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.