$1.5 million for infrastructure at Georgian Bay Islands National Park

Parks Canada places belong to all Canadians. They represent the very best that Canada has to offer and tell stories of who we are, including the history, culture and contributions of Indigenous peoples. Just 90 minutes north of Toronto, Georgian Bay Islands National Park offers a wide variety of activities, whether you are looking for a relaxing getaway or an active adventure.

Today, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, Catherine McKenna, announced infrastructure investments of $1.5 million in Georgian Bay Islands National Park.

These investments will enhance visitor facilities, such as with renewed visitor shelters that will ensure welcoming areas for guests to gather for picnics or rainy day activities. The park is also investing in its summer staff accommodations and the maintenance building, both important facilities for ensuring the park continues to offer safe and high-quality visitor experiences in this remote setting.

Investments in visitor infrastructure – such as trails, visitor centres and campgrounds, as well as highways, parkways and bridges – will ensure the quality and reliability of visitor facilities and continue to allow Canadians to connect with nature.

“Parks Canada manages one of the finest and most extensive systems of protected natural and cultural heritage areas in the world. This investment of $1.5 million in Georgian Bay Islands National Park will help ensure high-quality visitor experiences for years to come, while benefitting the local economy. We look forward to continuing to offer Canadians, including youth and newcomers, exceptional and meaningful opportunities to discover nature and learn about our environment and heritage at Georgian Bay Islands National Park.”

The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada

Quick Facts

· Georgian Bay Islands National Park is an incredible destination that is easily accessible by boat, especially by the park’s visitor shuttle, DayTripper, which you can hop on and explore the park’s largest island, Beausoleil Island. Visitors looking to spend the night have a range of accommodation choices; equipped Island Safari Tents, family and couple cabins, and 5 brand new Parks Canada oTENTik’s.

· There is a total of 120 campsites and 10 rustic cabins on Beausoleil Island. Cedar Spring Campground has 45 sites, 6 rustic cabins, 5 oTENTiks and 2 Island Safari Tents available by reservation.

· Non boaters visiting Georgian Bay Islands National Park can reserve the Daytripper shuttle service by calling 705-526-8907.

· Parks Canada is investing an unprecedented $3 billion dollars over 5 years to support infrastructure work to heritage, tourism, waterway and highway assets located within national historic sites, national parks, and national marine conservation areas across Canada. This investment will ensure these cherished places are protected and secured for the future.

Former Muskoka MPP and writer Ken Black dies

An important voice in Muskoka passed away today.

Former Muskoka-Georgian Bay MPP Ken Black died in hospital. According to family members, he lived the last months, weeks and even days of his life to the absolute fullest, and he never ceased his writing. In fact, his most recent column was posted on Muskoka News Watch on August 22.

Born March 11, 1932, Kenneth Black was elected to the Ontario legislature in 1987 to represent the then riding of Muskoka-Georgian Bay. Black became a cabinet minister under David Peterson in August 1989, serving as Minister of Tourism and Recreation and Minister responsible for the provincial anti-drug strategy.

Previous to his political career, he was superintendent of the Muskoka Board of Education until 1987. Before that, he was a secondary school teacher and principal (1958-1980).

In recent years, he wrote columns for the Weekender and then started his own blog and was featured since 2014 on Muskoka News Watch. His insightful commentary and his gentle personality will be sorely missed.

A service of remembrance will be held at Bracebridge Muskoka Lakes Secondary School in Bracebridge on Saturday, September 3rd, 2016 at 1:00 p.m. At Ken’s request, please no flowers, as expressions of sympathy memorial donations may be made to the South Muskoka Hospital Foundation, the Muskoka Conservancy or the Friends of the Muskoka Watershed. Messages of condolence may be left at www.reynoldsfuneral.com.

$12,000 damage in Lake of Bays garage fire

The Huntsville/Lake of Bays Fire Department was called to a reported fire in a garage on Buck Island Rd. in the Township of Lake of Bays shortly after 1pm today.

Upon arrival, crews encountered light smoke coming from the structure and were able to quickly extinguish the fire inside.

The fire had spread into the roof area and crews remain on scene checking for any extension of fire.

A dehumidifier is being looked at as a cause and damage is estimated at $12,000.

There were no injuries reported.

$8,000 damage in Mortimer’s Point Road basement fire

Today (Aug 25th) at 8:14am the Muskoka Lakes Fire Department was dispatched to 1919 Mortimer’s Point Road Unit 1 for a reported structure fire.

The owners of the home notice smoke from the fire and called 911.

Fire crews from Station 6 – Port Carling, and Station 1 – Foot’s Bay/Glen Orchard responded. Upon arrival, the fire was burning in the basement.

The basement was thick with smoke and flames were moving up the outside wall. A fire extinguisher was used on the fire as the firefighters were preparing the hose line. The fire was brought under control quickly.

Fire that had spread into the wall was quickly found and extinguished with the aid of Thermal Imaging Camera. The actions of the firefighters saved the significant loss of a home for the long-time residents. There were no injuries.

Electrical issues within the wall caused the fire. The damage estimation is $8,000.

District construction on Moon River bridges in Bala to last until Spring

The North and South Moon River Bridges in Bala have been scheduled for rehabilitation to prevent further deterioration, extending the serviceable life of the infrastructure.

