the crowd watching The Good Brothers last year and photo of Freddy Vetter and the Flames by Mike Tombs.

Lease deal falls through for Huntsville CN Station

The Huntsville Lake of Bays Chamber of Commerce will not be leasing part of the Huntsville train station after all. At least not now. An agreement to rent part of the Town-owned CN Station at 2-26 Station Road was approved at Council on May 27.

The Chamber now cites air quality as the reason for not moving ahead with the deal.

An independent assessment is being undertaken by a qualified building sciences firm. The building will be closed until further results are known and a remediation plan is put into place.

“The vision for the Culture Station at the CNR Train Station was something we were all very excited about and proud of,” said Kelly Haywood, Executive Director of The Huntsville/Lake of Bays Chamber of Commerce. “The potential of this space for our cultural sector and tourism services is ideal for economic growth in our community. Although we are disappointed that this won’t be coming to fruition at this time, we are confident that, with the support of The Town of Huntsville, and appropriate remediation, our groups will revisit the initiative and develop a positive space for our community.”

“We are examining this issue very carefully,” said Mayor Scott Aitchison. “Our first priority is to ensure that everyone remains safe, so we are taking every possible precaution to do so – that’s why we’re closing the building for the time being. Beyond that we will address it as quickly and responsibly as possible.”

Built in 1924, the CN Station was purchased by the Town in 2003. An Ontario Heritage Trust Conservation Easement Agreement is in place on the property.

In 20012, the Huntsville Train Station Society (HTSS) was formed ifrom a group of concerned residents wishing to save the historic station buildings and site. Learn more about the history of the train station and its revitalization plans by visiting the Huntsville Train Station Society web site.

Province Honours Child Advocacy Centre of Simcoe/Muskoka

The Child Advocacy Centre of Simcoe/Muskoka was among 15 individuals and organizations honoured by the province today for the centre’s dedication to helping victims of crime.

In a release, the Attorney General’s office stated the child-friendly approach of our local child advocacy centre has had a tremendous impact on community response to child abuse and neglect.

child advocacy muskokaAlong with the Child Advocacy Centre of Simcoe/Muskoka, some of the other recipients of this year’s Attorney General’s Victim Services Awards of Distinction include:

  • Julie-Jeanne Latrémouille, who escaped a physically abusive relationship and became the coordinator of Ottawa’s Comité Réseau, an organization of French-speaking women fighting violence against women.
  • Shelley Gilbert, the coordinator of a social work service for Legal Assistance Windsor who is making a difference in the fight against human trafficking.
  • Embrace Her With Love Collective of Ohsweken that works to end violence against Indigenous women and girls as a way to honour the lives of the murdered or missing women of Six Nations.
  • John Ambulance Support Dog Program that gives victims of child abuse and sexual assault the option of having a highly-trained comfort dog accompany them when they attend court at the Newmarket courthouse.

May 29 to June 4, 2016 is National Victims and Survivors of Crime Week.

Today’s ceremony at Queen’s Park recognized victims of crime who have worked to raise awareness of victims’ issues across Ontario, as well as the organizations, professionals and volunteers that provide support for victims and advocate on their behalf. The Attorney General’s Victim Services Awards of Distinction program started in 2006.

Photo from Child Advocacy Centre of Simcoe/Muskoka website. Learn more about them by clicking here.