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

Man charged with setting traps likely to cause bodily harm

A Parry Sound man’s been charged with setting traps likely to cause bodily harm after a search warrant was executed revealing a sizable amount of pot, growing equipment, ammo and weapons.

On November 3rd, members from the West Parry Sound Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), along with members of the OPP Community Drug Action Team, OPP West Parry Sound Crime Unit, the OPP Northeast Region Emergency Response Team (ERT) and the OPP Canine Unit executed a search warrant at a residence in Parry Sound.

During the investigation over 3500 grams of marijuana was seized.

Additionally, growing equipment, ammunition and weapons were also seized.

The estimated street value of the marijuana seized is approximately $12,000.

As a result of the investigation;

Steven Dingman, 47 years of age from Parry Sound was charged with:

  • Produce a Schedule II Substance (cannabis marihuana), contrary to section 7(1) of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA)
  • Possession of a Schedule II  Substance for the Purpose of Trafficking  over 3 kg, contrary to section 5(2) of the CDSA
  • Possession of a Schedule II Substance (cannabis Marihuana) over 30g, contrary to section 4(1) of the CDSA
    • Three counts of Possession of a Firearm or Ammunition contrary to Prohibition Order, contrary to section 117.01(1) of the Criminal Code (CC)


  • Set Traps Likely To Cause Bodily Harm, contrary to section 247(1)(b) of the CC

The accused was held in custody for a bail hearing at the Ontario Court of Justice in Parry Sound, Ontario



Weapons call initiates two Hold and Secures at Orillia schools

There have been no arrests following a report today of a man carrying what was believed to be a long gun in the area of Park Street in Orillia.

At 3:35 p.m., the Orillia OPP responded to a report of a weapons call after receiving information from a school bus driver reporting a male walking on the sidewalk carrying what was believed to be a long gun.

Several officers immediately responded and as a precaution, a “Hold and Secure” of two schools in the area was initiated at Samuel De Champlain and the Orillia Secondary School.

Both schools were thoroughly searched as was the nearby vicinity.

The process lasted one hour. When each school was deemed safe, the Hold and Secure was lifted.

No one fitting the description was located.  Police are continuing their investigation.

The Orillia OPP would like to thank the school administration, staff, students and parents for their patience, understanding and co-operation during this difficult time.

Members of the Orillia Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police are committed to public safety, delivering proactive and innovative policing in partnership with our communities. Officers value your contribution to building safe communities. If you have information about suspected unlawful activity, please contact the OPP at 1-888-310-1122 or visit Crime Stoppers at: www.crimestopperssdm.com or call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).


Charges laid in Highway 69 fail to remain case

Charges have been laid in a fail to remain case that happened on Highway 69.

On October 30th at 4:30 p.m., members of the West Parry Sound Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) were called to a motor vehicle collision involving two vehicles on Highway 69.

Upon arrival, they learned that one of the drivers had fled into the bush.  

Vehicle stolen from Mactier

The police investigation revealed that the vehicle in question had been stolen from a residence in Mactier and as a result, 24 yr old Daniel Ashawasagai from Georgian Bay Township was charged with:

  • Theft of a motor vehicle under $5000, contrary to section 334(b) of the Criminal Code of Canada (CC)
  • Fail to Comply with Probation Order, contrary to section 733.1(1) of the CC
  • Careless Driving, contrary to section 130 of the Highway Traffic Act (HTA)
    • Driving While Under Suspension, contrary to section 53(1) of the HTA X2

      * Fail To Remain, contrary to section 200(1)(a) of the HTA

The accused will appear at the Ontario Court of Justice in Parry Sound on December 1st to answer to his charges.


Company fined $100,000 following injury to young worker

A Calgary-based company pleaded guilty and has been fined $100,000 after a young worker suffered permanent injuries.

The company, Tervita Corporation, was the constructor of a City of Barrie project to reclaim landfill at a site located at 272 Ferndale Drive North in Barrie.

On March 5th, 2015, a young worker (a person under the age of 25) employed by Tervita was operating a city-supplied trommel machine in the landfill. The machine is used to screen and separate material.

The worker was using a tool known as a “pick” to clear the trommel when it filled up with material being screened. While performing this task, the worker was pulled into an exposed pinch point on the machine created by the drive wheels.

The worker was able to get free but suffered injury that required medical attention.

Section 109 of Ontario Regulation 213/91 – the Construction Projects Regulation – states that every gear, pulley, belt, chain, shaft, flywheel, saw and other mechanically-operated part of a machine to which a worker has access shall be guarded or fenced so that it will not endanger a worker. This was also a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

The company pleaded guilty and was fined $100,000 by Justice of the Peace Cheryl B. McLean in provincial court in Barrie on November 1, 2016.

In addition to the fine, the court imposed a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge as required by the Provincial Offences Act. The surcharge is credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.

New and young workers in Ontario are more likely than older and more experienced workers to be injured on the job, especially during their first three months on the job.

The case was heard by Justice of the Peace Cheryl B. McLean in the Ontario Court of Justice/Provincial Offences Court at 45 Cedar Pointe Drive in Barrie, Ontario

Province combatting homelessness in Ontario communities

Ontario is helping individuals and families find safe and affordable housing, by increasing its investment in municipalities to help them meet the needs of those experiencing homelessness.

The additional investment from the province will further support municipalities in delivering housing- and homelessness-related services tailored to meet the needs of their communities through 2020. Services include:

  • Financial assistance and education programs to help prevent eviction
  • Long-term and transitional housing with related supports
  • Emergency shelters for those experiencing a crisis

Last year, the Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative helped almost 40,000 families and individuals experiencing homelessness obtain housing. It also helped more than 115,000 families and individuals at-risk of homelessness remain in their homes.

“We are helping Ontario’s most vulnerable take the first step out of poverty by arming communities with the tools they need to help individuals and families access safe and affordable housing. Ensuring every Ontarian has a safe place to call home helps build stronger communities and a more prosperous Ontario.”
— Chris Ballard, Minister of Housing and the Minister Responsible for the Poverty Reduction Strategy

Investing in programs to prevent and reduce homelessness is part of our plan to create jobs, grow our economy and help people in their everyday lives.


  • Ontario is investing an additional $15 million in the Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative (CHPI), bringing the government’s annual contribution to $338.7 million by 2019-2020, which is an increase of $92 million since the program launched in 2013. This funding builds on the $15 million in each of 2017-18, 2018-19 that was announced in October 2016. The program is also providing municipalities with $293.7 million in 2016-2017, $308.7 million in 2017-2018, and $323.7 million in 2018-2019.
  • The CHPI reinforces the bold and transformative update to Ontario’s Long-Term Affordable Housing Strategy, and supports the province’s goal of ending chronic homelessness by 2025.
  • Every $15 million invested in the Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative is estimated to help about 2,600 households experiencing homelessness find housing, or prevent approximately 14,200 households from becoming homeless.
  • Since 2003, Ontario has committed more than $5 billion to affordable housing. This includes the recent federal-provincial partnership to extend the Investment in Affordable Housing program.


Province launching new supports for adoptive families

Province launching new supports for adoptive families

As Ontario enters Adoption Awareness Month, the province is launching new supports for adoptive families, including a grant program to help families cover the costs of post-secondary education for adopted children.

The new Living and Learning Grants will provide support to adoptive families with a child enrolled in a full-time post-secondary program, helping to remove financial barriers and give more youth the opportunity to pursue higher education.

In addition, 15 new adoption recruiters will start work across Ontario this November to help connect more Crown wards with adoptive families. The province is partnering with Wendy’s Wonderful Kids to support the new recruiters, who will work to build relationships with children and youth in care and develop recruitment plans specific to each child’s needs.

Ontario also offers additional supports to make life easier for families adopting Crown wards, including:

  • Support to pay for drug and dental benefits
  • Peer-to-peer supports through Adopt4Life, including mentorship and parent resources for adoptive families
  • Specialized training through the Adoption Council of Ontario for parents who adopt through children’s aid societies.

The province is also supporting greater use of customary care, a culturally appropriate placement option for First Nations children and youth, by providing one-time financial assistance to support First Nations families to welcome First Nations children in need of protection into their homes.

Helping children and youth find forever homes and access post-secondary education is part of the province’s plan to help all children and youth in Ontario reach their full potential to succeed.


  • Crown wards are children and youth that are cared for by foster homes or group homes because they have been abused, neglected or because their family situation could have placed them at risk.
  • The Living and Learning Grant provides $500 per month, to support youth in full-time postsecondary education.
  • One-time funding of up to $5,000 is available for customary caregivers to provide a safe, secure and comfortable environment to children and youth, as well as to make home repairs or purchase furniture or other items needed to support the well-being of children.
  • Ontario is investing $24 million this year in these enhanced adoption services.
  • The new recruiters will be working with children’s aid societies across Ontario.
  • There are about 5,800 Ontario children and youth who are growing up in foster and group care as Crown wards.
  • About 1,000 Crown wards are adopted into permanent homes each year in Ontario.
  • The government serves as the guardian of all Crown wards.
  • There is no cost to adoptive parents to go through the public adoption process with a children’s aid society.

Mayor seeks court judgement against Nishikawa

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

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

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

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

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

Related Links: 

Breaking News: Muskoka District Councillor found guilty of defamation

Fellow councilors order Nishikawa to pay part of defamation judgment


Prominent Bracebridge Lawyer Jean Polak in Sunnybrook following fireworks accident

By Matt Sitler

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Women of Distinction Awards handed out in Huntsville

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

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

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

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

Peers, friends and family nominated 12 women this year.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strive Presentation

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

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

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

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

OPP say missing Huntsville teen has been found

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

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

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

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

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

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

For the list click here

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

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

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

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

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

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



Social responsibility requirements:

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

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

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

Wine can be sold in maximum four-litre containers

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

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

Huntsville OPP searching for missing 14 year old girl

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

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

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

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

Muskoka suffers first blast of winter weather

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

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

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

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

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

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



Close call for man after boat catches fire on Georgian Bay

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

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

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

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

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

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


Arrest made in Haliburton murder case

An arrest has been made in a Haliburton murder case.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Safety campaign taking firefighters door to door in Muskoka Lakes

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

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

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

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

Protect yourself and get your free flu shot

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

4th annual Muskoka Pride conference to focus on defining diversity

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

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

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

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

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

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

For further information about all Muskoka Pride events, go to our website or visit the Muskoka Pride Facebook Page (www.facebook.com/muskokapride)

Body of missing duck hunter pulled from waters of Lake Couchiching

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

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

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

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

Family members of the man have been notified.



Bracebridge woman pleads guilty to obstructing an OSPCA investigation

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

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

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

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

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


3rd annual Muskoka Independent Film Festival happening at Gravenhurst OP

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

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

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

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

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

To see the schedule, click here.

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

Spiritual care supports patient care at MAHC

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Date: Friday, November 4th

Time: 8 p.m.

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

Please RSVP to psmgreenparty@gmail.com or 705-394-7336 if you plan to attend.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tips to Consider

Pack up all food and alcohol.

Don’t leave firearms or weapons at the cottage.

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

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

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

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

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

Record serial numbers of anything of value left behind.

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

Lock them up or be prepared to lose them!

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

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

2016 Women of Distinction Award nominees announced

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

Kate O'BrienCloseUp

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


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

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

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

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

The event is also accessible through www.eventbrite.ca

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

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

Inset Kate O’Brien

Missing from photos Pamela Terreberry & Allison Brownlee

Three scary clown prank reports so far in central region

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

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

Police remind citizens that they should consider the following:

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

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

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

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

Algonquin Park to remain a park for the enjoyment of all

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

(photo via tanakiwin.com)

Clement appointed official opposition public safety critic

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

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

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

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

Sunshine in Bala for 32nd annual Cranberry Festival

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

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

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

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Fire started in space below fireplace in Glen Orchard

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

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

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

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

Within minutes, the flames appeared to be extinguished.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(photo via CP Holiday Train FB page)

Breaking News: Tony Clement drops out of leadership race

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

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

The announcement continues:

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

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

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



CRTC approves new country music FM station for Bracebridge/Gravenhurst

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

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

Details about the approval can be found here.

On its website, 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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Great Muskoka Paddling Experience happens this morning in Bracebridge

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can still register Saturday morning. To find out how and for more information, visit http://www.muskokapaddlingexperience.com

(photo via MuskokPaddlingExperience.com)

2,600 pot plants discovered south east of Washago

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

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

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

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

Gravenhurst garage fire caused $75,000 in damages

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

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

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

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

The cause is not considered suspicious.

Province proposing changes to Ontario Municipal Board

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

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

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

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

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

Allow for more meaningful and affordable public participation

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

Bring fewer municipal and provincial decisions to the OMB

Support clearer and more predictable decision making

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

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

Improving the OMB’s role in the land use planning system is part of the government’s plan to build Ontario up and deliver on its number-one priority to grow the economy and create jobs. The four-part plan includes investing in talent and skills, including helping more people get and create the jobs of the future by expanding access to high-quality college and university education. The plan is making the largest investment in public infrastructure in Ontario’s history and investing in a low-carbon economy driven by innovative, high-growth, export-oriented businesses. The plan is also helping working Ontarians achieve a more secure retirement.

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

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

Comments must be submitted by December 19, 2016.

Can you help police solve David Palmer’s murder?

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

As a result of the ongoing investigation, investigators know:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tips to prepare your Thanksgiving turkey safely

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

54 year old Parry Sound man charged with careless driving

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your sincerely,

Sam Robinson
President, Manna Food Bank.

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

UPDATE: Deceased in Highway 632 collision identified by OPP

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

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

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

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

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

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

Updates will be provided as they come available.


Two facing charges after pot found in vehicle on Highway 400

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bala Legion helping homeless veterans with $2,000 donation

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

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

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

To learn more about Operation: Leave the Streets Behind, please visit http://www.on.legion.ca/veterans-seniors/homeless-veterans-assistance.

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

It’s time to vote for your favourite Bracebridge business

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

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

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

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

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

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

Votes can be submitted by Clicking VOTE NOW! at www.bracebridgechamber.com.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gravenhurst Santa Claus Parade happens Nov. 26th

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Maasland homicide investigation team to receive an award

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

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

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

The 2016 Accolade Award recipients are:

Officer of the Year

Detective Constable J.G. (Jeffrey) Nussey

Civilian of the Year

Ms. C. (Christine) Johnstone

Auxiliary Member of the Year

Auxiliary Sergeant P. (Paul) Elms

Jim Potts Award

Sergeant C.C. (Chris) Amell

Valuing & Supporting People

Ms. L. (Lynda) Ware


Middlesex Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Initiative Team (see below)


Paquette Homicide Team (see below)

Innovation & Creativity

Special Constable M. (Mark) Blocksdorf – Individual

Offline Record Acquisition (ORA) system – Team

Ms. A. (Andrea) Hayman

Mr. B.W. (Bryan) Johnstone

Sergeant N.L. (Nathalie) Rivard


Provincial Constable N.A. (Nancy) Wagner

Team Achievement

Maasland Homicide Team (see below)

Community Service

Provincial Constable S. (Sandro) Cave


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

Project Kirby Team (see below) – Team

Middlesex Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Initiative Team

Detective Sergeant B.G. (Brad) Durfy

Orillia ON

Provincial Constable J.C. (John) Ginn

Strathroy ON

Traffic Staff Sergeant A.I. (Anthony) Hymers

London ON

Provincial Constable K. (Karl) Johnston

London ON

Provincial Constable C.R. (Caroline) Kennedy

London ON

Provincial Constable T.P. (Tim) Kunkel

Strathroy ON

Provincial Constable C. (Chris) Mathurin

Strathroy ON

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.

Highway 118 East reopened following collision investigation

Highway 118 East near Carnarvon has been reopened following an investigation into a single vehicle collision.

Officers from the Haliburton Highlands Detachments of the Ontario Provincial Police attended on Highway 118 just west of One Mile Drive in the early morning hours.

The collision occurred at 2:00 a.m. when a single motor vehicle left the highway and struck a rock cut.

A lone male occupant received serious injuries as a result of the collision.

Members of Haliburton Highlands OPP and members of the Technical Collision section attended the scene for the investigation of the collision.

Additional assistance was provided by the Bracebridge Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police.

Highway 118 was closed for investigation of the collision and has now been opened to traffic.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Haliburton Highlands Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police.

MNR tracking “full sized” bear that was hit by a vehicle near public school

OPP and MNR officers are currently trying to track a large bear that was hit by a vehicle near a public school.

This morning at 7:20 am a collision occurred between a motor vehicle and what was described as “a full sized bear” on Old Barrie Road between Penetanguishene Road and Line 1 of Oro-Medonte Township.  This was near W.R. Best Public School.

School authorities were notified and the school along with its students were secured for safety.

Officers from the Barrie Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police are on scene along with Officers from the Ministry of Natural Resources who are currently tracking the bear.

The Barrie OPP, for the sake of public interest, would like to notify the public of this information so that if they see the injured bear they are asked to contact the OPP at 1-888-310-1122 or the Ministry of Natural Resource at 1-866-514-2327.


Minimum wage increase takes effect in October

As part of its balanced plan to build Ontario up and help people in their everyday lives, Ontario is raising the general minimum wage from $11.25 to $11.40 on October 1, 2016 – the third consecutive year it has increased.

Minimum wage rates for liquor servers, students under the age of 18, hunting and fishing guides, and homeworkers will also increase at the same time.

In 2014, the government passed legislation to tie minimum wage increases to Ontario’s Consumer Price Index (CPI), providing annual, reliable increases to workers and predictability for businesses. As a result, full-time minimum wage earners in the province are making $2,392 per year more than they did three years ago.

This builds on progress the government is already making to support Ontario workers and help connect people with jobs including:

Modernizing the province’s employment and labour laws with the goal of improving the lives of vulnerable workers, while supporting business
Investing more than $1 billion a year in employment and training services

Helping low and middle income Ontario students with the cost of tuition in order to keep post-secondary education within the reach of all families, while building the best-educated workforce in the world

Investments of nearly $174 million in 2016-17 for programs that support apprentices, employers and training delivery agents

Improving access to labour market information and making it easier for job seekers to make informed decisions about their education, training and careers
Increasing the minimum wage in a fair and predictable manner is part of the government’s economic plan to build Ontario up and deliver on its number-one priority to grow the economy and create jobs.

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


This is the 10th minimum wage increase since 2003.

Minimum wage increases are announced by April 1 each year, and are in effect on October 1 of the same year.

The primary sectors employing minimum wage earners are accommodation and food, retail trade and agriculture.

Beaver Creek Prison under lockdown in Gravenhurst

Officials at Beaver Creek prison in Gravenhurst are keeping mum about what’s prompted a lockdown at the facility.

On September 27th, at about 8:40 p.m., the lockdown was put in place in the medium security unit at the prison to enable staff members to conduct an “exceptional search.”

Officials say the search was ordered to ensure the safety and security of the institution, its staff and inmates. Normal operations will apparently resume as soon as it is considered safe to do so.

Regularly scheduled visits may be affected. Visitors who have already planned a visit are asked to contact the Institution directly.

The Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) says it is committed to preventing the entry of contraband into its institutions. CSC also works in partnership with the police to take action against those who attempt to introduce contraband into correctional institutions.

Tougher penalties for drug impaired drivers starts October 2nd

If you’re high and behind the wheel, you’ll face stiffer penalties if caught starting in October.

