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.

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

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)

img_2432 img_2433 img_2434 img_2435 img_2436 img_2437

img_2429 img_2430 img_2431







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)

CRTC approves new country music FM station for Bracebridge/Gravenhurst

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

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

Details about the approval can be found here.

On its website, muskoka102.ca, Country 102.3 FM pledges to be unlike any local radio station you’ve heard in Bracebridge, Gravenhurst, and Muskoka.

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

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

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

(Photo via muskoka102.ca)

Great Muskoka Paddling Experience happens this morning in Bracebridge

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(photo via MuskokPaddlingExperience.com)

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.

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

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.

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.

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)


Bracebridge Fire Department holding Open House

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

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

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

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

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

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

– Complimentary hamburgers, hotdogs;

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

– How to prepare a home escape plan;

– Various giveaways and prizes;

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

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

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

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

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

(Photo via Town of Bracebridge)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)

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

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.

$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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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

‘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.


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:

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)


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> .

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)

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.

$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.

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.

$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.


Councillors asked to consider moving Bracebridge library out of downtown

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

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

Library options include two locations outside of downtown

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

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

The map above identifies the potential sites up for discussion.

$7.5 million for new Fire/Ambulance base in Bracebridge

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

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


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

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

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

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.


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.

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.

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

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

MP Tony Clement leads delegation to Venezuela

Parry Sound-Muskoka MP Tony Clement who is also the Official Opposition’s Foreign Affairs critic, led an International Democrat Union (IDU) delegation to Caracas, Venezuela this week.

The IDU is an international alliance of centre right political parties.

The delegation was comprised of current or former parliamentarians from Canada, Bolivia, El Salvador, Germany, Norway and Sweden, including two former Presidents of their respective countries.

As the IDU’s Deputy Chairman, Clement explained the visit’s goal:

“During our visit to Caracas, the delegation was able to meet with members of Venezuela’s National Assembly including Henry Ramos Allup, the President of the National Assembly and Roberto Marrero, Secretary of the Chamber along with leaders of various parties within the United Opposition.”

The visit also gave members of the delegation an opportunity to meet directly with Venezuelan business leaders to discuss the country’s economic conditions.

“Our visit allowed the delegation to gain a better understanding of the situation in Venezuela, giving us an opportunity to exchange with elected officials, representatives of the business community and journalists who gave the group a first-hand account of the hardships faced by the citizens of Venezuela.”

The delegation, including Clement and the former Presidents of Bolivia and El Salvador, were refused access by authorities in their attempt to meet with the democratically elected Mayor of Caracas and political prisoner Antonio Ledezma. Mayor Ledezma has been under house arrest for over a year for simply criticizing the Venezuelan regime.

Following their refused access, members of the delegation were able to meet with Mayor Ledezma’s wife and daughter.

“It is sobering to hear the plight of these political prisoners. Political dissent should be a right in a country that professes to be free and democratic. I will continue to fight for his release.” said Clement.

$36 million settlement includes money for Gravenhurst Muskoka Centre victims

Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice has approved a $36 million settlement that provides compensation to people who suffered harm while living at 12 former developmental services facilities, including the Muskoka Centre in Gravenhurst, between the 1960s and 1990s.  

The 12 former facilities, and the specific time periods to which the agreement applies, are:

  • Adult Occupational Centre (Edgar) – January 1, 1966 to March 31, 1999
  • Bluewater Centre (Goderich) – April 1, 1976 to December 20, 1983
  • D’Arcy Place (Cobourg) – September 1, 1963 to December 31, 1996
  • Durham Centre for the Developmentally Handicapped (Whitby) –  April 1, 1974 to September 28, 1986
  • L.S. Penrose Centre (Kingston) – April 1, 1974 to March 31, 1977
  • Midwestern Regional Centre (Palmerston) – September 1, 1963 to March 31, 1998
  • Muskoka Centre (Gravenhurst) – August 28, 1973 to June 30, 1993
  • Northwestern Regional Centre (Thunder Bay) – April 1, 1974 to March 31, 1994
  • Oxford Regional Centre (Woodstock) – April 1, 1974 to March 31, 1996 or in the “Mental Retardation Unit” – January 1, 1969 to March 31, 1974
  • Pine Ridge (Aurora) – September 1, 1963 to August 31, 1984
  • Prince Edward Heights (Picton) – January 1, 1971 to December 31, 1999
  • St. Lawrence Regional Centre (Brockville) – April 1, 1975 to June 30, 1983.

