Mayor seeks court judgement against Nishikawa

The Mayor of Muskoka Lakes claims a member of his council has breached the municipal Conflict of Interest Act and he’s now seeking a court judgement in the matter.

Muskoka News Watch has obtained papers filed at the Bracebridge courthouse which show Mayor Don Furniss has launched a civil proceeding against Councillor Ruth Nishikawa.

According to the Mayor’s affidavit, Nishikawa’s conduct at a September 16th council meeting during council discussions about whether she should pay costs after being found guilty of defaming former councillor Ron Brent, was in conflict with Section 5 of the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act.

The affidavit, filed by MacDonald Law on Friday, reads, in part: “Prior to consideration of the resolution on September 16, 2016, the Respondent was cautioned by the Clerk of the Township of Muskoka Lakes Cheryl Mortimer that she should consider whether or not she had a conflict of interest. The Respondent refused to declare a conflict of interest and took part in the discussion with respect to the resolution (in breach of section 5 (1) (b)). She continued to sit at the council table, but abstained from voting. By abstaining, by operation of the rules of Council, her vote was recorded as a “No” vote, such that abstaining deliberately constituted a “No” vote, contrary to section 5 (1) (b) and (c).”

The matter is slated to be heard in the Superior Court of Justice on December 12th.

Related Links: 

Breaking News: Muskoka District Councillor found guilty of defamation

Fellow councilors order Nishikawa to pay part of defamation judgment


Prominent Bracebridge Lawyer Jean Polak in Sunnybrook following fireworks accident

By Matt Sitler

Prominent Bracebridge Lawyer Jean Polak is in Sunnybrook Hospital following a Friday afternoon fireworks accident.

Polak is a member of the licensed fireworks team that sets up before shows put on by the Rotary Club and is a member of the Rotary Club of Bracebridge.

The show was planned for Friday evening to help kick off the Rotary District Conference Dinner, which was being held at the JW Marriott Muskoka Resort and Spa in Minett.

Muskoka News Watch is told Polak suffered injuries to an arm, her torso and head when there was an explosion during set up for the show.

Sources say Polak has since undergone several surgeries and is in serious but stable condition.

Rotary Club of Bracebridge President Tim Harvey urges everyone to keep the lawyer in their thoughts at this time.

Polak operates Jean Polak Law, which is located at 32 Robert Boyer Lane in Bracebridge.

Women of Distinction Awards handed out in Huntsville

The women of distinction who helped put Muskoka on the map in 2016 through their tireless outstanding achievements have been honoured.

YWCA Muskoka’s 15th Annual Women of Distinction Awards Gala was attended by 185 people at the Mark O’Meara Grandview in Huntsville by Fairy Lake.

YWCA’s Women of Distinction is recognized nationally as one of Canada’s most prestigious awards for women.

The awards honour women whose outstanding achievements contribute to the well-being and future of Muskoka.

Peers, friends and family nominated 12 women this year.

2016 Women of Distinction Awards were presented to the following exceptional women of Muskoka:

Young Woman of Distinction – Alissa Ahsome
 Arts, Culture and Creative Energy – Penny Varney
Business Innovation and Entrepreneurship – Brenda Rhodes Community Development and Social Activism – Michelle Ainsworth Health, Sports and Wellness – Jill Dunford
 Mentorship – Alison Brownlee
Lifetime Achievement – Arleigh Luckett

Special tributes were made to each of the 12 extraordinary women nominees including a chant
shared by 9 girls from YWCA Girlz Unplugged summer programs.

One of the evening’s points of interest was the key note address given by Marcy Hill, a longtime facilitator for Girlz Unplugged, Girlz Choice, Quest and YWCA women’s programs.

This event celebrates all women and each nominee is considered a valuable asset to the Muskoka community. They inspire and energize the attendees of the gala each year.

As Wendie Donabie, a 2014 Award recipient has said, “Receiving this honour encouraged me to keep going even those days when the creative well seems to have run dry. It’s at those times I look in the mirror award we each received and say, ‘You just need to dig a little deeper. It’s there waiting for you’”.

Although a final amount is not yet determined, organizers of the event estimate that close to $23,500 was raised and will be used to sustain programs for women and girls across Muskoka.

YWCA Muskoka champions positive change for women and girls. YWCA Muskoka envisions all women and girls thriving in a safe community of possibility.

For more information on how you can get involved, please contact or call 705-645-9827.

Gravenhurst and Muskoka Lakes Chamber execs promote local business at provincial conference

Two Muskoka Chamber of Commerce executives were representing Muskoka business this week at the Chamber Executives of Ontario conference in Kingston.

As new Chamber executives, Sandy Lockhart, Executive Director of the Gravenhurst Chamber, and Norah Fountain, General Manager of the Muskoka Lakes Chamber of Commerce, were both awarded bursaries to attend the event.

The twice-a-year meeting of Chamber minds offers way to increase value to member businesses while sharpening the skill set of the executives attending.

“Being at this conference helps make our Chamber part of a bigger network of knowledge to draw on,” Lockhart tells Muskoka News Watch. “It was a great learning opportunity, as we got to hear from other new Chamber executives and from some who have been in their positions for decades.”

Strive Presentation

It also gave the Muskoka executives an opportunity to showcase business in Muskoka.

“Now it would be wonderful if Muskoka could host one of these provincial Chamber events,” reports Fountain, “as it would also act as a familiarization tour of Muskoka for people running visitor centres across Ontario. Certainly the connections made for our Chamber are invaluable.”

Inset Photo: Joe Shuker of Strive giving presentation on healthy organizations.

Top Photo: Norah Fountain and Sandy Lockhart with Chamber Executives of Ontario Chair Greg Webb

OPP say missing Huntsville teen has been found

(HUNTSVILLE, ON)- Huntsville Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), who were seeking the public’s assistance in locating a missing youth, 14 yr old Jasmine Southwind, report that she has been located.

Huntsville OPP would like thank the media and the public’s assistance in helping to locate her.

Grocery stores in Orillia and Innisfil added to authorized wine sellers list

Starting today, 67 new independent and large grocers in communities across Ontario are authorized to sell wine, beer and cider – the closest additions near Muskoka on the list are in Orillia and Innisfil.

The Province says criteria were set to ensure fairness and geographic distribution.

The location in Innisfil is the Sobeys located at 2080 Jans Blvd., while the one in Orillia is the Food Basics at 975 West Ridge Rd.

For the list click here

Charles Sousa, Minister of Finance, was at Coppa’s Fresh Market in Toronto today to announce the 67 store locations, including 20 independent grocery stores and 47 stores owned by large grocers.

These stores are in addition to the 57 across the province already selling beer and cider.

Ultimately, beer and cider will be available in up to 450 grocery stores across Ontario, including 300 that also sell wine.

“Being able to make one stop to pick up wine alongside other groceries will help make everyday life easier for Ontarians. Opening up this new retail channel for wine producers will also help encourage business to thrive while delivering economic growth and job creation in Ontario’s beverage alcohol, agriculture and tourism sectors.”
— Charles Sousa, Minister of Finance

Ontario maintains a strong commitment to social responsibility. By law, grocers selling beer or wine must have designated sales areas and standard hours of sale, abide by limitations on package size and alcohol content, and follow staffing and social responsibility training requirements. Ontario will develop a comprehensive alcohol strategy to promote the responsible sale and use of alcohol in moderation.

Offering consumers more choice and convenience while improving opportunities for business is part of our plan to create jobs, grow our economy and help people in their lives.



Social responsibility requirements:

Selling alcohol is a public trust the government takes very seriously. The following retail requirements apply to authorized grocers:

The sale of wine, beer and cider adheres to standard hours, which are: Monday to Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., Sunday 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Limitations to alcohol by volume – maximum of 7.1 per cent for beer and cider, and 18 per cent for wine, beer and cider continue to be sold in a six-pack or less or up to 750 mL per container

Wine can be sold in maximum four-litre containers

Staff selling alcohol must be a minimum of 18 years of age and be trained on Ontario’s standards for social responsibility, including making sure customers under the age of 19 and intoxicated individuals do not purchase alcohol

Grocers will also be restricted to selling wines with a retail price of $10.95 (per 750 mL bottle) or higher
The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) will oversee these and other regulations.

Huntsville OPP searching for missing 14 year old girl

Huntsville Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is seeking the public’s assistance in locating a missing youth from Huntsville.

Jasmine Southwind a 14 year-old was reported missing on Thursday from her residence in Huntsville.

Jasmine is described as a white female, 5’8”, 160 lbs, green eyes and long blonde hair. Jasmine is known to frequent South River, or could be in the Huntsville or Barrie area.