The province is improving the safety of Ontario roads by bringing in penalties for drug-impaired driving that match those already in place for drunk drivers.

Starting October 2, 2016, drivers under the influence of drugs will face the following penalties:

A $180 penalty

An immediate licence suspension of three days for the first occurrence, seven days for the second occurrence and 30 days for the third and subsequent occurrences upon failure of a roadside sobriety test

A possible 90-day licence suspension and a seven-day vehicle impoundment following further testing by a drug recognition expert at a police station

Mandatory education or treatment programs, and installation of an ignition interlock device in their vehicle, for drivers with two or more licence suspensions involving alcohol or drugs within a 10-year period

These new measures were introduced as part of the Making Ontario’s Roads Safer Act last year. In addition to these penalties, impaired driving can lead to criminal charges which could ultimately result in a loss of licence, additional fines and jail time.

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


According to the Office of the Chief Coroner, 39 per cent of drivers killed on Ontario’s roads in 2013 had either drugs or a combination of drugs and alcohol in their system.

Drug-impaired driving collisions in Ontario had an estimated social cost of $612 million in 2013.

The Making Ontario’s Roads Safer Act was passed on June 2, 2015. It also included tougher penalties for distracted driving and “dooring” cyclists, as well as new rules for school crossings and pedestrian crossovers.

(photo via driving.ca)

Man charged with Stunt Driving on Hwy 69

A Scarborough man’s been charged with Stunt Driving after police say he was clocked going more than 50km/hr over the speed limit.

On September 27th at 2:25a.m., a member of the West Parry Sound Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) was on radar patrol on Highway 69 in Henvey Township.

The officer observed a motor vehicle traveling at more than 50 km/h over the posted speed limit. As the officer attempted to catch up, the vehicle followed a transport in an unsafe manner and then passed it. A traffic stop was conducted.

The driver of the motor vehicle, Hai Lun Li, 37 years of age from Scarborough was charged with;

Stunt Driving – Excessive Speed greater than 50km/hr. over the speed limit contrary to the Highway Traffic Act (HTA)

Careless Driving, contrary to the HTA

His driver’s licence was suspended for 7 days pursuant to the HTA.

Muskoka makes Expedia.ca’s top green locations in Canada list

Muskoka has made another top list, this time highlighting the region for its reputation as a leader in green initiatives.

Expedia.ca’s travel blog cite’s the district in its 17 Greenest Cities in Canada list.

The article is a part of Expedia’s Eco-Travel: Environmentally Conscious Tourism series.

Check it out to see why:


Lakeland Networks rolling out 1 Gigabit fibre service to rural homes and businesses

Lakeland Networks is changing lives by rolling out 1 Gigabit fibre service to rural homes and businesses.

The municipally owned company was first out of the gate in Ontario to bring 1 Gig service to businesses of Muskoka towns in 2014. Now, with the help of the Federal-Provincial Small Communities Fund, it has gone one giant step further, connecting even out-of-town residential customers with the highest Internet speeds available, anywhere.

It is the first Canadian company to make fibre to rural customers a reality.

Lakeland has released a video telling the stories of such customers, whom for less than $100 can now upload, download and browse using their blazing fast fibre connection. With no data cap, streaming of movies, videos, and TV shows has never been easier. Included is a fully featured phone line for local and long distance calling.

The attached video features Maria aka Nozie, who uploads her accordion performances in under five minutes from rural Bracebridge; Jennifer Maloney, a food blogger sharing recipes with large photos she could never have uploaded before, and who previously had little or no access to high speed of any kind from her home, east of Bracebridge; and Hannah, a high school student who used to struggle with uploading her homework and essays but no longer.

The ambitious $8.6 million project to extend Lakeland’s existing fibre network was made possible with $5.7 million from the Small Communities Fund. Since being selected for funding a year ago, the company has managed to roll out another 100 kilometres of fibre optic in areas beyond Bracebridge and Huntsville (such as Port Sydney and parts of Utterson). “We are very thankful for our federal-provincial partnership which we hope to build on, to provide high speed internet to more customers in rural Muskoka and other parts of Ontario” says Chris Litschko, Chief Executive Officer, Lakeland Holding Ltd.

“We’re well ahead of plan both in fibre construction and customer connections due to the quality and commitment of our great team,” says Litschko.

Lakeland Holding is owned by six municipalities, including Bracebridge, Huntsville, Parry Sound, Burk’s Falls, Sundridge and Magnetawan. Since 2007, Lakeland Networks has expanded its infrastructure to over 400 kilometres of fibre.

About Lakeland Networks

Lakeland Networks, a division of Lakeland Energy Ltd. is a subsidiary of Lakeland Holding Ltd. which is owned by 6 local municipalities: Bracebridge, Huntsville, Parry Sound, Burk’s Falls, Sundridge and Magnetawan. These municipalities amalgamated their electricity assets together to form Lakeland Power Distribution Ltd. (electricity distribution) and Bracebridge Generation (green waterpower electricity generation). Later, they created Lakeland Energy Ltd/Lakeland Networks to help support areas of business that needed assistance, providing services including high-speed fibre internet, VoIP phone service, point-to-point networking for business Internet, and full service IT and local area network and VLAN extension solutions.

For more information contact:

Bill Gispen, Manager, Lakeland Networks
1-844-662-7722 ext. 507

Video Title: A Canadian First: Rural Fibre to the Home. Video available at https://youtu.be/AcM0cYiOSbQ

Connect with the company:

Vehicle crash claims the life of well known community activist

Police say they’re investigating after a Hyundai Sonata left Hwy 11 Monday evening and crashed into a rockcut in Huntsville, claiming the life of a well known community activist.

It happened just after 8pm – Huntsville Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), along with Huntsville Fire and Muskoka EMS were dispatched to the crash.

Police say the Hyundai Sonata had left the road and struck a rock cut northbound north of Stephenson Road #1 in the town of Huntsville.

The deceased, according to a post on the page ‘Let’s make Bracebridge Great Again’ was the page’s co creator Steve Hern.

Police say the male driver was the only occupant of the vehicle and was taken to a local hospital with undetermined injuries at the time.

The investigation is continuing.

(Photo via Steve Hern’s FB Page)


Historic Gravenhurst Albion Hotel getting heritage plaque

The Albion Hotel is getting a heritage plaque.

The public is invited to meet with Town Councillors at the Hotel, located at 100 Muskoka Rd N, Gravenhurst on Saturday October 1st, at 6pm, as the historic landmark is recognised.

The ceremony will follow the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario’s General Meeting, which chose the Albion for this year’s meeting backdrop. Archivist Judy Humphries will be on hand to conduct a history of the Gravenhurst Albion Hotel starting at 5:00 p.m.

“It has been an exciting journey so far and we’re at a point where everyone is thrilled to see what has become of the Albion Hotel,” said Hank Smith, Chair of the Gravenhurst Municipal Heritage Committee. “The unveiling of the official bronze plaque will be the final step in recognizing this important heritage building in our downtown.”

Guy Gagnon, the hotel’s current owner, refurbished the exterior or the building in 2013, these renovations helped to secure a Built Heritage Award from the Municipal Heritage Committee.

Under the Ontario Heritage Act, the Albion Hotel was named a heritage site in 1983, giving it designation as a building of Cultural Interest. The hotel, which was constructed in 1888, replaced the original Albion that burned in the Great Fire of 1887. The Albion was constructed in the Gothic Revival period and is one of the few remaining examples in Muskoka of Century Hotel architecture. Special features of the building include the double window dormers, decorative rounded brick arches over the windows with wooden carved inserts which are all well preserved to this day. The structure was an important part of life during the lumber and steam eras.

Today the Albion is home to ‘The Arts at the Albion’ which moved into the Hotel in 2013 and occupies the area which was originally the kitchen and dining hall.

The building also contains a number of apartment units, David Dawson’s studio and the Albion Tavern.

Bracebridge Transit extending free service until mid-October

Bracebridge residents and visitors are advised that Bracebridge Transit will be extending free ridership until mid-October.

On August 29th, 2016, the Town introduced a new transit system, “Ride the Wave”, with free ridership for the first month. The bus service follows an hourly schedule on a single route within the Town’s urban core.

Everyone is invited to try the new transit system and the Town would appreciate any feedback you have to assist them in offering the best service.


August 2016 – After much contemplation, the Town of Bracebridge officially launched its new transit service on Monday, August 29th, 2016.  Members of Town Council invite residents to take advantage of the free month of ridership that is being offered. “Ride the Wave” and become familiar with the Town’s new public transportation system.

“We wanted to brand our new transit service in a fun and memorable way,” stated Mayor Graydon Smith as he boarded the temporary 20 passenger bus that will run until the Town’s new accessible, low floor bus arrives.  “Ride the Wave’ exemplifies the excitement Council feels with the unveiling of this long awaited service.  We want people to view riding transit as participating in something that is positive and advantageous.

When you ‘Ride the Wave’, you are taking part in a new transportation trend that we hope will become an integral part of our community.”  Working closely with an appointed Transit Working group, a one hour circuit route has been developed that will assist residents in the urban core access retail merchants, recreational and education facilities, as well as medical and professional services.

Fees have been set at $2.50 per trip for adults and $2.00 per trip for seniors and students.  Children 5 and under accompanied by an adult ride for free. Individuals who anticipate using transit on a regular basis will benefit from the monthly pass.  Monthly passes will be available for purchase from the Municipal Office, the Bracebridge Public Library and the Bracebridge Sportsplex by October.

“With a total of 47 stops along the route, there will be plenty of places for people to get on board.  Each stop is clearly identified with a Bracebridge Transit sign.” said Walt Schmid, Director of Public Works.  “We expect that the route may need some adjustments over time as we learn more about where are riders are coming from and where they need to go.”

Bracebridge Transit has launched a detailed website (www.bracebridgetransit.ca) that offers a wide range of information about the service including detailed information on fares, schedules and route, as well as transit etiquette.
Bracebridge Town Council first began exploring the need for a transit system back in 2008.  In 2014, Council ratified a motion to begin to develop both a conventional and specialized transit service for the community.

Staff began to work with a variety of stakeholders until a Transit Working Group was established in 2015. In June of 2016, Hammond Transportation was identified as the successful respondent to a Request for Proposal and entered into a contract with the municipality to offer the conventional transit service.  A similar agreement is in the works for the delivery of Bracebridge Mobility, a door to door specialized transit service for those unable to use the conventional transit service.  It will be launched later this fall.

“It is well documented that communities grow when they have a thriving public transit system. Transit connects people to jobs, schools, services and to other people.  It is environmentally sound and will have positive impact on our community for years to come.” said Mayor Smith.  “It is the wave of the future. We hope that everyone will take the opportunity to “Ride the Wave” by riding the bus.”

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)

OPP seeking tips about outdoor marijuana grows

The OPP would like to ask the public to be on the lookout for suspicious activity associated with outdoor marijuana harvesting.

Marihuana harvesting season is approaching and the OPP would like the assistance of the public in reporting suspicious activity. Usually outdoor marihuana is kept outdoors as long as possible to maximize the yield. The harvesting usually begins after the first frost of the year as most plants will not typically survive a second frost.

If you are out hiking in remote areas watch for the following telltale signs of outdoor marihuana grow operations:

Hand tools – shovels/rakes. etc.

Power tools – weed eaters/chainsaws. etc.

Watering supplies – hose/pumps/generators. etc.

Soil/peat moss

Fertilizer/grow chemicals

Plastic Barrels

Camouflage netting

GPS and radios

Camp supplies – sleeping bag/stove/lantern/tent. etc.

The OPP is requesting the assistance of the public in reporting potential grow sites. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Orillia OPP at 705-326-3536 or Call Crime Stoppers at 1-800- 222-TIPS. (1-800-222-8477) or submit your information online at www.crimestopperssdm.com if you have any information on this crime or others. Crime Stoppers does not subscribe to call display, you will remain anonymous. Being anonymous, you will not testify in court and your information may lead to a cash reward of up to $2,000.00.

Orillia man charged with possessing child porn

Members of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Orillia detachment assisted by the Child Sexual Exploitation Unit have arrested and charged an Orillia man following a child pornography investigation.

On September 22nd, police say they arrested a 69 year old male for possessing child pornography.

Reginald Magee of Orillia is charged with three counts of Possession of Child Pornography.

The accused continues to be held in custody pending a bail hearing.

The investigation is continuing.

MAHC board appoints new directors

Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare is pleased to introduce three new Directors, appointed earlier this month to the Board of Directors following a recruitment drive this summer.

Rhonda Lawson joins the Board for a one-year term, bringing a wealth of board experience from for-profit and not-for-profit corporations. Ms. Lawson is a corporate executive who currently heads up her own human resources consulting firm.

Michael Walters has also been appointed to a one-year term as a board director, having served as a community member on the board’s Strategic Planning Committee last year. Mr. Walters is the Executive Director for the Georgian Bay Treatment Centre and has an extensive background in mental health.

Moreen Miller joins the Board for a three-year term with professional experience from the aggregate sector. She has also served on advisory boards for mining and aggregate, as well as land and watershed stewardship.

In addition, two new community members have been appointed to standing board committees. MAHC is pleased to welcome Linda Walsh and Adam Hutton to their community member role, joining Betsy Rothwell, Gordon Horne and Richard Augustine.

“On behalf of the Board of Directors, I am excited to welcome these new members who bring the Board to our full complement,” says Board Chair Evelyn Brown. “We have a dedicated group of talented volunteers with diverse skills and I am looking forward to working with them.”

The Board of Directors is a 17-member skills-based, volunteer body with 12 elected directors. The Board plays a key leadership role in setting policies and visioning for the hospital and provides oversight of the delivery of health care in the communities that we serve. Learn more about the Board of Directors on our website.

Muskoka charity shortlisted for international award, but is unable to sustain 17 Girlz Unplugged groups

This year has brought a mix of great and not so good news to a local charitable organization.

YWCA Muskoka has been offering programs for girls and youth for almost 20 years through school based Girlz Unplugged programs, summer leadership and high school youth programs.

Thirty nine percent of the participants the organization serves are 18 years and under.

In May of this year, YWCA Muskoka was nominated by one of its funders for the “With and For Girls Award”.

In its 2nd year, this international award is given by a collective of 7 organizations united by a common belief that girls are agents of change, to 20 organizations from around the world and accompanied by a flexible cash grant and two years of organizational mentoring to build capacity and develop programs.

The With and For Girls Award highlights the accomplishments and dedication of locally led, girl-centred organizations that are based in the communities they serve and have annual revenues of less than $500,000US. Staff and volunteers at YWCA Muskoka also completed an application, provided a photo submission with the help of Girlz Unplugged program participants, and participated in a unique ‘Skype’ interview with a group of 17 and 18 year old young women from Chiapas Mexico.

In the end, YWCA Muskoka was one of 44 organizations shortlisted from 34 countries for the With and For Girls Award. YWCA Muskoka will be celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2017, an accomplishment particularly noteworthy as the local organization serves over 1200 people each year through a multi-site model that takes a wide range of violence prevention, leadership, and poverty reduction programs to participants across Muskoka’s largely rural region.

YWCA Muskoka works through partnership with school boards.

“To be nominated among girls-centred organizations from around the world, and then shortlisted is an incredible honour and really validates the quality of what we do as a ‘small and mighty’ community YWCA and reflects back to us what our funders and donors believe about the importance of working with girls and young women,” says Executive Director, Hannah Lin. “Our task now is to continue to deliver on our mission, stay true to our values, and find the means to keep on providing impactful experiences and developing innovative opportunities that involve girls as decision makers.”

YWCA Muskoka will be celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2017, an accomplishment particularly noteworthy as the local organization serves over 1200 people each year through a multi-site model that takes a wide range of violence prevention, leadership, and poverty reduction programs to participants across Muskoka’s largely rural region. YWCA Muskoka works through partnership with school boards and community agencies, and advocates and provides leadership on issues affecting women and girls. Doing the work without core operating funding from federal or provincial government has been an ongoing challenge for YWCA staff and board members for the past ten years and is getting tougher.

The organization has had to make the difficult decision this year to scale back one of YWCA Muskoka’s longest running programs, Girlz Unplugged, until sustainable funding can be found. For the past four years, Girlz Unplugged was funded by a grant from the Canadian Women’s Foundation. The grant also allowed the YWCA to develop the community based YWGRO mentorship program, but the funding came to an end in June and so far staff have been unsuccessful in securing another grant of a comparable size that would enable the YWCA to reach girls at all 17 schools in Muskoka. Prior to the CWF grant, the YWCA Muskoka had a few years of steady government program funding for Girlz Unplugged from Muskoka’s designation as a northern community.

The highly acclaimed and much in demand youth programs have been offered in every school in Muskoka, as well as Moose Deer Point First Nation. Girlz Unplugged programs had the benefit of 4 years of external evaluation to become evidence based, and YWCA Muskoka youth programs have proven to be highly effective at increasing self-worth, confidence and building peer support in young people, with additional sessions are often requested by school principals, teachers, parents and the students themselves.

The cost of one Girlz Unplugged program is in the range of $2500 to $3000 depending on location. This fall’s groups are being funding with the generous support of local service clubs including the Rotary Club of Bracebridge, Rotary Club of Gravenhurst, Stephenson’s Lions Club, and municipal community grants from the Township of Lake of Bays and the Town of Bracebridge. Funding is also being provided by the Kenny Foundation, the Brian Schaal Memorial Golf Tournament, and third party fundraisers including the Art in August event organized by Mary Spring of Huntsville; and the Dads of Muskoka’s Riverboat Cruise.

“We run with project and program specific grants, special events and fundraising, and the generosity of our donors. This year we’ve had 17 successful grants ranging from $500 to $90,000, and 9 unsuccessful grant proposals,” says Lin, “It breaks my heart that this may be the first in 15 years that we can’t just show up and make sure we’re there for the girls that need and expect us at each of Muskoka’s school through Girlz Unplugged. The demand isn’t going away, it’s actually growing, but competition for the grants is also growing and the number of funding opportunities and even the size of the grants are decreasing.”

The organization has hired a part time Development Coordinator, Tracey Mellersh who is focusing on individual donations and corporate giving.

Staff and volunteers are still hoping to raise $30,000 from grants, events and donations to be able to provide Girlz Unplugged to girls at 12 additional elementary schools in the 2016-17 school year and are investigating social enterprise options for further sustainability.

“R. gained so much confidence about herself, was surrounded by like minded girls and she felt so loved and respected. It’s a phenomenal program and I am so happy that she can be a part of it. All young girls should participate in a program like Girlz Unplugged, it is amazing the influence it has.” – Girlz Unplugged participant’s parent

For more information about YWCA Muskoka or if you have an idea about funding opportunities for girls, please contact Hannah Lin, Executive Director or Stacey Schat, Youth Programs Coordinator at 705-645- 9827 or email office@ywcamuskoka.com

‘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.

Friends for Life OSPCA Walk in Bracebridge raises money for animals

The sun came out for those taking part in a fundraiser this morning in Bracebridge for the OSPCA.

The annual Friends for Life Walk was held at Annie Williams Park where the goal was to raise $17,000 for animals.

Those taking part in this morning’s fundraiser which started with registration at 9am and the walk getting underway at 10am, were able to raise money both online and via pledge sheets.

