Feds investigating fireworks incident that injured Bracebridge Rotarian

An investigation into the incident that hospitalized a member of the Bracebridge Rotary Club last Friday is underway at the Federal level.

On October 28th at around 4:30pm, an explosion in Minett sent Bracebridge lawyer Jean Polak to Sunnybrook with serious injuries to her arm, head and torso.

Polak is a member of the licensed Rotary team that sets up for fireworks shows and it’s still unclear as to exactly what transpired.

Investigation under Canada’s Explosives Act

The fireworks, which were subsequently cancelled, were to have been part of the Rotary District Conference, which was being held at the JW Marriott Resort that weekend.

Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) Communications Officer Tania Carreira Pereira tells Muskoka News Watch that NRCan is aware of the incident and has initiated an investigation under the Explosives Act.

The Explosives Safety and Security Branch (ESSB) of Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) is responsible for administering the Explosives Act and regulations and pursuing the advancement of explosives safety and security technology. ESSB’s main priority is the safety and security of the public and all the workers involved in the explosives industry in Canada.

“If an infraction is determined to have been committed as part of an NRCan investigation, applicable fines and enforcement measures may be levied and/or applied,” she said in an email statement.

She also added that local and provincial authorities may also undertake their own investigations pursuant to their own legislation.

Since the incident, Polak has undergone surgeries and is now said to be in serious, but stable condition.

It’s currently not known how long the NRCan investigation will take.

“The investigation will be completed as soon as circumstances permit,” says Carreira Pereira.  “We normally do not make outcomes available, since the confidential information we receive under the Explosives Act cannot be disclosed pursuant section 23, unless an exception can be applied, as described in section 23 (2): http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/E-17/FullText.html.”

More details if they become available.

Related Links:

Prominent Bracebridge Lawyer Jean Polak in Sunnybrook following fireworks accident

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.

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.


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, muskoka102.ca, 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 muskoka102.ca)

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 http://www.muskokapaddlingexperience.com

(photo via MuskokPaddlingExperience.com)

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 www.bracebridgechamber.com.

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

Traffic Sergeant B.M. (Ben) McIntyre

Ingersoll ON

Provincial Constable E. (Liz) Melvin

Strathroy ON

Provincial Constable P.J. (Pat) Mills

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

Detective Inspector C.C. (Chris) Avery

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

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

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

Detective Constable (Retired) J.R. (John) MacDonald

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

Detective Constable D.M. (Derek) Helmke

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 www.muskokabowls.ca, or email communications@muskokabowls.ca.

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: www.otf.ca.

Bracebridge Fire Department holding Open House

Bracebridge’s Fire Department is inviting the public out for a fun, informative evening about fire prevention.

On Wednesday, October 5th at 6:30 p.m. the Bracebridge Fire Department will be hosting an Open House at Station One on Dominion Street to celebrate this year’s Fire Prevention Week.

The Fire Department will be providing the public with a variety of information needed to ensure that Bracebridge families and local businesses remain safe for years to come.

The theme for this year’s Open House is “Don’t Wait, Check the Date”

Bracebridge firefighters will be informing residents to check the date on their smoke/carbon monoxide (CO) alarms and to replace them if required. Manufacturers recommend replacing a smoke alarm every ten (10) years and a CO alarm every seven (7) years. The Fire Department extends the invitation to come out and meet some of the local firefighters, indulge in food and refreshments, and win some great prizes.

Some of the fun activities being offered at the Open House are:

– Complimentary hamburgers, hotdogs;

– A children’s firefighter challenge (including extinguishing a simulated house fire; stop, drop and roll station; a hose carry; and a baby carry);

– How to prepare a home escape plan;

– Various giveaways and prizes;

– Try on fire-fighting gear and see the equipment used in emergencies;

– And don’t forget about meeting the department’s mascot “SPARKY the fire dog”.

“We look forward to spreading the fire safety message in a fun and memorable way,” says Fire Prevention Officer Mike Peake.

Every home in Ontario must have a working smoke alarm on every storey and outside all sleeping areas. In addition each home must have a carbon monoxide (CO) alarm outside sleeping areas. It is strongly recommended that additional CO alarms be placed in areas where fuel burning appliances are located, the distance from the appliances should be determined by the manual of the detector.

For more information about this informative event, email Peake at mpeake@bracebridge.ca or call the Fire Department at 705-645-8258.

(Photo via Town of Bracebridge)

‘The Iron Workers Union: Part 3’ starts October 15th at the Chapel Gallery

Seven artists – Chad Arney, Matt Church, Hilary Clark Cole, Andrew Cohrs, Mikaila Davidson, Brendan Duggan, and Deb Harkness – working in metal, have come together to create The Iron Workers’ Union: Part 3 that will be on display at the Chapel Gallery beginning on October 15.

“The show is a gathering of artists with metal in the blood,” states Clark Cole. “We all love the medium and enjoy exploring its endless possibilities.”

The historical roots of today’s artistic metalworkers span cultures, civilizations and the millennia. Three thousand years after iron ore was first plucked from the ground with curiosity to the time when the clank and clatter of the blacksmith’s anvil ushered in the Iron Age then to the Industrial Revolution that changed nearly everything, metalworkers have had a profound effect on civilizations.

Metalworking techniques are varied ranging from hammering, soldering, brazing, forging and welding that transform metal into objects that fire our imaginations, awe us with their beauty or encourage us to question why. “I find metal an infinite medium. I continually challenge myself to see what might be possible in metal and I have yet to find it,” comments Hilary.

Inspiration for their work is as varied as the group. “I get my inspiration from everything including mechanical and natural forms,” says Brendan. “It’s an accumulative process that will take a lifetime to complete.” When making pieces for this exhibition, emerging artist Mikaila, was inspired by science fiction movies, as she wanted to “make something that looked like it came straight out of an Alien or Predator movie, something that could give you nightmares.” Recycled materials found along roadsides, in the woods or trash that are left behind and forgotten are the muse for Chad who gives these modern day castoffs new life as fun and entertaining assemblages. Matt Church who comes from a long line of blacksmiths wanted to create something new, to break away from his usual way of working and force himself into uncharted territories.

Learning their craft has required years of schooling, mentoring, experimentation and practice. Some, such as Deb studied at college then went on to apprentice at a blacksmith shop for nine years before venturing out on her own. While Brendan trained at traditional schools, most of this knowledge of welding techniques came from working in a commercial welding shop. Although Hilary was trained in the disciplines of sculpture and welding at the Ontario College of Art and Design, over the years, she has often been forced to innovate because there was no one to teach her what she wanted to learn.

Visitors to this exhibition will see how these seven artists are able to work with the hard rigid metal of steel and found metal objects and transform them into fantastical found object sculptures, mechanical works, flowers or life-size animals. “I hope the viewer will realize how difficult and challenging this form of art can be,” states Deb. “I hope they enjoy the work and gets a sense of the many varied metal crafting techniques are and how they can be put together,” adds Brendan.

The Iron Workers’ Union: Part 3 opens with a public reception on Saturday, October 15 from 1pm until 4pm. The exhibition continues at the Chapel Gallery until November 12. The Chapel Gallery is located at 15 King Street in Bracebridge. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, from 10am to 1pm and from 2pm until 5pm with admission by donation.

For more information, please visit www.muskokaartsandcrafts.com or call (705) 645-5501.

Lady Muskoka celebrating its 25th Anniversary this week

On Wednesday September 21st, Bonnie and Al McLellan will celebrate 25 years to the day of hosting guests aboard the Lady Muskoka.

Bracebridge Mayor Graydon Smith will be recognizing the McLellan’s for their years of service in the Tourism Industry at the Lady Muskoka Dock.

Date: Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Time: 11:30 a.m. Location: Lady Muskoka Dock at the Quality Inn (300 Ecclestone Dr.)

Plans for new Muskoka Lawn Bowling Club moving ahead

A recent donation will be put towards the realization of the new Muskoka Lawn Bowling Club facility, but still more is needed.

Sally Mills, Club President, was thrilled to receive a $1,000 donation this week from the Rotary Club of Bracebridge.

“Although the Muskoka Lawn Bowling Club received a generous $150,000 grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation to construct the green, the club still needs funding for planned fencing, landscaping, seating and lighting,” Mills explained. “We are very grateful to the Rotary Club for their support for this community project. We look forward to hosting the Rotary Club at the lawn bowling club when it opens next summer.”


The construction of the lawn bowling green on the grounds of the Muskoka Highlands Golf Links is expected to be completed this week. Mills stated that “MJC Muskoka has been working long hours on this project, which started in mid-August. If the weather cooperates, the greenskeeper at the Muskoka Highlands is looking forward to being able to seed the green soon.”

To become a sponsor, get involved, or for more information about lawn bowling, visit www.muskokabowls.ca or email communications@muskokabowls.ca

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: www.otf.ca

Bracebridge Generation buys three water power generation companies

Bracebridge Generation has purchased three waterpower generation companies located in Haliburton County.

The acquired companies are Drag River Water Power Inc. and Irondale River Water Power Inc. both located near the Village of Haliburton, and Elliott Falls Power Corporation located near Minden.

“These acquisitions are part of a long term strategic plan to grow our green energy generation portfolio” said Chris Litschko, Chief Executive Officer of Lakeland Holding Ltd. “Company growth over the past 10 years has resulted in our staff becoming experts in construction, operation and maintenance of green electricity generation. Important to the Elliott Falls acquisition is it provides us with the ability to upgrade that facility in the future to produce more green power.”

Bracebridge Generation already owns a waterpower generation plant in Bancroft with staff travelling from its Bracebridge headquarters to service the plant.

“These acquisitions made operational sense since we were already travelling past them on our way to Bancroft. Adding these new facilities will improve efficiencies and reduces our overall costs” said Vince Kulchycki, Chief Operating Officer, Lakeland Holding Ltd.

In addition to these three acquisitions the company also started construction in 2016 on a $16.9M upgrade at its Cascade Generation station in Parry Sound.

“After years of negotiations we are fortunate to announce these acquisitions and the commencement of a multi- million dollar upgrade in Parry Sound all within months of each other,” said Litschko.

The acquisition near Minden took seven years of negotiations.

“I liked this plant from the start and it was obvious the owners took as much pride as we do in its operation and maintenance. A lot can happen over seven years, so to finally obtain this generation company was very gratifying and we look forward to generating green electricity well into the future.”

With these three acquisitions and after completion of the Cascade generation station upgrade in 2017, Bracebridge Generation will have invested $50M since 2005.

The investments have increased its green waterpower generation portfolio from three generation plants producing 2 megawatts to nine plants producing 15 megawatts that at full capacity can supply up to 13,500 homes with green electricity.

Company growth has occurred through mergers, acquisitions, expansions and station upgrades resulting in ownership of waterpower generation plants throughout the provincial areas of Hastings, Haliburton, Muskoka, Almaguin and Parry Sound.

New work by the Brown Baggers in Bracebridge

Opening Reception: Saturday, September 17, 2pm-4pm

The Brown Baggers are once again expressing their love of art. From a number of potential and challenging themes, the members voted for the concept of time. Time is a reference to the past, present or possibly the future. “It’s a broad theme having many interesting interpretations and lending itself to a variety of mediums and styles,” says Georgina Winterburn.

Many of the members chose a personal or emotional response to the theme of time and have explored a particular moment in time that they have experienced. Some are thought provoking and perhaps even inspirational.

Each artist has evolved through a time of learning, a time of self-doubt, a time of discovery, a time of accomplishment and a time of sharing that accomplishment.