The 12 facilities closed between 1977 and 1999 in accordance with a government decision to close institutions and move adults with developmental disabilities to homes in the community with appropriate supports and services.

The settlement is the result of a class action lawsuit brought against Ontario by former residents of these facilities.

The claims administrator, Crawford Class Action Services, will inform eligible former residents about the claims process to apply for compensation.

Former residents of the 12 developmental facilities can receive a copy of their personal resident files at no charge by emailing AccessandPrivacyOffice.mcss@ontario.ca or calling 1-855-376-9886. Class members (eligible former residents) will have four months after the court’s approval of the settlement to request their files.

“I’m glad that we were able to reach a fair settlement in this matter,” says Attorney General Madeleine Meilleur. “These individuals were harmed in a place that was intended to provide them with care, and while we cannot change the past, it is my hope that this settlement will help these individuals – and their families – to heal.”

Local ambulance response times improving but challenges remain

Local ambulance response times are improving, but the large geographic area which needs to be covered by the District service still poses challenges when time is a factor.

According to a District report being addressed this week, local ambulance response time targets were exceeded during 2015 in six key call type areas:

1) Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SDA)
2) Resuscitation
3) Emergent
4) Urgent
5) Less Urgent
6) Non Urgent

“The location of these calls greatly impacts the response time achieved,” reads the report, penned by District Director of Emergency Services Terri Burton. “Given the rural and remote areas within Muskoka and the relatively low number of call volumes within these categories, the targets are challenging and force staff to look at ways to improve response times.”

The results, which include the set response time targets for the different call types and the percentages of time those targets were achieved and surpassed in 2015 are in this chart:


*For a complete definition of each call type category see below, bottom.

More from the report:

“In order to reduce response times in rural and remote locations, the District of Muskoka has Fire First Aid agreements in place with the Huntsville/Lake of Bays Fire Department, the Township of Muskoka Lakes Fire Department and the Georgian Bay Fire Department. All Fire First Responders are trained in first aid, CPR and AED use. Due to the fact that fire first aid assistance can reduce response times to patient contact in remote areas, patient outcomes may be improved. In 2015, Fire Departments arrived first on scene for 327 or 3.7% of all ambulance calls. When reviewing SCA calls, Fire Departments were the first on scene for 6 of the total 45 calls (13.0%). The Fire Departments are a valuable resource given the vast coverage area in the District of Muskoka.

“To assist in meeting response times, there are 176 Automated External Defibrillators (AED) in urban and rural locations throughout Muskoka. Muskoka EMS committed to continuing the provision of free community CPR courses to the public, providing 4 courses in 2015 and training approximately 200 people. Each participant trained is encouraged to share their training materials with three or four friends and family members. Muskoka EMS will continue to offer community CPR courses in 2016.

“Cardiac data shows that in 2015, 36% of all SCA were witnessed by a bystander and impressively, bystander CPR was performed on 56% of these calls. This rate is much higher than the provincial average of bystander CPR performed of 22% and is a great reason for Muskoka EMS to continue providing community CPR courses to the public.
Initiated in February 2013 to aid in reducing response times, Muskoka EMS has worked with Muskoka Ambulance Communications Service (ACS) to continue the Paramedic Pre-alert Process.

Call type definitions:

CTAS Level 1 – RESUSCITATION: Conditions that are threats to life or limb (or imminent risk of deterioration) requiring immediate aggressive interventions. Examples of types of Level 1 conditions include: Cardiac/Respiratory arrest, major trauma, shock states, unconscious patient(s) and severe respiratory distress.