Games and a BBQ were also part of the day’s festivities.

To learn more about the Muskoka OSPCA Animal Shelter, visit muskokaontariospca.on.ca

(Photo via Muskoka OSPCA on FB)

$36,000 raised by novelists for YMCA Huntsville Literacy Services

The final total of funds raised by the 2016 Muskoka Novel Marathon for adult literacy in Huntsville is $36,000 even.

“YMCA Huntsville Literacy Services is extremely grateful for this contribution to our community,” says Kate Meeks, who shared marathon convening duties with Susan Kulkarni. “A donation of this size will help over 100 recipients receive access to literacy programs. Many thanks to the committee members and writers who made this possible.”
The Muskoka Novel Marathon is an annual 72-hour writing retreat and literacy fundraiser that takes place in the Active Living Centre in the Canada Summit Centre in Huntsville. This year it took place July 8-11.

It is also a judged writing competition, and the winners’ manuscripts are sent directly to two publishing professionals. For the Young Adult/Juvenile category, it’s children’s book editor Peter Carver of Red Deer Press. For the Adult category, it’s literary agent Chris Bucci, who represents former Novel Marathon Best Novel winner Amy Stuart, whose Novel Marathon project eventually became the national bestseller Still Mine.

This year’s Adult winner is Kevin Craig of Toronto, who has won four times previously in the YA/Juvenile category, for his manuscript I Will Tell The Night.

The YA/Juvenile winner is Lori Manson of Toronto, for her manuscript Ned and Nora Stone.

The Most Prolific Award and peer-voted “Bum-in-Chair” Award were both won for the second year in a row by Lenore Butcher of Woodstock, Ontario, who completed a staggering 341 pages, equalling 72,400 words.

The Rockstar Award, for second-most prolific, was won by Michael Codato of Gravenhurst, who wrote 261 pages, or 62,300 words.

In other peer-voted awards: the Techie Award, for the writer who most assists other writers with technical issues, was won for the second time in a row by Dawn Huddlestone of Huntsville.
The Spirit Award, for the writer who most embodies the spirit of the Novel Marathon, was won for the second year in a row by Dale Long of Uxbridge, Ontario.

Two first-time writers tied for the Rookie of the Year Award: Rebecca Senese of Toronto and Cindy Watson of Bracebridge.
2016’s top fundraiser — for the fifth year in a row — was Cheryl Cooper of Bracebridge, whose final total is $3,050.

Funds raised by the Marathon go to the YMCA’s Literary Services in Huntsville. The program’s Team Leader, Nancy West, says the money will be used for upgrading the program’s curriculum, providing needed professional development opportunities for the teachers, and raising awareness in the community that literacy services are available, since those who need them most are the most difficult to reach. Government funds provided to the program don’t cover these needs, she notes.

“Every year you guys blow me away–how much money can 40 people raise?” Nancy West, team leader for the literacy program, told the writers during the event. “It’s just incredible. It’s what you embody and what you believe in, what you embrace as important to you. You couldn’t write what you write if you didn’t have literacy. It’s easy to take for granted when you have so many adults who just don’t have it, who find themselves stuck and want to get unstuck. This is what you guys do: you get people unstuck.”

Next year’s Muskoka Novel Marathon will take place July 14-17, 2017.

Safety recall for 175 Model Year 2016 Toyota Prius vehicles continues

Toyota Canada Inc. (TCI) has announced it is conducting a safety recall of approximately 175 Model Year 2016 Toyota Prius vehicles in Canada.

In a statement on its website, Toyota.ca, the company reports that the involved vehicles are equipped with a front passenger airbag which contains stored, compressed gas in the inflator. A component in the airbag assembly may have been improperly welded and/or misassembled. If this occurs, the stored gas may escape without a deployment signal and result in the partial inflation of the airbag. This has been observed when the vehicle is parked and unoccupied for a period of time. An airbag that inflates in this manner can, under some circumstances, increase the risk of injury and the possibility of a crash.

All known owners of the involved vehicles will be notified by first class mail. Toyota dealers will replace the front passenger air bag assembly with a new one at no cost.

Information about automotive recalls, including but not limited to the list of involved vehicles, is subject to change over time. For the most up-do-date Safety Recall information on Toyota vehicles, customers should check their vehicle’s status by visiting toyota.ca/recall and entering the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).

For any additional questions, customer support is also available by calling Toyota Customer Interaction Centre at 1-888-TOYOTA-8 (1-888-869-6828).

Dog walker attacked in Gravenhurst park

by Matt Sitler

Bracebridge OPP and the Muskoka Crime Unit are investigating an assault which happened at a park in the town of Gravenhurst.

On Thursday September 22nd, sometime between 7:30pm and 7:45pm, police say an unknown male assaulted an individual who was walking their dogs at Gull Lake Park.

Police say the victim received no injuries as a result of the attack and they are now asking anyone with information about the incident to contact Bracebridge OPP at (705) 645-2211 or to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

Cranberry harvest season has begun in Bala

Johnston’s Cranberry Marsh is buzzing as this year’s cranberry harvest begins.

The cranberry season is the busiest and most exciting time of year for Johnston’s – and this year is no exception. Despite a summer drought, this year’s harvest may be the biggest crop ever with an anticipated 500,000 pounds of cranberries.

Farmer Murray Johnston has been closely watching this year’s crop.

“Rain is important for fruit growth. Our cranberries need an inch of water per week. While it’s been a dry summer, we can rely on our irrigation system to mimic rainfall,” says Murray Johnston.

Johnston’s Cranberry Marsh consistently produces the best quality cranberries in Ontario by using a harvesting method only used by 5% of growers in Canada. The picking method most commonly used by other growers takes a machine to ‘beat’ the vines, knocking off the cranberries. Most growers harvest this way because it’s fast and easy – and makes for fun commercials.

The Johnston family believes that gentle handling makes for better berries. They carefully comb their berries off the vines, resulting in less bruising and better quality fruit.

“Many people don’t fully realize the care and skill our team put into the cranberries we grow,” says Murray Johnston. “We plan to share as much of the process as possible with consumers so they feel an even stronger connection when they visit the farm.”

Johnston’s Cranberry Marsh, home of Muskoka Lakes Winery, offers their Bog to Bottle Discovery designated a Canadian Signature Experience. This guided farm tour and tutored wine tasting is offered every day at 11, 1 and 3. The tour has been revised this year to share even more interesting information about harvesting, cranberries, the onsite winery, and the Johnston family history. Harvest season at the Farm offers plenty of ways to celebrate Muskoka’s native fruit.

Activities offered everyday:

 Daily tours @ 11, 1 & 3

 See the harvesting and packinghouse operations

 Enjoy a wine tasting  Shop in The Cranberry Emporium

 Relax on the wine and cheese patio

 Sample cranberry goodies at the Cranberry Cafe (Open daily Oct. 1 – 16)

 Hike the trails

 Hunt for geocaches

 Critter catching for the kids

Activities offered weekends only:

 Wagon Tours offered all day (weekends between Sept. 24- Oct. 16)

 Helicopter Rides (weekends between Oct. 8-Oct. 16)

 Walk in the Berries (weekends between Oct. 8-Oct. 16)

The beginning of harvest season, is a unique time to visit Johnston’s Cranberry Marsh as they harvest a large percentage of white cranberries. The white cranberries are used to make Muskoka Lakes Winery’s White Cranberry Wine – a wine unlike any other in Canada. With 27 acres of cranberries to pick, harvesting should last until the end of October.

For more information, contact: Matt French at 705-762-3203 or by email, at: matt@cranberry.ca

Huntsville embarks on dark sky friendly info campaign

By Matt Sitler

The Town of Huntsville is embarking on a dark sky-friendly outdoor lighting information campaign to encourage residents to minimize light pollution in and around Huntsville.

The information campaign is to accompany the Outdoor Lighting By-law, a new by-law passed by Town Council in January 2016, requiring outdoor lighting fixtures to be dark sky-friendly.

“When we minimize light pollution, we are protecting the natural environment and maintaining a view of the night stars that most tourists rarely see,” said Councillor Bob Stone, one of the proponents of dark sky-friendly outdoor lighting.

Stone notes that there can be some misunderstanding about what dark sky-friendly outdoor lighting entails.

“We are not asking anyone to get rid of their outdoor lighting; we’re simply asking them to make sure the light is directed where it is intended and nowhere else,” he said, adding, “In the vast majority of cases, your lighting can achieve the purpose for which it was intended and still be dark sky-friendly and in compliance with the bylaw.”

All new fixtures are required to comply with the Outdoor Lighting By-law immediately. Residents have until January 2026 to bring existing fixtures into compliance.

“Ten years is a long time, and we did that on purpose,” Stone notes. “We’re hoping that as residents and businesses come to understand that they can be safe, secure, and well-lit – and still be dark sky-friendly – we hope everyone will want to comply. But that may take some time.”

For information about dark sky-friendly Outdoor Lighting and how to bring your outdoor lighting into compliance with the new by-law while still achieving your outdoor lighting goals, visit the Town’s Outdoor Lighting page.

Meth, cocaine seized in highway arrests

Two people face drug charges after police learned they were wanted on outstanding warrants & travelling the 400 in a speeding vehicle.

It happened on Wednesday at 9:14pm, when an officer with the West Parry Sound Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) observed the vehicle travelling northbound on Highway 400.

During the stop, the officer learned that the occupants of the vehicle, including the driver, were wanted for warrants in other jurisdictions.

The occupants were arrested and the vehicle was searched.

As a result of the investigation:

Whitney THOMPSON, 30 years of age from North Dundas was charged with;

Speeding, contrary to section 128 of the Highway Traffic Act of Ontario,
Possession of Schedule I Substance – Methamphetamine, contrary to section 4(1) of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA)
Possession of Schedule I Substance – Cocaine, contrary to section 4(1) of the CDSA
Three counts – Fail to Comply with Recognizance, contrary to section 145(3) of the Criminal Code (CC)

Correy GORDON, 38 years of age from Sudbury was charged with;

Possession of Schedule I Substance – Methamphetamine, contrary to section 4(1) of the CDSA
Possession of Schedule I Substance – Cocaine, contrary to section 4(1) of the CDSA
Five counts – Fail to Comply with Recognizance, contrary to section 145(3) of the CC

Both were held in custody pending a bail hearing.


Tuesday rollover victim succumbs to injuries

by Matt Sitler

One of the victims in Tuesday’s rollover north of Highway 12 has died.

The Orillia Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is still investigating the crash, which happened in Ramara Township.

At 7:31 a.m., on Tuesday, police were dispatched to County Road 46 north of Highway 12 where officers discovered the scene, which involved one vehicle. The 22 year old male driver from Selkirk was ejected from the vehicle and suffered life threatening injuries.

The 21 year old female passenger from Sebright suffered minor injuries.

The two occupants of the vehicle were transported by ambulance to a local hospital and the male was later air lifted to a Toronto trauma centre.

Police say the driver, Jacob Haylock, has since succumbed to his injuries and died yesterday.

The OPP Technical Collision Investigators (TCI) is continuing their investigation into the cause of the collision.

Province launches consultations to develop new dementia strategy

Ontario is launching consultations across the province to help develop a new dementia strategy, which will improve access to quality care for people living with dementia and boost support for those who care for them.

September 21st is World Alzheimer’s Day, and starting today, the province is inviting Ontarians to share their views on the new strategy through an online survey and will hold in-person consultations this fall.

Public input is being sought on key issues, including:

Providing supports to help people with dementia live well

Ensuring access to the right information and services at the right time

Coordinating care between health care and other service providers

Supporting care partners with their caregiving responsibilities

Having a well-trained workforce to provide dementia care

Raising awareness and reducing stigma about brain health and dementia.

There are approximately 228,000 people in Ontario currently living with dementia, with the number expected to grow as the population ages.

To support the consultations, the province has released Developing Ontario’s Dementia Strategy: A Discussion Paper, which is based on feedback from health care providers, people living with dementia and care partners from across Ontario.

The development of a comprehensive dementia strategy builds on Ontario’s current investments in improving the lives of people living with dementia and their families. This includes $31 million to strengthen Alzheimer Society chapters across Ontario and $54 million in annual funding to Behavioural Supports Ontario, as well as support for the Finding Your Way initiative that helps people living with dementia live more safely in their community.

Developing Ontario’s dementia strategy is part of the government’s plan to build a better Ontario through its Patients First: Action Plan for Health Care, which is providing patients with faster access to the right care, better home and community care, the information they need to live healthy and a health care system that’s sustainable for generations to come. It is also part of Ontario’s Patients First: Roadmap to Strengthen Home and Community Care, which is the government’s plan to improve and expand home and community care over the next three years.


Dementia describes a group of conditions that affect the brain and cause problems with memory, thinking, speaking or performing familiar tasks. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia.

The dementia strategy public consultation will build on discussions Ontario has held over the last year with people living with dementia and care partners who shared their personal experiences, as well as health care professionals and other experts.

Two people charged with possession of cannabis

Two Parry Sound residents face charges after police searched a vehicle on Bowes Street last night.

On Tuesday at 7:53pm, an officer with the West Parry Sound Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) conducted a traffic stop on Bowes Street in Parry Sound.

During the stop, the officer observed a male passenger known to be wanted by police for failing to comply with his recognizance. During the interaction the officer observed Cannabis Marihuana and as such, both males were taken into custody and the vehicle was searched.

As a result of the investigation, Bradey RICHARDS, 18 years of age from Parry Sound was charged with:

Possession of Schedule II Substance – Cannabis Marihuana Under 30 grams contrary to section 4(1) of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA)
Fail to Comply with Recognizance, contrary to section 145(3) of the Criminal Code (CC)
Possess unmarked cigarettes, contrary to section 29(2) of the Tobacco Tax Act (TTA)
He was held in custody pending a bail hearing.

Kenneth MALLETTE, 53 years of age from Parry Sound was charged with:

Possession of Schedule II Substance – Cannabis Marihuana Under 30 grams contrary to section 4(1) of the CDSA
Possession of Schedule I Substance, contrary to section 4(1) of the CDSA
Possess unmarked cigarettes, contrary to section 29(2) of the TTA

MALLETTE will appear before the Ontario Court of Justice in Parry Sound on October 20, 2016 to answer to his charges.

Barrie contractor fined $60,000 after worker was killed in a fall

M. Fuda Contracting Inc., a company providing construction site servicing, has been fined $60,000 after a worker was killed in a fall.

On February 4, 2014, workers were dismantling and removing trench boxes from a 20-foot deep excavation site at a construction project located at Bayview Drive and Churchill Drive in Barrie, Ontario. Two workers were removing pins that connected two trench boxes stacked one on top of the other. One worker stood on a ladder to reach the pin. After the last pin was removed the upper trench box shifted, and the worker on the ladder fell. That worker later died from head injuries.

The Ministry of Labour investigated and found that the upper trench box was not stabilized during the removal of the pins. The workers had not received any training on how to safely remove trench boxes from an excavation site. This was in violation of section 25(2)(a) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

M. Fuda Contracting Inc. pleaded guilty and was fined $60,000 by Justice of the Peace Susan Hilton on September 20, 2016 in Barrie. In addition to the fine, the court imposed a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge as required by the Provincial Offences Act. The surcharge is credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.

Coffee, obscenities hurled at man in Parry Sound parking lot

Police say obscenities and coffee were hurled recently at a man in Parry Sound.

On September 16th, at 11:13am, members of the West Parry Sound Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) responded to a disturbance that took place at a parking lot on Joseph Street in the Town of Parry Sound.

The OPP investigation determined that one male began yelling obscenities at another male in the parking lot. The male that was yelling then threw a cup containing coffee at the victim.

As a result of the investigation, Shaun Arnold, 30 years of age from Carling Township was arrested and charged with:

Assault, contrary to section 266 of the Criminal Code (CC)
Mischief under $5000, contrary to section 430(4) of the CC.

The accused will appear before the Ontario Court of Justice in Parry Sound on October 20, 2016 to answer to his charges.


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

Four hospitalized after rollover north of Hwy 12

Orillia Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is investigating a single vehicle rollover that resulted in four people being hospitalized with one airlifted to Toronto.

Today at 7:31 a.m., police were dispatched to County Road 46 north of Highway 12.

The 21 year old male driver from Selkirk was ejected from the vehicle and suffered life threatening injuries. The 22 year old female passenger from Sebright suffered minor injuries. The two occupants of the vehicle were transported by ambulance to a local hospital and the male was later air lifted to a Toronto trauma centre.

The OPP Technical Collision Investigators (TCI) is currently at scene investigating the cause of the collision. County Road 46 will be closed in both directions at Highway 12 until further notice.


Flouride to remain in Township of Muskoka Lakes’ water supply

Muskoka Lakes Council has voted 5-4 to keep fluoride in Township water.

The decision came down Friday after councillors were asked to weigh in on the issue. Most recently local dentist Dr. Luks and Simcoe-Muskoka’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Charles Gardiner provided their opinion that fluoride should remain. Both were delegations at Friday’s meeting.

Opponents of the practice had wanted the District to remove it from Muskoka Lakes’ water due to its purported ill health effects.

In August the Township’s committee of the whole had voted to remove it.

West Muskoka Food Bank is on the move

The West Muskoka Food Bank is on the move.

The decision came after a council vote on Friday, after food bank organizers signalled that they needed more space.

More from the food bank’s Terry Chute:

“This morning (Sept 16th) the council of the Township of Muskoka Lakes gave final approval of the move of the food bank from the First Muskoka Church to a new location in the Glen Orchard Community Centre located directly across from the Glen Orchard Public Elementary School.

We are sad to say good bye to the First Muskoka Church location and the generosity of the folks there who have provided us with accommodation for the past 5 years. However they have assured us of their continued commitment to our cause and their blessing. We thank them very much for helping us get started.

As our programs grow and client base increases we find ourselves in need of more space. The basement of the community centre is ideal for this. There is lots of room to house all of the food bank in 1 room. In addition there is potential for starting a thrift store and/or a community kitchen in the future. Access is improved with fewer stairs. The location is right across from the school where a number of our client families attend.

Be assured that, although we are no longer in a church building, we remain a faith based organisation committed to welcoming and loving people of all faiths or no faith at all.

We will be moving next Thursday am from 9:00 – 11:00 am. If you have time to help us then or help pack boxes a few days before, please call Marilyn at 705 644 4345. Thank you.”

Resident tased in Parry Sound after police get call for help

OPP in Parry Sound say they tased a man after receiving calls for help from a local apartment building.

On Friday, members of the West Parry Sound Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) were dispatched to a 9-1-1 call for help to an apartment building on Railway Avenue in Parry Sound.

Police knocked on the door and checked the windows. They say furniture was knocked over and garbage was all over the floor.

Police then kicked in the door where they say they were confronted with a man holding a hand gun. Police deployed a Conductive Energy Weapon (Taser) and disarmed the man.

The handgun appeared to be a Glock was in fact a gas powered pellet gun.

45 yr old David O’HAGAN of Parry Sound was arrested and charged with:

· Pointing a Firearm contrary to the Criminal Code (CC).

· Careless use of Firearm, Weapon, Prohibited device or ammunition contrary to the CC.

The accused will appear in the Ontario Court of Justice in Parry Sound on October 20th, 2016 to answer to his charges.