Anyone with any information or may know the whereabouts of this missing person is asked to contact Huntsville OPP or Crime Stoppers.

Muskoka suffers first blast of winter weather

The Muskoka region has been hit with its first blast of winter.

Numerous accidents are being reported across the district as snow continues to fall.

Earlier a transport truck accident snarled traffic between Taylor Road and Cedar Lane in Bracebridge.

Many vehicles being reported off the road and into ditches this evening. A special weather statement us in effect in our region with more snow on the way.

The forecast is calling for periods of snow ending this evening then partly cloudy. Risk of freezing drizzle early this evening. Amount 2 to 4 cm.

Police remind you to use smart driving practices throughout the winter.



Close call for man after boat catches fire on Georgian Bay

Two people in a canoe went out to save a man after his boat caught fire in Georgian Bay Wednesday.

At 10:32 a.m. members of the Southern Georgian Bay Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) received a 911 call about a vessel on fire between Beausoliel Island and Midland Bay.

Penetanguishene Fire department, Simcoe County Paramedics, Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) and the OPP helicopter also attended to assist.

Further investigation revealed that the 60 year old Penetanguishene man was transporting his boat to be stored for the winter when it caught fire. The male was forced to enter the water but was wearing a floater suit at the time. Two workers at a nearby residence went out in a canoe and an aluminum boat to assist the male to shore.

The boat drifted to a residence on McArthur Drive in Penetanguishene where the fire was extinguished by firefighters. The male was transported to a local hospital with minor injuries but has since been released.

The investigation into the cause of the fire is still under investigation.


Arrest made in Haliburton murder case

An arrest has been made in a Haliburton murder case.

For the past year, investigators under the direction of Detective Inspector Martin Graham of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Criminal Investigation Branch (CIB) have been working to identify the person responsible for the murder of David Palmer.

On Wednesday October 26th, Detectives from the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) made an arrest in regards to this investigation.

William Savage of Fenelon Falls, Ontario has been charged with First Degree Murder and is scheduled to appear in the Ontario Court of Justice in Lindsay today.

The investigation is ongoing. Police are seeking the assistance of the public in locating a wallet, a Samsung Flip Phone and a St. Louis Blues baseball hat.

These items belonged to Mr. Palmer and were known to be in his possession at the time of his disappearance.

Anyone with information regarding this investigation is asked to contact Detective Constable Matthew Carmichael of the City of Kawartha Lakes OPP Crime Unit by contacting him at 705-324-6741.

Anonymous tips can be made to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or online at or at: Please remember that tipsters may be eligible for a cash reward of up to $2,000 should your information assist the David Palmer murder investigation.

Safety campaign taking firefighters door to door in Muskoka Lakes

Muskoka Lakes residents will be receiving visits from their local firefighters next week.

Firefighters within the Township will be continuing the door to door campaign, offering to check your smoke alarms and CO alarms as next week is CO Alarm week.

They will either be dressed in the station wear or wearing their orange coveralls and some may even be in their bunker gear in order that they are identifiable.

This service is to ensure warning devices work properly in your residences in order to give you a chance to get out safely in case of an emergency.

Protect yourself and get your free flu shot

The free flu vaccine will be available in Ontario starting this week, so that people can better protect themselves against the flu virus and stay healthy.

The vaccine will be available at doctor’s offices, local public health units and community immunization clinics. Anyone five years of age and older can also be vaccinated for free by trained pharmacists at approximately 2,600 pharmacies across the province.

Influenza is a serious respiratory infection that can lead to hospitalization and even death. It’s important to get the flu shot every year to protect yourself, and those around you. Children under five, pregnant women and seniors are especially at risk of getting seriously ill from the flu. The vaccine is very safe and helps to protect against the most common strains of the virus.

People are also reminded to take everyday measures to protect themselves from the flu:

Clean your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer

Cough and sneeze into a tissue or your sleeve, not your hand

Clean and disinfect surfaces often, such as countertops, telephones and keyboards; flu viruses can live on surfaces for up to eight hours

Preventing the flu through immunization 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.


In 2015-16, approximately 2,500 participating pharmacies administered more than 869,000 doses of publicly funded influenza vaccine.

The flu vaccine is offered free of charge to anyone over the age of six months who either lives, works, or goes to school in Ontario.

Children and youth between the ages of five and 17 years can get the flu vaccine as an injection or nasal spray at a health care provider’s office, local public health unit or at a participating pharmacy.

Kids under five years of age must get the flu vaccine at a health care provider’s office or participating public health unit.

Symptoms of the flu can include fever, cough, muscle aches, sore throat, headache and tiredness. If you or your children develop flu symptoms, contact your primary care provider.

4th annual Muskoka Pride conference to focus on defining diversity

For the fourth year in a row, Muskoka Pride Community is hosting a conference looking at issues concerning the LGBTQ community of Muskoka.

The 4th annual Muskoka Pride Conference – Defining Diveristy – will be held on Thursday, November 3rd at the Residence Inn by Marriott in Gravenhurst. This year’s conference features 4 sessions related to the LGBTQ community.

For Heather Hay, Chairperson of Muskoka Pride, the conference represents how far the organization has grown. “Five years ago – in 2011 – we were still working to have the Rainbow Flag raised in Muskoka. At this year’s conference we have presenters from Toronto, Barrie, and Muskoka speaking on diverse topics.”

Hay stressed the importance of the conference for LGBTQ residents and tourists of Muskoka. “This conference is geared for health care providers, social workers, educators – people on the frontlines working with the public. We want their LGBTQ clients to feel welcomed, with inclusive language and informed professionals.”

This year’s keynote is being presented by Veronica Johnny, from Toronto. She will be sharing her personal journey as a Two Spirit (2S) identified person. Other sessions include: How to be an Ally, Politics and Human Rights, and Elder Abuse & LGBTQ Seniors.

Those interested in registering can go to the Muskoka Pride website ( and register online. The cost is $30, which includes all workshops and lunch. Scholarships are also available, thanks to sponsorship from OPSEU Rainbow Alliance.

For further information about all Muskoka Pride events, go to our website or visit the Muskoka Pride Facebook Page (

Body of missing duck hunter pulled from waters of Lake Couchiching

(SEVERN TWP, ON) – On Saturday October 22, 2016 at 8:21 am Orillia OPP were dispatched Goldstein Road in Severn Township.

Preliminary investigation reveals a 30 year old male duck hunter from Bracebridge shot a duck and was retrieving it from Lake Couchiching.

The canoe he was sitting in overturned and he fell into the water. He was not wearing his life jacket.

On Tuesday October 25th at 1:30 p.m. members of the OPP Underwater Search and Recovery Unit located the body of a man in Lake Couchiching.

Family members of the man have been notified.



Bracebridge woman pleads guilty to obstructing an OSPCA investigation

Bracebridge resident Jan Darley, 52, formerly of Emsdale, pleaded guilty in a Parry Sound court on October 4th to obstructing an Ontario SPCA officer during an investigation stemming from a complaint about the welfare of a horse under her care.

An Ontario SPCA officer visited a property in Emsdale on October 27, 2015 after receiving a complaint about the standards of care being provided to a horse on the property, which was being rented by Darley. Upon arrival, a chestnut mare was observed standing in a small fenced area about 20-30 feet in diameter, with mud and manure approximately a foot deep and no shelter from the elements.

Orders were served to Darley under the Ontario SPCA Act to provide adequate and appropriate shelter for the horse, including clean, dry bedding and a sanitary living environment. Officers later returned to the property to check for compliance with the Order and were unable to locate the horse on the property.

Darley refused to provide any information about the mare’s whereabouts and, according to reports received by the Ontario SPCA, had told others that she was going to “hide” the horse. Ontario SPCA officers have since located the horse, which now has new owners, and visited her at her new home to confirm she is receiving the care she requires.

Darley received a $250 fine, plus costs and surcharge, which is payable to the court.


3rd annual Muskoka Independent Film Festival happening at Gravenhurst OP

The 3rd Annual Muskoka Independent Film Festival (MIFF), previously a summer event in the Village of Rosseau, returns this year at its new venue, the Gravenhurst Opera House, Thursday, October 20th thru Saturday, October 22nd.

Selected from nearly 250 international submissions, this year’s festival is featuring over forty films from all genres and of all lengths including films from Italy, Australia, Switzerland, Russia, Bulgaria, Greece, United States, Iran and Germany.

In addition, for MIFF 2016, there’s not only a strong representation from Canada and Ontario filmmakers, but also an independent film shot in Muskoka entitleD “Go Fish” which will be featured at Thursday’s opening night screenings.