This exhibition represents a variety of artwork by a talented group of artists who started to paint together in 1985. Founded by the late Jean Forder and Iris Gammon, these two friends decided to pack a lunch and head into the countryside to paint. The popularity of this activity grew and the Brown Baggers have grown in number over the years.

Each week in the spring, summer and fall, art supplies, a good chair and protection against the elements are packed, and the group members venture out to paint en plein air. During the winter, when the weather is not so welcoming, the Brown Baggers meet indoors to share experiences, techniques, ideas and friendly critiques.

Every September members go on a five-day plein air retreat somewhere in Ontario.

Their adventures have ranged from the comforts of resorts and lodges to the rough camping of the Algoma School of Landscape Painting where no electricity or indoor plumbing was the greatest challenge and Beausoleil Island in Georgian Bay, were they were reminded of childhood adventures at summer camp. The YMCA’s Queen Elizabeth Camp provided a unique experience and accommodated everyone’s needs from kayaking, canoeing, hiking, campfire singing, fantastic food, and of course, spectacular scenery.

Organized workshops over the years, with noted, local artists have provided a wide range of valuable information in all media.

The group is an eclectic mix of skill levels, experience, and interests, so that, even with a particular theme it is difficult to predict the exciting array of artwork that will be at the show.

Visitors to the exhibition will see a variety of techniques and styles as the group is an eclectic mix of skill levels, experience, and interests, so that, even with a particular theme it is difficult to predict the exciting array of artwork that will be at the show.

Time opens with a public reception on Saturday, September 17 from 2pm until 4pm. The exhibition continues at the Chapel Gallery until October8. The Chapel Gallery is located at 15 King Street in Bracebridge. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, from 10am to 1pm and from 2pm until 5pm with admission by donation.

For more information, please visit www.muskokaartsandcrafts.com or call (705) 645-5501.

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.

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.

‘The Contingent Body’ runs in Bracebridge until Aug 13th

The newest show at the Chapel Gallery in Bracebridge, called ‘the Contingent Body’ will bring together the work of painter Carol Pollock and sculptor Donna Brock in an exploration of the figure in paint and stone and some of the approaches it can inspire.

This exhibition opens at the Chapel on Saturday 23rd with a public reception between 1 and 4pm.

“”My part of the show comprises figurative studies that offer a range from subtle abstraction to full-on representation – Holding Apples is one of the most abstract pieces in the collection, whereas many others such as Home Guard have evolved in a more representational manner. I let them self-determine as I go along”,” says Pollock.

“”My contribution to the show consists of stone sculptures presenting human forms emerging in various degrees of abstraction,”, remarks Brock. “”Promise, a moderately representational pregnant female form of gentle pink soapstone, leads to Promises, a large abstract suggesting multiple female pregnant forms in green-gray Appalachia soapstone. Advance, a small male torso emerging from white dolomite contrasts sharply with Suffering, a large male torso of gnarled orange and white alabaster.””

Pollock has always drawn and remembers her mother drawing at the kitchen table. When Nipissing University began offering fine-art classes in Bracebridge, she jumped at the opportunity to further her knowledge and skill. Works by painters Pollock sees in museums and online provides her with inspiration but more recently, it has been images from the past that she can relate to and that reflect the human condition.

““I have a cache of ever-growing images from which I choose something that I find intriguing; often they are of women or children,” explains Pollock. She begins by usually draw on a primed and toned canvas using the photographic images as a reference and then begins to paint. “”Throughout the process, I am drawing then painting then drawing again until the image resolves itself,” she explains. ““It is an ongoing exploration. My mantra comes from Picasso: Every piece is research. My aim is always to try to convey the ideas I have about my chosen subject matter – how it reflects the broader human condition and to expand my artistic vocabulary.””

Brock is a 4th generation stone carver through the men on her father’s side of the family. “

“Spending time with my dad at the stone shop was special, as he answered my questions about all the processes and equipment being used,” she recalls. “”Interestingly, my father tried to discourage me from pursuing stone carving and I didn’t take it up until after he passed away. I think he would have enjoyed my work. I know I would like to have shared it with him,” reveals Donna who honed her skills at the Haliburton School of Art & Design where she completed a one-month intensive stone carving course in 2004 and then a sculpture certificate program in figurative and representational work in the spring of 2008.”


When Brock begins a new sculpture, “it’s the chicken-and-egg question – which comes first, the idea or the piece of stone?

““Once I have both the stone and the idea, I remove the excess stone by the easiest means possible”,” she explains. “Reductive sculpting is a bit tricky as once the stone is gone, there’s no replacing it.” To remove the stone, she uses the tools of the trade – hand and power tools, angle grinders, air hammers and sometimes a hammer and chisel. After roughing out the shape, a series of files and rifflers are used to refine the shape and remove tool marks. Then, hours of hand sanding creates a smooth, highly polished finish.

“Besides being brutally demanding physically, stone carving is really dirty work and there is absolutely nothing dainty about it,” says Brock. “”My greatest challenge is to be in tune with the type of stone I’m working with, understanding what it is capable of and the type of tools I need to coax the intended sculpture out of it.””

Both artists hope to connect with the viewers. “

“I work from found photographic images and I think most people can find themselves or someone they know in these forgotten moments. I hope they can appreciate the transformation that takes place when they are explored in paint,” explains Pollock.

““My hope would be that viewers experience some visceral response to my work, preferably a positive one but a negative one is acceptable too,” states Brock. “”It would mean that something in my work touched them deep inside, not just a cerebral response or intellectual calculation of the work’s meaning. I want them to feel something! I want them to have a relationship with my sculpture from the core of their being.”

The Contingent Body opens with a public reception on Saturday, July 23 from 1pm until 4pm. The Contingent Body continues at the Chapel Gallery until August 13.

The Chapel Gallery is located at 15 King Street in Bracebridge. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, from 10am to 1pm and from 2pm until 5pm with admission by donation.

For more information, please visit www.muskokaartsandcrafts.com or call (705) 645-5501.

(Photos: The Red Cowl, by Carol Pollock & Dancer, by Donna Brock)

Elderly Bracebridge waitress told she can’t prove citizenship

by Matt Sitler

Imagine Sandra Eaton’s surprise when she learned she couldn’t prove her Canadian citizenship.

The elderly Utterson resident, who has worked for years as a waitress in Bracebridge, says she made the shocking discovery when she applied for a new Health Card through Service Ontario.

“I had received a letter from Service Ontario saying I needed to get a photo Health Card,” she explains. “In November I went up there and they told me I couldn’t have one because I couldn’t prove I was a Canadian citizen.”

The backstory is that Eaton was born in the UK and has a British birth certificate, not a Canadian one. She doesn’t have a Canadian passport or proof of her Canadian citizenship, despite having lived in Canada for close to 70 years.

“I was two and a half years old when I came over,” she says. “I assumed all along that because my father was Canadian and my mother was a British subject, I assumed that by birth I was Canadian. I’ve always considered myself a Canadian.”

sandraNow, at age 72, Eaton finds herself in the process of applying for proof of her citizenship with Citizenship and Immigration Canada, but there’s a bit of a hitch.

Stymying the process is the fact she doesn’t have a bulk of the required information to complete the application form. Both her parents and grandparents are now deceased, making it next to impossible for her to provide details like their dates of birth and how they obtained their own citizenship.

“All these questions I can’t answer,” she explains. “Because my parents are deceased and I don’t know when my grandparents were born – I’m between a rock and a hard place.”

Eaton says she’s been told there are many like her across the country who find themselves in similar situations.

“I’ve been advised to fill the papers out as far as I can, then maybe somebody can help me – but maybe they can’t,” she worries.

The oldest of 13 siblings, Eaton says nobody else in her family knows the information required by the application.

“I’ve got a driver’s license, my old age pension & my Canada pension,” she says. “But I want people to know what you have to go through (to get the citizenship).”

Lindsay Wemp, media relations with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, says  if an applicant is unable to supply the required documentation to submit an application for a Canadian citizenship certificate (proof of citizenship), they can include a Statutory Declaration with their application indicating the reasons why they are unable to obtain the necessary documentation.  “This will ensure that the application does not get returned as incomplete,” she tells Muskoka News Watch.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) does not have data on how many of these type situations exist across the country, says Wemp.

“It is important to distinguish between those who are citizens but do not have proof of citizenship and those who are not citizens and who would be required to submit an application to be granted citizenship (naturalization),” she says. “It is recommended that persons who think they may have a claim to citizenship, such as through being born outside Canada to a Canadian parent, apply for a citizenship certificate to get a determination on their status. IRCC has various information on its website to help: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/citizenship/proof.asp.  If they are determined to not be a citizen, then an application for a grant of citizenship would need to be submitted.”

As for the estimated processing time for a citizenship certificate (proof of citizenship), Wemp says it is currently five months for routine applications.

“Non-routine applications could take longer if additional information or documentation is required.  Information on processing times can be found here:  http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/times/index.asp,” she says. “Applications for a grant of citizenship received on or after April 1, 2015 are currently being processed within 12 months. If applicants have difficulty providing documentation to demonstrate their claim for citizenship, as mentioned above, the Department may accept a Statutory Declaration where necessary.”

We’ll keep track of Eaton’s progress in her quest to prove her citizenship and let you know how it all pans out.

If you have a story suggestion, please email msitler@muskokanewsarchive.com. (Photo by Matt Sitler)

Santafest hits Bracebridge this Saturday

It’s back!

Santafest hits Bracebridge this weekend with lots of fun activities and entertainment planned for all ages.

Happening Saturday, the festival’s Santa Claus Parade through the downtown happens at 11am. The festival runs between 10 and 4 and will include appearances by Queen Elsa from Frozen on the kid’s stage, family entertainers Team T & J, circus performer Isabella Hoops, country music singer Diane Chase who will hit the main stage at 3pm and the annual Town Crier competition, happening at 12:30 and 2pm at the main stage.

Check out all the exciting activities, which include a pancake breakfast, Santa’s workshop, animal petting area, face painting, bucket rides and gingerbread decorating contest at www.santafest.ca

54th annual Muskoka Arts & Crafts Show runs July 15-17

It’s almost here!

Muskoka Arts & Crafts’ 54th Annual Summer Show is a much anticipated summer tradition in Muskoka, drawing visitors from everywhere to the beautiful grounds of Annie Williams Memorial Park in Bracebridge on July 15, 16 and 17.

One of Ontario’’s oldest and largest outdoor craft shows, the Summer Show brings 200 artists to Muskoka this year –- a lively mix of new and returning exhibitors from as far away as St. Francois De Madawaska, New Brunswick and as near as Bracebridge, Ontario.

A lot has changed since Muskoka Arts & Crafts held its first show in 1963. For that inaugural show, an estimated 3,000 people visited Memorial Park in downtown Bracebridge to view the work of more than 50 artists.

Today, an estimated 20,000 people visit the three-day show to see the artwork of 200 artists. What hasn’’t changed is that Muskoka Arts & Crafts’ Summer Show continues to be a visual treat for all who enjoy purchasing, collecting and learning about art and craft in all its forms.

“All the work presented at the Summer Show is handmade by the artists, in their studios, and is one-of-a-kind work of the highest quality,” says Elene Freer, the Executive Director for Muskoka Arts & Crafts who organizes the show.


The 200 artists exhibit in all art and craft media including basketry, clothing, fibre, furniture, glass, jewellery, leather, metal, mixed media, painting, photography, pottery, sculpture, toys, weaving, wood working and more.

MAC’s most important fundraiser

Selecting the 200 artists who participate in the Summer Show is a formidable task due to the high caliber and large number of applications received by Muskoka Arts & Crafts. A panel of professional artists carefully juries all the applications. This year, sixty-three first-time exhibitors to the Summer Show were selected to join many of the familiar and returning artists. Discovering these new artists is part of the excitement of coming to the Summer Show.