Fellow councilors order Nishikawa to pay part of defamation judgment

Township of Muskoka Lakes Council wants Councilor Ruth Nishikawa to pay up after a judge found her guilty of defaming former Councilor Ron Brent.

At Friday’s council meeting, Councilors voted 5-4 to resolve that Nishikawa should pay the Township’s $25,000 deductible on its insurance policy – instead of sticking the Township, and in turn, taxpayers, with the entire bill for the judgment against her. A judge previously ordered Nishikawa to pay $30,000 in damages plus court costs, but until now, it was believed Township insurance would cover the entire bill, less the $25,000 deductible the Township would have to pay.

All Councilors, including Nishikawa, voted on the resolution. Nishikawa voted to abstain on the matter. A vote to abstain is counted as a ‘no’ vote.

Councilors Harding, Currie and Kruckel also voted not to penalize Nishikawa.

Brent says he feels justified now on two fronts.

“I’m glad a judge agreed with me and now a majority of councilors have agreed that I was wronged and she should pay.”  – Ron Brent

He adds he thinks the decision to first cover Nishikawa with Township insurance was mishandled and never even voted on by the previous council, giving her free rein to not have to apologize. Before taking her to court, Brent asked Nishikawa to apologize for sending a defamatory email to a private individual and Township and District Councilors. In the email, Nishikawa claimed Brent had divulged confidential closed session information.

“They [the past council and administration] should never have covered her in the first place. If she had thought she might be on the hook for money for damages, perhaps she would have simply apologized as I had asked,” continued Brent.

Brent says he will donate money received to Andy’s House Hospice.

Two people caught sleeping in stolen car

On Tuesday at 10:28 am, a member of the OPP’s Highway Safety Division responded to a report of a suspicious vehicle and located it parked on Hoddy’s Side Road in McDougall Township.

The investigation identified it as a stolen vehicle from Mississauga and the two people in the car who were sleeping were awakened and arrested.

Marco GRENIER, 38 years of age from Niagara Falls was charged with:

Possession of Property Obtained by Crime over $5000 contrary to the Criminal Code (CC).
Possession of Weapon for Dangerous Purpose contrary to the CC.
Take Motor Vehicle Without Consent contrary to the CC.
Breach of Recognizance contrary to the CC.
Fail to comply with Probation Order contrary to the CC.
Driving while under suspension contrary to the Highway Traffic Act (HTA).
The accused was held for bail and will appear in the Ontario Court of Justice in Parry Sound.

Corrinda BELANGER, 32 years of age from St. Catharines was charged with:

Possession of Property Obtained by Crime over $5000 contrary to the CC.
Occupant of Motor Vehicle Taken Without Consent contrary to the CC.
Fail to comply with Probation Order contrary to the CC.

The accused will appear in the Ontario Court of Justice in Parry Sound on October 20, 2016.

2nd Class Action meeting scheduled re: Spring Flooding

The legal requirements for a $900 million Class Action lawsuit against the MNR over the 2016 Spring flooding is moving forward this week in Toronto.

Another public meeting on the issue has been scheduled for this coming Sunday in Muskoka.

WHAT: A group of concerned Muskoka region residents have joined together to file the lawsuit against the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources to recover the cost of property damage from the spring 2016 flooding.

WHO: Residents with properties on Lake Muskoka, Lake Joseph and Lake Rosseau that suffered property damage during record breaking spring 2016 flooding are working together to file the suit. Residents that suffered property damage are urged to attend the meeting. Property owners who are concerned that spring flooding will continue should also attend.

WHY: The suit takes the position that the Ministry of Natural Resources was negligent and mismanaged water levels throughout the Muskoka watershed leading to extensive flooding and property damage. The suit contends that the damage was largely avoidable and that the water levels in the Muskoka watershed were not managed as required by the Muskoka River Water Management Plan.

WHEN: Sunday, September, 18 at 9:30 a.m.

WHERE: Port Carling Community Centre, 3 Bailey St, Port Carling, ON P0B 1J0

Greenstone man charged with stunt driving

On September 11th, an OPP officer conducting radar enforcement on Highway 124 in McDougall Township witnessed a vehicle being operated at a high rate of speed.

It happened shortly before midnight 11:54 p.m. and the east bound vehicle was stopped for “Stunt Driving”.

The driver, 45 yr old Stephane Roy of Greenstone, was charged with:

· Race a Motor Vehicle contrary to the Highway Traffic Act of Ontario (HTA).

· Fail to surrender licence contrary to the HTA.

· Fail to surrender Insurance Card contrary to the Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act (CAIA).

The driver was served a summons requiring him to attend the Ontario Court of Justice in Parry Sound on November 1, 2016 to answer to the charges. His licence was suspended for seven days and the vehicle he was operating has been impounded for seven days.

Every person convicted of Race a Motor Vehicle is liable to a fine of not less than $2,000 and not more than $10,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than six months, or to both, in addition to his or her driver’s licence being suspended.

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 measures will transform political fundraising in Ontario

Ontario is reintroducing measures to change the way political parties raise and spend money after hearing from the public, experts and opposition parties.

The government’s proposed Election Finances Statute Law Amendment Act would make the province’s election financing system among the strongest and most transparent in Canada. Key reforms include:

Barring corporations, unions and other groups not affiliated with political parties from making political donations,

Creating new restrictions on fundraising for politicians and political parties

Limiting third-party spending on political advertising.

The proposed legislation builds on a similar bill introduced in May 2016 and includes a broader range of legislative measures that would go even further to ensure greater transparency and accountability of parties and candidates to the public.

“With our government’s proposed reforms, Ontario’s electoral financing system would be the strongest and most transparent in Canada. These proposed measures strengthen our commitment to modernizing electoral financing and build on meaningful engagement with the general public, experts and opposition parties. I look forward to further measures to improve Ontarians’ engagement in the electoral process and to continue to increase public confidence.”
Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario

The new bill would transform the province’s election financing rules by:

Reducing the total amount individuals can donate by almost 90 per cent (from $33,250 to $3,600 per year) — to a maximum of $1,200 to a political party, $1,200 to its candidates and $1,200 to its constituency associations or nomination contestants in an election year

Strengthening the rules to address coordination between political actors and third parties

Expanding the definition of a political contribution to include paid labour

Promoting greater transparency in political fundraising events by requiring political parties to post event details to their public websites, including information such as the fees charged to attendees and the intended recipients of those funds.

Later this fall, Ontario will also propose a further amendment to ban MPPs, candidates, party leaders, nomination contestants and leadership contestants from attending political fundraising events. In addition to these legislative measures, the government has committed to working with opposition party members to develop a code of conduct that would set out fair, balanced rules for all elected officials.

“We’re changing the way politics is done in Ontario. Through dialogue and collaboration with stakeholders, experts, the public and our colleagues of all political stripes, these transformative measures will — if passed — not only build Ontarians’ confidence in the electoral process, but will make our province’s election financing system among the strongest and most transparent in Canada.”
Yasir Naqvi (Above), Attorney General and Government House Leader

The new proposed Election Finances Statute Law Amendment Act is part of Ontario’s commitment to reintroduce all government bills that were before the legislature in spring 2016, so that debate on important issues may continue.


This bill includes all of the amendments that were made to the original Election Finances Statute Law Amendment Act in committee.

The legislation proposes that the measures take effect on January 1, 2017, in order to have these reforms in place by the next general election.

Next to Québec, Ontario already has the lowest spending limit per voter for political parties during an election period in Canada.

Ontario also plans to move forward with a number of other legislative measures later this fall, including changing the fixed election date from fall to spring, allowing provisional registration of 16- and 17-year-olds and integrating, simplifying and modernizing a range of election processes, based on the advice of the Chief Electoral Officer.


Three people charged with arson

The OPP has charged three males in relation to a fire in the city of Orillia.

On August 12th, police were dispatched to a fire outside of a business at Atherley Road and Gill Street. After an extensive investigation the Orillia Crime Unit has charged three males with Arson in relation to the fire.

A 19 year old male from Barrie and a 19 and 20 year old from Orillia have been charged with Arson. They were released on a Promise to Appear in Orillia Criminal Court on October 18, 2016.

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

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


Body of 61 yr old Toronto man recovered from Georgian Bay

Today at 7am the Southern Georgian Bay Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) received a report of a missing person from the Thunder Beach area of Georgian Bay in Tiny Township.

A search of the area was commenced by The Southern Georgian Bay Marine Unit along with Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) and the OPP1 helicopter.

The 61 year old male from Toronto was last seen at his cottage in Thunder Beach at approximately 12:00 a.m. on September 12, 2016.

At 9:30 a.m. the Southern Georgian Bay OPP Marine Unit and JRCC recovered a body from the waters of Georgian Bay near Thunder Beach in Tiny Township, ON.

The deceased is the 61 year old male from Toronto who went missing earlier this date. The Southern Georgian Bay OPP along with the OPP Identification Unit is continuing the investigation.


Throne speech promises include $540 a year in electricity savings for eligible rural ratepayers

As part of its balanced plan to build Ontario up and help people in their everyday lives, the Ontario government intends to introduce legislation that, if passed, would rebate an amount equal to the provincial portion of the HST on residential, farm and small business electricity bills as of January 1, 2017.

Rural electricity ratepayers would receive additional relief and commercial, institutional and industrial ratepayers would also benefit from lower electricity costs.

The government also announced that it will create an additional 100,000 licensed infant to preschool child care spaces within the next five years, starting in 2017.

The government’s plan was outlined in the Speech from the Throne delivered today by the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Ontario’s Lieutenant Governor. The speech opened the second session of the province’s 41st parliament.

The plan will continue to create economic growth and good jobs — the government’s number-one priority. The government will also balance the budget next year, in 2017-18, and Ontario’s debt-to-GDP ratio will decline — a sign of economic strength and fiscal responsibility.

The government’s plan will help people in their everyday lives by:

Delivering electricity cost relief through legislation to rebate an amount equal to the provincial portion of the HST on electricity bills — a saving of about $130 annually for the typical Ontario household; eligible rural ratepayers would receive additional relief, resulting in average savings of about $45 a month or $540 a year. Eligible small businesses would also benefit from the rebate and eligible larger businesses would also benefit from the plan through the expansion of the Industrial Conservation Initiative

Starting in 2017, creating an additional 100,000 licensed child care spaces for 0- to 4-year-olds within the next five years, bringing the number of spaces created since 2013 to 156,000 and doubling the current capacity for the 0-4 age group

Putting a new emphasis on math skills, expanding experiential learning, implementing free tuition for thousands of low- and middle-income students and encouraging more young people to turn their good ideas into start-up companies

Investing in skills training that aligns with the job market of today and tomorrow

Continuing to increase nursing care hours to enhance home care, reducing wait times for specialists, and connecting a family doctor or nurse practitioner to every Ontarian who wants one

Continuing to make historic infrastructure investments in schools, hospitals, roads, bridges and transit

Building a competitive business environment driven by innovative, low-carbon industries, including attracting international investment, continuing to cut red tape and implementing a cap and trade program to help people and businesses fight climate change

Continuing to work with its federal and provincial partners to enhance the Canada Pension Plan

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

Over the last two years, Ontario’s economy has grown by 6.1 per cent

In the first quarter of this year, Ontario’s real GDP growth was higher than that of the United States and all other G7 countries

Ontario unemployment this year has reached an eight-year low

In September 2014, the Premier’s mandate letters to ministers — 30 in total — were made available to the public for the first time. Mandate letters outline the specific priorities for each member of cabinet and their ministry. The Premier will be releasing new mandate letters to ministers in the coming weeks.

Organizers gear up for Muskoka Oldtimers Fall Food Drive for Manna

The Muskoka Oldtimers Hockey Club is gearing up for its Fall Food Drive for Manna, this year taking place on Tuesday October 4th.

On the Tuesday evening before Thanksgiving every year for almost as long as the Muskoka Oldtimers and Manna have been in existence, dozens of volunteers have gone door-to-door all over Bracebridge and collected non-perishable food donations for Manna, and dozens more gather at the Bracebridge Fairgrounds to unload, sort and pack it.

Once again the Oldtimers are asking everyone to gather up their household’s food donations and put them in a bag on their front porch by 5:30. Please leave your porch light on.

School snacks, canned fruit, vegetables and fish, dried pasta and sauce, peanut butter, breakfast cereal, crackers and flour are always in high demand.

While the community is always very generous in both its giving and signing up to participate, the Oldtimers are always on the lookout for volunteers to collect food and to help sort it at the Bracebridge Fairgrounds.

Should you know anyone who might be interested in joining us, please let us know,” says organizer Rob Fraser. “We can never have too many volunteers!”

This is the most important food-raiser of the year for the Manna Food Bank, so please give generously. Manna also gratefully accepts monetary donations. Manna is a registered charity and tax receipts are issued for cheques.

The goal this year is to match previous years by collecting in excess of 13,000 lbs of food and $3,000 in cash and cheques.

Please call 705-646-0114 or email info@mannafoodbank.ca for more information or to volunteer. They cover most of the town but some streets do get missed, so give them a call if you are missed that evening.

A big thank you to 100+ volunteers who make this event happen, and to all of those who can spare a bit for Manna.

Big drug bust in Orillia: Seven people face charges

On September 8th at 7:00 p.m., OPP officers executed search warrants at two apartments at a residence on Elgin Street in the City of Orillia.

During the search police located and seized cocaine, heroin, cannabis marihuana, cash, weapons and paraphernalia associated with trafficking.

Jamie GOUDREAULT, 40 years old of Orillia, has been charged with Possession of Cocaine, Possession of Cocaine for the Purpose of Trafficking, Possession of Cannabis Marihuana and Possession of Heroin.

Terry MORRISON, 41 years old of Orillia, has been charged with Possession of Cocaine, Possession of Cocaine for the Purpose of Trafficking, Possession of Cannabis Marihuana, Possession of Heroin and Breach of Probation.

Blake NOLIN, 28 years old of Orillia, has been charged with Possession of Cocaine, Possession of Cocaine for the Purpose of Trafficking, Possession of Cannabis Marihuana, Possession of Heroin, Obstruct Police and Breach of Probation.

Dwayne WEBB, 26 years old of North York, has been charged with Possession of Cocaine, Possession of Cocaine for the Purpose of Trafficking, Possession of Cannabis Marihuana, Possession of Heroin, Possession of Property Obtained by Crime and Breach of Probation.

Tammy NOLIN, 47 years old of Orillia, has been charged with Possession of Cocaine, Possession of Cocaine for the Purpose of Trafficking, Possession of Cannabis Marihuana over 30 grams, Possession of Cannabis Marihuana for the Purpose of Trafficking, Possession of a restricted or prohibited weapon, Possession of a Weapon for a Dangerous Purpose and Possession of Property Obtained by Crime over $5000.

All parties were held in custody pending a bail hearing today in Barrie Criminal Court.

Melodie ULRICH, 28 years old of Orillia, has been charged with Possession of Cocaine, Possession of Cannabis Marihuana and Possession of Heroin. She was released on a Promise to Appear in Orillia Criminal Court on October 25, 2016.

Lisa STOBBS, 36 years old of Orillia, has been charged with Possession of Cocaine, Possession of Cannabis Marihuana and Possession of Cannabis Resin. She was released on a Promise to Appear in Orillia Criminal Court on October 25, 2016.


Clement looking for answers re: Syrian refugee ‘replacement family’ controversy in Huntsville

Member of Parliament for Parry Sound-Muskoka, Tony Clement, is looking for answers after learning that a local Syrian refugee sponsorship group is being asked to consider a ‘replacement family’ after months of preparation and corresponding with a family waiting to come to Huntsville.

“The Liberal government has been reluctant to acknowledge the problems they have had with its Syrian refugee resettlement. The way it is treating some private sponsorship groups is appalling. Not knowing what will happen to these original families, who have been dreaming of coming to Canada for many months, is truly disturbing,” said Clement.

After months of delays, the Huntsville group was given only one week to decide if they will accept the ‘replacement family,’ which still could take months to arrive. If they opt to keep their original family, there is no guarantee they will ever come to Canada. It is being reported that this stark choice has been forced upon numerous private sponsorship groups across the country. The email received by the Huntsville group from Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) stated the “delays have been disappointing for some private sponsors and (we) regret the challenges that we know this caused for many.”

The full CIC email is pasted below

Dee Mallette, a member of SRS (Syrian Refugee Sponsorship) Huntsville who has been working on settlement preparations for months, said “Over 60 volunteers have been waiting patiently to embrace the Ahlam family. Many have already given an abundance of time to ensure that everything is in order when the family arrives. Now we have been asked to take a replacement family. How do we tell the Ahlam family they may not come to us? We have been in contact with them several times and have received photos of them. ”

“Our hearts are broken, we feel like the Ahlam family is part of our own and they are already despondent because of the long wait to build a new life here,” said the Application Chair of the SRS Huntsville, Carole Walsh. “We have a house waiting and over $60,000 has been donated by our community. We truly feel we have made a promise to the Ahlam family that we cannot walk away from.”

“We are willing to consider assisting a replacement family,” said Nancy Wilding, SRS Community Relations Chair, “But we would like assurances that if/when the Ahlam family is cleared to come to Canada as Government Sponsored Refugees, that they could still come to Huntsville if they wish. The way this has been handled, with months of waiting with almost no information, then getting only one week to accept a replacement family, has put us under tremendous pressure and turmoil. ”

Nancy Knox of Bracebridge United Church said they were shocked to hear about the offer of replacement families and heard from their Syrian family immediately asking if they were going ‘to give up on them.’ “What a devastating message to deliver to refugees whose very life is held in a tenuous balance that they might be discarded by our government so that a more convenient family could be chosen.”
For further inquiries contact:

Sondra Read,
tony.clement.c1@parl.gc.ca <mailto:tony.clement.c1@parl.gc.ca>
MP Tony Clement, Huntsville Office,

Nancy Wilding,
nancywilding@gmail.com <mailto:nancywilding@gmail.com>
SRS Huntsville Community Relations Chair

Letter from CIC to Huntsville refugee sponsor:

Dear members of the SAH (sponsorship agreement holder) Council,

This is regarding a number of delayed Blended Visa Office Referred (BVOR) cases. As you are aware, the delays were in large part due to the fact that cases were made available to sponsors prior to the finalization of eligibility, medical, and security decisions to meet the demand from sponsors at that time and to have them included in the initiative to resettle 25,000 Syrians by the end of February 2016. We understand that the delays have been disappointing for some private sponsors and regret the challenges that we know this caused for many.

As a special exception given the pace and volume of the Syrian initiative, we will begin offering replacement cases in the coming weeks to those sponsors that have been impacted by these delays. As replacement cases become available, and as a matter of fairness, groups (and I assume the SAH) will be contacted directly by the Matching Centre in the order of the profile referral date starting with the oldest cases on the list; every effort will be made to provide a replacement case with a similar profile of the family originally sponsored. The cases offered as replacements will have passed medical and security screenings, and will therefore be travel ready. Sponsors offered a replacement case will have one week to confirm their willingness to accept a replacement case and one additional week to submit the new Sponsorship Undertaking to the Centralized Processing Office – Winnipeg (CPO-W). Due to the limited number of replacement cases available, only one replacement case will be offered.