From comedies to dramas to documentaries, the themes of this year’s films range from lost in love to lost in outer space; the struggle between sisters to the struggle for tolerance; the will to live and the acceptance of death. For some of the film screenings the creators will be present for discussion. The viewing audience will also be asked to assist in choosing their favourites for “Best Of The Fest”.

With Muskoka increasingly being recognized as an international destination, the goal of MIFF is to grow and include more and more projects from filmmakers around the globe. Under the direction of stage and screenwriter Vince Grittani, the 2016 Muskoka Independent Film Festival at the Gravenhurst Opera House aims to celebrate the one medium that on a daily base is unifying our planet.

To see the schedule, click here.

There will be be free films for kids showing at the Gravenhurst Library next door to the Opera House on Saturday, October 22 from 10:30 to noon.

Spiritual care supports patient care at MAHC

In honour of Spiritual and Religious Care Awareness Week October 17-23, 2016, Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare (MAHC) is proud to recognize members of the community who play a role in supporting patient care at the hospitals.

In August, MAHC welcomed Spiritual Care Practitioner Karen Hamra to the care team. Karen became a certified Chaplain in 2015 when she completed her clinical pastoral education through the University Health Network.

Driven to become a Chaplain through her own personal journey in the health care system, Karen recognizes the valuable supportive role that the Chaplain has when people are in need. She is a Chartered Accountant by background with a Masters of Ministry and Spirituality from the University of Toronto and a Diploma in Spiritual Direction from the University of Toronto. Karen also holds a Masters of Education in Human Relations and Psychology from Mount St. Vincent University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

“Spiritual and Religious Care Awareness Week is an opportunity to recognize the value of religious services and spiritual care and to recognize those who provide the care,” says Natalie Bubela, Chief Executive Officer. “MAHC is fortunate to have the incredible support of the Muskoka Chaplaincy Association sharing the cost of providing a dedicated Spiritual Care Practitioner at our sites, and is blessed with a strong network of nearly 50 faith leaders and spiritual care visitors who make themselves available to support patients during times of need.”

Research shows that spiritual care is an important part of the recovery process. The multi-faith and non-denominational chaplain supports patients, families and staff during scheduled times at both sites.

Outside of the scheduled hours, a 24/7 chaplain service is provided upon request from within the community. Pastoral care by faith-specific representatives is also available upon request to patients with a particular religious affiliation.

To learn more about spiritual care at MAHC, please visit MAHC’s website.

Parry Sound-Muskoka Green Party AGM set for Nov. 4th in Huntsville

The Parry Sound Muskoka Green Party of Ontario Constituency Association (CA) has announced it will be hosting their Annual General Meeting on Friday, November 4th at 8 p.m. at the Social Innovation Hub in Huntsville.

Local associations, called Constituency Associations (CAs), are the mechanisms behind all successful campaigns, and are made up of local citizens filling both official (President, Chief Financial Officer, etc.) and unofficial roles.

The CA gives them a concrete foundation and will give future Green Party candidates a much needed support group.

It also ensures continuation between campaigns, and creates a Green Party presence in the area year round.

The Green Party of Ontario is committed to providing Ontarians with fresh ideas and sensible solutions that lead to positive change. Party officials are very excited about the response they are hearing to their message from voters across the province and hope that you will join them in promoting a better more sustainable Ontario for future generations.

Everyone is invited to join supporters for the AGM where they will discuss the direction and plans for the future.

Date: Friday, November 4th

Time: 8 p.m.

Place: The Hub in Huntsville (1 Crescent Road, Huntsville, ON)

Please RSVP to or 705-394-7336 if you plan to attend.

Rural ratepayers to see electricity bills decrease by an average of $540 a year

Today Ontario passed legislation that will rebate the provincial portion of the HST from electricity bills as of January 1, 2017.

The Ontario Rebate for Electricity Consumers Act, 2016 will reduce electricity costs by 8 per cent on the amount before tax, an average savings of about $130 annually or $11 each month, for about five million residential consumers, farms and small businesses.

Rural electricity ratepayers will receive additional relief, decreasing total electricity bills by an average of $540 a year or $45 each month.

“The government recognizes the need to do more to ensure an affordable energy system for everyone and is committed to providing electricity rate relief that will benefit ratepayers in a meaningful way. Starting January 1, we will provide an 8 per cent rebate to provide extra relief for Ontario’s families, farms and small businesses.”
— Glenn Thibeault, Minister of Energy

Commercial, institutional and industrial ratepayers would also benefit from up to 34 per cent lower electricity costs through the expansion of the Industrial Conservation Initiative.

Making electricity more affordable is part of our plan to create jobs, grow our economy and help people in their everyday lives.


The province is reducing costs for eligible rural ratepayers by providing additional funding to the Rural or Remote Rate Protection (RRRP) program.

The Industrial Conservation Initiative (ICI) provides a strong incentive for large electricity consumers to shift their electricity consumption to off-peak hours to reduce their bills by up to one-third. Ontario intends to expand ICI to help reduce cost pressures on the electricity system and enable more consumers to reduce their electricity bill by up to one third.

Ontario has removed the Debt Retirement Charge from residential electricity bills and introduced the Ontario Electricity Support Program (OESP) to provide a monthly credit to low-income households who have applied and meet the eligibility requirements to help reduce electricity costs.

Since 2003, Ontario has invested more than $35 billion in over 16,000 megawatts (MW) of new and refurbished clean generation, including nuclear, natural gas and renewables – this represents about 40 per cent of our current supply.

53 yr old Bala man facing slew of charges including possession of stolen property

(GRAVENHURST, ON) – On Thursday, October 13th just before 2am a Bracebridge OPP officer was conducting general patrol in Gravenhurst when he became concerned about the driving behaviour of a vehicle that was hauling a trailer on Muskoka Road North.

The officer conducted a traffic stop on Muskoka Road North and ultimately the truck stopped crossing both lanes of the road.

As a result of the investigation it was determined the attached trailer had been stolen from a business in Barrie, as were some of the items inside the trailer.

The driver of the vehicle, 53 year-old David Hutchinson of Bala was arrested and charged with the following offenses:

Driving While Ability was Impaired by Drugs
Possession of Schedule II substance
Possession of Schedule I substance
Two counts of Possession of Property Obtained by Crime
Failing to Surrender Licence
Fail to Surrender Permit for Trailer
Use Plate Not Authorized for Vehicle

The accused will appear in the Ontario Court of Justice in Bracebridge on November 15th.

Have you closed your cottage for winter? Some tips to consider

After a long summer and with cottagers still enjoying their time at their seasonal residences, it is nearly that time of year to start considering the closure and winterizing of cottages.

Cottages and summer homes are most vulnerable to thieves from the week following Thanksgiving to the weeks prior to Victoria Day, especially if the owners are not using them for fall, winter or spring getaways.

Remember, if there is no one living at it or checking it regularly, the cost of owning a cottage or summer property includes the frustration and irritation of repairing damage and replacing stolen property.

Tips to Consider

Pack up all food and alcohol.

Don’t leave firearms or weapons at the cottage.

If you are leaving vehicles, make sure they’re winterized, secure and disabled – for snow machines remove track and hide keys; ensure boats are covered and locked; outboard motors locked and slightly disassembled; ATVs disabled – leave nothing on trailers unless it is locked or disabled.

Leave no valuables at cottage – electronics, personal items, tools etc. unless you are prepared to lose them.

Who is your contact (key holder) for: alarms, thefts, weather damage or animal problems? Do you have their contact information numbers? Are they paid to check your cottage regularly or are they friends/neighbours?

Your insurance company may give you a deduction if you have one.

Secure your windows and doors – close window curtains or blinds and put up shutters to protect interior from marauders (both animals and human).

Record serial numbers of anything of value left behind.

Sporting goods – fishing rods & equipment, water skis, toys etc. – if they’re not secured, locked up, hidden or both, don’t expect them to be there next spring –

Lock them up or be prepared to lose them!

Make a list of where everything is and make copies – store one copy on your home computer and put a copy with property that will go back up to the cottage on the first or next trip (use your phone to take pictures).

Know which police force patrols your cottage area (which OPP Detachment and the phone number).
Safe travels while getting in these last few days of good cottage weather.

2016 Women of Distinction Award nominees announced

The YWCA Women of Distinction Awards Gala is a celebration of inspiring women in our community and this year’s nominees are no exception.

Kate O'BrienCloseUp

“Each of these women has shown devotion and passion for the work they do”, says Nominations Committee Chair and volunteer, Pat Sheppard, “Their nominators have proven these women have made a positive impression that deserves to be recognized.”


