28 Apr
2021
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The Movie – An American in Muskoka

I’m happy to announce that I have received special permission from the filmmaker to share this outstanding documentary about Muskoka. The 76 min movie was shot in Muskoka in the mid 2000’s or about 15 years ago. It takes a very serious look at the changes that are occurring in Muskoka. The film features interviews with notable people such as actor Harry Hamlin, businessman Kevin O’Leary and many other well known lovers/supporters of Muskoka. After nearly two decades of driving by and photographing Cliff Island on Lake Joseph I discovered there was a movie about the American owners who have summered here for well over 100 years. Some of the changes that are occurring on the Muskoka Lakes were taken from the families perspective however some 15 years later it’s not hard to see the changes. I encourage you to watch this film and share it with others. – thank you!



In: boathouses of muskoka, historic muskoka, in and around muskoka ontario, on the water, secret muskoka

06 May
2021
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Cliff Island, Lake Joseph Muskoka Canada

I have been passing by Cliff Island on Lake Joseph for over 15 years and it is easily one of my favorite properties to take in. The property is owned by Americans that have been summering here for well over 100 years. The documentary An American in Muskoka is based on the family and the changes they witness as Muskoka is quickly being transformed into (for lack of better words), a different place. Here are a few current photos of the property. I hope it remains this way for a very long time. To learn a bit more about Cliff Island and the documentary please click on the link for a PDF  Cliff Island

 

 




In: boathouses of muskoka, historic muskoka, in and around muskoka ontario, on the water

19 Apr
2021
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1939 Photo of a Dippy

This is a photo from 1939 taken right in front of our cottage. The previous owners were kind enough to share a treasure-trove of old photos. The Dippy or Dispro boat was originally manufactured right here in Muskoka. Dispro is short for the Disappearing Propeller Company. They have a 1-cylinder engine mounted in the middle but you cannot see it in this photo.  The inventor had a very innovative way of tucking the prop up inside the boat preventing it from hitting rocks in shallow water. There are still lots of Dippy’s cruising the Muskoka Lakes. It is always cool when you see a flotilla of them on the lakes.



In: historic muskoka, in and around muskoka ontario, on the water

15 Apr
2021
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Vaccine Rollout

With no traveling this winter due to Covid I was hunkered down in my studio dreaming up internet memes among other things. It is going to be another season at the cottage with no visitors and reduced social outings. Here is to hoping our Canadian Government can get enough vaccines in peoples arms more timely. A little bit of a slow start compared to our American friends. I hope you got yours. 🙂



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12 Apr
2021
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Low Water levels – No Floods!

Us property owners on the Muskoka Lakes have been somewhat consumed with water levels these past few years. We have had floods on the Big 3 Lakes in 2013, 2017 and 2019. Lake Muskoka has taken most of the damage from these floods. I have documented some of it and you can see it here. This year the water levels appear to be quite low. I’m told by our trusty Mayor Phil Harding that we are at about the same levels as last year. I have no reason to doubt his word as I wasn’t visiting in April last year however when I arrived in early May the water levels were great. The big lakes are now open with all of the ice off them and the spring runoff has tapered off. This week the forecast is calling for lots of rain. It will definitely bring the lake levels up a bit.



In: boathouses of muskoka, in and around muskoka ontario, on the water

08 Apr
2021
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The Start of a Brand New Season

As the ice melts off the lake I look forward to another great season stumbling in around Muskoka, Canada. I have been a bit remiss in updating the blog as I find that it really doesn’t get much interest until the warmer weather starts and everyone returns to one of the best kept secrets on earth. I do far more updates on my Instagram with at least a photo a day. You can always follow me on IG by clicking here.

Most of you that have found this Blog have probably done so by searching a place that you visited or had a lifelong or childhood memory in Muskoka. There’s been hundreds of comments,  lost connections made and wonderful shared memories within the pages of this site. I find it quite amazing actually that by posting photos that all these magical things happen.

I guess I should mention at least for the time capsule that the world is still suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic. We have endeared a year without travel and a sense of normalcy. I’m sure hoping that my American and International friends will be able to return to their beautiful piece of Muskoka paradise this summer. In the meantime, please stay positive, healthy and safe. I’ll do my best and bring you some Muskoka magic with the clock starting now …



In: boathouses of muskoka, historic muskoka, in and around muskoka ontario, on the water, tripin around towns

04 Apr
2021
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Muskoka Spring Melt by Drone

Welcome to the spring melt in Muskoka. I took this 60 sec drone video on April 3, 2021. You can see that the Joe River, Lake Joseph and Lake Rosseau were all starting to open up. Boating season is around the corner. Yippee!



