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

23 Sep
2021
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Chasing Down the Wenonah II Ship

I had a tip that the Wenonah II ship was going to be on Lake Joe and Rosseau this evening. With the torrential downpours it was unfortunate that I missed her navigating through the swing bridge at Port Sandfield. Eventually the rain slowed down and I headed out to see if I could find her. She was taking passengers to the JW Marriott Hotel when I spotted her on Lake Rosseau. These ships are such a treat to see on the lakes and tonight’s dramatic skies added to her majesty.



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

05 Jul
2021
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Frog in my Drink

Excuse me! There’s a Frog in my drink. Disclaimer: No frogs were harmed in the taking of this photo. 🙂



In: in and around muskoka ontario, on the water

29 Jun
2021
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The Lone Seagull and I

I like the feeling of being alone, especially when fully immersed in nature. At this moment in time it was just me and a seagull.



In: in and around muskoka ontario, on the water

21 Jun
2021
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North Lake Joe

Scenes from my Seadoo – North Lake Joe. The skies were already dark and the sun peeked it’s head out momentarily as it was sinking quickly. I had quite a distance to get back to the cottage before darkness. There are no lights on Seadoos so that others can see you so I don’t want to become a safety hazard. I did one last spinorama and called it a day.



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

15 Jun
2021
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Remembering the Joe River Marina

The Joseph River Marina was originally named Waters Marina and it was purchased by Joerg Rosenthal and his new bride Marilyn in 1972. They operated the marina, were active in the community and raised four beautiful daughters at this location. Unfortunately, it was a sad ending for the daughters. Their father Joerg was involved in an accident on Lake Joe and perished in 2007. A short time later their mother Marilyn passed away from cancer in 2009. The girls auctioned everything off in July 2010 and the Marina and home was sold. The girls left Muskoka.

Last summer I posted a photo and painting of one of the daughters named Jenny on my Instagram.  I took the photo in the summer of 2008 and renowned local artist DA Dunford released the painting of it. I thought the girls really need to see it. I tried texting a phone number I had from over a decade ago. Sure enough it was one of the daughters and they were absolutely delighted to see the photo. They innocently asked me about the Marina and if anything’s changed. I went over and took a few photos for them. The property was sold to islanders who rebuilt the boathouse and fixed up the house.  You don’t see many families operating a business on the waterfront of the big lakes anymore. Joerg and Marilyn left quite a legacy.

Joerg also appears in the documentary, An American in Muskoka.  Here is a nice story about Joerg: https://bit.ly/3xhEpHk



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

02 Jun
2021
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Governors Island on Lake Joseph

I was passing by this beautiful property on Governors Island just as the sun lit it up. Governors Island was once owned by the late Chauncey Jerome Hamlin (1881-1963) who shared many boat racing trophy’s with the Forman family of Eagle Island. I noticed Grandson Harry Hamlin and family have been selling off pieces of the large Governors island the past few years. It is likely due to the increasing property taxes for waterfront properties. I occasionally see the very friendly Lisa and Harry around but not in recent times since Covid-19 has restricted Americans from travelling into Canada. Hopefully this summer we will be able to get back into some level of normalcy.



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

27 May
2021
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Cameron Island Boathouse

Scenes from my Seadoo – Boathouse du jour. I love the symmetry of this boathouse on Cameron Island on Lake Joe. I recall this property being for sale in 2010 for under $3M. It’s likely more than doubled in value now especially the way real estate values have appreciated on the Muskoka Lakes in Covid-9 times. There is always some interesting architecture available to take in on the lakes.

 



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

20 May
2021
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Roberts Bay Modern Boathouse

Boathouse du Jour – For the contemporary/modern design aficionados. This boathouse welcomes you as you proceed into Roberts Bay on Lake Joseph. It’s certainly not going to appeal to everyone’s taste however I appreciate it for its simplicity and uniqueness. I think I would have considered removing or not incorporating the pickets around the top sitting area. In my opinion the view outward overrides the ascetics of the design.




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

18 May
2021
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Formosa Island a Presidents Place in Muskoka

Formosa Island on Lake Rosseau, Canada was once the beloved summer home of United States President Woodrow Wilson. He began visiting Muskoka in the 1890s with his family. In 1901 he purchased 100 acres near the Royal Muskoka Hotel that included Formosa Island. He was very protective of the land and would send out warnings not to light fires or cut any trees down. He had big plans for the property that included a camp, boathouse, wharf, ice and bath house. He served as the President of Princeton University, became the 34th Governor of NJ and then elected as the 28th US President from 1913-1921. He got a little busy and apparently never set foot in Muskoka after that. There is a curious story that in August of 1914 he signed the guest register of the Bala Bay Inn however there was no official record of him being in Canada as WWI was breaking out. One year before his death in 1924 at age 67 he would reminisce about Muskoka with his wife Eleanor, “ do you remember our picnics there and your mother reading poetry under the pines?” Muskoka continues to be an enchanting place and has touched many people for well over a century.



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

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. 🙂



In: in and around muskoka ontario, uncategorized

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

design & theme by Nikola Lazarevic