Alissa Ahsome, Michelle Ainsworth, Alison Brownlee, Jill Dunford, Christina Hunter, Arleigh Luckett, Kate O’Brien (left) Brenda Rhodes, Pamela Terreberry, Kerri Valentin, Penny Varney & Amy Wallace

YWCA Muskoka’s 2016 Women of Distinction Awards Gala will be held at the Mark O’Meara Clubhouse, Grandview Huntsville on Wednesday October 26, 2016.

Tickets are currently on sale for $80 general admission or $800 for a table of 10.

You can purchase your tickets online at, over the phone by credit card at 705-645-9827 or in person at YWCA, 440 Ecclestone Drive in Bracebridge, by cash, cheque or credit card.

The event is also accessible through

Proceeds from this event help support YWCA programs and services across Muskoka throughout the year. YWCA Muskoka operates without ongoing core government funding and relies on donations, program grants, and fundraising events including Women of Distinction.

Photo of Nominees (top l-r); Hannah Lin, Executive Director, YWCA Muskoka, Kerri Valentin, Amy Wallace, Penny Varney, Michelle Ainsworth, Brenda Rhodes
(bottom l-r); Arleigh Luckett, Christina Hunter, Jill Dunford, Alissa Ahsome.

Inset Kate O’Brien

Missing from photos Pamela Terreberry & Allison Brownlee

Three scary clown prank reports so far in central region

Ontario Provincial Police across the Central Region have had at least three reports of the Scary Clown prank which has been started recently on social media

Incidents in the United States of America have included social media threats (Instagram, Snapchat, and I Messenger) which advise scary clown(s) are going to attend school(s) or public areas and kill a specific person or people. There have also been incidents where person(s) dressed as clowns have been reported attending schools and public areas and in some instances chasing persons.

Police remind citizens that they should consider the following:

To scare children or anyone for that matter in parks near schools or in public areas is clearly wrong.

It could cause a false unnecessary lock down of a school or public government building.

If a weapon was brandished persons may be charged criminally for Weapons Dangerous to the Peace, Assault with a Weapon or Threatening.

If persons cause police officers to engage in false investigations that waste police resources they may also be charged with Public Mischief under the Criminal Code.

Algonquin Park to remain a park for the enjoyment of all

The Government of Canada, the Government of Ontario and the Algonquins of Ontario celebrated a major milestone in their journey toward reconciliation and renewed relationships today by signing a historic Agreement-in-Principle (AIP).

This is a key step toward a modern-day treaty to resolve a longstanding land claim that covers an area of 36,000 square kilometres in eastern Ontario.

“This major step toward Ontario’s first modern treaty shows what’s possible when strong partners work together in the spirit of reconciliation. More than a million people share this land with the Algonquins of Ontario, and a modern treaty will clear a path for neighbours to become partners, bringing new economic opportunities to their communities.”
— David Zimmer, Ontario Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation

The non-binding AIP paves the way for continued negotiations toward a final agreement that will define the ongoing rights of the Algonquins of Ontario to lands and natural resources within the settlement area.

“The signing of the Agreement-in-Principle today marks a critical step forward in a journey that began almost 250 years ago when the first Algonquin Petition was submitted to the Crown in 1772. As we move forward into the next phase of our negotiations, the Algonquins of Ontario look forward to working in cooperation with the Governments of Canada and Ontario to improve upon what we have achieved to date and build a strong and equitable modern-day treaty. We believe that together we can work towards reconciliation and securing the long delayed justice that the Algonquin people deserve.”
— Robert J. Potts, Principal Negotiator and Senior Legal Counsel, Algonquins of Ontario

The goal is to provide clarity going forward for all who live and work in the claim territory, balance the rights and interests of all concerned and create new economic opportunities for the benefit of the Algonquins of Ontario and their neighbours.


The AIP was shaped by consultations with the ten Algonquins of Ontario communities, other Indigenous groups and the public. This important dialogue will continue during the negotiations toward a final agreement.

The AIP sets out the main elements of a potential settlement, including that the Algonquins of Ontario would receive $300 million in capital funding from Canada and Ontario and approximately but not less than 117,500 acres of provincial Crown lands would be transferred to Algonquin ownership.

If the negotiators are successful in achieving a final agreement, it will need to be approved by the Algonquins of Ontario voters in a ratification vote and then by the Ontario Legislature and Parliament of Canada.

No privately-owned land will be taken away from anyone to settle the claim and no one will lose access to their private property.

Algonquin Park will remain a park for the enjoyment of all.

(photo via

Clement appointed official opposition public safety critic

Parry Sound-Muskoka Member of Parliament, Tony Clement has been appointed Official Opposition critic for Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.

The announcement was made by Leader of the Official Opposition, Rona Ambrose, yesterday.

“It is an honour to serve in the shadow cabinet and perform the important work of holding the Liberal government to account in this important role. Our national security is of the upmost importance to Parry Sounders and Muskokans, and all Canadians,” said MP Clement. “From the ever-present threat of terrorism to the rising concerns over cyber security, the need to keep our communities safe cannot be overstated.”

In his role as critic, MP Clement will sit on the all-party Public Safety and National Security Committee, and play a key role in the Official Opposition`s shadow cabinet.

Sunshine in Bala for 32nd annual Cranberry Festival

Crowds have flocked to Bala this weekend for the ever popular annual Cranberry festival.

From cranberry crepes to boutique clothing and tours of the storied cranberry marshes, people from all over the province have had a fun filled time so far at this year’s festival, despite Sunday’s rain.

Check out our pics gallery (below) which have been updated throughout the weekend. (photos via Muskoka News Watch)

img_2432 img_2433 img_2434 img_2435 img_2436 img_2437

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Fire started in space below fireplace in Glen Orchard

The Muskoka Lakes Fire Department made quick work of a fire that broke out at a residence in the Glen Orchard area Friday night.

At 9:00 p.m., Friday, the Township of Muskoka Lakes Fire Department was dispatched to a report of a structure fire located at 1025 Apian Way Unit 10.

Upon arrival, people outside the residence reported that all parties from inside were out and described flames were coming through the wall and the ceiling of the lower bedroom.

A DSPA5, a portable hand grenade extinguisher, was deployed in the lower bedroom area while awaiting other members of the fire department to arrive.

Within minutes, the flames appeared to be extinguished.

When crews arrive, operations began to locate any hot spots and the seat of the fire. After removal of sections the floor in the master bedroom directly above lower bedroom, there was evidence of smoke was still coming from the fire place which abutted to this area.

The people from the residence stated they were using the fire place at the time. Despite removing all combustibles from within the fireplace, smoke and heat were still emanating from the area. Further investigation revealed that there was an ash collecting trap located at the back of the fireplace which people used to push there ashes into.

Surprisingly, there was no cleanout hatch underneath in order to shovel out the ash which had been pushed into the trap. It appears there is a large void space under the fireplace which people had swept their ashes and unburned small wood particles into.

Using the Thermal Imaging Camera, it indicated the fire was still extremely hot in this void and the smoke was visibly seeped out the cracks from the void. This in turn started the in joist of the jointing master bedroom to catch fire.

The fire is not believed to be at of a suspicious in nature.

Dallas Smith and the Odds to play CP Holiday Train stops this November

The CP Holiday Train is headed back to Parry Sound and Mactier this year, this time carrying a platinum selling country music star.

As in years past, two trains will operate coast-to-coast under the Holiday Train banner, with approximately 150 shows held in November and December.

Local stops include Mactier on Nov. 29th at the Old CP Station between  3 and 3:20pm with arrival time being 2:50pm and Parry Sound at the Festival Station Gallery, 1 Avenue Road, on the same date – arriving at 4:15pm, with the event happening between 4:30 and 5pm. Dallas Smith and the Odds will perform at both events.

Platinum selling Country star Smith has blazed a path across genres in Canadian music for nearly two decades and fans continue to prove they’ll follow him wherever he wants to go. The Vancouver, BC native has an armful of JUNO and CCMA Award wins and nominations and continues one of the most talked about journeys in Canadian country music.

“Being able to help local food banks across the country is something I’m excited to be a part of. I’ve toured Canada many times but not like this. I can’t wait for this amazing experience to begin.”

The train that operates primarily through the U.S. will launch in the Montreal area on Nov. 25, while the all-Canada train’s first shows will come a day later, also in Montreal. The U.S. train will complete its final shows in Saskatchewan on Dec. 15, and the final show of the tour will take place Dec. 17 at Port Coquitlam, B.C.

“We are very excited about this year’s CP Holiday Train and are encouraging all event attendees to bring healthy, nutritious food items to the shows,” said Pam Jolliffe, Interim Executive Director, Food Banks Canada. “For the last two decades, CP has played an integral role in raising essential food for the holidays and in raising awareness of hunger-related issues.”