In: in and around muskoka ontario, on the water

05 Sep
2020
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Sailboat Houses

There are certainly some unique and interesting boathouses located on the Muskoka Lakes. These four boathouses are designed for sailboats and are found on Lake Rosseau in various locations. There may be others on Lake Muskoka and Joseph but these are the ones I have discovered running around by myself.

Located near the old Eatons property near Windermere on Lake Rosseau

Located on Ouno Island Lake Rosseau in Muskoka

Located at the top end of Lake Rosseau not far from the lighthouse



In: boathouses of muskoka, historic muskoka, in and around muskoka ontario, on the water

02 Sep
2020
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A Ride in the CLARIE II a 100 Year Old Vintage Racing Boat

If you spend time on the Muskoka lakes you will witness the glory of vintage boats slicing through the water. They are beautiful, iconic, masterful works of art. Cherished and sought after builders such as Ditchburn, Greavette, Duke and Minett-Shields operated right here in Muskoka.

It was a thrill to experience a recent ride in the Clarie II a 100 year old masterpiece. The 35ft Hutchinson racing boat was built in 1920 for the Rogers family of St Mary’s Cement to compete in the Great Lakes Gold Cup. It features a 500HP Liberty aircraft engine. Hats off to Murray and Emila for providing us with this great experience.



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30 Aug
2020
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The Joseph River Bridge 1965 to 2020

The Joseph River Bridge, 1965-2020 – the original owner of our cottage dropped off a treasure trove of old photographs and slides they’ve had in their family. I found these two vintage photos of the Joe River Bridge going back to 1965 and made a comparison to today’s view. Apparently the old bridge design was called a Baileys Bridge and it was installed just after WWII. Previous to that there was a wooden bridge here. Peninsula Rd was designated as Provincial Highway #632 between Port Carling and Rosseau in 1961. It looks like there was a bridge replacement in 1966 so I am assuming its the one that is there today. Also part of the road was relocated in 66/67. as a result of the bridge replacement.
More interesting details and photos on this link.
http://www.thekingshighway.ca/PHOTOS/Hwy632photos.htm

 



In: historic muskoka, in and around muskoka ontario, tripin around towns

25 Aug
2020
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Fairy Island Revisited

This is the boathouse and cottage on Fairy Island. Avern Pardoe the Parlimentry Librarian in Ottawa purchased 50 acres on Lake Joseph for $5 per acre in 1895. It included Fairy Island. It would become the Pardoe family summer residence for over 100 years. The family eventually could not keep up with the costs of upkeep, property taxes and sold the island to the late Richard Ivy somewhere around 2005. There were many interested purchasers but the family decided on Richard Ivys offer as he had no interest in tearing it down. The Ivy family property is near by and looks over to Fairy Island. Please see my recent post about Loon Island.

I’ve been keeping a watch on this magical little island for over 10 years now. Unfortunately it’s slowly deteriorating and I suspect some day I’ll come by and it will be gone for ever. The boathouse and docks shown here in an earlier photo were severely damaged by the high water and ice a few years ago. They are both gone now and only the cottage remains tucked into the trees.

I made a Blog post about Fairy Island back in 2014 and much to my surprise I received quite a few interesting comments including ones from the Pardoe family. You can see how endearing a place it was and the beautiful memories shared at Fairy Island here.

 

 

 



In: boathouses of muskoka, historic muskoka, in and around muskoka ontario, on the water

18 Aug
2020
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Loon Island on Lake Joe

Loon Island, Lake Joseph was the summer home for the late Richard Ivy. He was a lawyer, businessman and great Canadian philanthropist. The Richard Ivy school of business at Western University in London, Ontario is named in his honour. Over the years his foundation provided grants in support of energy efficiency and environmental research. He also purchased the adjacent Fairy Island in order to stop development and preserve the 1895 architecture. He was 94 when he passed in December 2019.



In: boathouses of muskoka, historic muskoka, in and around muskoka ontario, on the water

09 Aug
2020
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Vintage Boat Day in Muskoka

Yesterday morning we witnessed the magnificent antique and classic boats on the water here in Muskoka. There are no boat shows this year with Covid-19 so they decided to join together and do a little tour of the lakes. I made this short video on Lake Rosseau as we navigated around Tobin Island bouncing in their wake. Many of these boats were designed and built right here in Muskoka up to 100 years ago. They are a glorious sight to behold as they cut through the water. I hope you enjoy and feel free to share.
Thank you to the Antique and Classic Boat Society Toronto branch.