CTAS Level 2 – EMERGENT: Conditions that are a potential threat to life, limb or function, requiring rapid medical intervention or delegated acts. Examples of Level 2 conditions include: altered mental states, head injury, severe trauma, neonates, myocardial infarction, overdose and cardiovascular accident.

CTAS Level 3 – URGENT: Conditions that could potentially progress to a serious problem requiring emergency intervention. May be associated with significant discomfort or affect ability to function at work or at activities of daily living. Examples of Level 3 conditions include: moderate trauma, asthma, gastro intestinal bleed, vaginal bleeding and pregnancy, acute psychosis and/or suicidal thoughts and acute pain.

CTAS Level 4 – LESS URGENT (Semi-Urgent): Conditions that are related to patient age, distress, or potential for deterioration or complications would benefit from intervention or reassurance within 1-2 hours). Examples of Level 4 conditions include: headache, corneal foreign body and chronic back pain.

CTAS Level 5 – NON-URGENT: Conditions that may be acute but non-urgent as well as conditions which may be part of a chronic problem with or without evidence of deterioration. The investigation or interventions for some illnesses or injuries can be delayed or even referred to other areas of the hospital or health care system. Examples of Level 5 conditions include: sore throat, upper respiratory infection, mild abdominal pain which is chronic or recurring, with normal vital signs, vomiting or diarrhea.

Six face impaired driving related charges in Bracebridge


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Woman dies following collision on Brunel Road in Huntsville

Update March 31, 2016: According to the OPP, no charges will be laid after an investigation into the death of a pedestrian who was hit by a car and died from her injuries earlier this month in Huntsville.

Woman dies following collision on Brunel Road in Huntsville

Original post March 11, 2016: Just before 7pm on Thursday March 10th, the OPP and Muskoka EMS were notified that a pedestrian had been struck by a vehicle on Brunel Road in Huntsville.

Police have now confirmed that 42 year-old Seungah Kim of Huntsville has succumbed to her injuries.

Police say Brunel Road remained closed for the investigation.

Accused Baysville Ponzi schemer’s case adjourned until March 22nd

What was to be the start of a 13 day preliminary hearing for accused ponzi schemer Nicholas Smirnow was today adjourned until later this month.

The Baysville resident who is  accused of bilking 40,000 investors in 120 countries out of $70-million between 2007 and 2009 appeared briefly in handcuffs this morning in Bracebridge court.

Crown Attorney Ted Carleton says he now expects the preliminary hearing will only take 11 days. It will start March 22nd in Huntsville Court.

Smirnow remains in custody facing two counts of fraud over $5000.00 and Possession of Property Obtained by Crime under the Criminal Code of Canada.

Acting on a tip, police arrested him on December 12th, 2014 at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport after he and his wife got off a flight from the Philippines.

Through his online investment business, Pathway-2-Prosperity, also known as the P2P Network, which he operated from 2007 to 2008, Smirnow is reported to have offered a high-yield investment program.

The alleged scam promised high rates of return to investors over short periods of time.


Bracebridge OPP investigating violent break & enter in Mactier

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

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

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

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

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

Three Orillia men charged after break-in at old Muskoka Centre property

Three Orillia men have been charged after breaking in to the old Muskoka Centre property in Gravenhurst.

Bracebridge OPP were called about some suspicious activity at the end of Muskoka Road North this morning at 3:30am.

A neighbour first noticed the activity and responding officers arrested four men inside the fenced complex stealing material from inside one of the buildings.

Police have charged 27 year-old Gaston Gagnon, 53 year-old James Mountney and 41 year-old Jeffery Temple all of Orillia, each with Break and Enter and Possession of Property Obtained by Crime. The fourth man was subsequently released.

The accused men will appear before the Ontario Court of Justice in Bracebridge on tomorrow to answer to their charges.

Muskoka Church Directory

To find a church and know times of services, choose a link from the list below. Know that in the off season, some church schedules change.

Anglican Churches


Presbyterian Churches


Pentecostal Churches


Roman Catholic Churches in Muskoka


Churches of Bracebridge and Gravenhurst


Note: In the above PDF, the link for the Gateway Worship Centre, Gravenhurst is incorrect. Please use the link below.