The annual Summer Show is Muskoka Arts & Crafts’ most important fundraiser. Admission to the show is by donation and all the proceeds benefit this non-profit visual arts organization by providing support for its public art gallery as well as many artistic events that take place throughout the year.

When your stomach starts to growl, head over to the Food Court where there are delectable and lip-smacking items to enjoy en plein air. There’s something for every taste, including vegetarian, vegan, organic and gluten free foods.

The Summer Show is a smoke-free event. Why smoke-free? “The Summer Show is smoke-free because it responds to the public’s wish for smoke-free spaces, promotes a healthier lifestyle, helps to create a cleaner environment as well as helping to inspire smoke-free children,” replies Freer. Smoking is not permitted in the show area, within 20 meters of the playground or at any of the picnic tables as these are considered as pop-up patios.

Free parking is available within Annie Williams Memorial Park. Additional parking is also available on selected side streets (Spencer Street, Dill Street, Ewing Street, Spadina Avenue and Brofoco Drive) and for Friday and Saturday, at the Wellington Street Pentecostal Church located at 38 Wellington Street (just a short walk to the park). Accessible parking spots are located at Gate 1.

In the tradition of the last five decades, the 54th Annual Summer Show promises to live up to its well-earned reputation. Come and meet 200 talented artists and craftspeople, hear their stories, be inspired, see new work and purchase handmade works of art.

The Summer Show is held on the picturesque grounds of Annie Williams Memorial Park located at 50 Santa’s Village Road in Bracebridge. The new show hours are Friday, July 17, 10am-6pm; Saturday, July 18, 10am-6pm and Sunday, July 19, 10am-4pm. Admission to the Summer Show is by donation. All donations support Muskoka Arts & Crafts, which is a registered not-for-profit visual arts organization.

For more information about the exhibitors who will be attending as well as information about visiting the Summer Show, please visit their website at www.muskokaartsandcrafts.com or call 705-645-5501.

Councillor says OPP is harassing boaters with too many stops

By Matt Sitler

Is the OPP’s marine unit harassing boaters in Muskoka by stopping and checking on them too frequently?

A local politician has raised this question and has asked people to document instances of it with photos.

In a June 30th Facebook post on her ‘Ledger, TML Councillor Ward C’ public group page, Terry Ledger stated that it has been brought to her attention by many people and even from her own experience, that the OPP seem to be harassing people on the water.

“Yes, I say harassing because it seems that every time you go out in a boat, you get pulled over,” she wrote.

Further on in the post she added: “I have decided to try and document this and I need your help. If you get stopped in your boat, please take a picture and post it with #oppeevedinmuskoka”

We reached out to Ledger for further comment and she provided us with a statement, clarifying that: “Nobody has issues with the job the OPP does on the water, it is the frequency with which they do it that is having a negative impact on the peaceful, leisure time people enjoy on our waters.”

It’s a complaint from some boaters that’s being made more and more, especially during Muskoka’s busy summer months, but Bracebridge OPP Inspector Ed Medved doesn’t agree.

“To say that we are harassing the public is not true,” he says. “Nothing could be further from the truth. We’re out there engaging the public and encouraging them and educating them with respect to safe boating practices.”

Asked about the frequency of vessel stops made by OPP Marine patrol officers, Medved admitted some people can get stopped twice or more by ongoing patrols.

“Do we, on occasion, stop a vessel more than once or twice during the course of a summer season?,” he asks. “Yes, of course we do and that’s going to happen. Why? It’s because we are out there doing what the public expects us to do. I know we have a great deal of support with respect to our activities everywhere including local cottage associations and (other politicians).”

Medved says the Marine Unit adjusts its approach year to year and that the operation is largely resource dependant.

“I’d actually like to do more, frankly, because there’s some areas of the jurisdiction that don’t get covered off as well as I’d like,” he said. “The real story is we are being more strategic about the deployment of our resources. We’re going to problem areas versus generalized patrol. It’s data driven and intelligence led in terms of where we end up sending our vessels and officers in terms of engaging and educating the public about the safe way to boat.”


Medved says people would be shocked to hear and know some of the stories that marine unit operators return to the office with at the end of some shifts, stories he says, that involve people either making mostly poor choices or being ignorant about required safety features and other facets of boating.

“We’re not in the harassment business, we’re in the public engagement and mobilization business,” he says. “The traffic to and through Muskoka is significant (during summer), so we have to pay attention to this. We’ve had a number of mishaps and tragedies over the years – in fact, most recently today (June 4th) a young boy was injured innocently while out with his family on a personal watercraft. So it’s important for us to be out there from a public safety perspective.”

Some local OPP marine patrol facts:

– In 2015, the OPP marine unit checked 2,657 boats in the Bracebridge OPP detachment jurisdiction. (Muskoka Lakes, Georgian Bay, Bracebridge and Gravenhurst)

– In addition, they did 131 cottage checks and accomplished 1,093 patrol hours

– In 2015 the marine unit conducted 16 alcohol screening device tests, checking on the sobriety of operators and only charged two people for impaired boating.

– In 2015 the marine unit laid 122 liquor infraction charges involving passengers on vessels and 12 other drug related charges.

– In 2015 the marine unit laid 223 marine related charges the bulk of which involved operators and passengers not having the right safety equipment.

“Two things we have zero tolerance for is open alcohol and consumption of alcohol on vessels and the lack of personal floatation devices,” says Medved.

But others, like Ledger (above), still feel the marine unit stops are happening too often.

“The issue is the amount of times people are stopped,” wrote the councillor in a reply on another of her group page posts. “If the frequency of being stopped in a car were the same, it would be ridiculous. People are getting stopped weekly but only go out a couple times a week. That’s just crazy.”

(Photo of Ledger via the township of Muskoka Lakes website, photo of OPP stopping boaters via ‘Ledger, TML Councillor Ward C’ public group FB page)


Portion of Stephenson Road 1 East to remain closed until end of September

The Towns of Huntsville and Bracebridge have retained All Services Inc. to finish the replacement of the Stephenson Road No. 1 Bridge that crosses the Muskoka River North Branch between River Valley Drive and Balsam Chutes Road.

Construction on the bridge replacement started in late June and is scheduled to be finished at the end of September 2016.

Stephenson Road No. 1 East between River Valley Drive and Balsam Chutes Road will be fully closed to vehicles and pedestrians from July 4th to the end of September 2016 during the bridge replacement.

D.M. Wills Associates Ltd. will administer the contract for the bridge replacement on behalf of the Town of Bracebridge.

The Town apologizes for the inconvenience and thanks the public for its cooperation.

$30,000 in funding benefits 13 Bracebridge organizations

The Town of Bracebridge recently handed out over $30,000 in festival and event funding to 13 organizations in Bracebridge through the Town’s annual Event Tourism Grant Program.

Mayor Graydon Smith stressed the importance of festivals and events as a tourism driver for Bracebridge: “The Town’s funding assists these events in attracting out of town visitors, enhancing their unique programming and leveraging other funding opportunities.”

The Town made some changes to the Grant Program in the fall of 2015, which encouraged more sport tourism events to be attracted to the fund.

Half the organizations given funding are sports-oriented events

This year, approximately half of the organizations awarded with funding are sport-oriented events. Collectively, the awarded events attract approximately 25,000 people, many of which are out of town visitors using amenities such as accommodation, restaurants and shopping that in turn, drives spending into the local economy.

In addition to the Grants awarded this June, two additional Grants were given out in the winter of 2016 for the BIA’s Fire and Ice Festival and Muskoka Limberettes Muskoka Classic Competition.

The Town of Bracebridge is committed to the importance of festivals and event, not only as a sign of a healthy and vibrant community, but also as an economic generator. For more information about the Town’s Event Tourism Grants call 705-645-6319 ext. 261 or visit www.bracebridge.ca.

Mom and daughter team tackle Muskoka novel marathon

A local mother-daughter duo are the latest entrants in the upcoming Muskoka Novel Marathon.

Bracebridge lawyer Cindy Watson and her daughter, Trent University student Jade Wilton-Watson, are also both writers – Adventuresome writers… which is why they both hit the “Register” button in the nick of time to participate in the Muskoka Novel Marathon.

This coming weekend, July 8-11, they and thirty-eight other writers will sit down to produce as long and as excellent a piece of writing as they can in 72 hours, competing for prizes which include having their manuscript bypass the slushpile to be seen by an editor or a literary agent.

Raising $$$ for literacy services through marathon

The writers will also raise money for YMCA Literacy Services in Huntsville. Last year they amassed $32,000.

“I was always an avid reader and writer,” says Cindy. “I remember writing poems even as a very young child, and embarrassing stories about a young girl in an orphanage, all riddled with overuse of adjectives and melodrama.” But fiction gave way to the necessities of her legal career, at least until her children were old enough for the stories she wrote them. “I haven’t looked back since.”

“I’ve been writing ever since I can remember,” says Jade, 19. “I started with short stories. There was always a hint of magic to it, either a witch or a sorcerer. As I grew up, and started to read Young Adult books, I started to write contemporary YA.”

Cindy had heard of the Marathon years ago, and then Jade caught wind of it at a writer’s conference last year, after the registration deadline for the 2015 Marathon was past. “I mentioned it to Jade this year, sort of threw it out off the cuff,” says Cindy. “She was immediately into it, which made me think ‘let’s go for it!’”

Mother and daughter plan to sit together, and were considering collaboration, but have decided to each do her own thing. Whether they will compete against each other by entering manuscripts in the same category, they haven’t yet decided. “I think of the Marathon less as a competition and more as an opportunity to get uninterrupted hours getting to know your characters, and guiding them through a journey,” Jade notes.

Both confess to being both excited and nervous.

“I participate in NaNoWriMo every year and thought that this was the next challenge I was ready to face,” says Jade. “I can write a novel in a month, but can I write one during a weekend? I sure hope so.”

Cindy enthuses: “I love that Jade and I share this passion. I particularly love that we’re sharing this exciting rookie experience together for the first time. There’s something magical about firsts, and sharing that magic with her will be a lifelong memory.”

To sponsor Cindy Watson, Jade Wilton-Watson or other Novel Marathon writers, visit www.muskokanovelmarathon.com <http://www.muskokanovelmarathon.com> .

Concerns raised about new $7.5 million firehall/ambulance base

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

$1.2 million public transit deal gets the nod in Bracebridge

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

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

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

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

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

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


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




There are now two preferred Bracebridge Library options

And then there were two.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

$1.2 million Bracebridge Public Transit deal

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

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


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

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

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

To see the full report, which will be discussed by councillors Tuesday, visit https://bracebridge.civicweb.net/document/16541

Local Non-profits receive funding from Bracebridge

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

The organizations receiving funds this year include:

Alzheimer Society Muskoka – $1,500

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Muskoka – $1,500

Bracebridge Agricultural Society – $120

Community YWCA of Muskoka – $1,500

Hospice Muskoka – $2,000

Muskoka Rowing Club – $1,000

Safe Quiet Lakes – $500

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

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

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

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

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

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

Councillors asked to consider moving Bracebridge library out of downtown

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

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

Library options include two locations outside of downtown

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

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

The map above identifies the potential sites up for discussion.

$7.5 million for new Fire/Ambulance base in Bracebridge

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

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


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

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

24 year old Bracebridge man charged with assaulting an OPP officer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Art of Storytelling workshop July 9th in Bracebridge

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

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

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

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

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

Register to Attend:
David Patterson

Submitted photo: Brad Woods

Thieves steal cash from Habitat for Humanity Restore

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

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

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

Bracebridge Rotary Centre for Youth celebrates its 25th anniversary

At a special club meeting held on the evening of Friday, May 27th, the Rotary Club of Bracebridge celebrated the upcoming 25th year of operation for the Rotary Centre for Youth.