The rehabilitation will occur simultaneously on both the North and South bridges. Construction will commence on Monday, September 6th and will continue until Spring 2017.

There will be no full road closures during this time, however there will be single lane closures at times with flagging personnel.

No construction during Thanksgiving or Cranberry Festival

Both North and South bridge locations will be fully open (2 lanes) during the Bala Cranberry Festival and throughout the Thanksgiving weekend to accommodate increased traffic and reduce delays.

The District Municipality of Muskoka would like to thank all those affected for their patience while these necessary bridge improvements are completed.

Progress updates and additional information will be available throughout the project on our website: www.muskoka.on.ca/content/road-construction or follow us on Twitter: @districtmuskoka or @muskokarecycles.

Man charged after large marijuana grow found in Lake of Bays

On Sunday August 7th, Huntsville Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) received information about marihuana plants being grown on property off Highway #35 in the Township of Lake of Bays.

As a result of this information and a following investigation members of the OPP seized a large number of marihuana plants and arrested one male party.

Matthew Hughes, age 24, has been charged with Section 7(1) of the controlled Drugs and substance act, unlawfully producing a substance in schedule ll and section 5(2) of the Controlled Drugs and Substance Act, Possession for the purpose of trafficking schedule ll substance.

The accused is to appear in the Ontario Court of Justice in Huntsville on October 5, 2016 to answer to the charges.

New driver license fee comes into effect September 1st

Driver licence fee increases come into effect this September to help maintain Ontario’s transportation infrastructure. Additional fees for reinstatements, replacements and commercial permits will follow effective January 1st, 2017.

As of September 1, 2016:

The Driver’s Licence Original and Renewal Fee, including the driver licensing fee as part of the Enhanced Driver Licence, will change from $81.50 to $90

Vehicle Licence Validation in Northern Ontario will change from $54 to $60

Vehicle Licence Validation in Southern Ontario will change from $108 to $120.

New fee changes effective January 1, 2017:

The Driver’s Licence Reinstatement Fee after Suspensions and Administrative Monetary Penalty will change from $180 to $198

Driving Instructors Licence Replacement will change from $28 to $31

Oversize/Overweight (O/O) Permit Replacement will change from $28 to $31

Original and Replacement Plate/Permit Fee for Manufacturer motor vehicle and motorcycle and dealer plate will change from $20 to $25

Original and Replacement Plate/Permit Fee for Manufacturer motor vehicle and motorcycle and dealer permit will change from $10 to $32.

Updated fees help maintain the province’s transportation infrastructure and provide resources to help keep Ontario’s roads safe and are consistent with recommendations from the Auditor General of Ontario to achieve full cost recovery for delivery of services.


Since 2003, Ontario has committed over $25 billion to design, repair and expand provincial highways and bridges across Ontario.

There are more than 12 million vehicles registered in Ontario.

Ontario is making the largest investment in public infrastructure in the province’s history — about $160 billion over 12 years, which is supporting 110,000 jobs each year across the province, with projects such as hospitals, schools, roads, bridges and transit.

Muskoka Community Foundation grants $8,000 to Muskoka Charities

The Muskoka Community Foundation is pleased to announce this year’s grant recipients from the Cowan Family Fund.

The Cowan Family Fund was created in July 2014 by John and Maggie Cowan of Collingwood and longtime Muskoka cottagers. The Cowan Family Fund, John and Maggie Cowan and Muskoka Community Foundation continue to support the important work that local and regional charities do, helping to create smart and caring communities.

Since the creation of the Cowan Family Fund in 2014, $33,400 has been granted to projects and organization directly impacting the health and vitality of Muskoka and beyond. This year’s Cowan Family Fund grant recipients are South Muskoka Hospital Foundation, Orillia Soldier’s Memorial Hospital Foundation, Collingwood General & Marine Hospital Foundation, and Muskoka Steamship and Historical Society.

Gord Durnan, Vice-Chair of Muskoka Community Foundation noted “more and more cottagers are stepping forward to support the important work being done by Muskoka charities by both volunteering their time and expertise, with generous philanthropic donations directed to their favorite causes as well as establishing endowed Family Funds with the Muskoka Community Foundation”.

Muskoka Community Foundation is one of 191 Community Foundations in Canada administering over $730,000 in endowed and other assets.

Since it was founded in 2007, the Muskoka Community Foundation has granted over $230,000 directly to a variety of registered charities throughout Muskoka.

You can learn more about the Foundation on their website: www.muskokacommunityfoundation.ca.

Male saved while clinging to a floating raft in Lake Joseph

On Tuesday at about 12:30 a.m., the Township of Muskoka Lakes Fire Department, including their Station 1’s Marine Unit, the Muskoka E.M.S. and the O.P.P. all responded to 1039 Chown Road Unit 4 in Muskoka Lakes, regarding a reported 19 year old male who had gone swimming and who had not been seen for 30 minutes.

At the time of the emergency responders arrival, they were met by numerous patrons of a large party which was occurring at the residence.

A search of the shoreline was immediately initiated and the Marine unit began to search the waters. Fifteen minutes later the male was located in the bay some 40 m from shore clinging to a floating raft. He was displaying the effects of hypothermia.

As the rescuers approached the young man, they thought, it looked like he was going to give up.
The male was rescued by the Marine Unit personnel and brought to the awaiting EMS crew.

He was then transported to West Parry Sound Hospital with what was believed to be none life threatening injuries.

OPP continue investigation into Huntsville shooting

Police continue their investigation into a shooting that sent one man to hospital in Huntsville Sunday.

Officers combed the nearby CN Train Station for evidence as part of the investigation into the incident which happened on Huntsville’s Main Street. K9 Units and Forensics were part of the investigation.

The victim’s injuries have been described as non life threatening. One suspect has been arrested in connection with the incident.

More details have yet to be made available.

Muskoka locations streaming the Tragically Hip farewell concert

The Tragically Hip Live from Kingston concert is being streamed at several locations throughout Muskoka and surrounding areas this evening. The concert airs at 8:30pm but people should arrive earlier to get a good spot.

Here’s the list of locations that will be streaming the concert:

Bracebridge at Annie Williams Park
Huntsville’s River Mill Park
The Huntsville Legion
800 Degrees in Orillia – 99 Mississauga Street
The Stockey Centre in Parry Sound
The Muskoka Drive In – Gravenhurst
Sawdust City Brewing Co – Gravenhurst

*A Tribute to the Tragically Hip is also happening at Clear Lake Resort in Torrance near Bala between 4pm and midnight which includes live bands, food and then the airing of the Hip concert on an outdoor movie screen. All proceeds to local charities. Free shuttle ride home. Tickets are available at PIE Muskoka

Health Unit warns about algae bloom on Three Mile Lake

The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit is reminding people to avoid activities involving the use of water at Three Mile Lake, Township of Muskoka Lakes, due to a potential blue-green algae bloom.

While many forms of blue-green algae are harmless, some forms can produce toxins that can be harmful to the health of people and their pets. This means that exposure to the water, whether for drinking, swimming, bathing, cooking, washing or eating fish caught from the lake, can result in illness. Do not use the water for drinking or for food preparation including breastmilk substitute (infant formula).

Symptoms can include headaches, fever, diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting. The effects can be more serious if water is swallowed in large quantities. Swimming in the water can cause itchy and irritated eyes. Blue-green algae blooms naturally occur in fresh water lakes, bays and inlets, usually during warmer weather in late summer and early fall.

They thrive where water is shallow, slow moving and warm, but may also be present below the surface in deeper cooler water. To learn more about blue-green algae check the health unit website at www.simcoemuskokahealth.org, or call Health Connection Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520.

UPDATE: Innapropriate touching suspect arrested in Huntsville

UPDATE: On Friday August 19th, the Muskoka Crime Unit arrested the male in relation to the assault mentioned in the OPP release below. 40 yr old Adam Nadrofsky of Huntsville has since been charged with Sexual Assault under the Criminal Code of Canada. He will appear in the Ontario Court of Justice in Huntsville on September 21st to answer to his charges.

Huntsville OPP and Muskoka Crime Unit continue to investigate the incident and ask that if anyone has any information to contact Huntsville OPP or Crime Stoppers.

PRIOR: On Wednesday just at around 9:40pm, a female was riding her bicycle in the area of Main St. W. and Ferguson Rd. in the town of Huntsville and was approached by a male in a business parking lot in that area.

Police say the male touched the female inappropriately, and then he left the area in his vehicle toward the town centre.

Huntsville Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is looking for any witnesses that may have been in the area at the time. Suspect is described as a male, white in his 30’s with red hair and a neatly trimmed beard, 5’8” to 5’10” in height, medium build with a strong odour of cologne.

He was last seen wearing a dark baseball cap, and driving a silver/grey smaller pick-up truck.

Huntsville Crime Unit is assisting with the investigation. Anyone with any information is asked to contact Huntsville OPP or Crime Stoppers.

Ontario to license home inspectors

Today, Ontario’s Minister of Government and Consumer Services Marie-France Lalonde announced the Province’s intent to introduce legislation this fall that would, if passed, regulate the province’s home inspection industry in order to better protect consumers.

If passed, the proposed changes would:

* Require home inspectors to be licensed with proper qualifications
* Set minimum standards for contracts, home inspection reports, disclosures, and the performance of home inspections
* Establish an independent Administrative Authority to administer and enforce the home inspection licensing legislation and associated regulations

“Our government is committed to protecting consumers, which is why introducing this proposed legislation remains a top priority for my ministry. If passed, this proposed legislation will help to build a stronger foundation for the industry and even better protect consumers throughout the home-buying process.”
 — Marie-France Lalonde, Minister of Government and Consumer Services

These changes would ensure consumers benefit from quality advice, are protected from surprise costs and aware of safety issues before buying a home. This will also create a level playing field for the home inspection industry, preventing inspectors with little or no training from competing with qualified professionals by offering lower rates.

Protecting Ontario’s consumers is part of the government’s economic plan to build Ontario up and deliver on its number-one priority to grow the economy and create jobs. The four-part plan includes helping more people get and create the jobs of the future by expanding access to high-quality college and university education.

The plan is making the largest infrastructure investment in hospitals, schools, roads, bridges and transit in Ontario’s history and is investing  in a low-carbon economy driven by innovative, high-growth, export-oriented businesses. The plan is also helping working Ontarians achieve a more secure retirement.


* Home inspectors are one of the only professionals involved in a real estate transaction who are not provincially regulated.
* Approximately 65 per cent of resale homes sold annually receive a home inspection.
* There are approximately 1,500 home inspectors in Ontario.
* The proposed legislation the government intends to introduce was based on 35 recommendations made by a 16-member expert panel which were then supported by both industry and consumers.

* Learn more about consumer protection and your home.

(Photo Muskoka News Watch)

Toronto man faces cocaine and pot possession charges

A Toronto man is facing charges after a traffic stop on Atherley Road in Orillia yielded cocaine, marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

On Thursday August 11th at 5pm police made the stop.

22 yr old Harris BAFFOE-BOADU is charged with Possession of Cocaine, Possession of Cocaine for the Purpose of Trafficking and Possession of Cannabis Marihuana.

He was held in custody for a show cause hearing on August 12th in Barrie.


Join award winning photographer Spencer Wynn this week on Astro Photography shoot

by Matt Sitler

Interested in astro photography but don’t know where to start?

Award winning photographer, Spencer Wynn, known for his stunning images of Muskoka is headed to Huntsville this week.

He is holding a free night shooting location workshop Thursday night – late! Wynn typically is shooting at 2am on clear, starry nights.

This Thursday night is your chance to turn your gaze to the stars and capture your own beautiful night sky images.

Wynn will be at the Dwight Beach dock at 2am. You will have a chance to shoot the sky as it is reflected on the Lake of Bays before moving to another locations nearby. Wynn will help you set up, suggest camera settings and get you started in shooting images such as the one pictured here.

NOTE: You will need a sturdy tripod as your exposures will be long. A working knowledge of your camera is expected, you will be exploring long exposure settings and lens choices. The faster and wider the lens you have, the better your results will be. Bring extra batteries and memory cards.

For any questions, Spencer can be reached at spencerwynn@me.com.

You can also see his Muskoka work at: http://www.spencerwynn.com/GALLERIES/MUSKOKA/

Meeting to weigh options about Class Action Lawsuit against MNR over recent Spring flooding

A public meeting’s been set for later this month in Port Carling where property owners affected by this past Spring’s flooding will hear about steps that could be taken to launch a Class Action lawsuit against the MNR.

The meeting’s been set for 10am on August 21st at the Port Carling Community Centre.

To learn more about the meeting, visit https://www.change.org/p/martinford-sunandski-ca-stop-flooding-muskoka-change-the-muskoka-river-water-management-plan/u/17561786

The meeting will be led by Oatley Vigmond LLP, an experienced class action law firm from Barrie and Toronto.


Fire causes $250,000 in damages to Huntsville laundry facility

Extensive damage to a Huntsville laundry facility early this morning after flames broke out around 1am.

The Huntsville/Lake of Bays Fire Department responded to the alarm call on Main St. East and upon arrival, crews encountered light smoke inside a commercial occupancy and discovered a working fire in the laundry facility located below.

Nearby residential occupancies were evacuated and crews were able to quickly extinguish the fire.

Some other areas of the building suffered some smoke damage and occupants in 2 residential units were not able to return to their homes.

No injuries were reported and damage is estimated at $250,000 to the laundry facility.

The cause is still under investigation.

Local hockey legend Ace Bailey commemorated with special banner in Bracebridge

Help celebrate some local hockey history.

To recognize 100 years of the Toronto Maple Leafs Hockey Club, officials in Bracebridge are meeting at the entrance to the walking path over the Bracebridge Falls on Wharf Road today to commemorate local hockey legend and former Maple Leaf Ace Bailey.

It’s happening at the location between noon and 1pm.

During this celebration, Bailey will be recognized with the hanging of a commemorative banner.

The public is encouraged to attend.

Major fire averted at Huckleberry Rock in Milford Bay

The Muskoka Lakes Fire Department says a major fire was averted today at the base of Huckleberry Rock in Milford Bay.

Firefighters from Milford Bay and Port Carling responded to the call which was about a reported brush fire.

With fears of a repeat blaze happening at the location like the one that occurred back in 2012, the department was relieved to find only a small fire which was quickly brought under control. Due to the quick actions of those who first noticed the flames and the firefighter response, a major fire was averted.

All residents and visitors are reminded that during these extreme conditions there is a complete burning ban. This ban is in effect throughout the whole of Muskoka. What this means is that there are no fires permitted at any time, no fireworks permitted & no outdoor open flames permitted.

The likelihood of fire spread is extremely likely as noted by this recent fire and the Muskoka Lakes Fire Department is taking a zero tolerance approach to offences.

Offenders will be subject to a fine of up to $300.00, and/or a fee for service ($125/hour for each apparatus + firefighter wages), and/or a summons to appear in court.

(Photo via the Muskoka Lakes Fire Department)

Orillia to host 2018 Ontario Winter Games

Ontario has awarded provincial multi-sport games events to three cities in 2018 and is providing over $2 million to support the events.

Mississauga will host the Ontario 55+ Summer Games, London will host the Ontario Summer Games, and Orillia will host the Ontario Winter Games.

The Ontario 55+ Games showcase the best participants 55 years of age and older from across the province, and the Ontario Summer and Winter Games are for top young athletes between 12 and 20 years old. The games provide an opportunity for amateur athletes to develop their skills and prepare to advance to national and international competitions. They also encourage volunteerism, contribute to local tourism and economic activity, and help communities build their experience and resources to host large-scale events.

“Our government’s investment in sport is driven by a commitment to support communities and help them grow and prosper through events like the Ontario Games. Multi-sport events of this nature can unite our communities through healthy, active living and provide new opportunities for our coaches, volunteers, officials and athletes. Ontario is home to a diverse range of athletes with different backgrounds and skillsets and I look forward to supporting them by delivering memorable events in London, Orillia and Mississauga.”
Eleanor McMahon, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport

The Ontario Games program is part of Game ON – The Ontario Government’s Sport Plan to help more Ontarians participate and excel in sport. Game ON recognizes the many ways organized sport can be good for people and communities, from the health benefits of physical activity to the economic benefits of hosting major events. Game ON is one of the many legacies of the 2015 Toronto Pan Am / Parapan Am Games that also include world-class newly built and improved sport and recreation infrastructure and the new Canary District community in the former Athlete’s Village.

Supporting sport is part of the government’s economic plan to build Ontario up and deliver on its number-one priority to grow the economy and create jobs. The four-part plan includes helping more people get and create the jobs of the future by expanding access to high-quality college and university education. The plan is making the largest infrastructure investment in hospitals, schools, roads, bridges and transit in Ontario’s history and is investing in a low-carbon economy driven by innovative, high-growth, export-oriented businesses. The plan is also helping working Ontarians achieve a more secure retirement.

Mississauga was announced as the host of the 2018 Ontario 55+ Summer Games at the Opening Ceremony for the 2016 Ontario 55+ Summer Games in Midland.

The province is investing $235,000 for the Ontario 55+ Games, $1 million for the Ontario Winter Games and $1 million for the Ontario Summer Games.

Ontario also holds two other multi-sport Games: the Ontario 55+ Winter Games will be held in February 2017 in Cobourg and the Ontario ParaSport Games will be held in February 2017 in Brantford/County of Brant.

Ontario has tripled its support for amateur sport from $8.78 million in 2003 to more than $27 million in 2015–16.

The sport industry contributes an estimated $2.1 billion to Ontario’s GDP and supports 43,730 jobs.

Photo via Ontariowintergames.com

Bush fire on Luckey Road caused by campfire during ban

The Muskoka Lakes Fire Department was called yet again this week to respond to a bush fire, this time on Luckey Road.

Upon arrival today, firefighters had to traverse rough terrain to reach a peninsula on a small lake.

Once at the fire, crews were quick to bring the flames under control.

Firefighters say it was evident the area had been used as a campsite as there were remnants of a campfire there.

It is unknown when this campfire was used last, but the department says it was clearly the source of the fire.

All residents and visitors to the district are reminded that during these extreme conditions there is a complete burning ban. This ban is throughout the whole of Muskoka.

What this means is that there are no fires permitted at any time, no fireworks permitted, no outdoor open flames permitted.

The likelihood of fire spread is extremely likely now as noted by this recent fire.

The Muskoka Lakes Fire Department is taking a zero tolerance approach to offences.

Offenders will be subject to a fine of up to $300.00 and/or a fee for service ($125/hour for each apparatus + firefighter wages), and/or summons to appear in court.

Picture courtesy of Ron Brent.

Windsor Drive cottage fire damages could be as high as $770,000

Updated information:

The Muskoka Lakes Fire Department says the estimated property loss in yesterday’s Windsor Drive cottage fire is between $370,000 and $570,000 for the structure and $200,000 for the content

The fire was started as a result of a campfire that was last used on Sunday, two days earlier.

The fire quickly spread across the land and caught the cottage on fire. This is evidence of the dry conditions throughout the area and the reasoning for the Fire Danger Rating to be at “Extreme”.

While fighting this fire, embers travelled some distance. A secondary bush fire had to be extinguished across the road from the subject property as well as various other spot fires multiple cottages away.

All residents and visitors are reminded that during these “Extreme” conditions there is a complete burning ban.

What this means is that there are NO fires permitted at any time, NO fireworks permitted, No outdoor open flames permitted.

The likelyhood of fire spread is extremly likely as noted by this recent fire.

The Muskoka Lakes Fire Department is taking a zero tolerance approach to offences. Offenders will be subject to a fine of up to $300.00, and/or a fee for service ($125/hour for each apparatus + firefighter wages), and/or summons to appear in court.


At 2pm Tuesday the Muskoka Lakes Fire Department were called to a reported grass fire at 1046 Windsor Drive in Muskoka Lakes Township.

Firefighters from Station 3 – Bala, Station 4 – Torrance/Walker’s Point, and Station 1 – Foot’s Bay/Glen Orchard all responded to the call.

Upon arrival it was noted that the fire was a structure which was fully involved. Fire crews concentrated their initial efforts on protecting the exposures. The blaze was contained to the 1046 Windsor Drive structure and surrounding bush line.

No persons were reported at the cottage. The fire remains under investigation and the dollar loss is pending.

$107,500 in funding announced by Ontario Liberals for Simcoe Muskoka Child, Youth and Family Services

Ontario is investing $16 million in more than 550 facility upgrades and repair projects at more than 140 community agencies across the province to help them better serve Ontario’s children, youth and families.

In our region, the Simcoe Muskoka Child Youth and Family Services will benefit to the tune of $107,500 worth of the funding. To see the projects which are being funded click here

Minister of Children and Youth Services Michael Coteau was at the Massey Centre in Toronto today to announce that that centre would receive $897,200 to support 23 projects as part of the investment through Ontario’s Partner Facility Renewal program. This funding will help the Massey Centre complete these needed upgrades and continue to provide excellent client-centred infant and early childhood mental health services in the community.

Overall, these investments will help children’s treatment centres, children’s aid societies and youth centres across Ontario to repair and maintain their facilities and offer more secure and accessible services.

Ontario is making the largest investment in public infrastructure in the province’s history — about $160 billion over 12 years, which is supporting 110,000 jobs every year across the province, with projects such as hospitals, schools, roads, bridges and transit. Since 2015, the province has announced support for more than 475 projects that will keep people and goods moving, connect communities and improve quality of life. To learn more about infrastructure projects in your community, go to Ontario.ca/BuildON.

Quick Facts

Approved projects include: upgrading accessible washrooms, replacing windows, repairing roofs, replacing furnaces, expanding program space, and installing carbon monoxide alarms and fire alarms.

Last year, hundreds of community agencies received more than $20 million toward upgrades and repairs.

Ontario’s first craft shandy hits LCBOs in Gravenhurst, Bracebridge & Port Carling

The team that created the first ever Canadian Pale Ale has just launched a new style of beer cocktail, bringing a bit of British culture to Canada.

Old Tomorrow Honey Ginger Shandy is Ontario’s first craft shandy and carries on the tradition of the shandygaff, the British drink which originated in the 1850’s and is a blend of beer and ginger ale.

Old Tomorrow Honey Ginger Shandy is easy-drinking with an invigorating zesty ginger flavor that is both satisfying and thirst-quenching.

It will be available for a limited time exclusively in selected LCBO stores, including those in Gravenhurst, Bracebridge and Port Carling.

Old Tomorrow’s shandy was created in collaboration with Muskoka Springs, using its century-old Pale Ginger Ale recipe, which is packed with botanical extracts.

Old Tomorrow brewed its beer, blended it with Muskoka Springs unique ginger syrup and water and then added natural honey and lemon flavours. The result is a light and zesty ginger flavor that is truly refreshing.

“We wanted to create a truly unique fun product with a kicked back summer vibe,” explained co-founders Pat and Ian Macdonald. “Muskoka Springs Pale Ginger Ale has outstanding flavour and effervescence – perfect for making Ontario’s first shandy.”

They went on to add that Old Tomorrow Honey Ginger Shandy is a salute to the great Canadian summer and it’s perfect for chilling out or cooling down on a hot summer day.

“Our Shandy lets you soak up the ultimate taste of summer,” explains Pat. She added that its cool zestiness makes it a great alternative to sweeter radlers and lighter beers.

The low alcohol level of only 3% is perfect for parties and social gatherings.

Scott Moffat, partner at The Rosseau Group which owns Muskoka Springs, commented on this unique collaboration. “We are thrilled that Old Tomorrow approached us to feature our Pale Ginger Ale in this exciting new beer beverage. Our Pale Ginger Ale recipe has a unique tang and produces a cool crisp flavour that is a perfect match with Old Tomorrow’s smooth beer.”

Old Tomorrow Honey Ginger Shandy is enjoyable on its own or an ideal companion to BBQ’d foods, spicy ethnic dishes, salty snacks and lighter fare.

About Old Tomorrow: Old Tomorrow is an Ontario craft beer company aiming to create distinctive flavourful beers that celebrate iconic moments of Canadian greatness and tell authentic Canadian stories. Old Tomorrow was the nickname of Sir John A Macdonald. Its first craft entry, Old Tomorrow Canadian Pale Ale (CPA), has won numerous awards and is now in the top 10% of Ontario craft beer brands. Track 85 Lagered Ale, recently launched in June, is a lager style beer made in the traditional German way with specialty German yeast and hops. Track 85 delivers a cool crisp flavor and celebrates the last spike of Canada’s national railway. Monty’s Golden Ryed Ale is a silky smooth, limited edition ale aged in rye whisky and oak and made in collaboration with Olympic Champion Jon Montgomery, telling his gold medal story.

About Muskoka Springs: Muskoka Springs Natural Spring Water Inc. is a diversified beverage service company serving Central Ontario. Established in 1873, Muskoka Springs has been producing bottled beverages since Sir John A. Macdonald was Prime Minister. In the 19th century, the founder, Dugald Brown, started bottling natural spring water in hand-blown glass bottles packed in wooden crates. Shortly thereafter, the new firm began its foray into carbonated beverages. Muskoka Springs Pale Ginger Ale was originally marketed as Nickel Dry – and then Muskoka Dry – over 100 years ago. Muskoka Springs Natural Spring Water Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Rosseau Group.

Liberal Education Minister announces ban on child care wait list fees

Ontario has filed a regulation to end fees for child care wait lists to improve the accessibility of child care and make life easier for families.

The ban will take effect September 1, 2016, and will prevent licensed child care centres and home child care agencies from charging fees or requiring deposits to join child care wait lists.

The regulatory amendments also require licensed child care providers to:

Develop a public wait list policy that clearly explains how children on a wait list are offered admission.

Ensure wait list status is made available to families, in a manner that protects the confidentiality of their personal information.

The regulation was developed with feedback from public consultations and from the Ontario Regulatory website, with strong support for a ban on wait list fees from parents, child care providers and municipalities. The consultation period was open from May 17 to July 4, 2016.

“We listened to parents and heard their concerns about wait list fees. That’s why we are stopping this unfair practice. No family should have to pay to simply be on a waiting list for child care. We will continue working with our partners to build a high-quality and accessible child care and early years system that better serves Ontario’s children and families.”
Mitzie Hunter, Minister of Education

Giving Ontario’s children the best possible start in life is part of the government’s economic plan to build Ontario up and deliver on its number-one priority to grow the economy and create jobs. The four-part plan includes helping more people get and create the jobs of the future by expanding access to high-quality college and university education. The plan is making the largest infrastructure investment in hospitals, schools, roads, bridges and transit in Ontario’s history and is investing in a low-carbon economy driven by innovative, high-growth, export-oriented businesses. The plan is also helping working Ontarians achieve a more secure retirement.


Ontario is the first province in Canada to ban child care wait list fees.

On May 16, 2016 Arthur Potts, MPP for Beaches – East York introduced a Private Member’s Bill in the Ontario legislature that would restrict licensees to charge non-refundable fees for child care wait lists.

In August 2015 the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014, was proclaimed to strengthen oversight of the province’s unlicensed child care sector and increase access to licensed child care options, including before and after school programs where there is sufficient demand.

The province announced $120 million over three years in new funding in April 2015 dedicated to building more than 4,000 safe, high-quality, licensed child care spaces in schools across the province.

Since 2003–04, the government has doubled child care funding to more than $1 billion annually, and the number of licensed child care spaces in Ontario has grown to nearly 351,000 – an increase of 87 per cent.

Ontario is investing $269 million over three years to support a wage increase for early childhood educators and other child care professionals in licensed child care settings.

Federal Tourism Minister to visit Huntsville on Sunday

Muskoka News Watch has learned that Canada’s Minister of Small Business and Tourism, the Hon. Bardish Chagger will be visiting Muskoka on Sunday.

The reception will host Chagger in Huntsville at the Algonquin Theatre Sunday evening.

“It is an honour to have Minister Chagger visiting us here in Parry Sound-Muskoka,” said PSM Federal Liberal Association President Trisha Cowie. “Given the importance that both tourism and small business have in this area, her comments are sure to resonate here.”

Chagger was elected as Waterloo’s MP on October 19th, 2015 and was named Minister by Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on November 4th.

The reception is to take place between 6 and 8pm.

All are welcome to attend, but you are asked to RSVP with the local Liberal Riding Association via email at dhudson@vianet.ca or by calling 705 645 6851 for directions to the location.

Gravenhurst issues EOI for Muskoka Regional Centre property

The Town of Gravenhurst has issued a formal Request for Expression on Interest (EOI) for the Muskoka Regional Centre property.

The intent of the document is to seek qualified proponents to create a partnership to acquire and redevelop the site located at 2000 Muskoka Road N, Gravenhurst.

“We are pleased that this process is picking up momentum,” said Glen Davies, chief administrative officer. “We look forward to acquiring a strong partner who will come to the table and help us work towards making this property a prominent and prosperous part of this community once again.”

To see photos of the centre property as it stands today, visit http://www.uerev.com/index.php?pageid=muskoka

The EOI proposals are due Friday, September 16th, 2016 at 12:00 p.m. (noon) and should be no longer than 10 pages including appendices.

Each proposal shall include:

Proposal to Purchase – This is a detailed outline for a proposed development concept, agreement of purchase and sale, Town partnership and economic and employment creation impact.

Qualifications of the Respondent – The proposal shall outline the qualifications and experience of the respondent.

Expressions of interest will be evaluated on a number of points including but not limited to the proposed development’s sustainability, the proposed developments ability to create employment opportunities, compatibility with the values expressed in the Official Plan, qualifications of the respondent, quality of the proposal, knowledge of Gravenhurst and planning regulations, creativity, achievable time-lines and financial capacity.

In addition to submissions, potential respondents will have the opportunity to participate in a site tour of the property. This tour will take place on Wednesday, August 17, between 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m.

“Council has been waiting for some time to see something meaningful happen on that property and we are thrilled to be able to start to think about the possibilities,” offered Mayor Paisley Donaldson. “This will be a very positive change for the community.”

Following the September 16, deadline, Council will approve a preferred partner. Negotiations will take place with the successful partner(s) and further discussions with Infrastructure Ontario will follow.

(Main photo via uerev.com)

Gravenhurst artist Kevan Murray’s new show explores family, memory & identity

by Matt Sitler

A set of vintage black and white photos has inspired a Gravenhurst artist to delve deeper into the now threatened memories of her close knit family’s aging matriarch.

Kevan Anne Murray, 29, opens her latest show of acrylic paintings and ink and water colour illustrations at the Lee Contemporary Art  gallery located on the Upper Level at 5 Peter Street in Orillia.

Entitled ‘245 Lakeview Ave.’, the show, which started August 4th and runs until September 10th,  documents memories from her 87 year old grandmother Yvonne Jones’  life, which are ever the more poignant now due to Jones’ ongoing battle with Alzheimer’s Disease.

Murray named the show after the address where her grandparents lived for many years in Gravenhurst, which also served as the family’s main home base and hub of activity.

“It’s kind of ingrained in our family identity, that whole landscape and the memories connected to it,” reflects Murray. “Generally in the past I’ve done paintings that are more landscape and architecturally based, subject wise. (For this show) a conversation I had with my mother and a friend helped shift the subject  to this more personal territory, which was very difficult for me.”


“Tiger 2: Winter Driveway”

A few years ago Murray’s grandfather passed away and her grandmother  had to be moved out of 245 Lakeview into a smaller residence. She now resides at the Pines long term care facility in Bracebridge.

“It’s just been a really difficult thing for my family,” says Murray. “And it’s been very interesting for me to observe, both up close and at a distance – because I’m living in BC right now – just hearing the way my family now talk about her. And even when I talk with her, even though she’s not ‘her’ anymore, she still is ‘her’. I’m kind of obsessed with the whole identity thing. She’s still the woman from 245 Lakeview Avenue and we still have those memories and we don’t have to hold on to who we think she is, who she should be or who she was – she’s different now and the roles are evolving and its always on my mind.”

When her grandmother was being moved out of her home, Murray’s sister took the opportunity to scan and email all her old photos to members of the family.

“(The photos) are from when my grandmother was a little girl growing up in Gravenhurst,” says Murray. “They include some family members who I don’t know, but you can tell they are very meaningful to her, her memories, history and identity. She’s still here but I’m not going to get to hear these stories from her now, so it’s interesting to see a different side of someone (through the old photos).”



Tying the show’s paintings and illustrations together will be written material, including a poem that explains more to the viewer about Jones’ life and story.   Murray used this material and the feelings the photos evoked while choosing the colours  and moods in her interpretations. Altogether, she says there are about 30 pieces that will be on display.

Murray, a graduate of Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University has been travelling during the last couple of years, with trips across Canada and Europe. Previously she has shown her work at the Silver Bridge Gallery and the Art in the Heart summer program in Bracebridge.

She says she is now more focused than ever on developing her skills.

“I’ve been in Nanaimo BC for a year now,” she says. “I have a studio there and I’ve really been able to focus more in the last year on my art and what I want to do with it.”


“Young Paddler”

‘245 Lakeview Ave.’ opened August 4th between 7 pm and 9pm.

Throughout the show Murray will be collecting donations from the gallery’s patrons  in honour of her grandmother for the Alzheimer’s Society.

To learn more about Murray’s art visit her website at www.kevanmurray.com

Lee Contemporary Art’s website is located at www.leecontemporaryart.ca

(Main photo is of Murray with her painting “The Lake”)




Breastfeeding supports available to Ontarians

Resources Include Phone Support and Local Services

During World Breastfeeding Week, new mothers and mothers-to-be in Ontario are reminded that there are provincial supports available to help them breastfeed.

“The majority of moms in Ontario want to breastfeed. It’s convenient, healthy and a great way for moms and babies to bond. World Breastfeeding Week is an important time to encourage moms to make use of the many services available in this province to help them continue breastfeeding.”
— Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care

The World Health Organization recommends infants be breastfed exclusively for the first six months of their lives. This means that the baby receives no food or drink other than breast milk. But it can take time and practice for both moms and their babies to learn how to breastfeed. That’s why Ontario has invested in support programs across the province, including:

Telephone support: Ontarians can get confidential breastfeeding support, advice and referrals from registered nurses with specialized breastfeeding training 24 hours a day, seven days a week. One-to-one coaching and referrals to local community services are provided. Call toll-free at 1-866-797-0000.

Local supports: Ontarians can find local breastfeeding support service through a searchable online list. This list includes breastfeeding services located in local Community Health Centres, Public Health Units, Aboriginal Health Access Centres, and other community based organizations.

Investing in breastfeeding supports is part of the government’s plan to build a better Ontario through its Patients First: Action Plan for Health Care, which provides patients with faster access to the right care; better home and community care; the information they need to live healthy; and a health care system that is sustainable for generations to come.


Breastfeeding has many benefits for babies, including: better overall health, protection from illness and infections, healthy brain development, maintaining a healthy body weight and proper jaw and tooth growth.
Breastfeeding also has benefits for mothers including: controlling bleeding after baby’s birth, reducing the risk of breast and ovarian cancer and osteoporosis
The Baby-Friendly Initiative is a globally recognized standard for infant feeding and breastfeeding promotion, and supports exclusive breastfeeding and skin-to-skin contact within the first hour of birth.


World Breastfeeding Week 2016
Learn more about breastfeeding
Healthy Kids Strategy
Patients First: Action Plan for Health Care