Every pound of food and dollar raised at each stop stays with the local food bank to help feed those in need in that community.

(photo via CP Holiday Train FB page)

Breaking News: Tony Clement drops out of leadership race

Tony Clement is out of the Conservative leadership race. In an email released today, Parry Sound-Muskoka MP Tony Clement announced he will no longer seek the leadership of the Conservative Party. The reason he gives is that he has not met the milestones he set for himself and his campaign to ensure success.

“When I announced my intentions to seek the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada in July, I set for myself a series of benchmarks that I believed were necessary to achieve, by the fall, to ensure I had a viable chance of success,” reads his announcement. “Unfortunately, we did not achieve those milestones to my satisfaction.”

The announcement continues:

“Upon review of my campaign, and the financial realities of this race, I have made the decision to end my campaign.
I entered this race because I felt I could offer our party the most experienced parliamentarian seeking the leadership.

I will now apply my experience and shift my efforts to contribute in any way possible to our Leader Rona Ambrose and the future leader of our party, whomever that may me.
We as Conservatives are blessed to have such a deep and diverse group of individuals seeking the leadership. I, like every member of our party, am excited to remain part of that process.

I would like to close by taking this opportunity to thank the many Canadians who have expressed support for my campaign and the many Conservative members and activists who have committed their time and effort to our goal.  Although the end came too early, I am proud of the principled, idea-based campaign we put forward.
Thank you.



CRTC approves new country music FM station for Bracebridge/Gravenhurst

It’s sweet music for country music fans in Muskoka.

The CRTC has approved an application for a broadcasting license for a new country music station for Bracebridge/Gravenhurst.

Details about the approval can be found here.

On its website,, Country 102.3 FM pledges to be unlike any local radio station you’ve heard in Bracebridge, Gravenhurst, and Muskoka.

With a focus on local news, weather, sports and road info, airtime will be offered to community groups and individuals for drop-in interviews and spontaneous comments.

Also planned is a 1-hour interactive open line program each day between noon and 1pm to discuss key topics and issues important to those listening in the coverage area.

It’s currently not known when the new station will start operation.

(Photo via

Five Niagara men fined over $8,000 for unextinguished campsite fire

Five men from Niagara Region have been fined more than $8,000, which includes wildfire firefighting costs, for a fire they didnt extinguish.

Kevin Visser, Kees Post, Chad Travers, Peter Schoon and David Stratton plead guilty to failing to extinguish a fire and ended up being fined $250 each totalling $1,250.

Then they were ordered to pay a total of $6,833.95 in restitution costs.

Court heard that on the 2016 May long weekend, the group were camping on the Mowat Forest Access Road in Mowat Township, Parry Sound.

On May 23rd, they started a fire to burn trash and then left their campsite shortly after.

Local citizens found the campsite ablaze and reported it to the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) 310-FIRE hotline.

The fire burned 0.7 hectares and had to be extinguished by ministry fire fighters.

Justice of the Peace Cornelia Mews heard the case in the Ontario Court of Justice in Parry Sound, on October 4th.

The ministry is reminding the public that all forest fires are investigated to determine cause. A person can be held responsible for the costs of extinguishing a forest fire, as well as for any property damage incurred and anyone who starts a fire has to keep it under control at all times and extinguish it properly before leaving the area.

If you see a forest fire, call the 310-FIRE hotline. If you have information about a forest fire, call the MNRF TIPS line at 1-877-847-7667 toll-free any time or call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

Great Muskoka Paddling Experience happens this morning in Bracebridge

Paddlers will be out on the Muskoka River in droves today during the 6th annual Great Muskoka Paddling Experience.

The start line of the fundraiser for the Muskoka Watershed Council is in Bracebridge Bay, 1.4km from the put-in at Annie Williams Park where the finish line is as well.

As always, there are three OMCKRA sanctioned races taking place this year open to all levels of participants. Kayaks, canoes, SUPs and North Canoes are welcome.

The 10km race turnarounds on the mark opposite the Santa’s Village Park and returns upstream finishing at Annie Williams Park.

The 20 km race enters the south branch of the Muskoka River, continues to the 1st turnaround marker short of Muskoka Falls, returns to main branch, continue downstream to the turnaround marker at Santa’s Village Park finishing upstream at Annie Williams Park.

The 5km race will starts after the 20 and 10km races at Bracebridge Bay, going downstream to the turnaround marker at Hairpin Bend and finishing at Annie Williams Park. There will be safety and checkpoint patrol boats present on the river.

The weather for today is expected to be a mixed bag with a few showers ending in the morning then mainly cloudy with 40 percent chance of showers. Wind northwest 20 km/h gusting to 40. High 15. UV index 3 or moderate.

Organizers say to bring rain gear and dress for the worst and it will be better than that.

The Lions of Bracebridge will be serving hot breakfast and lunch meals starting at 7:30am.  Proceeds go to Lions’ charities.

A pre-race scouting paddle was made to check out the 5, 10 & 20km race course. And remember the Fall colours seem likely to peak this weekend at Muskoka.

You can still register Saturday morning. To find out how and for more information, visit

(photo via

2,600 pot plants discovered south east of Washago

Police have seized and destroyed 2,600 pot plants that were discovered recently in a large outdoor grow operation south east of Washago.

On October 5th, officers attended an address on the 5th Side Road in Ramara Township where they also arrested 10 people who were at the scene. They have all been charged with drug related offences, but were released on a Promise to Appear in Orillia Criminal Court on December 6th.

Members of the Orillia Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police are committed to public safety, delivering proactive and innovative policing in partnership with area communities. Officers value your contribution to building safe communities.

If you have information about suspected unlawful activity, please contact the OPP at 1-888-310-1122 or visit Crime Stoppers at: or call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

Gravenhurst garage fire caused $75,000 in damages

A Gravenhurst firefighter was taken to hospital Wednesday after fighting a blaze that caused $75,000 damage on Canning Road.

At 3:20 p.m., Wednesday, Gravenhurst Fire crews were alerted to a structure fire at 1056 Canning Road. Crews from Stations 1 and 2 responded to the incident and found a garage burning upon their arrival.

Firefighters made quick work of extinguishing the fire and prevented it from spreading to the attached home. Crews conducted extensive overhaul operations that continued until about 9:00 p.m. because of the nature of the contents in the building.

One firefighter was taken to hospital as a result of exertion, and was later released. Damage was contained to the garage and is estimated at $75,000.

The cause is not considered suspicious.

Province proposing changes to Ontario Municipal Board

Change could be on its way for the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB).

The Province of Ontario is undertaking a comprehensive review of how the OMB operates and its role in the province’s land-use planning system to help make it more efficient and more accessible to all residents.

The OMB plays a central role in Ontario’s land-use planning process as an independent, public body through which people can appeal or defend land-use decisions that affect their property or community.

“We know we have to take a good look at the OMB’s role in the land-use planning system. We want to ensure that the OMB is working as effectively and efficiently as possible. We’re seeking input in a number of areas, including what can be appealed, who may appeal and how the OMB hears matters.”
Bill Mauro, Minister of Municipal Affairs

As part of the review, the government is consulting the public on possible changes to the OMB that, if adopted, would:

Allow for more meaningful and affordable public participation

Give more weight to local and provincial decisions and support alternative ways to settle disputes

Bring fewer municipal and provincial decisions to the OMB

Support clearer and more predictable decision making

The changes under consideration would improve everyday life for Ontarians by providing easier public access to information about the OMB and its processes through an expanded Citizen Liaison Office. The proposed changes would also better specify what can be appealed to the OMB, as well as the mechanisms through which the OMB hears these appeals.

Ontarians wishing to participate in the consultation may submit comments online or in person at one of the town hall meetings being held across the province this fall.

Improving the OMB’s role in the land use planning system is part of the government’s plan to build Ontario up and deliver on its number-one priority to grow the economy and create jobs. The four-part plan includes investing in talent and skills, including 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 investment in public infrastructure in Ontario’s history and 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.

The OMB is an independent tribunal that makes decisions at arms’ length from the government. First established in 1906 as the Ontario Railway and Municipal Board, it is one of Ontario’s oldest tribunals.

The OMB has a mandate under many statutes, but the majority of its hearings relate to Planning Act matters.

Comments must be submitted by December 19, 2016.

Can you help police solve David Palmer’s murder?

For the past year, investigators under the direction of Detective Inspector Martin Graham of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Criminal Investigation Branch (CIB) have been working to identify the person or persons who are responsible for the murder of 47-year old David Palmer.

As a result of the ongoing investigation, investigators know:

Mr. Palmer was reported missing on October 6, 2015.