Special guests at the event included Mayor Graydon Smith, Honourary Members Ken Black and Ken Cumming as well as retired Rotarian and former Town Treasurer Andy Nelan.

Bracebridge Rotary Centre for YouthMembers and guests were treated to stories that ranged from the incubation of the idea to the build the building to an overview of how the centre benefits the community today.

The Rotary Centre for Youth is located at 131 Wellington Street and is used 4 nights a week by the local Girl Guides and 1st Bracebridge Scout Canada groups and was officially opened in early June 1991. In addition to thanking the special guests, all who played roles in helping the club make the RCY a reality, the Club honoured one of the members, Bob Jones who played a key role in the development of the facility as well as its operations over the past 25 years.

Mr. Jones was honoured as a Paul Harris Fellow plus 3 (+3). According to Cheryl Kelley, President of the Rotary Club of Bracebridge, “Bob was a member of the Steering Committee for the Building Committee; overseen the construction using his professional expertise as a contractor and has served on the Operating Committee for the Rotary Centre for Youth for the past 25 years. His commitment to our Club and the youth of our community exemplifies the humanitarian objectives of Rotary International. Members of our Club were proud to present him with this recognition”.

The construction of the RCY 25 years ago was funded by a “Wintario Grant” from the Province of Ontario as well as through Club fundraising. The Rotary Club held two annual “house draws” as well as a “cash elimination draw” to pay off the cost of construction within three years of construction. The RCY is situated on land leased from the Town of Bracebridge for a nominal amount. The Club operates the RCY and some of the costs are offset by rentals such as weddings, engagement parties, Christmas parties, business and organizational meetings.

The RCY is used for various functions hosted by the Rotary Club of Bracebridge including the Club’s weekly Friday lunch meetings. Kelley said, “The Club is looking forward to supporting the youth of the community by making the centre available to the community’s youth for the next 25 years”.

Great weather for Bracebridge Farmer’s Market season opener

Today marked the opening of the season for the Bracebridge Farmer’s Market and the weather was fantastic to boot.

The market runs each Saturday in Bracebridge’s Memorial Park on Manitoba Street between 8:30am and 1pm until the Canadian Thanksgiving Weekend.

Check out some photos from Opening Day and be sure to keep up on all the market’s news at http://www.thebracebridgefarmersmarket.com/




Big drug bust in Bracebridge

A Smooth Rock Falls man has been charged following a big drug bust in Bracebridge.

OPP responded to a complaint from a motorist on Monday about a possible impaired driver on Highway 11 North at 10pm.

Officers were able to locate the vehicle and conducted a traffic stop near Taylor Road.

As a result of their investigation, the driver, 55 year-old Daniel Viau of Smooth Rock Falls was arrested and charged with the following offences:

  • Driving While Ability Impaired by Drug
  • Possession of a Schedule I Substance (Cocaine)
  • Possession of a Schedule II Substance (Cannabis) Over 3 Kg for the Purposes of Trafficking
  • Possession of Property Obtained by Crime Under $5000

The accused will appear in the Ontario Court of Justice in Bracebridge on June 14th.

LIV Muskoka gets crucial outdoor patio approval from District Council

by Matt Sitler

A District Council decision is paving the way for a new outdoor patio area in front of Bracebridge’s LIV Muskoka nightclub at 27 Manitoba Street.

The Town of Bracebridge had received an application from LIV for a licensed 16 person patio on the sidewalk and a temporary sidewalk platform.


The sidewalk platform will utilize 3 parking spaces and allow for the movement of pedestrian traffic around the patio.

The Town has told the District they would consider a 4 year seasonal agreement, between April 15th and October 15th and would also support the District’s position of a one year trial basis License of Occupation with the option to extend for additional years, subject to District staff review of the safety and maintenance of the walkway within the parking lanes.

Last night, District Council granted its approval.

New swim access dock being discussed for Bracebridge’s Kelvin Grove Park

A new floating dock for swimming access could be built at Kelvin Grove Park in Bracebridge Bay to the tune of $40,000.

Bracebridge’s General Committee will look at preferred Option #2 this week – it’s for a floating t-dock that would extend into the Muskoka River and be connected to the Kelvin Grove Park Wharf by a ramp. (See diagram)

A report issued to councillors states that river currents in that area can be strong after heavy summer rain storm events and that weaker swimmers may face difficulties swimming back to the dock.

According to the report, swim buoys would need to be installed around the swimming area so that swimmers, if caught in current, would have a safety line to stop them from floating 75 metres to the Muskoka Rowing Club

Dock to exit the water. Option #2 was identified in a Staff Report to be selected as the preferred alternative for swimming access at the location.

*’Keep Out’ buoys are also recommended as part of the plan for Option #2 to indicate to boaters that the area is closed to navigation.

Bracebridge free parking trial could start July 1st

Bracebridge could provide free on-street parking in all parking metered zones for a six month trial period starting July 1st.

The recommendation’s been made by a working group studying the various options.

Under the plan, $35,000 from the Town’s Snow Clearing Reserve fund would offset the loss of parking meter revenue during the trial. $5,000 would also be paid to the Town by the Bracebridge BIA reserve fund to further offset the loss of revenue, as would a further $16,000, plus the amount of any other deficit resulting from the trial, which would be taken from the Tax Rate Stabilization Reserve.

Bylaw would enforce maximum parking time limits in effect in the parking metered zones throughout the six months.

On top of this, a new parking enforcement officer would also have to be hired on a temporary basis to monitor and enforce the limits between September 1st and December 31st at an estimated cost of $6,500.

$2,000 of that would be covered via money previously allocated to the Parking Meter Working Group (PMWG) by Council – the remainder would be taken from the approved 2016 Parking Meter Capital Budget.

If the plan goes ahead, Bracebridge’s Chief By-Law Enforcement Officer Scott Stakiw would report back to the Town’s General Committee in early 2017 about the results and give recommendations for future options as they relate to on-street parking within the BIA.

Councillors are expected to debate the issue this week at General Committee.

Site of future Bracebridge Arena/Recreation complex unveiled

Today Mayor Graydon Smith on behalf of Council, along with Cindy and Monte Goble of Willen Investments Inc., were on hand to announce a significant donation of land that will serve as the future site for a new Bracebridge Arena/Recreation Complex.

“It gives me great pleasure to announce that the Willen Investments Inc. has generously donated 22 acres of land, located beyond the current end of Salmon Avenue, for the development of a new recreation facility in our community. The Town is truly grateful to the Goble family for supporting the residents of Bracebridge in our pursuit to replace the aging Memorial Arena,” said Mayor Smith.

The replacement of the existing 67-year-old facility has been identified by Council as a priority project in the coming years. After forming a working group of Councillors and staff during the previous term to examine other facilities and work with local stakeholders, a preliminary feasibility plan was completed in late 2014. Included in this plan were a number of potential sites that would be suitable for the project.

Mayor Smith says the Town examined locations throughout the community and that the parcel of land owned by the Goble’s was seen as the best fit for the project even before the possibility of a donation was discussed.

“Not only will this location keep our arena in the urban core, it will also help strengthen the surrounding area while paving the way for new private development to occur,” he said. Cindy Goble expressed her happiness at making the land available.

“My family has owned this property in Bracebridge for over 30 years and it is our pleasure to contribute a substantial portion of our land for the betterment of the citizens of the Town of Bracebridge,” she says. “We are excited to watch this development blossom and look forward to this community coming together in the name of sport and recreation.”

With the site now secured, the Town will proceed with the next steps to move the project forward, developing a design and concept plan as well as more detailed pricing which it will use to formulate a funding strategy.

“Recognizing the Federal Government has recently announced that recreation facilities will be part of the new Building Canada Fund and knowing that Provincial funding for major new facilities may also be available, the Town will work with senior levels of Government to maximize their contributions to this important project” said Mayor Smith. “There is exciting work ahead of us to bring this project to fruition.”

UPDATED: Bracebridge OPP say missing teens have been found

UPDATE: OPP report both teens have been found safe and sound.

PRIOR: Bracebridge Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is seeking the public’s assistance in locating 14 year-old Curtis Cooney and 14 year-old Dailynn Rockburn both of Bracebridge. Police were contacted after the pair walked away from a residence on Stephenson Road 1 in Huntsville on Tuesday around 5:00 p.m.


Dailynn Rockburn (left) is 5’5” tall, 130 lb, medium build with long dark hair and brown eyes.


Curtis Cooney (left) is 6’ tall, 130 lb, thin build with medium length brown hair, brown eyes and glasses.

Police are asking anyone with information to contact Bracebridge OPP at (888) 310-1122 or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

School crossing guard hit in Bracebridge

Bracebridge OPP are focusing on pedestrian safety this spring after two collisions between motor vehicles and pedestrians at the Wellington Street and Monck Road intersection in Bracebridge.  

The most recent incident occurred on Thursday April 28th at 3:30 p.m. when a vehicle failed to stop while making a right turn from Wellington Street onto Monck road and struck the school crossing guard.  The crossing guard was able to complete her duties but later attended the hospital for treatment of minor injuries.  Police are continuing the investigation into the collision as the vehicle that struck the school crossing guard fled the scene.

School crossing guards are easily identifiable wearing bright orange reflective vests and carrying stop signs and are positioned at three busy locations in Bracebridge in order to assist children in getting to and from school safely.

New rules came into effect on January 1, 2016 regarding pedestrian crossovers and school crossings that direct motorists and cyclists to stop and yield the ENTIRE roadway in certain locations, specifically pedestrian crossovers, school crossings and intersections where there is a crossing guard.  This means that the motorist must wait until all pedestrians have cleared the entire roadway and the school crossing guard has returned to the sidewalk before proceeding.

Some safety pointers for motorists include:

  • always look for pedestrians, especially when turning;
  • watch for children and drive cautiously through school zones, residential areas and other areas where children might be walking or playing;
  • be patient, some pedestrians require extra time while crossing the road;

Pedestrians are asked to do their part to keep the roads safe as well by:

  • crossing only at marked crosswalks or traffic lights;
  • making eye contact with drivers before stepping onto the road;
  • obeying traffic signals; and
  • being attentive to their surroundings.

Drivers may be fined up to $500 and face 3 demerit points for offences relating to these areas and fines are doubled in clearly marked Community Safety Zones.

Additional information regarding the new laws can be found at http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/safety/pedestrian-safety.shtml

Local retirement home residents help Bracebridge hospital


Residents at a local retirement residence are helping out South Muskoka Memorial Hospital in Bracebridge.

Representing the residents of Castle Peak Retirement Residence, members of the Residents’ Executive Council have presented Colin Miller, Executive Director of the South Muskoka Hospital Foundation with a cheque for $500 for much-needed equipment at the hospital.

“We are not just a group of old people living out our days in a retirement home,” says Residents’ Council Chair Madeline Fielding. “We are active, vital members of the community and this is one way we can express our gratitude and support for our local health care services.”

Six face impaired driving related charges in Bracebridge


Bracebridge OPP have charged six people with impaired driving related offenses in the last little while.

The charges were laid between April 8th and 13th.

On Friday, April 8th, shortly after 8:30 p.m. police responded to a motor vehicle collision in a parking lot in Gravenhurst.  As a result of their investigation into the minor collision, police say it was apparent alcohol was a factor and they arrested and charged 74 year-old Thomas Harris of Orillia with Impaired Operation of a Motor Vehicle and Over 80. He’ll appear in Bracebridge court May 17th to answer to his charges.