By accepting a replacement profile, sponsors will be canceling the sponsorship for the previous case that is currently delayed. We understand that sponsors may have already been in contact with the refugee(s) whose case are delayed, and IRCC will contact these refugees to inform them that their case is still in process. Should any of the cases where a sponsor has cancelled to accept a replacement case ultimately be approved, they will be resettled to Canada as Government Assisted Refugees (GARs) with full support from the Government of Canada.

If sponsors choose to continue waiting for the original family they sponsored, rather than accepting a replacement case, they will be doing so knowing that IRCC is unable to provide timelines as to when that case will be finalized and there are no guarantees that the family will ultimately be approved for resettlement to Canada.

It is important to note that while the replacement cases will be expected to be finalized by the visa office shortly, timelines for the arrival of the refugee(s) will vary according to the individual circumstances of the family and the situation in the host country. Sponsors are advised not to make financial commitments at this point such as renting accommodations for replacement cases. The Notification of Arrival Transmission (NAT) will be sent once travel plans have been made.

We expect that the process of finding and offering replacement cases will take a few months, starting immediately, so we ask sponsors to be patient and wait to be contacted directly.

Thank you in advance for your continued collaboration and partnership.


David Manicom
Associate Assistant Deputy Minister
Strategic and Program Policy Sector

OPP report deadliest Labour Day Weekend in 20 years

While the data is preliminary, the OPP is reporting 12 road fatalities, one marine fatality and one off-road vehicle death over the long weekend, marking the deadliest Labour Day Long Weekend in OPP-patrolled jurisdictions in 20 years.

Tragically, one of the fatal incidents involved a single-vehicle crash in Northwestern Ontario that took the lives of four of the vehicle occupants.

The OPP also conducted a robust Distracted Driving Campaign over the long weekend. Ahead of the campaign, the OPP issued a province-wide News Release and maintained a steady flow of messaging on its provincial and regional social media platforms, calling on all road users, particularly passengers, to become part of the solution in reducing the significant number of distracted driving-related road deaths that occur every year.

In spite of these efforts, the OPP laid close to 800 distracted/inattentive driving charges against drivers who jeopardized the safety of innocent men, women and children who took to the roads to enjoy the last summer long weekend before the start of a new school year.
While the OPP conducts focused enforcement campaigns every year, officers enforce distracted driving and other traffic laws 365 days a year.

This latest campaign brings the total number of distracted driving charges laid to date this year to over 8,800.

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.

Natural food sources for bears in short supply

Parts of Ontario are experiencing shortages of natural food sources for bears.

Parry Sound and Muskoka areas are experiencing berry crop failure and shortages in nut crops.

Human-bear activity is directly related to the availability of natural foods. Given the current food situation, Parry Sound District is seeing an increase in reports of problem bears as bears search for alternate sources of food.

Bears rely on berry, acorn and beech nut crops to fatten up for hibernation and will travel great distances to find alternate sources of food when natural foods are poor or unavailable.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry is urging residents and cottagers in Parry Sound District to take extra care to not attract bears to their neighborhood and reminds the public that the majority of bear encounters can be prevented. Please remove all birdfeeders including humming bird feeders. Safely store garbage until pickup day, clean barbecues, don’t leave coolers out, keep pet food indoors and feed birds only in winter.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry also encourages food service operations, such as restaurants or businesses with commercial dumpsters, to:
▪ Empty garbage and grease/fat containers frequently.
▪ Remove fruits and berries from trees as they ripen and do not leave them on the ground and bushes to rot.
▪ Use bear-resistant containers whenever possible.
▪ Lock dumpster lids every night.
▪ Avoid stockpiling garbage or grease/fat.
▪ Clean garbage containers frequently and thoroughly, using a strong disinfectant to eliminate odors.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry would like to thank the many people who are already eliminating attractants. It takes only one property where attractants are not managed carefully to draw bears to a neighbourhood. Everyone must work together to keep bears in the wild where they belong.

▪ If a bear poses an immediate threat to public safety by exhibiting threatening or aggressive behaviour, call 911 or your local police 705-746-4225 of OPP Parry Sound Detachment.
▪ For advice on reducing bear attractants, call the ministry’s Bear Wise reporting line toll-free at 1-866-514-2327; Hearing Impaired (TTY) 1-705-945-7641. You will be connected directly with a live operator during bear season (April 1-Nov. 30).
▪ Find out more about what to do in emergency and non-emergency situations.
▪ Visit ontario.ca/bearwise for more information on bears.

MAC announces local arts scholarship winners

Muskoka Arts & Crafts is pleased to announce the recipients for the Elene J. Freer Art Scholarship (Sponsored by Muskoka Arts & Crafts) and the Mae C. Kennedy Memorial Award.

Samantha Jarvis who graduated from Huntsville High school received the Elene J. Freer Art Scholarship. For each year of her post-secondary education, Samantha will receive, for a maximum of four years, $1,200 a year from Muskoka Arts & Crafts. Samantha’s paintings already demonstrate a mature, consistent and identifiable sense of style. She attributes her high school experiences to helping to develop her artistic style.

Like many artists, art provides Samantha with a means of expression. “

“I’’ve never really been good at explaining myself”, Samantha reveals. “”When something bothered me, I’ve always been the type of person to think things over by myself and come to a conclusion. Art provides me not only with a sense of wholeness but a way to represent myself and create a sense of individuality in a physical form. My whole life, I have had a strong fascination with people, made apparent through their continued reoccurrence throughout my work.””

Samantha has been accepted for the Art and Design Foundation Program at the Centre for Arts, Design & Information Technology at George Brown College.

Mikaela Wichers-Schreur received the Mae C. Kennedy Memorial Award for $100. Mikaela graduated from Bracebridge and Muskoka Lakes Secondary School and this fall will be attending George Brown Collage to further her education in jewellery. “


“My whole life, I’ve been surrounded by art and creativity,” says Mikaela. “I have a vision for myself; working hard every day in a jewellery studio of my own, creating art that speaks to people in ways that’s hard to explain with words.””

Muskoka Arts & Crafts wishes Samantha and Mikaela all the best as they purse this next step in their education.

Wine available on grocery store shelves starting Oct 28th

Ontario has selected the first grocers that could sell both domestic and imported wine inside up to 70 grocery stores across the province, increasing convenience and choice for consumers.

The winning grocers from across Ontario were selected via a competitive bidding process held by the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO).

The sale of wine in grocery stores is scheduled to begin October 28, 2016.

Reflecting a mix of independent and large grocers and geographic representation to ensure fairness, the successful grocers are:

Canex Canadian Forces Exchange System
Coppa’s Fresh Market
Farm Boy 2012 Inc.
Fresh Market Foods
Highland Farms Inc.
Loblaws Inc.
Longo Brothers Fruit Markets Inc.
Metro Ontario Inc.
Sobeys Capital Inc.
Starsky’s Fine Foods Hamilton Inc.
Uxbridge Foods Inc.
Wal-mart Canada Corp.
Yummy Market Inc.

While offering consumers more convenience and choice, Ontario maintains a strong commitment to social responsibility. By law, these grocers will have to abide by the requirements for the safe sale of alcohol overseen by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), including designated sales areas and standard hours of sale, limitations on package sizes and alcohol content and staffing and social responsibility training requirements. Ontario is also developing a comprehensive alcohol policy to promote the responsible sale and use of alcohol.

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


Eventually, up to 450 grocery stores will be authorized to sell beer and cider and, of these, up to 300 may also sell wine.

Up to 70 existing winery retail stores that operate just outside a grocery store’s checkout will also be permitted to operate inside the store and share the checkout. These “wine boutiques” will broaden their assortment to sell wines made by other Ontario producers, and will be located at grocery stores that sell beer. These wine boutiques will be permitted to begin operating this fall, at the same time as wine is introduced to grocery stores.

Sales of beer in grocery stores started in December 2015. Between December 2015 and the second week of August 2016, grocers received more than 532,000 cases of beer from the LCBO, amounting to net sales of approximately $24 million.

Allowing wine to be sold in grocery stores across the province follows the final recommendations made by the Premier’s Advisory Council on Government Assets. Other recent changes to beverage alcohol retailing in Ontario include the sale of beer in grocery stores last December, cider this June, and online shopping at LCBO.com.

$1.5 million for infrastructure at Georgian Bay Islands National Park

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

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

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

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

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

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

Quick Facts

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

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

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

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

Former Muskoka MPP and writer Ken Black dies

An important voice in Muskoka passed away today.

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

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

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

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

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

$12,000 damage in Lake of Bays garage fire

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

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

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

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

There were no injuries reported.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No construction during Thanksgiving or Cranberry Festival

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

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

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

Man charged after large marijuana grow found in Lake of Bays

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

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

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

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

New driver license fee comes into effect September 1st

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

As of September 1, 2016:

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

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

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

New fee changes effective January 1, 2017:

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

There are more than 12 million vehicles registered in Ontario.

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

Muskoka Community Foundation grants $8,000 to Muskoka Charities

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Male saved while clinging to a floating raft in Lake Joseph

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

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

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

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

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

OPP continue investigation into Huntsville shooting

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

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

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

More details have yet to be made available.

Muskoka locations streaming the Tragically Hip farewell concert

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

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

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

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

Health Unit warns about algae bloom on Three Mile Lake

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

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

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

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

UPDATE: Innapropriate touching suspect arrested in Huntsville

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ontario to license home inspectors

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

If passed, the proposed changes would:

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

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

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

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

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


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

* Learn more about consumer protection and your home.

(Photo Muskoka News Watch)

Toronto man faces cocaine and pot possession charges

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

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

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

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


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

by Matt Sitler

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

The cause is still under investigation.

Local hockey legend Ace Bailey commemorated with special banner in Bracebridge

Help celebrate some local hockey history.

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

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

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

The public is encouraged to attend.

Major fire averted at Huckleberry Rock in Milford Bay

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Photo via the Muskoka Lakes Fire Department)

Orillia to host 2018 Ontario Winter Games

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo via Ontariowintergames.com

Bush fire on Luckey Road caused by campfire during ban

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Picture courtesy of Ron Brent.

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

Updated information:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Quick Facts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Liberal Education Minister announces ban on child care wait list fees

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

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

The regulatory amendments also require licensed child care providers to:

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Federal Tourism Minister to visit Huntsville on Sunday

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gravenhurst issues EOI for Muskoka Regional Centre property

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

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

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

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

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

Each proposal shall include:

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Main photo via uerev.com)

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

by Matt Sitler

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

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

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

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

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


“Tiger 2: Winter Driveway”

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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


“Young Paddler”

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

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

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

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

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




Breastfeeding supports available to Ontarians

Resources Include Phone Support and Local Services

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

Ontarians reminded to lower risk of getting Lyme Disease

Ontarians are being reminded to protect themselves from tick bites while enjoying or working outdoors this summer.

Lyme disease can be serious. If not identified early, infection can lead to recurring arthritis, neurological problems, numbness, and paralysis. Lyme disease is spread to humans through the bite of an infected blacklegged tick.

Tick populations are established in known risk areas throughout the province. In addition, multiple factors are allowing ticks to potentially establish populations in new areas throughout the province.

These factors include climate change, warmer winter temperatures and ticks’ ability to “hitch-hike” on suitable hosts, like birds or deer. Ticks live near the ground in woodlands, tall grasses and bushes, and thrive in moist environments, like those found underneath old leaves on the forest floor.

The best way to prevent tick bites include:

* Wearing closed-toe shoes, long-sleeved shirts and pants
* Pulling your socks over your pant legs to prevent ticks from crawling up your legs
* Wearing light-coloured clothing to spot ticks more easily
* Using insect repellent containing DEET or Icaridin on clothing as well as on exposed skin, following the product instructions carefully
* Showering or bathing within two hours of being outdoors to remove ticks that can be on your skin but not yet attached
* Doing a daily full body check for ticks. Young blacklegged ticks can be as small as a poppy seed, so look carefully. Check children and pets for ticks as well.
* Placing outdoor clothing through the dryer cycle for 60 minutes on high heat before washing to kill any ticks that may be hard to see.
If you or a family member are experiencing serious symptoms and health effects, or have concerns about any symptoms, please contact your health care provider.


* Dogs and cats can carry the ticks into your home and place families at risk of being bitten. Check your pets for ticks daily and talk with your vet about keeping your pet protected from ticks.
* The most commonly known symptom of Lyme disease is an expanding, non-itchy to mildly-itchy skin rash. The rash can begin at the site of the tick bite between three and 30 days after exposure and usually grows in size for several days. Although many people never get or see a rash.
* When doing a full body check for ticks, pay close attention to areas such as your scalp, ankles, armpits, groin, naval and behind your ears and knees. Use a mirror to check the back of your body or having someone else check for you.
* Most cases of Lyme disease can be treated successfully with a few weeks of antibiotics if diagnosed and treated early. The earlier treatment is received the better.

Distinguished Canadian Author Denise Chong coming to Muskoka

The Muskoka Authors Association has announced that their August 18th guest speaker will be internationally published author Denise Chong.

One of Canada’s most distinguished writers of creative non-fiction, the author will talk about The Writer, The Reader and Memory.

Drawing upon her published works, Denise considers memory as it relates to the purpose of literature and asks why, as writers and readers, we should care about memory. She discusses the nature of memory as a powerful, if flawed, tool of the writer.

The writer, she says, is an arbiter not so much of what is true, but rather what may be a truth. Chong is best known for her family memoir, The Concubine’s Children, which the New York Time Book Review described it as “beautiful, haunting and wise.”

It remained a Globe and Mail best seller for 93 weeks. The Concubine’s Children is the story of Denise’s grandmother May Ying (the concubine) and her mother Hing, and their life in the Chinatowns of British Columbia. Much of that history had been hidden from Chong’s own generation. The book also tells the story of the family members who were unable to leave China, lived there through the Japanese occupation, civil war, the Communist takeover, land reform, and the Cultural Revolution. It is a story of courage, survival, struggle, and eventual triumph.

Following The Concubine’s Children, Denise went on to publish The Girl in the Picture, Egg on Mao: A Story of Love, Hope and Defiance, and Lives of the Family: Stories of Fate & Circumstance. Named to the Order of Canada for writing books “that raise our social consciousness”, Denise Chong holds four honorary doctorates and lives in Ottawa.

The Muskoka Authors Association monthly meeting takes place on Thursday, August 18. Doors open at 6:30 pm, the meeting begins at 7:00 pm, St Thomas Anglican Church, 4 Mary Street, Bracebridge. Members are free, $20 for non-members. Please pre-register with David Patterson if you plan to attend 705-990-0322, david.patterson@alumni.utoronto.ca

More info released about Legacy 420 pot dispensary shutdown

More information about the Legacy 420 Marijuana Dispensary shut down in Wahta First Nation has been released by police.

Bracebridge Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) executed a drug warrant at the dispensary on July 22nd and say three males were charged with trafficking Marijuana.

Police say a large quantity of cannabis marijuana and cannabis marijuana resin was seized.

The three males are identified as 49-year-old Edward Scott, 22-year-old Sean Simmons, and 58 year old Calvin White.

Police say they were all charged with:

CDSA- Poss of a Schedule II substance for the purpose of Trafficking -over 3 kg

CDSA -Poss of a Schedule II substance for the purpose of Trafficking -under 3 kg

The three accused are to attend the Ontario Court of Justice in Bracebridge on September 27th to answer to their charges.

‘Muslim Go Home’ found painted in Gravenhurst park

Bracebridge OPP are investigating an act of vandalism at Gravenhurst’s Gull Lake Park which involved racially motivated graffiti.

On July 23rd at 11:59am, police were called to investigate after the graffiti was found painted on a gazebo post in the park with lettering that read “Muslim Go Home”.

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


‘Empathy in Filmmaking’ talk at Muskoka Place Gallery

By Matt Sitler

It’s an event you won’t want to miss.

This week locals are getting a unique, behind-the-scenes look at film making via two fantastic filmmakers with intimate Muskoka connections.

Speaking on Empathy in Storytelling at the Muskoka Place Gallery Thursday evening will be Annie Bradley and Gareth Seltzer.

Bradley, an alumna of the Sundance Film Festival and TIFF Talent Lab amongst other career highlights will be showing her seven minute short ‘Tongue Bully’ which premiered at Sundance in 2004 and opened the Dance on Camera film festival at the Lincoln Centre that same year.

“Empathy is such a huge part of film making and story telling,” she tells Muskoka News Watch. “It’s all about creating connection and is primarily one of the reasons why I’m an actor, (filmmaker) and writer. Being able to tell wonderful stories that connect people or allow them to share a mutual experience and feel something or express a point of view is so important. (Thursday evening) is really a coming together of two people who don’t really know each other, but who believe strongly in the art of story telling and how it can connect and bring people together.”


Bradley (above) grew up in Walker’s Point and attended public schools in Glen Orchard, Bala and Port Carling before moving on to Gravenhurst High School. As a filmmaker, she enjoys shooting in other countries and stepping into the unknown, something that Tongue Bully, which was filmed in Cuba and showcases Trinidadian dancer and poet Learie McNicolls, amply provided her.

“It was like seeing Fred Astaire do rap poetry,” she says of seeing the short’s singular McNicholls performance for the first time prior to filming. “He’s such an elegant man and his body has been his voice for so long. It’s been his instrument.”

Shot against the backdrop of urban decay and McNicholls’ strong personal history, Bradley says the film’s setting married perfectly with its subject.

“His work, at that point in time was about coming to terms with your history and past,” she says. “Coming to terms with the legacy of your culture which follows you around in very heavy baggage.”

Following Thursday’s showing there’ll be a Q and A with the filmmakers.

“I want people to just experience the film and then we can have a discussion about it after,” says Bradley.

We won’t give too much away, but Bradley says empathy played a big role in crafting Tongue Bully, especially one of its most striking scenes.

“Part of empathy is respecting that I am in someone else’s house,” she explains. “If you are open to that and you connect with people and you respect them, you will get all kinds of unparalleled gifts.”

With many current projects on the go, one we may see materialize in Bradley’s future is a TV realization of Muskoka author Liam Dwyers ‘Murder in Muskoka’ novels, which she owns the rights to. She’s known the aging author for some time and this week’s trip home to Muskoka also includes a long awaited visit with him, she says.

As mentioned, Bradley is being joined at Thursday evening’s event by Gareth Seltzer, producer of the 2016 Oscar Nominated short film “Body Team 12”, a ground breaking film about the ebola outbreak in Liberia.

The talk/showing is free admission. You can RSVP by calling 705 765 1048 or do it online via eventbrite by clicking below:


(Feature photo of Bradley directing Tongue Bully in Cuba via Annie Bradley)

UPDATE: Muskoka Lakes Chamber President temporarily steps down from position

UPDATE: Muskoka Lakes Chamber of Commerce President Cal White has stepped down from his position temporarily while he deals with his possession for the purpose of trafficking charge (see below). In the meantime, Vice President Christina Shane will be taking over the President position.

by Matt Sitler

One of the region’s newest medical marijuana dispensaries is now closed after its operator was charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking.

Cal White, operator of the Legacy 420 dispensary on Wahta First Nation says police visited the business on Friday around noon.

UPDATE: Police say White faces two charges: ‘Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking Under 3 kg’ and ‘Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking Over 3kg’. A court date’s been scheduled in Bracebridge for  September 27th.