In: historic muskoka, in and around muskoka ontario, on the water

02 Aug
2020
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Trains, Planes, Steamships and Automobiles

There was a time when people arrived in Muskoka by rail and then steamship. These days some arrive by private jet and helicopters. And then there are others that arrive by personal float planes right to their docks. These are just a handful I noticed on Lake Rosseau recently. I arrived by the seat of my pants. 😛



In: in and around muskoka ontario, on the water

23 Jul
2020
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Vintage Muskoka Postcards

Last year a gentleman showed up at the cottage and told us he grew up on the property. Apparently his Grandfather had purchased the land in the 1920 and built a cabin. He promised to send me lots of photos of the old cabin and surroundings. He dropped them off a few weeks ago and these post cards were included.



In: historic muskoka, in and around muskoka ontario, on the water, tripin around towns

19 Jul
2020
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Social Distancing at Muskoka Resorts. The New World

Social Distancing resort style. I was out on the Seadoo for the first time this season and thought I would drop by the JW Marriott on Lake Rosseau to see what was happening, if anything. I was surprised to see many people in the bay kayaking and canoeing. It appears the hotel is open unlike Cleveland’s House which won’t open this season at all. As I approached the beach area I noticed these isolation pods setup across the property. It’s a new world we are living.

 



In: historic muskoka, in and around muskoka ontario, on the water

15 Jul
2020
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Champlain Island Boathouse

Hey now! – I’m staying fairly active in and around Muskoka even though Covid-19 has put a damper on any socializing. That works just fine for me and my INFJ personality type. I’m quite content riding around on the lakes checking things out. There’s nothing more therapeutic for me in getting out on the water. I’m still posting at least one photo per day on social media with most being right here on Instagram.  Here is a recent scene from my Seadoo while balancing an iPhone. Chaplain Island boathouse Lake Joseph in Muskoka. Please click for a larger photo.



In: boathouses of muskoka, in and around muskoka ontario, on the water

15 Jun
2020
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COVID-19 Casualty

It is exciting to be back in cottage country and out on the water. I drove by Clevelands House recently to see if anything was going on. Cleves has been my litmus test to get an idea on how busy things are in Muskoka.  I have to say it was a bit of a disappointment when I approached the 150 year old resort. The docks looked dirty with debris, the iconic Muskoka chairs were not lined up and it looked completely abandoned. A bit surreal to actually see this. Shortly after my visit I received the following notice.

It is with a heavy heart that we will not be opening Clevelands House Resort accommodations this season. However, we are excited to plan for the future, and look forward to unveiling the long-term vision soon. Please be advised that the Rock Golf Course and SWS Boatworks Marine at Clevelands House are now open for the season. The opening dates Pie Wood Fired Pizza, Abbey’s Bake House and the Marine Yoga Studio will be announced shortly. Stay safe & healthy.

In my opinion Clevelands House has not been the same since the Cornell family sold it. It became part of the late Ken Fowlers big vision to establish a village in Minett that included the Red Leaves Resort, (JW Marriott Hotel) Wallace Marine (now SWS), Clevelands House, Lakeside Lodge and the Rock Golf Course. Unfortunately the vision wasn’t successful with many of the properties falling into  receivership. In recent times successful Canadian businessman Mitchell Goldhar has purchased the 1200 acre properties with much optimism. Many cottagers are looking forward to seeing how things go in the future. You know its definitely strange times when Cleves won’t be open for the summer of 2020




In: historic muskoka, in and around muskoka ontario, on the water

28 Apr
2020
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Missing Muskoka

Along with COVID19 guidelines the Ontario Government has recommended that people do not travel for non-essential purposes. Many families that own cottages as secondary residences have been asked to stay away until the curve of COVID19 cases flattens out. Although there is no actual law forbidding people to check on their properties people are asked to cooperate.  I am aware of quite a few cottage owners that are staying in their cottages, minding their own business and self isolating. Some live in large cities where there is a high density of people and feel much safer being in their cottage residences. I can’t say I blame them. Many of the local people are very upset with the influx of visitors to the area because there is simply not enough resources to support everyone. Especially if there were large medical emergencies to break out. I get that too. Personally I have not visited Muskoka in 2020 and I look forward to getting back when there are positive signs of this pandemic flattening out. Let us hope that we see some sort of normalcy and we get to enjoy our beloved place among the tall pines, beautiful granite and sparking waters in the near future.



In: in and around muskoka ontario, uncategorized

02 Mar
2020
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Summer Ahead

Some encouraging words



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