On Sunday, April 10th at 2:30 a.m. an OPP officer noticed the erratic driving behaviour of a motorist on Muskoka Road 118 in Bracebridge and conducted a traffic stop.  During the course of the investigation, a controlled substance was found inside the vehicle. Police have charged 43 year-old Marko Mitic of Etobicoke with Impaired Operation of a Motor Vehicle, Refusing to Provide a Breath Sample and Possession of a Controlled Substance-Schedule II.  He’ll appear in the Ontario Court of Justice in Bracebridge on May 10th to answer to his charges.

Also charged as a result of that same traffic stop are 32 year-old Rachelle Tamman of Bracebridge and 28 year-old Ashley Langille of Bastard-South Burgess Township, each with Possession of a Controlled Substance-Schedule II.  They will appear in the Ontario Court of Justice in Bracebridge on May 10th to answer to their charges.

On Sunday April 10th at 7:00 p.m. a Bracebridge OPP officer, while conducting routine patrol on Muskoka Road 169 in Bala, was able to act on a tip and conducted a traffic stop to investigate.  As a result, 39 year-old Myles Fleming of Muskoka Lakes Township was charged with Over 80, Driving while Disqualified and Driving while Under Suspension. He will appear in the Ontario Court of Justice in Bracebridge on April 26th to answer to his charges.

On Monday April 11th at 10:30 a.m. a Bracebridge OPP officer, while conducting general patrol on Muskoka Road 117 in Bracebridge, conducted a traffic stop after noticing the unusual driving behaviour of a motorist, as the vehicle was moving excessively slow.  As a result of the investigation, police have charged 27 year-old Justin Mackinnon of Lake of Bays Township with Impaired Operation and Over 80.  He will appear in the Ontario Court of Justice in Bracebridge on May 10th to answer to his charges.

On Tuesday April 12th at 12:30 a.m., police were called to the area of Depot Drive in Bracebridge by a concerned member of the public who feared that a person was under the influence of alcohol and was going to drive his vehicle.  The caller was very helpful by providing a description of the vehicle and eventually, the direction of travel.  Police were able to locate the vehicle on Old Falkenburg Road in Bracebridge and as a result of their investigation, charged 21 year-old Jacob Pattison of Muskoka Lakes Township with Impaired Operation, Over 80, Driving with Liquor Readily Available and Young Driver having a Blood Alchohol Concentration Above Zero. He will appear in the Ontario Court of Justice in Bracebridge on May 10th to answer to his charges.

On Wednesday April 13th at 4:45 a.m. Bracebridge OPP officers came upon a motor vehicle collision on Windermere Road in Muskoka Lakes Township while driving to a call for service.  The single motor vehicle appeared to have left the roadway and entered the ditch.  Police subsequently arrested and charged 41 year-old Angela Brazier of Muskoka Lakes Township with Impaired Care or Control of a Motor Vehicle and Over 80 Care or Control.  She will appear in the Ontario Court of Justice in Bracebridge on May 10th to answer to his charges.

In all cases, the accused operator received an immediate 90 day driver’s licence suspension and further had their vehicle towed and impounded.

Bracebridge OPP would like to thank all concerned members of the public who take the time to call police when they suspect someone of driving impaired.

Smith wants water level concerns raised with MNR

Bracebridge Mayor Graydon Smith is urging further dialogue with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) about water levels in Muskoka.

During Wednesday’s council meeting, he said this year’s atypical Spring brought with it nasty flashbacks of the massive area flooding of 2013. While it wasn’t as bad as back then, he said many property owners were still affected this year and that lots of the damage happened to lake boathouses due to a combo of ice, wind and high water.

While the MNR was proactive in getting warnings out about pending flood conditions, Smith says some residents still have questions for the ministry about lake water levels.

The Mayor says the Town should make the ministry aware of its concerns about this year’s property damage and that dialogue between the MNRF and Bracebridge should continue.

Man who recently lost home to fire handed jail time & probation

A man from New Lowell, Ontario who lost his home to a fire this past November has been handed jail time and 12 months probation after being found guilty of a slew of offences in Bracebridge.

The 36 year old’s case was heard in Bracebridge court recently.

The facts date back to July 11th 2015 when the accused was stopped in an older model BMW by Bracebridge OPP after they noticed the vehicle’s license plate was actually registered to a 2010 Acura.

Crown Attorney Peter Heath said police spoke to the accused who was driving the car and that he first provided them with a false name.

Heath said the accused soon got nervous and provided police with his actual name, telling them he was on his way to sell the vehicle in Bracebridge. Heath said he was driving while disqualified.

Police charged him with that offence and with operating a vehicle without insurance.

A subsequent search of the car came up with 0.66 grams of methamphetamine, a crack pipe and other drug paraphernalia, added the Crown Attorney.

Court heard that the accused, who suffered a past brain injury which has resulted in short term memory loss, had also lost the residence he’d been living in to a fire this past November.

Since then he’d been living in a trailer with his common law spouse and two kids.

Justice Glenn Krelove found him guilty on all charges.

Speaking to the judge he showed remorse.

“I apologize to court for wasting your time,” he said.

The judge’s sentence includes 30 days in prison to be served concurrent with a sentence he’s serving in Simcoe County on other offences currently, plus an additional 10 days concurrent on the drug charge.

For operating a motor vehicle with no insurance he will have to pay a $2,000 fine.

Krelove also ruled he be placed on 12 months probation once his sentences are complete, during which time he must abstain from the use of illegal drugs.

Accused in Bracebridge Rexall Pharmacy break-in returns to court April 19th

The 59-year-old Port Sydney man charged in the Christmas Day break-in at the Bracebridge Rexall Pharmacy returns to court April 19th.

Dennis Wilson remains in custody following a brief appearance in Bracebridge court Tuesday. He’s been incarcerated since his arrest.

Just after 10am on December 25th, police got an alarm call about the front doors of the pharmacy on Muskoka Road 118 West being smashed.

Members of the public who saw it happen gave police a description of the suspect and the vehicle he was in – both were located nearby on Glendale Road.

A responding officer was injured trying to arrest the suspect who was able to once again flee in his vehicle.

Police gave chase, but the pursuit was called off due to safety concerns.

Huntsville OPP then located the vehicle on Deer Lake Road in Port Sydney, where it had left the roadway and collided with a tree.

Wilson was charged and taken to hospital to be treated for minor injuries. The injured officer was also transported to hospital suffering minor injuries and was later released.

Wilson faces 8 charges, including:

Break and Enter
Assault with a Weapon
Assault with Intent to Resist Arrest
Escape Lawful Custody
Flight while being Pursued by Police
Dangerous Operation of a Motor Vehicle
Possession of Property Obtained by Crime Under $5,000
Public Mischief

First degree murder verdict for Todd Howley

UPDATE April 12, 2016: The verdict is in. Todd Howley has been found guilty of murdering Toronto businessman Paul Maasland. After one day of deliberation, the jury found Howley guilty of first degree murder. The decision was read in court on Saturday, April 9. Howley was sentenced on Tuesday, April 12 to life in prison with no parole for at least 25 years.

Crown links anonymous letter with seized computer at Bracebridge murder trial

(March 11, 2016) Crown evidence linking an anonymous letter with a computer seized during the Paul Maasland murder investigation has been presented to jurors.

Oakville businessman Todd Howley’s first degree murder trial continued Wednesday in Bracebridge Superior Court with testimony from retired Detective Sgt Jim Falconer of the OPP’s Tech Crimes Unit.

Falconer testified he looked at several computers collected by police during the course of their investigation, but on a Dell laptop hard drive seized at 2390 Wyecroft Road Unit 7 in Oakville, he said he discovered a deleted file that contained portions of wording found in the letter sent to Bracebridge OPP after Maasland’s body was found.

The Wyecroft Road location is a warehouse which was rented by Howley while he worked on an Algae fuel technology. Maasland, a Toronto Investor, had been funding the project before he mysteriously disappeared.

The anonymous letter, which can be read here, purports to explain how Maasland died.

Falconer testified that the laptop in question had last been shut down September 3rd 2010 at 11:37am, while the last logon occurred September 6th 2010 at 6:57pm. The letter arrived at the Bracebridge OPP detachment on September 10th 2010.

In the computer’s recycle bin Falconer found a Microsoft Word document called “toto.doc” which had been deleted from the computer’s “my documents” on September 3rd 2010 at 11:27am.

At first glance he said it didn’t contain any writing in its body, but its properties title contained the words ‘To Whom it may concern’ – the same opening words found in the anonymous letter, with the same capitalized T and W.

Falconer then conducted a more extensive search, utilizing specialized forensic software.

Searching for keywords that were present in the letter received by police, he testified he was able to link them with portions of text found on the computer’s hard drive.

“The reason I searched for many keywords is this (letter) is a relatively long document and so I wanted to ensure I was searching for different paragraphs and sentences throughout it,” said Falconer. “As a result of running those keyword searches I found four different findings that appeared associated with the anonymous letter.”

Maasland’s body was discovered  wrapped in garbage bags at the Morrow Drive public boat launch in Bracebridge on August 30th, 2010.

Howley’s fingerprints were not found on the letter. Other fingerprints, which remain a mystery to this day, were.

Falconer also testified that six USB devices which had been used over time with the Dell laptop seized at the warehouse had also been used with a computer seized at Howley’s home at 2115 Nightingale Way in Oakville.

The trial continues.

Man loses it over $30 in service fees at Bracebridge TD Bank

It was not an ordinary day at the bank.

A local man who blew up in a fit of anger towards a Bracebridge TD bank teller this past December has had his day in court.

On Tuesday, the 28 year old pleaded guilty to causing a disturbance at the bank, which is located at 50 Muskoka Road 118 West.

The incident happened December 5th just before 11am, said Crown Attorney Ted Carleton, when the accused flew into a rage upon learning he’d have to pay $30 in service fees when he closed his account.

He used profanity towards the teller and to women in general and was twice asked to leave the premises.

Court heard the teller backed away from him after the initial blowup – he then went through a swinging door which lead to an employee area and tried grabbing a phone and his bank card, uttering further profanity before leaving.

Carleton suggested the teller had never heard such verbal abuse:

“This conduct was singular in what she’s had to deal with over a long career,” he said.

The accused was stopped in a vehicle by police a short time later still agitated.

By the time he reached the OPP detachment, he’d calmed down.

Justice Glenn Krelove found him guilty of causing a disturbance by yelling and swearing, ruling that he must pay a $50 fine.

“Clearly he has difficulties interacting with other people if the situation becomes stressful,” defence lawyer Peter Ward told court.

“It’s an extreme reaction for what to most people is a minor matter dealing with a fee at a bank,” countered Carleton in his closing submission.

The accused was also placed on 12 months probation, one of the stipulations being he not attend the bank.

Asked if he had anything to say on his own behalf, the accused showed remorse.

He said at the time, he thought the teller “was evil” and part of “a corrupt banking system.”

Jail sentence and fine for man who impersonated brother

A 37 year old man charged with impersonation in order to try and evade arrest has been sentenced in Bracebridge court.

On Tuesday, Mark Fallas also pleaded guilty to operating a vehicle while having a suspended licence and to being a Novice driver operating a vehicle with more than a zero percent blood alcohol concentration.

The case stems back to September 16th when Fallas was stopped by police at 8pm on Manitoba Street in Bracebridge while he was driving a pickup.

Court heard that Fallas initially told the officer he was his brother when asked for identification, providing a birth date of April 10th 1976.