He was last seen alive on October 2, 2015 as his image was captured on video surveillance at the Race Trac Service Station located on Highway 35 in Pontypool, Ontario where he purchased gas for his car.

On October 14, 2015, Mr. Palmer’s gold coloured 2002 Honda Accord, with Ontario Licence plate BWCZ 783, was recovered by police near Spruce Lake Trail, near the Village of Haliburton.

At the time of his disappearance, Mr. Palmer was wearing a dark coloured St. Louis Blues hat, dark coloured coat, a blue shirt, gray track pants and white running shoes. He is further described as being 6’ tall, 280 lbs. with brown hair and blue eyes.

On May 7, 2016, the OPP discovered human remains north of the Village of Haliburton and those remains were positively identified as belonging to David Palmer.

Searches conducted have failed to locate Mr. Palmer’s wallet and black Samsung flip style phone.

Also outstanding is the St. Louis Blues baseball hat that he is seen wearing after he serviced his 2002, 4-door, gold, coloured Honda Accord back on October 2, 2015.

With Fall now upon us and this weekend being Thanksgiving, it is anticipated that people will be turning to our forested areas to enjoy the changing colours from now until the days that lead up to the first snow.

The OPP is asking if anyone should happen to locate a wallet, a Samsung Flip Phone or a St. Louis Blues baseball hat to please contact the OPP immediately by dialing 911 – and please remember to not touch or move what you found.

The OPP is also asking that anyone who may have seen any suspicious activity and or vehicles in the Spruce Lake area before or during the month of October 2015 to please contact police.

Anyone with information regarding this investigation is asked to contact Detective Constable Matthew Carmichael of the City of Kawartha Lakes OPP Crime Unit by contacting him at 705-324-6741.

Anonymous tips can be made to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or online at or at: Please remember that tipsters may be eligible for a cash reward of up to $2,000 should your information lead to the arrest of the person or persons responsible for the murder of David Palmer.

Tips to prepare your Thanksgiving turkey safely

The Simcoe-Muskoka District Health Unit reminds residents to make sure you and your guests remember the Thanksgiving turkey dinner for all the right reasons by preparing the bird properly.

Proper food preparation and cooking for a large group is important to avoid foodborne illness.

Make “cook, clean, chill and separate” a part of your kitchen rules when you prep your turkey by following these tips:

· Make your fresh turkey the last item you pick up while shopping and use a separate bag for the bird to catch any leaking juices that could contaminate other groceries and surfaces. Refrigerate it as soon as you can.
· If you buy a frozen turkey make sure to thaw it in the fridge, microwave or under cold running water. Do not thaw a frozen poultry at room temperature – it allows harmful bacterial to multiply.
· Before and after handling the turkey wash your hands in warm water with liquid soap. Wash and sanitize all utensils, wiping cloths, countertops and cutting boards.
· Cook turkey to at least 82 C (180 F).
· When carving your turkey use a clean plate and utensils. Do not re-use utensils that have touched raw turkey unless they have been washed with hot, soapy water, and sanitized.
· Leftovers should be refrigerated promptly. Your refrigerator should be 4 C (40 F) or colder so that bacteria cannot multiply.

For more tips on preparing your turkey properly, call Health Connection Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 1-705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520 or see

Barrie manufacturer fined $40,000 after worker was caught in a machine

Albarrie Canada Ltd., a company that manufactures industrial-use fabrics, pleaded guilty and was fined $40,000 after a worker was caught in a carding machine and suffered injuries.

On June 24, 2014, a worker who had been with the company for less than three months was assigned to work on a carding machine at the company’s facility at 85 Morrow Road in Barrie. The worker noticed that fibre was accumulating on the materials being processed on the machine – a problem usually a result of a vacuum head being clogged with fibre. To clear the vacuum head, the worker reached in under the table at the face of the carding machine. The worker was pulled into the machine, suffering injury and requiring municipal fire services personnel to extract the worker, as well as surgery for the injury.

The Ministry of Labour investigation found that there was no guard or other device that prevented access to the carding machine’s pinch point. This was against the requirements of Ontario Regulation 851 – the Industrial Establishments Regulation – that require a guard or other device to prevent access to a pinch point and nip hazards that may endanger the safety of any worker.

Albarrie Canada Ltd. pleaded guilty on August 23 was fined $40,000 in Barrie court by Justice of the Peace Ann C. Forfar on October 4, 2016.

New workers of any age who are on the job for less than six months, or who are assigned to a new job, are significantly more likely to be injured on the job than more experienced workers.

54 year old Parry Sound man charged with careless driving

A 54 year old Parry Sound man has been charged with careless driving after a collision on Highway 518 near Blackwater Road.

On October 4th at 12:39p.m., members of the West Parry Sound Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), Seguin Fire Department and Parry Sound Emergency Medical Services (EMS) responded to the single motor vehicle collision.

The OPP investigation determined th vehicle had been travelling eastbound on Highway 518 when it left the roadway. The occupant sustained non-life threatening injuries and was transported to the West Parry Sound Health Centre.

As a result of the investigation, Gregory Gillespie, 54 years of age from Parry Sound, was charged with Careless Driving, contrary to section 130 the Highway Traffic Act of Ontario

The OPP Technical Traffic Collision Investigators were called in to assist with the investigation.

Highway 518 remained closed from Seguin Estates Road to Blackwater Lake Road as the investigation continues.

Food Drive collects record total of 14,500 lbs of food for Manna Food Bank

The Manna Food Bank in Bracebridge is thanking the entire town of Bracebridge for supporting the Fall Food Drive again this year after preliminary figures show a record total of 14,500 lbs of food was collected.

In a letter to the editor, Food Bank President Sam Robinson says it takes a lot of volunteers to run the food drive which is organized each year by the Muskoka Oldtimers Hockey Club.

“It takes a lot of volunteers to run the food drive; 55 drivers and 130 runners, many of them from Monck, Macauley and BPS, covering 43 routes, plus many more who gather at the Bracebridge Fairgrounds to unpack and sort the donated food,” he writes. “Bracebridge residents dug especially deep this year, giving a record total of 14,500 lbs of food. Cash and cheque donations have yet to be tallied.

“As always, we owe a huge debt of gratitude to the Oldtimers, led by Rob Fraser, for their hard work. The Fall Food Drive is Manna’s only community-wide food drive of the year, (the one at Christmas with the firefighters is for the Salvation Army, folks!) and it is an essential for keeping Manna going.
Most people know about the Fall Food Drive now, thanks to the fact that it has been going for more than two decades, and thanks also to the media outlets, churches and businesses that help spread the word.

And speaking of community support; we would also like to send a hearty thank you to Investors Group, which recently organized and donated to a comedy evening that raised more than $1,000 and hundreds pounds of food for Manna. This is becoming a tradition; assisting Manna while raising the community’s spirits, and we truly appreciate it. And thank you also to What’s Cooking Bracebridge, which also made Manna its charitable beneficiary at last weekend’s event.”

“We are particularly fortunate to have such a cohesive and compassionate community here in Bracebridge. Another reason to be grateful this Thanksgiving.”

Your sincerely,

Sam Robinson
President, Manna Food Bank.

Note – Cash and cheque donation totals should be available Wedesday October 5. They will be posted on the Facebook page and website when they are available.

UPDATE: Deceased in Highway 632 collision identified by OPP

UPDATE:  On October 4, 2016, members of the West Parry Sound Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) with the assistance of the OPP Underwater Search and Recovery Unit, located the body of a deceased 32 yr old male involved in the (below) collision. He has been identified as Scott Smith of Parry Sound.

Highway 632 has since been re-opened. The cause of the collision remains under investigation.

PRIOR: Police are still trying to figure out where the occupant(s) of a pickup truck that ended up underwater are.

On October 3rd at 3:17 p.m., members of the West Parry Sound Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), Seguin Fire Department and Parry Sound Emergency Medical Services (EMS) responded to a motor vehicle collision on Highway 632 after reports were received that a vehicle had left the roadway.

OPP Investigation has so far revealed that a pickup truck had left the roadway and entered the water. The occupant or occupants are missing and the OPP West Parry Sound Detachment continues to investigate with the assistance of the OPP Canine Unit, OPP Technical Traffic Collision Investigators, and the OPP Helicopter.

Highway 632 was closed beginning at 930 a.m. from Rossmoyne Road to Maplehurst Road.

Updates will be provided as they come available.


Two facing charges after pot found in vehicle on Highway 400

Two men face pot possession charges after their vehicle was stopped by police on Highway 400.

On October 3rd at 1:38am, an officer with the West Parry Sound Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) observed a vehicle travelling northbound on Highway 400. A query of the licence plate revealed the registered owner was suspended from driving and a traffic stop was conducted.