Apostolic Church

Gateway Worship Centre

Summertime Only Churches

The Church of The Kettles

Cottage Synagogue

Date: every Saturday throughout the months of July and August.
Time: 10:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
Event Name: Shabbat morning Synagogue service
Location: Camp Shalom, Camp Shalom (1110 Brydons Bay Rd. Gravenhurst, ON)

The new Cottage Synagogue (formerly Orillia Cottage Shul) offers weekly Shabbat morning services at Camp Shalom in Gravenhurst, Ontario, during the months of July and August.
Services start at 10:45 a.m. and will be lead by guest Rabbis. Everyone welcome.
Location: Camp Sholom’s Sanctuary. For directions, visit http://www.campshalom.ca/resources/directions. Parking available north of the Sanctuary building.  For inquiries e-mail msiklos@rogers.com or call (416) 419-5169.

Photo Gallery of Churches around Muskoka

Legal leap forward for Township of Muskoka Lakes: wins leave to appeal; updated with SREL response

Updated April 9, 2.55pm: Reaction  from Swift River, court gives rough timelines on when an appeal could be heard

Updated 12.55pm: Swift River Energy Ltd (SREL) says it was disappointed to hear the Ontario Court of Appeal has decided the Township of Muskoka Lake’s argument to protect access to land at North Bala Falls can be heard again in court.

Today, the project manager for Swift River, Karen McGhee, issued this statement:

“Sadly for area residents, the appeal of that decision represents yet another opportunity for council to use taxpayer money and resources on what appears to have become the mayor and council’s pet project – fighting the North Bala Small Hydro Project.

That said, we are still moving forward with the Project. SREL has requested to delegate to Township council this month to propose alternative construction staging options that could allow Margaret Burgess Park to remain fully open to the public during the construction period.  A recent poll conducted this past January indicated that 79% of respondents preferred us using Township’s lands as opposed to the park’s Crown lands.”

Muskoka News Watch has also asked all Township Councillors for their reaction to the news that they have been granted leave to appeal the Divisional Court decision of last August.

How long could an appeal take?

A clerk with the Ontario Court of Appeal says the decision to grant leave to appeal to the Township of Muskoka Lakes was made by Justices Feldman, Rouleau, and Hourigan, and that “99 per cent of the time, the written decision simply states whether leave is granted or refused: rarely is a reason given.” The clerk says depending on when the Township files its intent to move forward, and whether counsel for the Township brings a motion to expedite the appeal, the appeal could happen as early as within the next three months or, even more likely, “anywhere from five to eight months” from the Township’s filed motion to appeal.

Original Post:

Breaking News: Leave to appeal lower court decision granted by the Ontario Court of Appeal: Township can now move forward in bid to protect public lands including proposed hydro site at north Bala Falls

Posted April 9: 11.30am: The Township of Muskoka Lakes has announced that it has been successful in getting the opportunity to appeal an earlier court decision regarding crown land at North Bala Falls. In a release today, the Township states “in a decision dated April 7, 2014, the Ontario Court of Appeal granted the Township’s motion for leave to appeal a decision of the Divisional Court of Ontario.”

The Divisional Court had refused the Township’s application for judicial review, which sought recognition and protection of the public’s right to portage across public lands between Lake Muskoka and the Moon River and to access the Moon River for recreational purposes from those public lands. The Court of Appeal will now consider the strength of the historic rights afforded to the public to enjoy Crown lands and the use of adjacent waters, under Ontario’s Public Lands Act.

The Township says it expects that the appeal will be heard later this year (assuming the Township will decide to move ahead with the appeal action). Further details are not available at this time.

Muskoka News Watch learned last week that the Ontario Court of Appeal had gotten to the Township request and was in the midst of reviewing the lower court’s decision. It’s not known how long it took to reach the decision on April 7 and no details as to why the decision to grant leave was made have been released. The granted Leave to Appeal has not yet been posted by the Ontario Court of Appeal.

Reaction from Swift River Energy Limited (SREL)

The project manager for Swift River says they plan to issue an official statement soon, but says the company is “disappointed that this decision will yet again cause further delays and increased costs.”


Here is the story on the decision the Township has now received the green light to have appealed.

MNW, August 20, 2013: Exclusive: Superior Court says public safety trumps other parts of Public Lands Act

About Muskoka News Watch – consider donating to keep information flowing: Muskoka News Watch exists primarily on donations. If you appreciate us keeping you informed, consider tossing a few dollars our way via the Donate Button on the top right hand corner of our Home Page. Thank you!


New Muskoka Watershed Chair and exploring the link between environment and economy

How environment can drive economy focus of February 6 event; Muskoka Watershed Council welcomes Dr. Peter Sale as Chair; Robert Bateman to be keynote speaker for Muskoka Summit on the Environment

New Chair for Muskoka Watershed Council (MWC): Marine ecologist and noted author of Our Dying Planet, Dr. Peter Sale, has officially stepped in to Patricia Arney’s

news about muskoka, environment, watershed, muskoka ontario latest news, muskoka watershed council, muskoka news, events in muskoka
Dr. Sale with outgoing Chair Patricia Arney. Photo by Lyndsie McGregor

shoes as Chair of the Muskoka Watershed Council. Arney has completed her two-year term with the Council, which champions environmental stewardship in our region.  The change in leadership happened at the Council meeting held on Friday, January 24, during which Sale presented Arney, a Bala resident, with a certificate of appreciation in recognition of her commitment and dedication. (Arney has been involved with the MWC since 2001 and Sale joined the Council in 2010). Lou Guerriero has also been elected as Vice-Chair. He first joined MWC in 2004 as a representative for the Town of Gravenhurst.

The Environment is Good for Business Event Feb. 6: Do you have to choose between a healthy environment and a strong economy? Experts agree that Muskoka’s economy can serve as a perfect example of how they can go hand in hand. On Thursday, February 6, economic and planning consultant Rob Milligan will explore the opportunities that exist as a result of the environment–economy connection.  Milligan, who is also a member of the Muskoka Watershed Council, is the keynote speaker at the annual Bridges to Better Business event put on by the Muskoka Small Business Centre. It happens at the Rotary Centre for Youth in Bracebridge. To learn more and register, please click here or call the Muskoka Small Business Centre at 706-646-9021 (remember to tell them you read about it here at Muskoka News Watch!). The day also features a panel of businesses with close connections to the environment, and an afternoon series of popular speed mentoring sessions, where attendees can get business advice from experts on a whole range of topics.  For more information or to register for this important event, contact Muskoka Small Business Centre at 705-646-9021 or visit www.muskokasmallbusiness.ca.

Plans well under way for 2014 Muskoka Summit on the Environment: Resolving the Environment-Economy dichotomy is also the theme for this year’s Muskoka Summit on the Environment in May. Keynote speaker for this event is renowned Canadian wildlife artist, naturalist and conservationist Robert Bateman. He heads up a great line up news about muskoka, muskoka events, muskoka news, muskoka, environment, summit, watershed, save the bala falls, lake muskokaof speakers who will look at creative approaches to closing the gap between economic and environmental considerations.

So far, speakers for the event include:

  • Robert Sandford, Director of the Western Watersheds Research Collaborative and a leading thinker on the impact of climate change on freshwater resources.
  • Elena Bennett, from McGill University, who studies the connection between ecosystem services and human well being.
  •  Terre Satterfield, an anthropologist at UBC, whose work focuses on culture and justice as they influence environmental values.
  •  Daniel Simberloff, from the University of Tennessee, is a leading terrestrial ecologist and expert on the biology of invasive species.
  • Peter Victor, from York University is an economist who works on environmental issues.

The two-day summit will feature presentations by each of these experts and will wrap up with a panel discussion hosted by CBC’s Paul Kennedy (to be broadcast afterward on Kennedy’s award winning program, Ideas). Registration is now open for the Muskoka Summit on the Environment, happening May 8-9 at the Rene Caisse Theatre in Bracebridge. To learn more, visit the Summit site by clicking here.