The officer had been acting on a tip there may be an unlicensed driver at the wheel of the vehicle – in checking the records, court heard the officer ultimately saw that Fallas did not appear like his brother.

Faced with this, Fallas then gave his proper name & date of birth.

Court heard the traffic stop eventually led to Fallas providing a breath sample in an approved screening device, in which he registered a warn. This occurred after the officer detected the odour of alcohol on his breath.

Technically Fallas was a Novice class driver at the time of the incident, which doesn’t allow for any blood alcohol content.

Crown Attorney Ted Carleton said Fallas’ license was suspended most recently in July 2014 for an unpaid fine and that he had been convicted of the same offence – driving with a suspended licence – in June of that year as well.

Both of those convictions resulted in fines of $1,000 and not in jail time.

Carleton also told Justice Glenn Krelove that Fallas’ record showed a 2009 conviction which could be considered relevant to the case.

“In September 2009 there was an impaired driving conviction that led to all the licensing difficulties,” he said.

Fallas eventually got his license back, said Carleton, but as a Novice Driver.

“This is his third conviction for driving while suspended,” said the Crown Attorney, who added that the MTO would now suspend his license for another six months.

Justice Krelove sentenced Fallas to 15 days custody for the impersonation charge & a further 15 days for the driving with a suspended licence, which is to be served concurrently with the first 15 days.

Fallas was also fined $85 for operating a vehicle as a Novice driver with a blood alcohol content over zero.

Further 58 days behind bars following threat to slit Trustee’s throat

A 26 year old Bracebridge man will serve a further 58 days behind bars for threatening bodily harm against a Trustee who was put in charge of providing him money.

Justice Glenn Krelove heard the case in Bracebridge court Tuesday.

Crown Attorney Ted Carleton said the threats were made by phone on February 12th of this year.
They were made, he said, while the Trustee believed the accused was still in Simcoe County.

“The threat, going straight to the offense, was quote: ‘that unless (the Trustee) gave him more money, he would, quote: “slit his throat and come up and finish off his family,”‘ said Carleton.

Court heard the arrangement between the accused and the Trustee was such that the Trustee had been put in charge of providing him with money on, effectively, a daily basis. Things started to quickly deteriorate, said Carleton, when the accused started requesting money for non-essentials matters.

The Trustee, who is the accused’s uncle, had been in the role since July 2014. Carleton said similar issues with regards to the money requests had come up many times prior to the threat.

Court heard the Trustee made a statement to police once the threat was made, but had not initially wanted to pursue charges.

He subsequently decided to pursue them, when, just two days later, the accused left a voicemail referring to the initial comments – something that made the Trustee fear for his family.

The accused was arrested and taken into custody on February 17th – he was still under a 2 year probation order at the time to keep the peace after damaging the Trustee’s truck following an argument about funds.

He was charged with breaching the terms of that probation.

In January court heard the accused was also placed on probation after another threat to a different individual. He was released on February 7th on that matter.

Justice Krelove found him guilty of uttering the February 12th threat and of breaching his probation.

Addressing the judge, the accused stated he didn’t believe the court hearing should have been held in front of other people.

“This matter is kind of personal,” he said.

Krelove responded by saying “this is a sad and unfortunate matter,” adding that he believed the uncle had only been trying to help him.

Krelove ordered that the accused go to prison for a further 58 days.

He also sentenced him to 58 days for the probation breach, which is to be served concurrently with the first sentence.

On top of this, he will be placed on 18 months probation following his sentence. The sentence takes into consideration the pretrial custody, which amounts to 32 days in the court’s eyes.

Court heard the accused has suffered from a brain injury stemming from a prior car accident, a development which resulted in his need for a Trustee.

His defence lawyer added that he is sometimes taken advantage of by other people who he associates with who know that he has a financial resource available to him.

One of his probation stipulations is that he not associate with the Trustee or his family. Another Trustee is being arranged for the accused.

Krelove reminded him that if he fails to follow the conditions, he will find himself back before the courts.

Tip from off duty cop results in charge for Bracebridge man

A tip from an off duty police officer has led to an Over 80 charge for a 56 year old Bracebridge man.

Bracebridge OPP responded to the tip, which was about a possible impaired driver in the parking lot near Depot Drive in Bracebridge around 6:30 p.m. on Thursday.

Police arrived, located the vehicle and conducted a traffic stop.

As a result of their investigation, police have charged 56 year-old Philip Patterson with driving with more than 80 mgs of alcohol in his blood.

The accused will appear in the Ontario Court of Justice in Bracebridge on April 5th to answer to his charge.

The accused received an immediate 90 day driver’s licence suspension and further had his vehicle towed and impounded.

Two men charged with trying to break into a bank machine in Bracebridge

Bracebridge OPP have arrested two men after they tried to break open a local bank machine and steal its contents.

On February 18th, just before 1am, a man entered the National Bank in Bracebridge and attempted to open the bank machine to steal the money contained inside. He was unsuccessful, although he caused extensive damage to the machine and fled the area with a second man.

Police have now arrested and charged 39 year-old David Fernandes of Hamilton and 35 year-old Raymond Macintyre of Grimsby each with Break and Enter and Possession of Break-in Instruments.

Both will appear before the Ontario Court of Justice in Bracebridge on April 19th to answer to their charges.

Prison time & fines for man convicted of stunt driving & cocaine possession

A man found guilty of stunt driving, cocaine possession and failing to appear in court has been handed a 50 day prison sentence.

51 year old Attila Vancsody’s case was heard Tuesday in front of Judge JD Evans in Bracebridge.

Court heard that on September 27th at 7:15pm, an OPP officer clocked the car Vancsody was driving on Highway 11 NB at 150km in a 100km/h zone.

He was stopped just south of Highway 118 East and was the sole occupant in the vehicle.

Crown Attorney Peter Heath said Vancsody was charged with stunt driving, admitting to the officer he had been in a rush.

Heath said he was placed under arrest and that a subsequent search of the vehicle’s trunk produced a white-blue powder and two spoons.

Heath said Vancsody told the officer the substance was ‘hydromorph’ but it turned out to be 1 gram of cocaine and he was charged with possession of it.

Vancsody was later also charged with two counts of failing to attend court – one for a missed court appearance on November 24th 2015 and another missed court date, February 9th 2016.

By Tuesday of this week, Vancsody had been in custody for 21 days.

In sentencing, Judge Evans ruled that Vancsody must pay a $500 fine on the stunt driving charge and a $200 fine for possession of cocaine.

He will also serve a further 30 days in custody on the first fail to appear in court charge. Evans sentenced him to time served (which amounts in this case to 32 days enhanced credit in the court’s eyes) plus a further 20 days behind bars for the second fail to appear.

Defence lawyer Jay Herbert indicated his client could have brought the case to trial, as the car he was stopped in wasn’t his. Instead, he offered guilty pleas at the first available opportunity, something the court tends to look favourably upon.

Vancsody, who is married and has five children, has no prior criminal record.

He has lived in Muskoka for the last 20 years, said Herbert, who added that he will likely now face difficulties at the border while trying to visit Costa Rica where his wife lives, due to the cocaine possession conviction.

Bracebridge man sentenced in blood spitting/threatening case

A 26-year-old Bracebridge man will serve a further 25 days behind bars for threatening to burn a house down.

On February 28th, Brendon Brownlee was at the upstairs apartment he lived in at 15 Memory Lane in Bracebridge when police were called by the landlord about people being highly intoxicated and smashing things up in the apartment.

Court heard police arrested Brownlee shortly afterwards on Hugh Campbell Lane where he was a front seat passenger in a vehicle with open liquor.

He had lacerations on his cheek and blood on his chest at the time of his arrest and continued to kick and scream while in the back of the police cruiser, said Crown Attorney Sarah Sullivan.

Earlier the landlord had ventured upstairs where an attempt to subdue Brownlee was made with the help of one of Brownlee’s friends. Court heard Brownlee flipped a coffee table in the apartment and smashed a case of beer on the floor of the kitchen in front of the complainant.

Sullivan said Brownlee also yelled “You rat motherf******, I’m burning this place down – you don’t know what is coming to you.”

Sullivan said he continued smashing things, while also spitting blood down a vent. He further kicked a door in to get to one of the complainants’ apartments, spitting blood all over the door, she added.

Brownlee who works as a carpenter, has an unrelated prior record which includes two property offences and an impaired charge, she said – these date back to 2009, 2010 and 2011.

His lawyer, Jean Polak told court her client “lost it” on the night in question and that he had been drinking. Brownlee was still sporting a severely bruised right eye area while he sat in the prisoner’s box on Tuesday.

Asked by Judge JD Evans if he had a drinking problem, Brownlee replied: “not normally – just when I drink dark liquor.”

Sullivan said the blood spitting was “most concerning” and that the landlord feared for his safety.

Evans sentenced Brownlee to 4 days pre-trial custody, plus a further 25 days in prison.

On top of this Brownlee will be placed under probation for a period of 12 months – one of the stipulations being that he stay more than 100 metres away from 15 Memory Lane.

Bracebridge OPP investigating violent break & enter in Mactier

Police are investigating a violent break and enter that occurred at a Mactier residence in Georgian Bay.

They say it happened at 9pm Thursday, when unknown suspects entered the residence and after an encounter with the homeowner, stole a gun safe containing firearms.

The homeowner suffered non-life threatening injuries and was transported to a local area hospital for treatment.

Police are asking anyone with information to contact the OPP at (705) 645-2211 or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800- 222-8477. You can also submit your information online at www.crimestopperssdm.com if you have any information on this crime or any other crime.

Crime Stoppers does not subscribe to call display and you will remain anonymous. Being anonymous, you will not testify in court and your information may lead to a cash reward of up to $2,000.

Accused in Maasland murder case was in financial straits, court hears

Todd Howley needed money, and, according to evidence presented at his murder trial this week, was in desperate financial straits in the months leading up to Paul Maasland’s death.

Howley has plead Not Guilty to the murder of Maasland, a Toronto investor who was funding his budding Algae fuel technology back in 2009-2010.

Emails exchanged between the pair from Sept. 2009 to late June 2010 which illustrate the nature of their business arrangement were read in as evidence Thursday.

Maasland’s badly beaten body was discovered August 30th 2010 at a public boat launch off Morrow Drive in Bracebridge. By that time he had funded Howley’s enterprise to the tune of $70,000, but was himself facing financial strain due to the investment.

Maasland’s money was required to keep Howley’s tech in development and the emails speak to the self described situation Howley found himself in, as unplanned equipment purchases and payments added up.

On April 5th 2010, for instance, Howley suggested in an email to Maasland that a funding instalment would be welcome as soon as was possible.

“Sooner the better,” he wrote. “I have to make multiple payments asap.”

A subsequent email exchange with Maasland found Howley stating he really needed to get his bills paid and also referred to bill collectors showing up at his home.

By mid-June 2010, according to the emails, Howley’s project was proving to be a real money drain for the investor.

There had been warnings of this as early as late April, when Maasland had told Howley via email that “this is as far as I can go” in reference to an $18,000 funding instalment.

An email sent to Howley on June 15th 2010 seemed to show Maasland really feeling the pinch.

“Hi Todd,” wrote Maasland, “doesn’t look like I’ll be able to make the advance.”

By that time court has heard Paul and his wife Lee Stanton were having to cut back on their own personal expenditures due to the financial situation with the project and that Stanton wasn’t too pleased about it.

It was also around this point that Maasland suggested other revenue generating avenues to Howley, but according to the emails, these were nixed by the entrepreneur.

In one email, Howley wrote that if “an Ohio deal” couldn’t go through, (a deal he was in favour of but which Maasland had suggested there’d be difficulties with) then he personally would have to finish his own home and sell it to creditors.

Concluding his testimony about the emails, Huntsville OPP Detective Constable Luc Dumont of the Muskoka Crime Unit said police had made efforts to find an individual who Howley had suggested, in the emails, was interested in buying some of his product.

According to Dumont, a mutual legal assistance treaty request for more information about this individual’s gmail account was made with Google after attempts to contact him via the email address proved fruitless.

Court ended there Thursday, but Dumont continues testifying next week.

Jurors have also been told they’ll see more video evidence next week – one segment is referred to as ‘the Toyota video’ which is security camera footage shot at a Toyota dealership near Howley’s Wyecroft Road rented warehouse space in Oakville.

The Crown contends Maasland was killed at the warehouse by Howley on August 29th 2010 – outside security camera footage of the rear loading dock area at the warehouse shows the comings and goings of a vehicle, while still images taken from the video show a person walking towards and entering the warehouse.

OPP Special Constable Gerald Lanna, with the Forensic Video Analysis Unit, testified that police brought back ‘a seized vehicle’ to the warehouse to shoot footage which could then be compared with the vehicle captured by the loading dock camera.

Defence lawyer Breese Davies questioned this aspect of his testimony.

“You don’t know if police actually acquired it (‘the seized vehicle’) from Subaru as opposed to (it being) the Maasland vehicle (which was seized in the police investigation),” she asked.

Lanna confirmed he didn’t know.

Paul Maasland drove a blue 2009 Subaru Forester and the Crown contends it’s his vehicle depicted in the footage, which was captured on August 29th and 30th 2010, right around the time he is said to have disappeared.

(Photo is of the accused, Oakville businessman Todd Howley)

Bracebridge Ice Cream Shoppe attempted robbery trial continues

The Bracebridge Ice Cream Shoppe attempted robbery trial resumes March 23rd.

The case dates back to August 16th 2014 at the start of the noon hour.

That’s when OPP were called to the Shoppe, located on Manitoba Street in Bracebridge, about a knife-wielding man who had entered the store and demanded money from an employee.

The employee backed away from the suspect who then fled on foot – there were no injuries to anyone and no money was taken by the suspect.

At the time, the suspect was described as wearing a grey/black baggy hooded sweatshirt that covered over his face. Police made an arrest later the same day.

Court staff say the accused, 22 yr old Connor Taverner, has plead Not Guilty to all the charges he’s facing. They include: one count of Robbery, two counts of Disguise with Intent and one count of Attempt/Accessory to Robbery.

The trial resumes March 23rd in Huntsville court at 10am.

Knife assault case adjourned until March 1st in Bracebridge

A 27 year old Georgian Bay man made a brief appearance in Bracebridge court this morning facing a charge of assault with a weapon.

Kyle Stephens is accused of using a knife to assault a victim in Georgian Bay Township yesterday.

Stephens remains in custody at this time. His case has been adjourned until March 1st.

He has also been charged with failing to comply with an undertaking that he stay at least 50 metres away from 11 Young Street in Mactier; and stands further charged with failing to comply with an undertaking that he abstain from the consumption of alcohol or  other intoxicating substances.

Further details once they become available.

Man gets 45 day prison sentence for driving with a suspended license

A 31-year-old Bracebridge man has been handed a 45-day sentence for driving while his licence was under suspension.

Bracebridge court has heard that on July 11th, 2015, the man was pulled over after turning on to Woodridge Street in Bracebridge after a patrolling OPP officer noticed he was driving a grey Ford pickup while his licence was under suspension for unpaid fines.

A search of the vehicle later turned up 12.26 grams of marijuana which was in a clear plastic baggy in a blue tote bag at the back of the truck. Court heard that pot was also found in a used cigarette container.

Judge JD Evans found the man guilty of driving while under suspension and possession of pot.

Defence lawyer Robin Bellows said her client had faced previous drug charges, but that he had completed a 4 and a half year methadone program and been sober for three years.

“It’s unfortunate that we see him before the court (now) for a more minor drug,” she said, adding that there were tryable issues which had not been pursued in the case in relation to who’s pot it actually was.

The man owns a local roofing and framing business for residential properties, has two employees & rarely drove either of the business’s two work vehicles, explained Bellows.

He showed remorse in court for what had happened.

“I’ve done a lot of growing up over the past 4-5 years,” he told Judge Evans. “There’s no excuse for what I’ve done – I knew I shouldn’t be driving.”

Evans ruled he must pay a $500 fine for the pot possession, plus a $150 victim find surcharge.

He received the jail time for the drive while under suspension, which he is to serve intermittently on weekends to allow him to keep working.

A further six month driving suspension looms for the man and a probation term is also in effect which stipulates no drinking or non prescribed drug taking during the sentence.

Brian Coldin’s arson case to be addressed March 22nd in Bracebridge

High Falls Chalet Inn’s owner Brian Coldin will have his arson charges addressed in court on March 22nd.

Coldin was in court Tuesday when the date to set a pre-trial was decided. The adjournment gives him time to hire a lawyer for the case.

In total he’s facing two counts of arson for the purpose of fraud, two counts of arson damage to property, two counts of fraud, a charge of counselling to commit an indictable offence, possession contrary to an order, careless use and storage of a firearm and two counts of possession of stolen property.

The matters stem back to September 2015, when police say they concluded a 4 month investigation into a series of structure fires that occurred in the area of Brodie Crescent and Fallsview Road in Bracebridge dating back to 2010.

A publication ban’s currently in place on details that were heard during his bail hearing.

Coldin’s girlfriend, 33 yr old Leslie Dixon will address her charges next on March 22nd too. They include two counts of possession of stolen property and one count of unauthorized possession of a weapon.

Coldin has a 13 year history of troubles with local police and neighbours in the High Falls area.

He was the subject of a W5 episode years ago called ‘The Town Without Pity’.

It can be viewed here https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ws-hiixH0uA

Judge sentences man for nearly 8 yr old assault on cabbie

A former British Columbia resident has finally been sentenced for a brutal assault he committed on a cab driver nearly 8 years ago.

This week 28-year-old Ryan Sherwood plead guilty to assault and mischief charges in Bracebridge court after the outstanding matters were transferred to this jurisdiction.

Crown Attorney Ted Carleton said the incidents began in Vancouver on the 12th of April 2008 at 3:49am, when Sherwood was a passenger in a Yellow taxi cab company vehicle.

Sherwood was in the front passenger seat after two other fares were dropped off and requested he be taken to a 4th Avenue location and then on to somewhere else.

After arriving there the driver told Sherwood he owed $20.15 and asked him how he was going to pay. Sherwood said by MasterCard, but the card was declined and he ended up giving the cabbie $7 in a mix of bills and change.

Still, the driver complied with Sherwood’s request to be taken to yet another location where it was again pointed out he’d underpaid by $13.

Court heard that Sherwood protested by saying he had paid the full $20.
The car was parked and it was at this point that Sherwood punched the driver between 10 and 15 times in the head.

An off-duty police officer was parked behind the cab at the time and witnessed the commotion in the vehicle. He immediately laid on the horn.

Court heard the driver fell out of the vehicle while Sherwood ran down West Broadway with the off duty officer giving chase.

Sherwood ended up outside a residence where he tried to open a parked car – the officer yelled, telling Sherwood to step away from the vehicle. Instead, Sherwood started to kick it.

A canine unit was called and within half an hour Sherwood was found behind the residence and arrested.

The cab driver victim was taken to hospital diagnosed with a headache – court heard he suffered abrasions and pain in his jaw and teeth.

There were also dents and scratches in the passenger side door panels of the cab – an estimated $2,500 in damage was done to the vehicle, which was a 1997 Volkswagen Golf.

Somehow the assault and mischief charges went unresolved in the court system until now.

Sherwood, who grew up in Owen Sound is currently serving a 3 and a half year sentence for break and enters and failing to comply with probation.

Defence Lawyer Tricia Cowie told court that the assault was committed by a then 20 year old man who has struggled with a serious cocaine addiction in his life.

Sherwood showed remorse for his actions and suggested the addiction was just taking hold around the time the assault happened.

“Punching someone in the head is never acceptable”

He told Judge Robert Gattrell:

“I was just a kid when this happened 8 yrs ago and my life was spinning out of control,” adding “Punching someone in the head is never acceptable.”

Carleton noted that cab drivers must be protected by the courts as they are a segment of society which is particularly vulnerable to these types of assaults.

Sherwood was handed a three month sentence for the assault, which is to start after his current sentence is up. On the mischief under $5,000 charge he was sentenced to one month, which is to be served concurrently.

He is also prohibited from owning a weapon for five years and must provide a sample of his DNA to authorities.

Fall food drive on tonight in Bracebridge for Manna Food Bank

More than two decades on and going strong; Muskoka Oldtimers’ Fall Food Drive

Submitted release published October 7, 7pm: With the coming of the Thanksgiving season, the time of year is upon us for the Muskoka Oldtimers’ Fall Food Drive for the Manna Food Bank.

Tonight until 8pm, dozens of volunteers in hockey jerseys are going door-to-door around Bracebridge collecting grocery bags filled with non-perishable food donations for the Manna Food Bank, just as they’ve done every year for about two decades now.

Featured photo: Hannah and Abi (right) with Abi’s mom (left) picked up MNW’s donation tonight

“I love this night,” says Manna organizer Garry Thompson. “I feel more community-minded this night than any other time of the year. There’s a great energy to it.”

Over the course of two decades, the Oldtimers Fall Food Drive has become far and away the most important food drive in the year for the Manna Food Bank, which is particularly in need of the following items;

  • Canned: fish, fruit, meat, milk, pasta and pasta sauce, vegetables, baked beans
  • Rice, crackers, cereal
  • White sugar, flour
  • Pasta, macaroni and cheese
  • Powdered milk
  • Peanut butter, jam
  • School snacks

It gets easier each year, Thompson says, as more and more are giving foods that are needed rather than clearing their larder of obscure items (canned artichokes, anyone?), and many now set their bags of food out on the doorstep ahead of time, saving the volunteers’ valuable time.

The fall food drive is a tradition in the community. Most are aware of it, contributing food, cash, or cheques, and volunteers come out in droves, with long-term participants that include the Cadets, the Boy Scouts and the Girl Guides.

“We just do our best to help out,” said Troop Scout Leader Todd Wirth, whose 3rd Bracebridge Sea Scouts have been on-hand to help sort the food as it arrives at the Bracebridge Fairgrounds for four years now. The boys’ work contributes to their Citizenship Badge for volunteer service, plus, he says, “They know it’s for a good cause.”

“After the fact, we talk about it,” says Audrey Forth, who volunteers for Pathfinders (12-to-15-year-olds) for the Girl Guides. “We talk about, ‘How would you feel if all of the sudden your mom and dad aren’t working and you don’t have money to buy groceries and you have to go to the food bank. How would that make you feel?’” We talk about it because, you never know, next week it could be your family in need of some assistance getting groceries.”

Laura Pepper is a Second Lieutenant and Training Officer for 2250 The Muskoka Pioneers Royal Canadian Army Cadets, 12-to-18-year-olds who have been helping out, also sorting food at the Fairgrounds, for about seven years. “It’s a little bit of a social event for them; they love it, and they totally get it. We do so many community service events throughout the year. It’s a large focus of the program.”

Anyone wishing to make a donation who has been missed or wants to donate later can either drop their non-perishable food contribution off at YIGs or Metro in Bracebridge or phone the food bank at 705-646-0114 for pick-up.

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MNW: Donate your summer leftovers

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Matt Richter kicks off Green Party campaign in Bracebridge

Local Greens kick off Matt Richter campaign; second in polls at the start for Parry Sound-Muskoka

Published May 8, 10am: Parry Sound-Muskoka Green Party of Ontario Candidate Matt Richter, his campaign team and supporters kicked off the 2014 election campaign last night in Bracebridge.

This is Richter’s third campaign as the Green Party Candidate for Parry Sound-Muskoka and he shared with the supporters and reporters in attendance that he is “excited to get on the campaign trail to hear what really matters to the people of Parry Sound-Muskoka and ensure their voice is heard at Queen’s Park.”

Matt Richter, Green Party
Matt Richter speaking to supporters last night

The Green Party has shown great momentum during the past two campaigns and in the 2011 election Richter had the second highest percentage of the vote for a Green Party candidate across the Province. And in a riding projections poll yesterday, the Greens were shown to be running second in Parry Sound-Muskoka with the Liberals and NDP just a point or two behind, respectively.

Last night Richter reviewed the party policy and priorities on education, sustainable energy, creating and supporting jobs and protecting our food, water and natural resources.

“The Green Party is committed”, he said, “to politics that are not about catering to special interests or back door deals, but rather about engaging in transparent and fair processes and supporting the needs and interests of Ontarians.”

Green Party volunteers
Green Party’s Stan Hunter and Matt’s eldest son, Sam Richter, greeting volunteers just before campaign launch last night

The official campaign launch happened at 6pm at the new campaign office at 200 Manitoba Street, Unit 4, across the street from Oliver’s Coffee. It will be open daily.

To contact Matt Richter or find out more about the Green Party of Ontario’s Platform, visit www.gpo.ca or email mattrichter@gpo.ca with comments and questions.

Yesterday, PC Norm Miller was first to officially open his campaign headquarters on Taylor Road in Bracebridge. The NDP will announce its candidate on Saturday and the Liberals may reveal their candidate on Sunday.

Related Articles:
Moose FM, May 7: PS-Muskoka Green Party Matt Richter launches campaign in Bracebridge

Moose FM, May 7: Norm Miller Campaign Launch


Director of Finance retiring from Town of Bracebridge

Carol MacLellan retiring after six years as Bracebridge Director of Finance and Treasurer

Posted March 27, 5pm: Bracebridge Mayor Graydon Smith today announced that Director of Finance/Treasurer Carol MacLellan will be retiring from the Town of Bracebridge after six years of dedicated service to the Town. Her last official day will be June 20, 2014.

“We are sorry to see Carol retire from the Town,” says Smith. “Throughout her tenure she has shown dedication, professionalism, and significant initiative in her role as it became increasingly diverse over the years.”

Born and raised in Toronto, Carol obtained her Professional Accounting designation (CGA) in 1984. In 1996 Carol made a „lifestyle‟ change, leaving her position as Director of Finance at Sunnybrook Health Science Centre in Toronto and moving her family to Bracebridge. After holding a number of senior financial roles with local businesses and not-for-profit organizations, Carol transitioned to the Municipal Sector in 2006 when she took a newly-created management position at the District of Muskoka. In 2008, Carol joined the Town of Bracebridge as its new Municipal Treasurer.

Over the past six years, Carol has been responsible for a wide range of activities and projects at the Town. One of the key initiatives has been the continued refinement of the annual budget development process. The result is the production of a comprehensive combined Municipal Budget and Business Plan document, with extensive input from Council as part of that process. As well, detailed quarterly reports to Council on the Budget and Business Plan document are part of the Finance Department‟s core business processes which strive to ensure accountability and transparency to the public.

Other key changes in the past six years include the implementation of new financial software for the Town, which in turn has allowed the refinement of many of the Town‟s financial business processes. Many of the Finance Department‟s manual processes have been replaced with electronic processing. Not only is this more efficient, timely and cost-effective, but the Town‟s customers and the public also appreciate these improvements.

Carol has also been successful in obtaining grants for the Town for a number of infrastructure projects such as for Arena upgrades, SkatePark construction, Manitoba Street bike path construction, Village Square Playground installation, and Town Hall HVAC upgrades. As well, the detailed Ministry reporting for these and other grant-funded projects was a high priority over the past six years to ensure that all funding available to the Town was secured.

An annual program for Community Grants was also developed, which has been well received by local not-for-profit organizations which are eligible to submit applications each year for consideration of grant funding for worthy community projects.

From her role on the Town’s committee for Collective Agreement bargaining, to working with the Ontario Heritage Trust for the continued preservation of the historic Woodchester Villa, to negotiating favourable new agreements with service providers for banking, audit, and insurance/risk management services, Carol has had wide-ranging involvement in the affairs of the Town.

Carol has indicated that she will be enjoying some extended motorcycling trips this summer as well as a few more rounds of golf at her favourite local golf course. In addition to her ongoing membership in the Rotary Club of Bracebridge, Carol is looking forward to using her additional free time in support of other local volunteer boards and organizations.

Mayor Smith, members of Council and all Town staff wish Carol well in planning for her up-coming retirement.

Wanted: High school students with great summer business ideas

Make Your Pitch contest back and open to Parry Sound-Muskoka entrepreneurs in two regions of competition

Posted March 10, 5:30pm: The Young Entrepreneur Make Your Pitch contest is back for a second year – and high school students in Parry Sound-Muskoka can submit short videos for a chance at a start-up business grant.

Young Entrepreneur, Make Your Pitch contest challenges students in grades 9 to 12 to pitch their business idea in a two-minute video submitted online at makeyourpitch.ca. In their videos, students need to address who their customers will be, the problems that their business will need to solve, and why their business will succeed. Submissions must be entered into one of six categories: service, arts/culture/tourism, retail goods, social enterprise, environment and technology.

“This contest is a great way for high school students to pitch their business idea through a creative visual outlet,” says Vivian Ho, small business consultant with Muskoka Small Business Centre in Bracebridge. Ho adds: “This is a great opportunity for students across Muskoka to explore the possibility of entrepreneurship.”

Eighteen finalists will be chosen from six high school regions designated by the Ministry of Education from across the province.  For example, students from Gravenhurst High School, Bracebridge and Muskoka Lakes Secondary School and from the Simcoe uskoka Catholic School Board compete in the Barrie region, while Parry Sound high school students compete in the North Bay-Sudbury region. The finalists will pitch their ideas in front of a live audience and judging panel in Toronto at the Ontario Centre of Excellence’s Discovery Conference at Metro Toronto Convention Centre on May 12-13, 2014. From the 18 finalists, six winners will be chosen, earning them reserved entry into the Summer Company program, which includes hands-on training, mentorship and a grant of up to $3,000 to help turn their idea into a business.

The deadline for online video submissions is March 28, 2014. Video Judging begins on April 1 through a combination of online public voting and expert judges. For more information, please contact Muskoka Small Business Centre at (705) 646-9021 or visit www.makeyourpitch.ca.

As part of Ontario’s Youth Jobs Strategy, the contest is presented by the Ministry of Economic Development Trade and Employment and the Ontario Centre of Excellence.

Quick Facts:

NHL alumnus visits Muskoka as part of Lake of Bays Brewery and NHL alumni contest

Mike Krushelnyski in Bracebridge March 5 to kick off Lace Up with NHL Alumni

Posted Feb. 28, 3.45pm: Now that Lakes of Bays Brewing has the NHL Alumni ‘on speed dial’ as the Baysville company is the Alumni’s official brewery partner, the company has announced it has got none other than NHL alumnus Mike Krushelnyski to drop in to Muskoka next week for a personal appearance. The company issued a press release about its Lace Up with the NHL Alumni campaign kick off today. The details from that release are below. 

Lake of Bays Brewery Press Release:
Mike Krushelnyski (the friendliest NHL alumnus and best Battle of the Blades sport ever), is coming to town to kick off Lace Up with the NHL Alumni, a contest organized by Lake of Bays Brewing and the NHL Alumni Association, in which 18 lucky winners will get to play in an NHL Alumni game and after party, taking place in Sudbury on Saturday May 10.

Mike Krushelnyski in Muskoka, Muskoka News Watch, NHL in Bracebridge, Lake of Bays BreweryWho: Mike Krushelnyski
What: Personal appearance and autograph session
Where: Old Station Restaurant in Bracebridge
When: Wednesday March 5, starting at 6:30 pm
Why: To kick off Lace Up with NHL Alumni contest in Bracebridge

Come on down and meet Mike and share a Top Shelf Classic Lager with us. The life of any party going, Mike likes to bring his Stanley Cup Championship rings along and foist them onto anyone willing to try them on for size.

In addition to being a heck of a personable guy, Mike has had a formidable professional hockey career. He spent 14 years with the NHL, playing for Toronto, Edmonton, Detroit, Boston, and Los Angeles.

Mike Krushelnyski in Muskoka, Muskoka News Watch, NHL in Bracebridge, Lake of Bays Brewery
Lace Up with NHL Alumnus Mike Krushelnyski

He is a three-time Stanley Cup champ on ice (Edmonton ’85, ’87 and ’88) and one time as assistant coach (Detroit ’98). More recently, he competed in the 4th season of Battle of the Blades, skating alongside Marcy Hinzmann.

About Lace Up with the NHL Alumni

The prize: 18 lucky hockey fans get to don their skates and play in a game of shinny alongside the likes of Mark Napier, Mike Pelyk, Bill Derlago, and Jack Valiquette. (Additional NHLAA to be announced). The game is set for Saturday May 10 in Sudbury, and the after party will be at Overtime Sports Bar and Grill, also in Sudbury.

Three Ways to Enter

1. At participating licensees
From March 4 to April 22, patrons at The Old Station Restaurant in Bracebridge, Lockeroom Barrie, Boston Pizza North Bay and Overtime Sports Bar and Grill in Sudbury can fill out a ballot to enter.

The ballots also double as scratch and win tickets, awarding NHL Alumni memorabilia and discounts for Signature Series Club membership. (Signature Series Club is an online beer and collectables club launched in December by Lake of Bays Brewing and the NHLAA. Go to www.signatureseriesclub.com to learn more.)

If you’re planning to be in the North Bay area next Saturday, March 8, Walter Gretzky (aka The Great One’s dad) will be at Boston Pizza to kick the contest off, starting at 11:30 am.

The licensee draw will take place in late April.

2. At participating LCBOs
Look for ballots at nearly 70 participating LCBOs across Central and Northern Ontario. NHL Alumni will be dropping by for an awareness-raising autograph session at the following times and places:

  • March 6: Matthew Barnaby in Sault Ste Marie
  • March 8: Marty McSorley and Matthew Barnaby in North Bay
  • March 15: Timmins, Sudbury, Barrie. NHL Alumni to be announced.

The LCBO draw will take place on the week of March 20. Email us if you would like specific times and locations for those appearances.

3. On Facebook
One lucky Lake of Bays Brewing Facebook friend will get to take part. Just go to our Facebook page, like us and click the contest link. The winner of that one will receive an overnight for two in Sudbury as well.


From Stratford to Bracebridge, a new Economic Development Manager named

Randy Mattice new Manager of Economic Development for Bracebridge

Posted Feb. 17, 7pm: The Town of Bracebridge today announced the appointment of Randy Mattice as Manager of Economic Development for the Town. He takes on the post on March 17.  Mattice will report to Cheryl Kelley, the Town’s Director of Planning

Randy Mattice, Bracebridge
Picture from Mattice’s LinkedIn profile

and Development, and is responsible for overseeing the Town’s Economic Development programs and activities focused on business retention, expansion and attraction.

He will also oversee tourism and cultural aspects of the Town’s economic development program.

For more information on his appointment, please click here