During the stop, the officer discovered drugs contained within the vehicle.

As a result of the investigation, Jamil Ajeeb, 24 years of age from Sault Ste. Marie was charged with;

Possession of Schedule II Substance – Cannabis Marihuana, contrary to section 4(1) of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act

Muslem Mohammad, 26 years of age from Sault Ste. Marie was charged with;

Possession of Schedule II Substance – Cannabis Marihuana, contrary to section 4(1) of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act

Both were released with an appearance notice compelling them to court to answer to the charges at the Ontario Court of Justice on November 17th.

Bala Legion helping homeless veterans with $2,000 donation

At the recent Ontario regional convention of the Royal Canadian Legion, members of Bala Legion Branch 424, President Royce Jarick, Ross Smith, Greig Foord and Fred Orchard presented a $2,000 donation in support of Operation: Leave the Streets Behind.

This initiative is a Royal Canadian Legion program whose mission is “To ensure that every veteran who is homeless or near homeless finds the help they need to leave the streets behind.”

Through this program, homeless veterans receive rental assistance and help to ensure they have suitable and stable housing as well as medical assistance in the form of dental and vision assistance.

To learn more about Operation: Leave the Streets Behind, please visit

Membership Chair Dennis Mills says thanks for supporting Bala Branch 424 during its 70th Anniversary Concert Series. “With your help, your Bala Legion is able to support some of the most vulnerable people in our community — homeless veterans who have already given us all so much,” he said.

It’s time to vote for your favourite Bracebridge business

Voting is now open for the 23rd annual Bracebridge Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Business Achievement Awards Gala.

This year, the Chamber received 81 nominations from the community, which was asked to nominate a special Bracebridge business who provides exceptional service in one or more of the following 12 categories:

1. New Business of the Year Award
2. Established Business of the Year Award (Sponsored by TD Canada Trust)
3. Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award (Sponsored by RBC Royal Bank)
4. Best Retail Customer Service Award (Sponsored by the Bracebridge BIA)
5. Best Home Based Business Award
6. Service Provider of the Year Award (Sponsored by R&F Residential Commercial Design 
+ Build)
7. Tourism Award (Sponsored by Muskoka Tourism)
8. Female Business Person of the Year Award (Sponsored by YWCA Muskoka)
9. Male Business Person of the Year Award (Sponsored by Barriston LLP)
10. Accessibility Award (Sponsored by The Town of Bracebridge)
11. Innovation Award
12. Outstanding Contribution to Bracebridge Award (Sponsored by the Bracebridge 
Chamber of Commerce)

“Over the past year we have seen a positive change in the business community here in Bracebridge which shows through the thoughtful nominations and participation that we have received from the community through the nomination process.“ said Brenda Rhodes, Executive Director of the Bracebridge Chamber of Commerce.

Voting is now open and once again, the Chamber encourages the community to take the time to support the vibrant businesses by voting on who they believe deserve to win the awards.

Tickets are now on sale for the Gala and can be purchased by calling 705-645-5231. $70/person for Chamber members. $85/person for non-Chamber members.

Votes can be submitted by Clicking VOTE NOW! at

4th annual Governance Workshop planned for Muskoka Charities & Non-profits

The Muskoka Community Foundation has announced it will host the 4th Annual Governance Workshop for Muskoka Charities and Non-Profits.

The workshops were created to allow board directors and organizational managers to participate in an interactive learning session within Muskoka.

Marg French, Chair of Muskoka Community Foundation says “this workshop offers an economical way for Muskoka charities and non-profits with scarce resources to learn about the most up to date best practices and requirements for boards and managers. In order to respond to an ever-shifting environment that demands increasing accountability and transparency, Muskoka Community Foundation believes providing educational opportunities in good governance and strategic leadership with a focus on financial sustainability is essential for the third sector in Muskoka”.

Don McCreesh will once again facilitate the daylong workshop, bringing with him his vast experience and expertise in the non-profit sector. Mr. McCreesh has provided both consulting and volunteer guidance to many boards and management teams on governance, strategy and organizational issues, while working to improve governance and strategic leadership. He is an active leader in voluntary sector governance with more than three decades experience and is an expert in governance, fundraising, accountability and management standards to Canada’s charitable sector.

This year’s workshop will take place on October 22nd from 8:30 to 4:30pm at the Terry Fox Auditorium at the Centennial Centre in Gravenhurst.

For more information or to register visit or contact Program Director, Lynn DeCaro at 705-646-1220.

Gravenhurst Santa Claus Parade happens Nov. 26th

Gravenhurst’s annual celebration of the holiday season is set for Saturday, Nov. 26th.

For 2016, the theme of the parade will be “dreaming of a white Christmas.”

“This year we want to take Gravenhurst back to those classic Christmases of yesteryear,” says Sandy Lockhart, the executive director of the Gravenhurst Chamber of Commerce which organizes the annual parade. “We can all picture those traditional Christmas scenes – the family gathered around a roaring fire, decorations placed with care, ornaments on the tree and the snow softly falling outside. Where the float ideas go from there is only limited by imagination.”

The annual Gravenhurst Santa Claus Parade has drawn hundreds of people to downtown Gravenhurst for the past 62 years. The parade kicks off at 11 a.m., heading out from the Gravenhurst Legion, before proceeding down First Street and then onto Muskoka Road. Afterwards, Santa himself will be available to meet the young ones (and the young at heart) in the Terry Fox Room at the Gravenhurst Centennial Centre.

• Entering a float in the parade is free of charge
• Registration packages are available at the Chamber office located at 275 Muskoka Road North, or on our website at
• The parade is organized and operated by the Gravenhurst Chamber of Commerce
• Contact the chamber at if you are interested in parade sponsorship opportunities.

About the Gravenhurst Chamber: The Chamber works to develop and grow many local events, including the Gravenhurst Santa Claus Parade, Gravenhurst Car Show and Dockside Festival of the Arts. The Gravenhurst Chamber of Commerce serves as an advocate for member businesses, working to promote and enhance our community.

With over 300 members, the Chamber of Commerce is Gravenhurst`s largest business advocacy organization. The Chamber collaborates with community groups and organizations on initiatives and growth opportunities to benefit the town and businesses.

As a common voice, Gravenhurst Chamber members impact and establish the business community`s priorities.

Maasland homicide investigation team to receive an award

The police team that investigated the Paul Maasland murder case in Bracebridge is up for an award from their peers. The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) will honour some of its most outstanding members at its annual Accolade Awards today.

The awards are presented annually to both uniform and civilian members who have made noteworthy and meaningful contributions, including partnerships with other communities and police services/organizations. The award honourees represent excellence in various special team and individual categories.

Nominations are submitted by member’s peers, and are then reviewed by a distinguished panel of community members and OPP staff of various ranks. Ultimately, 13 remarkable individuals and/or teams have been chosen to be rewarded for their outstanding achievements.

The 2016 Accolade Award recipients are:

Officer of the Year

Detective Constable J.G. (Jeffrey) Nussey

Civilian of the Year

Ms. C. (Christine) Johnstone

Auxiliary Member of the Year

Auxiliary Sergeant P. (Paul) Elms

Jim Potts Award

Sergeant C.C. (Chris) Amell

Valuing & Supporting People

Ms. L. (Lynda) Ware


Middlesex Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Initiative Team (see below)


Paquette Homicide Team (see below)

Innovation & Creativity

Special Constable M. (Mark) Blocksdorf – Individual

Offline Record Acquisition (ORA) system – Team

Ms. A. (Andrea) Hayman

Mr. B.W. (Bryan) Johnstone

Sergeant N.L. (Nathalie) Rivard


Provincial Constable N.A. (Nancy) Wagner

Team Achievement

Maasland Homicide Team (see below)