“I’m a little surprised,” he says. “Being on the reserve the rules were a little unclear. Health Canada, in my opinion, doesn’t have jurisdiction on the reserve, so they couldn’t issue me a license and when I spoke with the band council here, the chief said they didn’t have any procedure in place, they wouldn’t either authorize it or not allow it – they didn’t feel they had any jurisdiction either, so given that situation I didn’t think there was anybody able to license me so the best I could do is open up and try and keep it to medical usage – we absolutely wouldn’t sell to children.”

White says regular practice at the dispensary when it came to prospective buyers was to speak to people who came in and look for evidence that would support medical usage.

“We would ask either to see a prescription or letter from a doctor or even a pill bottle that would indicate they had a condition that was known to be treatable by cannabis.” he says.

However, White says police told him he was selling to people who didn’t have Health Canada licenses (to receive medical marijuana).

White is also the President of the Muskoka Lakes Chamber of Commerce. Asked if he would step down from that position if convicted, he says he will “cross that bridge when he comes to it.”

“If that happens I’ll certainly do what I think is right and right in the eyes of the executive and the board as well,” he said.

For now Legacy 420 remains closed with no current plans to reopen.

White has yet to speak to a lawyer about the matter so he couldn’t say how he will plead.

He does not have the impression the dispensary was targeted for being on the reserve.

We’ll follow this case and provide updates when it reaches the courts.

*Note: Muskoka News Watch has spoken with Bracebridge OPP about this incident and have been told more information could be released in the coming days. MNW has received word that other individuals were also charged in the incident but this has yet to be confirmed.

(Photo of Cal White by Muskoka News Watch)

Related article: http://muskokanewsarchive.com/regionsnewpotdispensaries/



‘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)

Clement announces bid for Federal PC leadership

It’s official.

Member of Parliament for Parry Sound-Muskoka Tony Clement, along with his wife Lynne and a packed room of energized supporters, launched his leadership campaign for Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada this evening in Mississauga.

Clement made the announcement in a strategic suburban riding, underscoring his commitment and plan to win back the trust of voters across the country, including suburban families, newcomers and younger Canadians.

“I am running on my experienced record as an economic, common-sense conservative that will focus on the pocketbook issues that Canadians care most about,” said Clement. “On day one in office, I pledge to end Justin Trudeau’s war on taxpayers and job creators.”

Clement, an immigrant to Canada as a young man, a husband and father of three children, former small business owner, an experienced and tested political leader elected in suburban and rural constituencies, launched his campaign plan with a focus on empowering the party and country to succeed.

“I am your leader who will empower our diverse membership, our caucus, the next generation, and all Canadians to realize their God given potential and succeed,” said Clement.

Clement also touted his commitment to upholding conservative values at home and abroad. As a fiscally responsible legislator, he contrasted his record of saving taxpayers over $10B per year – enabling tax reduction and a balanced budget – with the Liberal record of higher taxes and run-away deficits.

On the world stage, Clement highlighted his record of standing-up for oppressed religious and ethnic minorities, and the promotion of freedom, human rights, justice and democracy. Clement reiterated his unrelenting commitment to empowering the forces of good over evil, and his determination to not sit on the sidelines in the fight against terror.

“I am the leader with a plan to expand our electoral coalition from big cities to small towns, and unite all Canadians behind a common-sense economic program that will deliver victory in 2019,” concluded Clement.

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)

Thousands still without power today across Muskoka

Thousands are still without power in Muskoka today following last night’s severe thunderstorms across the region.

Here’s the latest Estimated Restoration Times (ETR) according to Hydro One (as of 7am) for still affected areas:

Muskoka Lakes
– Mainland area near and including Tondern Island – ETR is 4pm today (600 customers still affected)
– Areas near Acton Island – ETR is 4pm (5,465 customers still affected)
– Lake Rosseau – ETR is 4pm (800 customers still affected)
– Utterson area – ETR is 4pm (60 customers still affected)
– Mactier area – ETR is 1pm (26 customers still affected)

Between Bracebridge and Baysville
– ETR is 4pm (600 customers still affected)

South end of Lake of Bays
– ETR is 4pm (600 customers still affected)

North end of Lake of Bays and Bigwin Island
– ETR is 1pm (450 customers still affected)

Huntsville and surrounding areas
– ETR is 1pm (250 customers still affected)

North of Emsdale
– ETR is 1pm (100 customers still affected)

West of Emsdale
– ETR is 1pm (1,908 customers affected)

Severe thunderstorm warning ended for Muskoka

The Severe Thunderstorm Warning has ended for Muskoka.

PRIOR: *As of 8:18 PM EDT Friday 08 July 2016

A severe thunderstorm warning in effect for:


At 6:18 p.m. EDT, Environment Canada meteorologists started tracking a severe thunderstorm capable of producing very strong wind gusts, nickel to ping pong ball size hail and heavy rain.

Radar shows several storms in the regions are producing hail 2 to 4 centimetres in diameter. Wind gusts to 90 kilometres per hour and heavy downpours are likely with these storms.

Take cover immediately, if threatening weather approaches. Remember, severe thunderstorms can produce tornadoes. Lightning kills and injures Canadians every year. Remember, when thunder roars, go indoors!

Severe thunderstorm warnings are issued when imminent or occurring thunderstorms are likely to produce or are producing one or more of the following: large hail, damaging winds, torrential rainfall.

The Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management recommends that you take cover immediately if threatening weather approaches.

Please continue to monitor alerts and forecasts issued by Environment Canada. To report severe weather, send an email to storm.ontario@ec.gc.ca or tweet reports to #ONStorm. (Photo of funnel cloud forming over Minnett by Norah Fountain)

For more information:

Attempted break and enter in Gravenhurst

A reminder for residents to keep an eye out for any suspicious activity in their neighbourhoods.

Muskoka News Watch has received word of an attempted break and enter at a Winewood Avenue West residence in Gravenhurst that occurred overnight (July 8th).

Someone tried to pry open a door, but no entry was gained and nothing was stolen.

If you see or hear about any suspicious activity in your neighbourhood, contact the OPP immediately.

Barrie Police searching for armed robbery suspects: PHOTOS

Barrie Police are seeking the public’s assistance in identifying two suspects following two armed robberies that occurred early yesterday morning.

Shortly after 6am police were called about two robberies that happened at Mac’s Convenience Stores located at 221 Ferndale Drive South and then 2 Marsellus Drive, in Barrie.

Investigators believe in both instances a single male suspect entered the store armed with a hand gun while a second male waited in the getaway vehicle.

The male made a demand for money, cigarettes and lottery tickets. The suspects fled in black newer model SUV in an unknown direction. It is believed that these suspects are responsible for both robberies. No injuries were reported by either victim.


Suspect 1 description:

5’8”, thin build
Armed with a silver handgun
Wearing: Black hoodie with “Support 81 Downtown” in flames
Black pants and shoes
Carrying a black backpack
Black mask covering the lower part of his face and a grey/beige mask covering the upper part of his face
Black sunglasses
Florescent gloves

* No descriptors available for second suspect.

The Barrie Police Service reminds business owners of the importance of maintaining and updating video surveillance equipment. Quality images help to identify suspects, can aid in arrests and have a tremendous impact during court proceedings.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Barrie Police Investigative Services at 705-725-7025, ext. 2129, or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS, leave an anonymous tip at www.tipsubmit.com

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.

Report of a man exposing himself on trail in Orillia

Orillia OPP is seeking the assistance of the public in identifying a male who allegedly exposed himself on the Light Foot Trail in Orillia.

On Wednesday at 1:45 p.m., police received a report that an unidentified male exposed himself to a passerby on the Light Foot trail. The male had no physical contact with the female and was last seen in the area of the Light Foot Trail and Hughes Road.

The victim described the male to be in his 20’s, having black skin, five feet two inches tall, wearing an orange shirt, black basketball shorts and had white ear buds in his ears.

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

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.

10 yr old boy suffers serious injuries in sea doo accident

Bracebridge OPP tell Muskoka News Watch that a 10 year old boy suffered serious injuries to his leg and foot this morning after a 3 seater personal watercraft accident on Lake Muskoka.

Inspector Ed Medved says no charges have been laid in relation to the incident, which happened at 10:45am this morning. The call came in from 1246 East Bay Road.

“Our investigation indicated they were doing everything right in terms of having a spotter, lifejackets etc, but at some point in the process his foot got tangled up in a tow rope, he found himself in the water and the tow rope was attached to his lower leg and foot area,” said Medved.

The Inspector adds that the boy was on the craft with his father while his sister was being towed on a knee board.

“When dad took off to move on, he went into the water and of course the rope became tight and taught and he sustained pretty significant injuries,” said Medved.

The boy was taken to Bracebridge hospital and from there the plan was to transfer him to a Toronto trauma centre, he added.

No word at this time on the boy’s current condition.



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> .

London man facing 2nd degree murder charge

A London, ON resident has been charged with 2nd degree murder after a man was struck by a vehicle in a Hwy 12 parking lot.

On Saturday at 1:50pm, the Midland Police Service (MPS) responded to a report of a male being struck by a vehicle in the parking lot at 16845 Highway 12, Midland (the Walmart Plaza).

29 yr old Corby Stott of Wyevale was treated at the scene and transported to Georgian Bay Hospital where he was pronounced deceased.

2nd Degree murder charge laid

A 25 year old man was arrested at the scene. Jason Heffernan of London, ON is charged with 2nd Degree Murder and will appear at the Ontario Court of Justice in Barrie on Wednesday, July 6th, 2016.

A post mortem is scheduled for today at the Office of the Chief Coroner and Forensic Pathology Service in Toronto.

The investigation continues by members of Midland PS, OPP Central Region Regional Support Team, and OPP HSD Technical Traffic Collision Investigators under the direction of Detective Inspector Martin GRAHAM and Detective Staff Sergeant Matt WATSON of OPP Criminal Investigation Branch (CIB).

Police are appealing to anyone who may have witnessed the incident or may have taken photographs or video to come forward.

Anyone with information relating to the incident is asked to contact Midland Police at 705-526-2201

New medical pot dispensary enjoys brisk business

By Matt Sitler

One of the region’s newest medical marijuana dispensaries is seeing its customer base grow just as Canada’s pot laws seem set to become less restrictive.

Cal White, a franchisee owner with Legacy 420, opened his shop in the Wahta First Nation on the Friday of the past May 24 weekend, right across from his other business The Wahta Station on Muskoka Road 38.

The franchise has its head office in the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory and White’s dispensary is the first Legacy 420 outside that First Nation.

He decided to get into the business to provide a one-stop local access for medical pot after hearing about problems people faced having to go on websites to place their orders and then waiting for Canada Post to deliver.

“There were some problems with that and certainly with the looming postal strike there’s even more concern about it,” he tells Muskoka News Watch.

Dispensaries in wait and see mode

White says his dispensary is open to all who qualify and that his customers already number in the hundreds.

“Some are local, some are obviously cottagers up here,” he says. “It’s pretty much the same demographic that comes and buys the smokes. We’re talking Gravenhurst, Bracebridge, Midland, Barrie, Orillia – all down in those areas. It’s a pretty wide circumference really.”

For the most part it’s been more of a mature age group who’ve been showing up, he adds.

“The average customer is probably between 50 and 60 years old,” says White.

Although he says there are no restrictions as to the type of pot strains he can sell at the dispensary, he currently sells four but says they are looking to provide customers more variety in the future.

White notes the general public mood about medical marijuana dispensaries is that it’s in a kind of wait-and-see mode. He’s not had any trouble with the law or opponents of these types of new ventures.


“So far we’ve not been bothered and we don’t really expect to because we’re on First Nations (land),” he says. “I know one of the biggest fears is that (some people) think we’re going to start selling to kids or just anybody off the street and that’s really not true. It’s the same as the smoke shops. I don’t know any responsible smoke shops that would even consider selling to kids. We card people all the time, both at the smoke shop and the marijuana (dispensary). We’ll card anyone that looks under 25.”

To buy marijuana from the dispensary, White says people need to have their medical marijuana card issued by Health Canada, a copy of a prescription they have or one of their pill bottles to show they have an actual condition that’s treatable by cannabis.

“I think people are finally coming to realize it’s not the ‘demon weed’ like we were told by Big Pharma as far back as the 30’s,” says White. “It’s just another medicinal plant and the First Nations have been using plants as medicine for all of eternity, so this is really nothing new to us.”

Legacy 420 is open between 11am and 7pm Sunday to Thursday and 11am and 9pm Fridays and Saturdays. The dispensary is located at 2190-A Muskoka Road 38 right across from the Wahta Station.

(Photos by Muskoka News Watch)

Somebody’s breaking public toilets and sinks in Parry Sound

Vandals are breaking public sinks and toilets in Parry Sound.

OPP there say that throughout June, several acts of vandalism took place in the Town’s public washrooms and that five acts of vandalism range from breaking toilets and sinks to breaking doors and stealing toilet paper.

Police say this type of vandalism has the potential to cause serious injury should someone slip and fall. Defacing property is a crime under the Criminal Code (Public Mischief).  These acts of vandalism are costly in terms of time and money.

Anybody with information regarding the person(s) responsible for this incident are asked to immediately contact the OPP at 1-888-310-1122 or their nearest police authority.

Should you wish to remain anonymous, you may call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or submit information online at www.tipsubmit.com where you may be eligible to receive a cash reward of up to $2000.


Painted Land kicks off Chautauqua Film series Tuesday, July 5

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

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

About the film:

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

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

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

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

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

About Muskoka Chautauqua

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


Concerns raised about new $7.5 million firehall/ambulance base

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Muskoka Natural Food Market opens doors at new location

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Huntsville man charged with cocaine trafficking

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

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

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

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

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

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

Breaking News: Muskoka District Councillor found guilty of defamation

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

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

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

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

Demonstrated evidence of malice

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

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

“Truth is always important and always relevant.”

Brent vs Nishikawa
Brent vs. Nishikawa decision

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

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

Vindication for Brent, says lawyer

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

Related Articles:

Featured Photo from Township of Muskoka Lakes website

$1.2 million public transit deal gets the nod in Bracebridge

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

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

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

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

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

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


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




There are now two preferred Bracebridge Library options

And then there were two.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Muskoka stops social assistance mailouts due to postal strike concerns

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

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

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

Hours of Operation:

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

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

Husky rescued from extremely hot car

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Muskoka Pride Festival runs July 15-24

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

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

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

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

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

The times of flag raising ceremonies are still being finalized.

Contests show support for LGBTQ community

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

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

Pride Picnic features singer Irish Mythen

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

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

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

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

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

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

$1.2 million Bracebridge Public Transit deal

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

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


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

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

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

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

Neighbours and firefighters help each other fight blaze

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Local Non-profits receive funding from Bracebridge

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

The organizations receiving funds this year include:

Alzheimer Society Muskoka – $1,500

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Muskoka – $1,500

Bracebridge Agricultural Society – $120

Community YWCA of Muskoka – $1,500

Hospice Muskoka – $2,000

Muskoka Rowing Club – $1,000

Safe Quiet Lakes – $500

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

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

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

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

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

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

MAHC announces hospital award winners

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

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

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

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

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

Ann Swan, Medical Transcriptionist

Dr. David Mathies, Physician

Dorothy Green, Dietary Aide

Elizabeth Robins, Registered Nurse, Clinical Lead

Erika Strok McLellan, Project Coordinator

Heidi Huggins, Physiotherapy Assistant

Irene Murray, Manager, Ambulatory Services

Kim Rose, Manager, Human Resources

Kristen Bell, Registered Nurse, Obstetrics

Michelle Moseley, Human Resources Business Partner

Noreen Chan, Manager, Diagnostic Imaging & Cardio Respiratory

Patti Connick, Nurse Educator

Dr. Paulette Burns, Physician

Sandy Daughen, Occupational Therapist

Shari Leblanc, Registered Nurse, Intensive Care Unit

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

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

The new executive of the Board of Directors includes Board Chair Evelyn Brown, Vice Chair Phil Matthews Treasurer Brenda Gefucia as. The updated list of Board members can be found online <http://www.mahc.ca/en/about/Meet_the_Board.asp> .

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ban on Fireworks could affect Canada Day

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

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

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

Councillors asked to consider moving Bracebridge library out of downtown

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

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

Library options include two locations outside of downtown

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

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

The map above identifies the potential sites up for discussion.

35 yr old Enniskillen woman facing charges following collision

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Miller hosts annual seminar for Muskoka seniors

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

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

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

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

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

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

$7.5 million for new Fire/Ambulance base in Bracebridge

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

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


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

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

Bala firefighters pitch in for Camp BUCKO

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

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

About Camp BUCKO

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

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

For more details on the camp, visit their website at: www.campbucko.ca

Flavours back for 16th gourmet gala for the arts

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

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

Theatre Arcturus at Flavours
Theatre Arcturus at Flavours

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

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

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

Auction items include at home dining experience

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

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

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

Flavours tickets partially tax deductible

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

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

About Muskoka Chautauqua

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


24 year old Bracebridge man charged with assaulting an OPP officer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Art of Storytelling workshop July 9th in Bracebridge

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

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

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

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

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

Register to Attend:
David Patterson

Submitted photo: Brad Woods

Update: Teenager dies after car crash in Bracebridge

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

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

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

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

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



Doors Open in Muskoka Lakes and Gravenhurst

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

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

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

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

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

To learn more about sites Muskoka Lakes has open for Doors Open Ontario on June 18, visit www.doorsopenontario.on.ca/muskokalakes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thieves steal cash from Habitat for Humanity Restore

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Huntsville Golf Tournament to support Parkinson Canada

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Music on the Barge lineup unveiled

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For the detailed full summer concert schedule please visit www.MusicOnTheBarge.com

Quick Barge Facts

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

The first official performance on the permanent and present “Barge” structure was held on that day for the official visit of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip.

Photo of the crowd watching The Good Brothers last year and photo of Freddy Vetter and the Flames by Mike Tombs.

Lease deal falls through for Huntsville CN Station

The Huntsville Lake of Bays Chamber of Commerce will not be leasing part of the Huntsville train station after all. At least not now. An agreement to rent part of the Town-owned CN Station at 2-26 Station Road was approved at Council on May 27.

The Chamber now cites air quality as the reason for not moving ahead with the deal.

An independent assessment is being undertaken by a qualified building sciences firm. The building will be closed until further results are known and a remediation plan is put into place.

“The vision for the Culture Station at the CNR Train Station was something we were all very excited about and proud of,” said Kelly Haywood, Executive Director of The Huntsville/Lake of Bays Chamber of Commerce. “The potential of this space for our cultural sector and tourism services is ideal for economic growth in our community. Although we are disappointed that this won’t be coming to fruition at this time, we are confident that, with the support of The Town of Huntsville, and appropriate remediation, our groups will revisit the initiative and develop a positive space for our community.”

“We are examining this issue very carefully,” said Mayor Scott Aitchison. “Our first priority is to ensure that everyone remains safe, so we are taking every possible precaution to do so – that’s why we’re closing the building for the time being. Beyond that we will address it as quickly and responsibly as possible.”

Built in 1924, the CN Station was purchased by the Town in 2003. An Ontario Heritage Trust Conservation Easement Agreement is in place on the property.

In 20012, the Huntsville Train Station Society (HTSS) was formed ifrom a group of concerned residents wishing to save the historic station buildings and site. Learn more about the history of the train station and its revitalization plans by visiting the Huntsville Train Station Society web site.

Province Honours Child Advocacy Centre of Simcoe/Muskoka

The Child Advocacy Centre of Simcoe/Muskoka was among 15 individuals and organizations honoured by the province today for the centre’s dedication to helping victims of crime.

In a release, the Attorney General’s office stated the child-friendly approach of our local child advocacy centre has had a tremendous impact on community response to child abuse and neglect.

child advocacy muskokaAlong with the Child Advocacy Centre of Simcoe/Muskoka, some of the other recipients of this year’s Attorney General’s Victim Services Awards of Distinction include:

  • Julie-Jeanne Latrémouille, who escaped a physically abusive relationship and became the coordinator of Ottawa’s Comité Réseau, an organization of French-speaking women fighting violence against women.
  • Shelley Gilbert, the coordinator of a social work service for Legal Assistance Windsor who is making a difference in the fight against human trafficking.
  • Embrace Her With Love Collective of Ohsweken that works to end violence against Indigenous women and girls as a way to honour the lives of the murdered or missing women of Six Nations.
  • John Ambulance Support Dog Program that gives victims of child abuse and sexual assault the option of having a highly-trained comfort dog accompany them when they attend court at the Newmarket courthouse.

May 29 to June 4, 2016 is National Victims and Survivors of Crime Week.

Today’s ceremony at Queen’s Park recognized victims of crime who have worked to raise awareness of victims’ issues across Ontario, as well as the organizations, professionals and volunteers that provide support for victims and advocate on their behalf. The Attorney General’s Victim Services Awards of Distinction program started in 2006.

Photo from Child Advocacy Centre of Simcoe/Muskoka website. Learn more about them by clicking here.

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”.

Update: Bala in Bloom gets stolen canoe back

Update Friday, June 3: Janie Graham of the Bala in Bloom committee is pleased to report that the committee’s canoe that went missing was returned, anonymously, today. It appeared back on the lawn in front of the Bala Community Centre in pretty much the same spot it disappeared from on May 24. The committee thanks the community for its support.

Original Post: Bala in Bloom wants stolen canoe back

The Bala in Bloom committee placed and old cedar strip canoe for planting in front of the Bala Community Centre on Tuesday, May 24. An hour later it was gone. Volunteers with Bala in Bloom say it went missing about 1 pm that day.

Now they want it back, no questions asked. They ask the community to share this call for help and request that whomever took the canoe simply place it back in front of the Community Centre.

The canoe was donated by Bala resident Eva Moore.

Related Articles:

October 17, 2015, Muskoka News Watch: Bala in Bloom rebrands as it reblooms

Muskoka Lawn Bowling Club gets $150,000 grant to start building

The Muskoka Lawn Bowling Club is finally realizing its dream of building a lawn bowling facility in Muskoka due to a $150,000 grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation. The grant paves the way for construction of the lawn bowling green, which will commence this spring on the grounds of the Muskoka Highlands Golf Course on South Monck Road in Bracebridge. The Muskoka Lawn Bowling Club looks forward to welcoming the public in 2017.

MPP Norm Miller declared, “The teamwork and perseverance that has contributed to the awarding of this Ontario Trillium Foundation Grant is remarkable, and I would like to commend all those individuals involved for their extraordinary efforts. I have no doubt that the Muskoka Lawn Bowling Club will provide yet another opportunity to enjoy a healthy, active lifestyle, and will be a welcome addition to the community.”

Sally Mills, President of the Muskoka Lawn Bowling Club explained that “the idea for the Muskoka Lawn Bowling Club began a few years ago. After looking at many possible sites, the beautiful Muskoka Highlands Golf Links became our focus due to the generosity of the owner Don MacKay”. MacKay is leasing the land to the bowling club for $1.00 per year, and will provide greens keeping maintenance at cost and access to the clubhouse for the bowlers.

“We are pleased to be part of this enhancement to the Muskoka sports scene”, stated MacKay. “We at Muskoka Highlands strive to be as inclusive with our activities as possible. We believe that active people are healthy people.”

Recent changes to the Ontario Trillium Foundation granting process increased the total capital grant maximum to $150,000 while allowing for new capital construction, which provided the lawn bowling club with a possible funding opportunity. Cindy O’Regan, Director of Recreation for the Town of Bracebridge, provided invaluable advice and support, and offered ongoing assistance to the new club. The Muskoka Lawn Bowling Club believes that the assistance of Bracebridge’s Recreation Department, and the ideal location and support from the Muskoka Highlands Golf Links was key to the success of the OTF grant application.

Bracebridge Mayor Graydon Smith was extremely pleased with the announcement. “On behalf of members of the Town of Bracebridge Council, I would like to congratulate the Muskoka Lawn Bowling Club on their hard work and perseverance in obtaining the necessary funding to construct the Lawn Bowling facility. The lawn bowling facility will be an excellent addition to the Town’s recreation and sport opportunities. I am especially encouraged that this facility will introduce youth, adults and seniors to a new healthy activity which encourages sport for life”.

Lawn bowling is often referred to as “curling on grass”, as the rules and terms are similar to ice curling, but without the sweeping. Like curling, lawn bowling appeals to, and is well suited to, all ages and abilities.

Rich Peart of the Ontario Lawn Bowling Association (OLBA) said that “The OLBA has offered assistance with instruction, tournaments and used equipment, and many of their clubs look forward to visiting Ontario’s newest lawn bowling facility. We will continue to offer all assistance that we can and look forward to helping in whatever way that the club needs.”

“The Muskoka Lawn Bowling Club is truly grateful for the generous contribution by the Ontario Trillium Foundation. They have made our dream of lawn bowling in Muskoka come true,” added Mills.

The Muskoka Lawn Bowling Club is now working to raise funds to buy equipment, fencing, and lighting for the new facility. If you would like to make a donation and help establish this new sport in Muskoka, please contact Sally Mills at 705-646-0086, or visit www.muskokabowls.ca.

Featured photo shows artist’s rendering of new lawn bowling facility.


Elizabeth May adds public meet and greet stop to Muskoka visit Saturday

While in Bracebridge for the Muskoka Summit on the Environment, Elizabeth May will meet the public in a separate event early Saturday morning.

The Green Party of Canada Leader will speak briefly on proportional representation and other issues followed by a short question and answer period.

Space is limited to just 50 people on Saturday, May 28, for the breakfast meeting from 8:30-9:30am at the Riverwalk Restaurant in Bracebridge. Coffee, tea and a light fare will be provided.

Space limited to 50; reservations required

The breakfast meeting is open to the public but space is limited. People wanting to attend must RSVP to 705-394-7336 or by email to psmgreenparty@gmail.com to reach event host Matt Richter, Parry Sound-Muskoka candidate for the Green Party of Ontario. He says reservations will be taken on a first come, first served basis.

May will also be speaking at the Muskoka Summit on the Environment later the same morning.

Derrick Hammond to head up Huntsville Development Services

Derrick Hammond has been appointed to the position of Executive Director of Development Services for the Town of Huntsville. In a release, the Town states Hammond will be responsible for leading the Planning, Sustainability, Building, By-law Departments and Economic Development in support of achieving the Town’s strategic goals and objectives.

Derrick Hammond has over 26 years of municipal planning experience.  He is currently serving as the District of Muskoka’s Director of Continuous Improvement. He has also held roles as Director of Planning Services for the District of Muskoka and Manager of Planning with the Township of Lake of Bays. Hammond is a Registered Professional Planner and holds a Master of Arts – Geography (University of Waterloo) and a Bachelor of Arts – Geography – Concentration Political Science (University of Ottawa).

Hammond is also a Canadian Armed Forces Reservist, active through the Royal Canadian Army Cadet program, mentoring and coaching leadership skills to youth throughout Muskoka.

“I am looking forward to working closely with Town Council and staff to achieve Council’s priorities and serving the Town of Huntsville’s ratepayers,” said Hammond.

Town officials say they look forward to Hammond’s arrival on June 20, 2016 and wish him all the best in his new position as Executive Director of Development Services.

“We are thrilled that Derrick will be joining our team. The expertise and experience that Derrick brings with him will truly be an asset to the Corporation and the people in which it serves,” said Denise Corry, CAO.

Trespasser linked to brush fire in Huntsville

A daytime fire quickly grew out of control in Huntsville yesterday sparking a two hectare brush fire.

It was spotted by a Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) ‎plane around 2:30pm yesterday afternoon in the area of Brunel Rd. and Muskoka Rd. 10.

The MNRF alerted the Huntsville/Lake of Bays Fire Department to the brush fire that had grown to about two hectares in size.

Firefighters with the help of a crew from the MNRF were able to stop the spreading fire that also engulfed a workshop and vehicle.

Fire officials say a trespasser on the property was burning during restricted hours which had spread quickly out of control.

The Huntsville/Lake of Bays Fire Department would like to remind residents that there is no Daytime Burning allowed, and this fire is an example of how a fire can quickly get out of control when burning during restricted hours.

Damage to the shop and vehicle is estimated at $30,000.

Submitted photo


44 pounds of pot seized: St. Catherines man facing trafficking charge

A 29 year old St. Catherines man is facing charges after 44 pounds of pot was found in the vehicle he was driving on Highway 400.

On Tuesday May 17th a Barrie OPP officer  conducted a vehicle stop for a traffic infraction on Highway 400 near Ski Trails Rd. in Springwater Township.  The officer determined that marijuana was present in the vehicle and subsequently seized 44 pounds of marijuana.

The driver Steven Gionet of St Catharines was charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking – over 3kg.

The accused will appear in Barrie court on Monday July 4th.


Ontario’s Labour Relations Board dismisses charges filed by TLDSB

Ontario’s Labour Relations Board (OLRB) has dismissed charges filed by the Trillium Lakelands District School Board against District 15 of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF/FEESO).

OSSTF/FEESO teachers in Trillium Lakelands have been without a local contract for more than 20 months and have been engaged in a legal strike in the form of a selective withdrawal of services for the past six months in support of their efforts to negotiate a fair agreement.
In their application to the OLRB, the Trillium Lakelands Board accused OSSTF/FEESO of bargaining in bad faith by deliberately taking positions at the bargaining table that are illegal. The Board further claimed that OSSTF/FEESO’s strike action, based on its negotiating position, is also illegal.
OLRB Vice-Chair Patrick Kelly rejected the claims of the school board and ruled that none of the OSSTF/FEESO bargaining proposals in question are illegal. He also took no issue with the legality of the current job action, and dismissed all of the school board’s allegations.
“It’s time for this school board to stop playing legal games and come back to the bargaining table,” said Cindy Dubue, OSSTF/FEESO Provincial Vice President and chair of the negotiating team, in a press release. “They’ve used their bogus allegations as an excuse to avoid bargaining, and in the end they’ve succeeded only in prolonging a strike that should have been settled months ago.”
“Unlike the Trillium Lakelands Board, we have been committed to the collective bargaining process throughout these negotiations,” said District 15 President Colin Matthew. “Our members will certainly feel vindicated by this decision, but what they are really looking for is a fair, negotiated deal. It’s now time for the Board to finally sit down with us and engage in serious negotiations.”

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/




One person airlifted from Hwy 11 accident scene in Severn Twp

Bracebridge Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is currently investigating a serious collision on Highway 11 at Southwood Road.

At 12:40pm  emergency services were called to attend a collision at Highway 11 Northbound at Southwood Road in Severn Bridge.

There were two vehicles involved in the collision, with one person having serious injuries. The highway was temporarily closed by the OPP to allow the person to be airlifted to the hospital for immediate medical attention.

One lane in both Southbound and Northbound directions of Highway 11 has been re-opened to traffic.

The investigation is currently ongoing and an update will be sent out when the Highway is completely re-opened.


Medals tip leads to child porn charges for Orillia man

An Orillia man faces child porn charges after an investigation was launched about his wearing medals at parades that weren’t awarded to him.

On Monday May 16th, Orillia OPP received a complaint about the man attending local parades sponsored by the Royal Canadian Legion wearing medals that he wasn’t awarded.

The complaint came from representatives of the Canadian Armed Forces and the Legion.

As a result of the information provided, the Orillia OPP Street Crime Unit arrested a 62 year old man from Mooney Crescent in the City of Orillia. Police also executed a search warrant at the residence and storage locker belonging to the accused.

Several items were seized that had been worn by the individual while attending public parades and events. Police also located items related to accessing and possessing child pornography.

Clayton Donoghue was arrested and held for a bail hearing, he has been charged with the following offences:

Make Forged Document x 2

Use Forged Document x 2

Breach of Trust

Unlawful Use of Military Uniform – wears a distinctive mark

Unlawful Use of Military Uniform – possession of a certificate

Obstruct a Public Officer

Possession of Child Pornography

Accessing Child Pornography

Charges laid after illegal garbage burning

Charges have been laid following an illegal burn in Muskoka Lakes.

At 10:45 Thursday morning, Muskoka Lakes Fire Department Station #6-Port Carling responded to a report of a large column of black smoke in the air as a result of a pile of garbage on fire.

Station #6 firefighters put the blaze out quickly – the investigation found that the pile contained plastics, rubber tires, metal, and other prohibited items being burnt.

When crews arrived the fire was found to be unsupervised by anyone on the property and as a result charges were laid.

Muskoka Lakes Fire Chief Richard Hayes wants to remind residence that any day time burning is banned between April 1st and October 31, unless you have a day time burning permit.

Permits can be obtained at the Township Office in Port Carling at 1 Bailey St.

If you are going to have a fire, whether during the day time with a permit or two hours before sunset it must be clean burning, supervised at all times, and have a good supply of extinguishing agent available to put the fire out.

Prior to starting to burn, please check the Fire Rating by checking the Township web page or calling 1 877 847 1577.

Gravenhurst Fire Chief praises team effort at battling recent wildfires

Gravenhurst Fire Chief Larry Brassard is singing the praises of area firefighters for their team efforts when the township was threatened by four recent wildfires.
“On Thursday May 12th, the Town of Gravenhurst was threatened by four significant wildfires that erupted and had to be battled concurrently,” he writes. “In the hours following these events, many people offered up very supportive comments, praising the work firefighters did in controlling and extinguishing these fires. Various media outlets also reported that we were ably supported by our friends from the Muskoka Lakes, Bracebridge and Severn Township fire departments, and I would like to publicly acknowledge the great work these departments did working alongside our crews. It was truly a team effort.”
“It’s important for your readers to know that many others stepped forward last Thursday to help as well. Our 9-1-1 dispatchers answered numerous calls and managed hundreds of radio transmissions and requests for contacts to allied agencies. The O.P.P. facilitated safe working sites for our firefighters along Highway 11 and Winhara Road. At several sites, members of the public stepped forward to help pull hose or carry equipment. Other Town of Gravenhurst staff and several of our past members stepped forward to help, as did a member of Town Council who also served on the department for many years. People brought water to thirsty firefighters and helped out in other ways too.
Many, including me, had the fresh images of the devastation of the Alberta wildfires in mind as the day progressed.”
“Thankfully, the collective efforts of a community contributed to a better outcome here. To all who lent a hand to keep our community safe that day, I express my heartfelt thanks. Gravenhurst truly is a wonderful place to call home!”
Gravenhurst Fire Chief Larry Brassard
(Photo via @HollyMatrimony on twitter)

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.

Gravenhurst bridge replacement pegged at $1.1 million

Gravenhurst’s Pine Creek Bridge is being replaced and it’s going to cost at least $1.1 million to do it.

The proposed construction contract goes before the District’s Engineering and Public Works Committee for approval today.

The bridge is located on Muskoka Road 169, 7km northwest of the town and it’s being recommended that the replacement contract be awarded to Coon Brothers Sand and Gravel in the amount of $861,647.00 excluding GST.

District staff say that beyond the construction cost, another $225,114 in project costs and $13,239 for consulting will be needed, bringing the total to $1.1 million, to be paid for out of the District’s Roads Capital Reserve fund.

A 2013 bi-annual bridge inspection revealed its T-beam and deck soffit showed extensive spalling, which was causing the steel reinforcement to become exposed and rusted. The original centre span bridge was also found to be in poor condition with no waterproofing on the entire bridge deck. Water is leaking through the joints between the original bridge and the two widenings, causing continual deterioration of the beams.

It was concluded it would be most cost effective to replace the bridge. Temporary lane restrictions to replace it would also be less disruptive to traffic than a closure for rehabilitation followed by a future closure in 10-15 years for an eventual replacement.

Safe kids bike rodeo planned at Huntsville Public School

Spring is here and that means it’s cycling season. But what’s fun for kids can be a worry for parents. Are your kids as safe as they can be? Make sure they are by bringing them to Kids’ Bike Rodeo on Thursday, June 9, 2016 from 4:30 – 6:30 pm at Huntsville Public School.

Organized by the OPP, the Town’s Sustainable Huntsville program and sport therapy experts at The SportLab, this fun and educational clinic for kids aged 5 to 12 will ensure that they have the equipment and cycling safety skills they need. “A lifetime of cycling begins with a solid education in bike skills. The Kids’ Bike Rodeo helps kids and parents learn in a fun, interactive, and supportive way,” says Staff/Sergeant John-Paul Graham of the OPP.

Kids will make their way in groups of six through a variety of stations designed to improve their cycling knowledge and skills, including helmet and bike safety checks, recognizing road signs, learning cycling hand signals, a mock intersection, and an agility course.

The agility course is anticipated to be the group favourite; with cyclists riding as slow as they can while maneuvering through pylons and doing shoulder checks to identify images held up by volunteers.

The entire rotation will take approximately about 30 minutes. Young cyclists then receive a delicious snack, a completed checklist, certificate and some bike goodies.
“The Kids’ Bike Rodeo is a grassroots initiative that will help our children develop basic cycling fundamentals to help keep them safe while out on their bikes,” said Dr. Lowell Greib of The SportLab. “At the same time, we hope to motivate them to think about cycling as not just a means of transportation, but also as possible sport of choice as they develop into young adults.”

The Kids’ Bike Rodeo is free of charge, but registration is required. Please call 855-776-7852 or drop-in to The SportLab at 68 West Road, Unit #2, Huntsville, to book your half-hour time slot.

The Kids’ Bike Rodeo will be followed by the Mayor’s Bike Ride at River Mill Park. Cyclists who can ride 12km are welcome to participate. Visit www.huntsville.ca for details on both events.

Muskoka artist designs new Canadian mint coins honouring national heroes

The Royal Canadian Mint is proudly honouring Canada’s national heroes with a new silver collector coin series designed by a Muskoka artist.

The series by artist Ken Ryan features firefighters, paramedics, police and the military, all of which face danger in the line of duty yet remain steadfast in their commitment and dedication to helping others. The coins were unveiled today at a ceremony held at the Mint’s production facility in Winnipeg.

 “On behalf of the Government of Canada, I would like to thank our firefighters, paramedics, police and the military for their commitment to preserve and protect the lives of Canadians every single day,” said the Honourable Bill Morneau, Minister of Finance. “The dedication and professionalism of these brave men and women, who ensure we continue to live in a safe society, are a true inspiration to all Canadians.”

“This coin series is a wonderful addition to any collection, paying tribute to our everyday heroes who put themselves at risk every time they answer the call of duty to protect us,” said Sandra Hanington, President and CEO of the Royal Canadian Mint. “These coins are also a way for the Mint and all of our employees to say thank you for the unwavering selflessness and courage these heroes demonstrate in their communities.”

In conjunction with this coin series, the Mint is donating $10,000 to the Red Cross Alberta Fires Appeal (Fort McMurray) as well as $5 from the sale of every “Firefighters” coin, which is the first coin in the series

Each of the four coins in the series is produced in 99.99% pure silver and features selective colour over engraving which brings to life the depiction of a firefighter (above), paramedic, police officer or infantry soldier in the line of duty. Designed by Ryan, each coin has a face value of $15, a mintage of 10,000 and retails for $69.95.

These coins can be ordered from the Mint at 1-800-267-1871 in Canada, 1-800-268-6468 in the US, or online at www.mint.ca  The “Firefighters” coin is available now at the Mint’s boutiques in Ottawa, Winnipeg and Vancouver, as well as through the Mint’s global network of dealers and distributors, including participating Canada Post outlets.  The remaining three coins in the series can be ordered from the Mint as of today and will be available on the following dates:

  • Paramedics – June 7, 2016
  • Police – August 7, 2016
  • Military – September 6, 2016

The entire series is also available by subscription.  Each subscription includes a special wooden collector case to proudly showcase all of these heroes side by side. Contact the Mint today!

MAHC wins award for electronic health record project

Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare (MAHC) has earned a 2nd place award for Excellence and Innovation in Project Execution for Cerner Implementation in recognition of MAHC’s Electronic Health Record project.

The award was presented during the Advancing Clinical Excellence Award Gala in April in Québec City as part of the Canada Collaboration Forum event, and includes a $1,000 donation that has been split between the Huntsville Hospital Foundation and the South Muskoka Hospital Foundation.

Cerner’s Advancing Clinical Excellence awards recognize partners that have demonstrated excellence in implementing and adopting health care information technology (IT) that provide quality solutions for documenting patient care and enhancing workflow processes. MAHC’s submission demonstrated how the system has provided benefits to clinicians and patients, enhanced interprofessional collaboration and enhanced processes, and increased efficiencies.

MAHC successfully implemented the Cerner Electronic Health Record system in partnership with the Grey Bruce Information Network in June 2015. The new electronic system involved interfacing nine different electronic applications that are used in nearly every clinical area of the hospital. It was the result of months of behind-the-scenes preparatory work by numerous staff across the organization to design and build the system to meet MAHC’s needs and months of training to hundreds of front-line staff and physicians. As a teaching hospital, nursing students, allied health students, medical students and residents receive a more comprehensive, hands-on learning experience with electronic charting.

“By implementing and adopting this technology, we have created more timely access to patient results, which allows faster clinical decision-making and interventions. We have also improved work processes and standardized documentation to improve patient safety and reduce risk,” says Natalie Bubela, Chief Executive Officer. “We are pleased to be recognized for the hard work that has been done to implement this technology.”

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.

You’re invited to the 32nd annual Gravenhurst Mayor’s Tea

Join Mayor Paisley Donaldson and members of Council at the Gravenhurst Opera House on Tuesday May 31st to celebrate the ’32nd Annual Mayor’s Tea’.

The Mayor’s Tea is held in recognition of  Senior’s Month, but it’s an event the entire community can take part in.

Doors open for this annual tradition at 12:30 pm with entertainment starting at 1pm and tea to follow, (approximately 1:45pm). This is an opportunity for our community to enjoy a complimentary afternoon of entertainment, socialization, fellowship and of course tea and other refreshments in the stunning historical theatre located in the heart of downtown Gravenhurst.

“I look forward to seeing everyone’s smiling faces, especially after another long winter,” said Mayor Donaldson. “This is a great opportunity to catch up with community members and pay homage to all of our wonderful seniors, thanking them for their many contributions to our
Town,” added the Mayor.

This year’s high tea will also feature three types of finger sandwiches to enjoy; tuna, ham and cheese and of course egg salad. Sandwiches will be provided by Impact Muskoka. Don’t forget to try a cookie or square baked specially by Community Living South Muskoka! As for beverages, ‘tea’ will be the star of the party, but coffee and a refreshing homemade punch will also be served.

As part of the afternoon’s entertainment the Fernglen Fiddleheads will be performing live on stage. The band consists of fiddles, guitar, banjo, bass, percussions, and a piano. Traditional fiddle tunes such as jigs and reels form the foundation of the band’s repertoire. Music that is fun, spirited, and sure to set you in motion and your toes a tapping!

Immediately following the entertainment, everyone is invited to the Trillium Court for complimentary refreshments and an assortment of delicious desserts, served by Council and the Recreation, Arts and
Culture staff.

Store clerk airlifted to hospital after assault

A store clerk had to be airlifted to a Toronto area hospital this past weekend after being assaulted at work.

Bracebridge Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) with the assistance of the Muskoka Crime Unit and the OPP Forensic Identification Unit is investigating a theft at a business on Muskoka Road 38 in Georgian Bay Township.

It happened Saturday at 5:30 p.m., when an unknown man entered the store and demanded money, assaulted the lone clerk and left with a quantity of cash.

The clerk sustained serious, non-life-threatening injuries and was airlifted to a Toronto area hospital for treatment.

Police are asking anyone with information to contact Bracebridge OPP at (888) 310-1122 or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

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.”

Vandals hit Bala Falls power site: fence cut, disassembled and removed

Vandals have struck at Bala Falls removing a recently installed fence that was put up in advance of the pending new hydroelectric facility there.

Photos provided to Muskoka News Watch show that the fence was cut, unfastened and removed (bolts and bits of fence were left at the scene, see photos).

imageSwift River Energy Ltd. Vice President Frank Belerique says he suspected from the onset the fence was tampered with and he says the fence installer has since confirmed as much.

An opponent of the hydro project recently publicly chastised the company, insinuating that if Swift River couldn’t get a fence right, then how could they build a power plant, implying that the fence just washed away.

“The fence did not wash away or fall over because of poor workmanship or materials,” says Belerique. “The fence posts are still standing and perfectly plumb. The fence was vandalized, pure and simple.”

imageHe adds, “I am very disappointed that people would stoop so low as to break the law to help them spread a lie, but not entirely surprised. We do not know what happened to the missing fence or where it is.”

The cost to reinstall the fence will be about $4,200.

image 9Bala Falls vandalism

Multiple fires from Gravenhurst to Huntsville may be linked to burning rail car

Update May 13, 11:30am MUSKOKA: Two other fires were also fought in Huntsville yesterday. According to the the Huntsville/Lake of Bays Fire Department, fire crews responded in the morning to a home on Fairyview Drive in Huntsville for a fire on the exterior of the building. The quick actions of a neighbor who had spotted the fire kept the fire from spreading into the attic space and allowed crews to fully extinguish the fire and keep it contained to the exterior of the home. The cause is suspected to be from improperly disposed smoking materials which had ignited the grass and spread to the building. Damage was estimated at $5000.

On Thursday afternoon, fire crews along with Ministry of Natural Resources battled a large brush fire approximately 4 hectares size in the Raven Lake area of Lake of Bays. This fire was caused by a contractor burning during restricted hours. Charges are pending in this fire. The Ministry of Natural Resources brought in water bombers to assist in controlling the blaze.

The Fire Department has now also confirmed that it’s suspected spot fires along the CNR tracks throughout Muskoka may have been caused by a rail car that was burning and then extinguished by firefighters in Huntsville.

Original post: Firefighters from Gravenhurst, Huntsville, Bracebridge and Port Sydney were busy yesterday dealing with six separate fire sites across Gravenhurst to Huntsville. All Gravenhurst fires appeared to be close to the CNR railway lines. As of 5:30pm yesterday, all fires were under control. In Huntsville, two fire trucks responded to a rail car on fire on the CN line adjacent to Aspdin Road near Ferguson. And firefighters were also deployed to a grass fire on Lone Pine Drive between Bracebridge and Huntsville.

Note: Featured photo shows fire crews on a rail car just moments after extinguishing a fire in the rail car. Photo by Norah Fountain.

The first Gravenhurst fire was reported shortly after 1pm located behind the Ministry of Transportation weigh scales on Highway 11 and southbound Highway 11 was closed while firefighters fought the blaze. A second fire site at Caroline Street was put out quickly.

Gravenhurst and Huntsville fires
Police blocked Winhara Road at the Gravenhurst entrance leaving Bracebridge near the Kubota plant and also at Jones Road in Gravenhurst while fire crews dealt with a fire near Jones.

The third fire site was at Winhara Road, near Jones Road, which OPP told Muskoka News Watch was under control as of 5 pm, but the road remained blocked to traffic due to the dry conditions.

The fourth fire site was reported on Rusty Rock Road. All available Gravenhurst units were deployed to fight the fires. Bracebridge, Muskoka Lakes and Severn Township Fire Departments provided valuable assistance through implementation of the Mutual Aid plan.

No injuries were reported in the Gravenhurst fires and only one structure was reported damaged — an unoccupied mobile home on Winhara Road.

Burning rail car may have caused spot fires

In Huntsville around 2pm, firefighters were fighting a blaze in a rail car on the CN line that runs adjacent to Aspdin Road. It was the seventh car on the train. It was quickly separated from the rest of the rail cars and two fire crews responded. The rail car was carrying wooden railway ties and the fire was quickly extinguished by the fire crews. Officials of the Huntsville/Lake of Bays fire department say it is suspected that the burning rail car in Huntsville caused spot fires along the CNR tracks throughout Muskoka. CN Rail continues to investigate the cause of the fire in the rail car. While this fire was being put out, crews from Station 3 in Port Sydney were dispatched to a grass fire along the CNR tracks near Lone Pine Drive and Stephenson Road 1 along with crews from Bracebridge Fire. This fire spread to cover an area of about two hectares in size.

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.

Join Climate Change conversation at Muskoka Summit on the Environment

Climate change is ‘accelerating’, undergoing some of the largest changes recorded in the past 65 million years, say scientists from Stanford University. On May 27th and 28th join Elizabeth May and other experts at the Rene Caisse Theatre in Bracebridge to discuss local, regional and national solutions to climate change.

The countries who participated in COP21 in Paris last December agreed to take steps to limit emissions so that the global mean annual temperature would rise no more than 2oC of the pre-industrial mean. Canada was one of those countries. What will that mean for you, your job and your way of life? Join in the discussion at the Muskoka Summit on the Environment and provide input for policy makers.

“The idea that we have to pick between a strong economy and a healthy environment is outdated thinking”, states Stewart Elgie, a professor with the University of Ottawa. Elgie feels that there is abundant evidence, both in Canada and beyond, about how to “decouple” economic growth from environmental protection.

GlobalTemperatureGraphDrawing on the latest research and examples from across Canada and around the world, Dr. Elgie will discuss how to put Canada on the path to clean growth. This means retooling our energy, transport, building and industrial systems to adopt modern, low carbon technologies and processes, most of which already exist today.

Are our youth up for the challenge? There will be over 30 high school and university students at the Summit to ensure that we work toward a world they want to inherit.

What impact will climate change policy have on Muskoka?

Last year, a network of more than 60 scholars from all 10 provinces of Canada drafted a report entitled Sustainable Canada Dialogues. To build a collective vision of a pathway to sustainability for Canada, a Delphi survey was launched in June 2014. The Delphi survey identified six main areas for action:
·         transition to a low-carbon economy
·         transforming the energy system
·         urban planning and transportation
·         governance and institutions
·         land use
·         education, information and research

Dr. Catherine Potvin, from McGill University, will present these policy directions in the context of Muskoka. How does Muskoka transition to a low-carbon society? How will it impact how you live your life?

Register now to join the discussion at the 2016 Muskoka Summit on the Environment – Solutions for a Warming World, May 27th and 28th at the Rene Caisse Theatre in Bracebridge. Visit www.muskokasummit.org for more information.

Data Photo submitted by the Muskoka Watershed Council.

Miller seeks to ease Bill 100 trail closure concerns

Parry Sound-Muskoka MPP Norm Miller has sought to allay trail closure concerns this week by addressing the changes that Bill 100 will bring if passed into law. He did so in the following letter to the editor (see below).

To the Editor,

With the passage of Bill 100 through second reading, there has been renewed interest at my office regarding the Supporting Ontario’s Trails Act. I would like to take this opportunity to provide some insight as to where Bill 100 stands in the legislative process, as well as potential implications as it moves forward.

As of April 14th, 2016, Bill 100 has passed 2nd reading and is currently before the Standing Committee on the Legislative Assembly.

First off, I would like to say that we are fortunate to have some of the best trails in the Province of Ontario. Every year, thousands of outdoor enthusiasts travel to Parry Sound – Muskoka to hike, bike, ski, ride, and snowmobile. For decades, this network of trails has been maintained and grown through relationships between trails organizations and private landowners. I would like to thank the private landowners that allow trail use across their property.

These personal and often informal agreements to allow for trail access across private property are part of the local success story. These agreements will not be affected by the passage of Bill 100.
Even though the snowmobile trail season has ended for this winter, there is already concern that misinformation about the easement section (12) of Bill 100 could lead to trail closures next year.

I have spoken personally with Minister of Tourism, Culture, and Sport, Michael Coteau on this and he has provided in writing that: “An easement pursuant to Bill 100, if passed, would be a voluntary agreement between a landowner and an eligible body or bodies. No property owner would be compelled to provide an easement unless they agreed to do so”. During my allotted time to speak to Bill 100 at second reading I specifically asked that this statement be put into the Bill as landowners have requested.

To be clear, this is all voluntary. No property owner will be compelled to provide an easement unless they agree to. Also, Landowner rights are strengthened in Bill 100 with the following changes:

Maximum fines for trespassing are increased from $2000 to $10,000, and the current $1000 cap on damages caused by trespassing is eliminated thus allowing for greater fines when warranted. There is also a reduction and clarification of liability for the property owner.

If there are any questions regarding the progress of Bill 100 or if you have any individual concerns to add, please do not hesitate to contact my office. The full text of my remarks during 2nd reading debate of this bill can be found at www.normmillermpp.ca.

Norm Miller, MPP Parry Sound – Muskoka

Human remains found in Haliburton identified By OPP

The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) has concluded the search for a missing Bowmanville man whom investigators believe disappeared as the result of foul play.

David Palmer is a 47 year-old male who was last seen on Friday October 2, 2015 – one week before the 2015 Canadian Thanksgiving. On October 14, 2015, Palmer’s brown 2002 Honda Accord, bearing Ontario Licence plate BWCZ 783, was recovered by police near Spruce Lake Trail, near the Village of Haliburton.

Between May 3 and 6, 2016 the OPP conducted a search of an area north of the village of Hailburton, in relation to David Palmer. On May 6, 2016, police discovered human remains and secured the scene for further investigation.

On May 9, 2016, a post mortem examination of the remains was conducted and the human remains were identified as being that of David Palmer.

Muskoka named companies unveiled in Panama Papers leak

The Panama Papers leak has revealed two companies that have Muskoka in their name.

They are Muskoka Lakes Capital Investment Ltd. and Muskoka Trading Corp.

The first has a registered address in Toronto and the second has its address registered in Port Carling. The status for both companies was listed as “dead” (as opposed to being active).

Offshore companies are not illegal and there are legitimate uses for such companies and trusts, but they are sometimes used to hide both the origin and the owners of money, and to avoid paying tax. A disclaimer that is connected to the database that was made public today and was repeated on CBC.ca reads:

“We do not intend to suggest or imply that any persons, companies or other entities included in the ICIJ Offshore Leaks Database have broken the law or otherwise acted improperly.”

The searchable information includes the name of anyone listed as a director or shareholder of an offshore Panama Papers Canadacompany in the huge Panama Papers leak. Of those 200,000 named, 625 are Canadian.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) made the database public this afternoon. Anyone can search it.

Campfire blamed for grass fire in Muskoka Lakes

Township of Muskoka Lakes fire department officials believe a grass fire this afternoon at Rosseau Lake Road 1 was caused by the remains of a campfire the night before.

About 20 firefighters from two fire stations responded to a grass fire at 1095 Rosseau Lake Road 1 today just after 2 pm. The fire was quickly contained and extinguished after burning approximately 1 acre of field.

Fire officials say cause of this fire was a result of a small campfire the night before that the owners truly believed Burnedarea2was extinguished. The Township of Muskoka Lakes Fire Department urges everyone to take the time to properly put out a campfire with water or bury all embers with dirt.

The area is beginning to dry up, and the surface grass has not fully greened up. Luckily now, the ground is still somewhat damp in locations but this can change very quickly. Once the ground dries, the result is deep rooted fires. When that happens, those grass fires/bush fires change from hours to the fact it can take days or weeks or even months to fully extinguish.

No daytime burning

In Muskoka Lakes, there is no daytime burning without a permit from April 1 to October 31 every year. Small camp fires must be kept under 1 meter in diameter and can only be lit 2 hours before sunset and must be extinguished fully be 2 hours after sunrise. The wind must be under 16 k/h and you can only burn environmentally acceptable products. When the fire gauge signs read “severe” there is absolutely no burning. Take the time to read these signs as they are posted at almost every major road coming into the Township of Muskoka Lakes and in the communities of Bala and Port Carling. The fire rating can also be viewed at the Township of Muskoka Lakes web site, by clicking the alert sign at the bottom of the title page and then scroll down to see the rating or you can simply call 1-877-847-1577.

Photo submitted by fire department shows burned out area

Remembering Louis Armstrong, a celebration at the Gravenhurst Opera House

It has been almost half a century since the late Louis Armstrong, known to millions as “Satchmo”, brought record crowds to Dunn’s Pavilion Bala in the early 1960s.  On Wednesday, May 25th, Armstrong’s love affair with Muskoka is going to be celebrated at the Gravenhurst Opera House.

Jack Hutton
Jack Hutton and Neville Dickie. Submitted photo

Jack Hutton, an international ragtime pianist from Bala, will be joined by Neville Dickie, England’s top ragtime/stride pianist, and Jon Seiger, a top jazz pianist in the U.S. who also happens to play trumpet and sing like his idol, Louis Armstrong.  The evening will celebrate the music of both Armstrong and early jazz pianist Thomas “Fats” Waller who composed tunes like “Ain’t Misbehavin’ “ and “Honeysuckle Rose”.

Jack and Neville played duelling pianos at Gravenhurst one year ago and then decided to do it again this year. They took it up a couple of notches by inviting Jon Seiger to join them on a third piano and also play trumpet and sing like Louis Armstrong.

Jack, who has been bringing fellow ragtime/jazz performers  like Ragtime Bob Darch, Colm O’Brien, Mimi Blais and Dick Hyman to Gravenhurst over the last 25 years, says he has never been more excited about an upcoming concert.  “We started planning this last November,” he says.  “We’ll start with Armstrong’s signature tune, ‘Sleepy Time Down South’ and keep going up from there.  We’ll close the evening with all three of us going crazy with Waller’s ‘Honeysuckle Rose’.”

Did you ever meet Louis Armstrong?

Jack says he is looking for cottagers or local people who heard or met Louis Armstrong at Bala.  “We need to share those memories,” he says.  “If time doesn’t permit during the concert we’ll keep telling stories downstairs in the Trillium Room [at the Opera House].”

Jack can be reached in Bala at 705-762-5876 or balamus@muskoka.com .

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;