Community Service

Provincial Constable S. (Sandro) Cave


Provincial Constable J.K. (Judy) King – Individual

Project Kirby Team (see below) – Team

Middlesex Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Initiative Team

Detective Sergeant B.G. (Brad) Durfy

Orillia ON

Provincial Constable J.C. (John) Ginn

Strathroy ON

Traffic Staff Sergeant A.I. (Anthony) Hymers

London ON

Provincial Constable K. (Karl) Johnston

London ON

Provincial Constable C.R. (Caroline) Kennedy

London ON

Provincial Constable T.P. (Tim) Kunkel

Strathroy ON

Provincial Constable C. (Chris) Mathurin

Strathroy ON

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Ingersoll ON

Provincial Constable E. (Liz) Melvin

Strathroy ON

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London ON

Provincial Constable D.W. (Dan) Milne

London ON

Provincial Constable Y. (Joe) Mohamed

London ON

Provincial Constable C. (Cory) Nelson

Strathroy ON

Provincial Constable T.M. (Toni) Reinholt

London ON

Sergeant D.S. (Dave) Rektor

London ON

Mr. D.J. (Derek) Rogers

London ON

Provincial Constable S.M. (Sue) Stewart

London ON

Provincial Constable V.P. (Pete) Stewart

London ON

Staff Sergeant B.D. (Bradley) Thompson

Strathroy ON

Provincial Constable L.A. (Lisa) Trahan

Strathroy ON

Provincial Constable R.P. (Richard) Trgovcevic

London ON

Mr. E. (Ewoud) VanGoch

Ministry of Transportation

Putnam ON

Paquette Homicide Team

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London ON

Detective Constable V.L. (Vicki) Bradford

Petrolia ON

Detective Constable (Retired) C.A. (Colin) Darmon
Mount Forest ON

Detective Constable D.R. (Don) Drury

Petrolia ON

Mr. J. (Jeremy) Dupuis

Orillia ON

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Orillia ON

Provincial Constable S. (Saghar) Farnoosh

Embrum ON

Detective Sergeant S.M. (Sharon) Hanlon

Orillia ON

Provincial Constable H.B. (Bruce) Keefe

Petrolia ON

Identification Constable P.M.L. (Mark) Lancaster

Chatham ON

Mr. G. (Gerry) Lanna

Orillia ON

Detective Constable D.A. (Denis) Leblanc

Petrolia ON

Detective Sergeant T.J. (Tim) Mason

Petrolia ON

Detective Sergeant M.R. (Mike) McCabe

Goderich ON

Ms. M.L. (Martha) McDonald

Orillia ON

Detective Staff Sergeant K.J. (Kellie) McKibbin

Chatham ON

Ms. M.L. (Marg) McPhaden

London ON

Mr. B.J. (Brian) Peck

Centre of Forensic Sciences

Toronto ON

Ms. J.E. (Jennette) Sanderson

Orillia ON

Mr. P.J. (Phillip) Wilkinson

Orillia ON

Detective Constable J.L. (Jennifer) Wilson

Petrolia ON

Maasland Homicide Investigation Team

Detective Inspector C.A. (Craig) Abrams

Smiths Falls ON

Detective Sergeant K.G. (Kelly) Anderson

Orillia ON

Identification Constable S.R. (Steve) Barnstaple

Orillia ON

Mr. J. (Jaswinder) Brar

Ministry of Finance

Pickering ON

Sergeant B.E. (Brian) Crisp

Bracebridge ON

Ms. L. (Linda) Cowie

Orillia ON

Detective Inspector J.A. (Gilles) Depratto

Orillia ON

Detective Constable L.M. (Luc) Dumont

Huntsville ON

Detective Sergeant (Retired) J.K. (Jim) Falconer

Orillia ON

Superintendent G.P.J. (Guy) Faucher

Orillia ON

Mr. M. (Michael) Flosman

Ministry of Attorney General

Barrie ON

R. (Robin) Flumerfelt

Ministry of Attorney General

Toronto ON

Mr. R. (Robert) Gerard

Centre of Forensic Sciences

Toronto ON

Detective Constable E.D. (Don) Hammond

Bracebridge ON

Detective Constable J.H. (Jeff) Handsor

Huntsville ON

Detective Constable V.J. (Vicki) Hornick

Bracebridge ON

Ms. L. (Lyndsay) Jeanes

Ministry of Attorney General

Bracebridge ON

Mr. G. (Gerry) Lanna

Orillia ON

Ms. E. (Elspeth) Lindsay

Centre of Forensic Sciences

Toronto ON

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Bracebridge ON

Ms. L.A. (Linda) Manovich

Orillia ON

Ms. C. (Christine) McCarthy

Centre of Forensic Sciences

Toronto ON

Detective Constable A.W. (Andrew) Muller

Huntsville ON

Mr. J. (John) Norman

Orillia ON

Provincial Constable (posthumously) B.J. (Brad) Pearsall

Bracebridge ON

Ms. K. (Kim) Sharpe

Centre of Forensic Sciences

Toronto ON

Mr. D.T. (Dave) Sibley

Orillia ON

Ms. K. (Kelly) Swift-Henderson

Orillia ON

Identification Constable (Retired) B.M. (Brenda) Thomas

Orillia ON

Mr. A. (Andrew) Wolf

Centre of Forensic Sciences

Toronto ON

Project Kirby Team

Constable E. (Ed) Armstrong

Windsor Police Service
Windsor ON

Special Agent J. (Jesse) Artiles

Homeland Security

Detective Constable P.M. (Paul) Bawden

Belle River ON

Detective Constable S. (Sara) Beck

Hamilton Police Service

Hamilton ON

Detective Constable D.W.R. (Dave) Bernier

Orillia ON

Detective Constable J.W. (Jamie) Blair

Orillia ON

Detective Constable C.E. (Curtis) Bohn

Orillia ON

Detective Constable M. (Micah) Bourdeau

London Police Service

Detective Sergeant A.J. (Andy) Bradford

Orillia ON

Constable S. (Steve) Brnardic

Windsor Police Service
Windsor ON

Detective Constable C.C. (Chance) Chase

Orillia ON

RIO H. (Heather) Christopher

Canadian Border Services Agency

Detective Constable W.G.N. (Bill) Crawford

Orillia ON

Detective Constable P.F. (Paul) Duarte

Orillia ON

Sergeant K. (Kyle) Hartley

Windsor Police Service
Windsor ON

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Orillia ON

Detective Constable R.G. (Ryan) Hutchison

Orillia ON

RIO D. (Dave) Jackson

Canadian Border Services Agency

Special Agent M. (Mark) Jackson

American Task Force

Detective Sergeant T.W.J. (Todd) Landon

Orillia ON

Detective Constable T. (Thang) Ly

York Regional Police Service
Aurora ON

Constable J. (John) MacDougall

Windsor Police Service
Windsor ON

Constable P. (Paul) Maziak

Windsor Police Service
Windsor ON

Constable D. (Daniel) McKee

Windsor Police Service
Windsor ON

Constable J. (Jack) McMahon

Windsor Police Service
Windsor ON

Special Agent K. (Kristopher) Mead

Homeland Security

Sergeant M. (Marc) Murphy

Windsor Police Service
Windsor ON

Constable D. (Derek) Nurmi

Windsor Police Service
Windsor ON

Detective Constable M.C. (Mark) Piche

Orillia ON

Detective Staff Sergeant G.J. (Greg) Rossi

Orillia ON

Detective Constable I.T. (Ian) Rathbone

Orillia ON

Special Agent M. (Matthew) Rummel

American Task Force

Detective Inspector J.M.G. (Jim) Smyth

Orillia ON

Detective Sergeant M.C. (Mark) Wollocombe

Orillia ON

Detective Sergeant S.M. (Shawn) Zivanov

Orillia ON

Media Contact: Sgt. Peter Leon

OPP Corporate Communications

Phone: (705)



Muskoka Lawn Bowling Club set to open in July

The Muskoka Lawn Bowling Club is set to open in July.

The construction of the long awaited lawn bowling green in Bracebridge was completed on September 24th.

The green will be seeded and covered with a tarp, and carefully tended by the greens keepers at the Muskoka Highlands Golf Course until it is ready for play next summer.

The Muskoka Lawn Bowling Club received a grant for $150,000 from the Ontario Trillium Foundation in the spring of 2016. MJC Muskoka started construction on August 17, 2016, and took five weeks to complete this unique project.

“The crew worked long days and weekends to ensure that seeding will be done this fall,” said Sally Mills, President of the Muskoka Lawn Bowling Club. “In the end, the construction went very smoothly. MJC Muskoka was terrific to work with, and the crew has done an excellent job.”

Mills explained that the club is planning a grand opening around July 1, 2017. The event will be open to the community and everyone will be invited to come and roll a bowl. “Lawn bowling is suitable for ages 8 to 88. We are looking forward to introducing Muskoka to this fun, family sport.”

“The lawn bowling club is thankful for the encouragement and guidance of the Town of Bracebridge Recreation Department, the support of the Rotary Club of Bracebridge, the Bracebridge Lions Club, and the many generous donations from individuals who have helped to make this project happen”, Mills stated.

The club still needs funding to complete the facility (equipment, fencing, lighting, etc.). To become a sponsor, get involved and/or for more information, visit, or email

The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) is an agency of the Government of Ontario, and one of Canada’s largest granting foundations. With a budget of over $136 million, OTF awards grants to some, 1,000 projects every year to build healthy and vibrant Ontario communities: