Category Archives: Muskoka Lakes

A Weekend in Port Carling – Quintessential Experiences

Looking for things to do in Port Carling and Muskoka Lakes? Here are the essential experiences, laid out in order by time of day. You may want to plan out a few weekends to visit, or talk to us about getting yourself a cottage, because you’ll need lots of time for the most essential experience of all – relaxing by the water and forgetting that time even exists.

Early morning mirror magic, at Mirror Lake in Port Carling, Muskoka Lakes, Ontario

Wake up in time for a sunrise (at least once!)

View the sunrise from wherever you choose – but I’d highly recommend picking a bay or smaller section of lake. It’s not just about the sunrise itself – it’s the mirror-like reflection of the morning clouds on the lake that really make early Muskoka mornings magical.

Check out the Port Carling Wall

The Port Carling wall is a local icon. I recommend grabbing a coffee at Beveragino before walking over to the wall. From there you can enjoy the sun and views on the docks, or walk downtown to do some shopping.

Don’t forget to find the blue and red Muskoka chair while you’re there – the wall is part of the View the Lakes tour, said to showcase the best views in Muskoka.

The Port Carling Wall, Port Carling, Muskoka Lakes, Ontario

Visiting the Muskoka Lakes Museum

The Muskoka Lakes Museum is set on James Bartleman island, between the locks. It houses a collection of artifacts and interactive exhibits showcasing the way life was in Muskoka. I’ve been to a lot of museums around the world, and believe me when I say this is a special one.

Lunch on the Waterfront Patio at Turtle Jack’s

You can walk or drive there of course, but the best way to go is by boat! Turtle Jacks is a classic choice, but there are a few great waterfront restaurants to check out. Or, grab takeout from York & Mason, Portside Fusion, or one of the many other choices in Port Carling and bring it down to the docks for a picnic.

Turtle Jack’s and Duke’s at sunset, Port Carling, Muskoka Lakes, Ontario

Going out for ice cream

Check out Mooskokas right in Port Carling, or go by boat to Silver Streams Market on Lake Rosseau. It’s located right across from Port Sandfield Marina. Pro tip: they make amazing sandwiches.

Visit Stone Cottage Antiques (Little Red Barn Antiques)

Or visit one of the many antique stores in the area – there is another along Hwy. 118 that opened this year – just look for the red, white, & blue ”antiques” sign (before you hit Windermere nursery on your way into Port Carling).

Visit the LCBO by boat

The LCBO in downtown Port Carling is located right at the water – park your boat outside and head in for some drinks. This is a unique Muskoka experience and a definite must! Just remember the golden rule – water on the water, and beer on the pier!

My favourite? Jumping off the boat a few minutes before we dock at home, so I can swim in for a drink. Passengers only, of course…

Boating through the locks and up to Lake Rosseau and Lake Joe

Boat from Lake Muskoka up the Indian River to the Port Carling locks, then through to Lake Rosseau. From there you can head toward Port Sandfield, and under the bridge to Lake Joe. Interested in checking out some interesting builds in the area? Message us and we’ll give you a list of must sees!

Taking a friend and her pup out to see Lake Joe, Muskoka Lakes, Ontario.

Visit the Sherwood Inn on Lake Joseph

Visit the spa, have a few drinks, have dinner, or do all 3! I highly recommend having dinner out on the patio – watching the colours change with the sunset over Lake Joe while surrounded by all those big tall trees is just lovely. And the food is amazing, which certainly doesn’t hurt.

Catch a Sunset at Huckleberry Rock Lookout Trail

Huckleberry Rock Lookout Trail is one of the absolute best places to catch a sunset in Muskoka. Watch closely for the white marks on the rocks to follow the trail up to the lookout point – some of the oldest rock in the world at well over a billion years old. The exposed rock dotted with lichens and moss is gorgeous to begin with, but the view is out of this world. You can see right across Lake Muskoka.

This is a favourite of mine year round, but I think fall is the best time to visit (link to fall in Muskoka blog post). Be warned – there is a small portion of the trail which is steep, and the trail can be very icy in the winter.

Just after a Fall sunset at Huckleberry Rock, Muskoka Lakes, Ontario

So there you have it – lots of things to do in Port Carling and Muskoka Lakes! If you need a few more (or ideas for an area we haven’t covered yet), give me a shout at Len@cottageinmuskoka.ca!

Muskoka History – The Port Carling Wall

A couple checking out the Port Carling Wall, Port Carling, Muskoka Lakes, Ontario. Fall 2021.

The Port Carling is 9,028 pictures pieced together into a 111ft. x 45ft. mosaic of the RMS Sagamo passing through the Port Carling Locks in 1922.

There are 906 individual photographs, which depict life in Muskoka Lakes between 1860 and 1960. They can be viewed in the nine foot lower portion of the mural – from there up the photos are replicated.

Don’t forget to find the red and blue Muskoka chair while you’re there – the wall is part of the View the Lakes chair tour, said to showcase the best views in Muskoka.

Happy exploring!

Wearied Buyers, Your Time Has Arrived – Muskoka Spring Real Estate Report

We are starting to see the Muskoka real estate market shift. From the frantic 2021 cottage market season right up until recently, holding offers until a specific date has been a popular strategy for sellers to drive up competition for listings. Listings were seeing a large number of offers and disappearing from the market quickly. Now we’re seeing more of a mix – some listings are seeing multiple offers, and some are quietly removing their request for offers when the day comes and passes with nothing.

One factor in the shifting market we’re experiencing is the Bank of Canada raising policy interest rates by 0.5% in April, one of the major goals of which was to bring inflation levels back to their target 2% (vs. the 6.7% reported in March). This is the first time it has raised rates by more than 25 basis points in more than two decades. Higher interest rates mean higher borrowing costs, which lowers demand. We expect interest rates will continue to be increased until borrowing costs are back to pre-pandemic levels of 3%. The next announcement is on June 1, 2022.

The 2022 Federal Budget also puts a few factors into play that could effect Muskoka’s real estate market moving forward. It focused heavily on housing initiatives, including (among others):

  • A foreign ban on buyers for two years
  • An anti-flipping tax that removes the principal residence exemption for properties that were purchased and sold within the same 12-month period (with some exceptions). The proposed anti-flipping measure would apply to residential properties sold on or after January 1, 2023.
  • Sales tax on all assignment sales. Starting May 7, 2022, anyone selling their agreement of purchase and sale to a new buyer will be subject to a tax of up to 26%

Does this mean the bottom will fall out and prices will go way down? Highly unlikely. Historically, we still have quite low inventory. It’s gone up from 2021, but properties are limited – especially waterfront. Plus, the already strong desirability of living in Muskoka has only increased after the pandemic. On top of that, there is still a large portion of the population approaching retirement age, who are looking to relocate to somewhere like Muskoka for their golden years.

If you’re a buyer, it’s time to shake off the fatigue of last season and get back to your cottage search – with less competition.

I have posted the relevant stats for overall waterfront market activity and waterfront market activity by location below, for our more analytically minded friends.

If you’re looking for non-waterfront stats or anything else that I haven’t included please email me at len@cottageinmuskoka.ca. I’d be happy to send it to you!

Overall MLS Waterfront Market Activity

Muskoka Real Estate Market information on waterfront properties for all of Lakelands North, which includes Muskoka and surrounding areas. Real estate sales activity, dollar volume, months of inventory both actual and year-to-date.
Source: The Lakelands Association of Realtors
Source: The Lakelands Association of Realtors
Source: The Lakelands Association of Realtors

Muskoka Waterfront Market Activity by Location

Muskoka Lakes

Source: The Lakelands Association of Realtors
Source: The Lakelands Association of Realtors
Source: The Lakelands Association of Realtors

Huntsville

Source: The Lakelands Association of Realtors
Source: The Lakelands Association of Realtors
Source: The Lakelands Association of Realtors

Bracebridge

Source: The Lakelands Association of Realtors
Source: The Lakelands Association of Realtors
Source: The Lakelands Association of Realtors

Gravenhurst

Source: The Lakelands Association of Realtors
Source: The Lakelands Association of Realtors
Source: The Lakelands Association of Realtors

Lightning Leaps over Lake Muskoka

I’ve been loving hobby photography lately, but I’d never thought to capture a lightning storm before. As a child I remember being told that lightning came up through the ground (which is only partially true), so I was surprised to check my pics and see the horizontal lightning bolts.

Horizontal lightning bolt over Lake Muskoka in Port Carling, ON.

First: a short explanation of how lightning works, then I’ll explain what I learned about my horizontal lightning strikes! 

Lightning is all about the charges – nature always wants to find equilibrium. It’s a natural static discharge where different areas of the atmosphere equalize in charge. Think of it like when you get a static shock from something – it’s the same process taking place.

The most common type of lightning is cloud-to-ground (CG). Generally CG is negatively charged. This channel of negative charge, called a stepped leader, is invisible to the human eye. When it approaches the ground, positively-charged “streamers” reach up to meet it – which explains the “lightning comes from the ground” misconception! These streamers tend to travel up through tall objects like trees, and when they reach the oppositely-charged leader electric current begins flowing – which is why you’re supposed to avoid standing near trees or tall objects during storms.

Cloud-to-ground lightning via lightningmaster.com

Occasionally, an exceptional amount of positive charge builds up in the upper levels of the cloud. This too must be balanced out, and since the lightning has a longer way to travel it is much more powerful. Usually these bolts travel vertically to the ground, but because of the high difference in electrical potential they can also travel horizontally before going to the ground. This means that these positive cloud-to-ground lightning bolts can strike from a blue sky many miles away from the storm – a “bolt from the blue.” Since positive lightning has higher peak currents and longer continuing currents, it is capable of heating surfaces to higher levels… which also makes it the type of lightning most likely to start a forest fire.

Positive cloud-to-ground lightning, via the Washington Post

So anyway, onto our horizontal lightning strikes! The explanation for these bright horizontal strikes is actually pretty simple – differently-charged areas in the atmosphere are simply seeking equilibrium, this time it happens to be two clouds with opposing charges (cloud-to-cloud lightning). As we learned earlier, clouds can be either negatively or positively charged, and nature always seeks equilibrium.

Cloud-to-cloud lightning over Lake Muskoka in Port Carling, ON

Muskoka Watershed Council’s 2021 Natural Edge Program

Looking for an edge to protecting your Muskoka property? We endorse this excellent program being delivered in Muskoka this summer. Please call us if you have any questions or need any help.

2021 Natural Edge Program


MWC has received funding through Watersheds Canada to deliver The Natural Edge Program in the Muskoka area this summer!

The Natural Edge Program guides landowners through every step of the shoreline re-naturalization process, from planning to planting. It empowers property owners to restore their shoreline, protect their water quality, and create habitat for wildlife and pollinators using native trees, shrubs, and wildflowers.

Participants in The Natural Edge Program receive:A free site visit to discuss shoreline concerns, provide recommendations, and assess planting conditions;
A personalized planting plan, including photos of selected planting areas and ideal plant species;
Free resources to ensure that the newly planted vegetation thrives in the first few years of establishment and growth; and
Follow-up and support with your new plants.
And for landowners wanting to get a jump on planting their shoreline, there are a limited number of Shoreline Re-naturalization Starter Kits available for a low cost, which include:50 native plants including trees, shrubs, ferns and wildflowers
Coconut fibre mats to deter grass from growing around new plantings
Tree guards for all deciduous trees
Mulch for the wildflowers and ferns
Plant Care Guide with instructions on how to take care of your new plants
Habitat Creation Guide
Wildflower Garden Guide
If you would like to receive a site visit this summer, you can sign up at  https://www.muskokawatershed.org/programs/the-natural-edge/.

Is Slow Cottage Internet About to Become a Thing of the Past?

We all know the frustration. You’re trying to open an email attachment with a photo of your grandkids, look at a real estate listing, get some work done, or even just check the weather… and you’d like to not spend all day doing it! While newer internet technologies like fibre are trying to make that a thing of the past, the coverage is majorly lacking. In many areas the fastest high speed internet is just across the street from near-dial-up speeds, and due to the cost and difficulty of rewiring it doesn’t look like that will be changing any time soon. 

Should we just give up and disconnect? No way! Enter SpaceX, with their new Starlink Satellite Internet service. This satellite service will operate via a satellite constellation of at least 12,000 satellites, with more pending approval. According to SpaceX, Starlink will offer speeds up to a gigabit per second – a far cry from rural cottages which often max out at a speed of up to 5Mpbs (a 995Mbps difference!). During the beta testing phase, customers are expected to experience speed variations from 50 – 150Mbps. Even places that currently have no internet availability at all will finally be brought into the 21st century. 

This is not traditional satellite service – Starlink’s satellites are in low earth orbit, which will not only make the service more reliable, but will also help keep down space debris. Each satellite is fitted with an onboard propulsion system to deorbit at the end of its life, and in the unlikely event that system becomes inoperable the satellite will burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere within 1-5 years. At the higher altitudes used by traditional satellite services, this could take hundreds or even thousands of years. Satellite service also means that unlike fibre, you won’t have to have anything wired to your home to receive the fastest speeds available.

Though it is not fully ready for consumers yet, it is operational! Check out this tweet from Elon Musk, sent in October 2019 via Starlink internet!

He followed up with a second Starlink tweet – “Whoa, it worked!!” According to SpaceX, “Starlink is now delivering initial beta service both domestically and internationally, and will continue expansion to near global coverage of the populated world in 2021.”

While we truly do look forward to being able to work online at less molasses-like speeds, I, for one, will be celebrating laser-fast internet with a good ol’ Netflix marathon in my PJs!

Muskoka Lakes Association January NewsBites

As a cottager, I always found news from Muskoka warming this time of year. So here from the Muskoka Lakes Association is January NewsBites.

Courtesy of the Muskoka Lakes Association

Welcome to January 2015 NewsBites

The MLA reminds everyone to check their cottages and homes regularly during the winter season. The Muskoka area has received well over four feet of snow in the last few weeks and we encourage you to ensure your roofs are shovelled. It’s always good to routinely check your property. If you are unable to make the trip to Muskoka, there are many service Continue reading Muskoka Lakes Association January NewsBites

Muskoka Lakes Association AGM

This Friday, the Muskoka Lakes Association will hold its AGM in Port Carling. Details below and here.

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The 121st Muskoka Lakes Association Annual General Meeting will be held on July 25th at the Port Carling Community Centre. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the meeting will begin at 7:00 p.m.

Come and enjoy some refreshments and snacks and have to opportunity to meet other members.  You’ll hear about new MLA programs and updates on activities we’ve undertaken on your behalf.  You’ll also meet incoming President Michael Hart and hear about his ideas for the coming years.

We hope you’ll come out and enjoy an evening with your fellow MLA members.

Please reserve your space by emailing info@mla.on.ca or calling 705-765-5723.

Muskoka Lakes Association – Ministry of Natural Resources – Muskoka Parry Sound Flood Warning update

The Muskoka Lakes Association just sent the following update which includes a detailed report from the Ministry of Natural Resources.
Specific current levels are indicated for the following lakes: Tea Lake, Kawagama Lake, Lake of Bays, Wood Lake, Fox Lake, Mary Lake, Lake Rosseau, Lake Joseph, Lake Muskoka, Go Home Lake, Perry Lake, Doe Lake, Bernard Lake, Cecebe Lake, Ahmic Lake, Forest Lake, Dollars Lake, Crane Lake, Otter Lake and Oastler Lake.
Plus the current status of the river flows for the Big East, North Muskoka, South Muskoka, Oxtongue, Black, North Magnetawan, South Magnetawan, Magnetawan, Moon River, Musquash River and the Shawanaga River.

Here’s the message from the MLA and the linked .pdf below it.

mloa

To: steve@cottageinmuskoka.ca:

As promised, the MLA continues to monitor water levels throughout our catchment area.
The attached freshet update, issued yesterday afternoon, details current watershed conditions throughout Muskoka/Parry Sound.
We encourage you to review the attached document, which provides significant detail, and to take action to protect property if your residence is located in one of the affected areas.

Muskoka Lakes Association

2546_MNR_Update_-_Parry_Sound_Muskoka_-_April_25_2014

Parry Sound, Muskoka: MNR issues a Flood Warning

In case you missed it, the following was Issued by the Ministry of Natural Resources on Saturday, April 12, 2014 at 1:00 p.m.

The Ministry of Natural Resources -Click here to enter text. Parry Sound District is advising residents within flood-prone locations that a Flood Warning is in effect as flooding is imminent. Residents affected by flooding in past years are advised to take immediate action to secure or protect property in advance of river flows and lake levels rising to flood levels.

Those residents that have evacuated their homes in past years due to flooding may wish to make similar preparations at this time as rising water levels will hinder, limit or prevent the ability to evacuate as driveways and roads in lower-lying locations become impassible.

All residents in close proximity to local rivers are advised to keep a close watch on conditions, regularly check for updated messages and exercise caution as river flows and levels rise.

MNR continues to monitor weather conditions and flows and water levels. Further updates to this Flood Warning will be issued as conditions change.

TECHNICAL INFORMATION

Description of Weather System

The current forecast is calling for 45mm or more precipitation beginning the evening of Saturday April 12th through Monday April 14th. The forecast through to next Monday is for daytime high temperatures up to 16 degrees Celsius with near freezing nighttime temperatures.

Description of Current Conditions

The water content within the existing snow pack throughout local watersheds continues to be greater than the normal or historical average for early April. Forecasted temperatures and rainfall will significantly accelerate the melt of the snow pack Saturday through Monday. It is expected that the melting of the snow pack and rainfall amounts will significantly increase the amount of runoff into local rivers and lakes.

Expiry Date: This message will expire Wednesday April 16, 2014; 12:00 pm

Terminology: Notification Levels

WATERSHED CONDITIONS STATEMENT – FLOOD OUTLOOK: gives early notice of the potential for flooding based on weather forecasts calling for heavy rain, snow melt, high winds or other conditions

WATERSHED CONDITIONS STATEMENT – WATER SAFETY: indicates that high flows, melting ice or other factors could be dangerous for such users as boaters, anglers and swimmers but flooding is not expected.

FLOOD WATCH: potential for flooding exists within specific watercourses and municipalities

** FLOOD WARNING: flooding is imminent or occurring within specific watercourses and municipalities.

Contact Information

For more information please contact:

First Nation and Municipalities please contact: 705-646-5531

Other Inquiries please contact:  705-646-5509

A close watch on local conditions and weather forecasts from Environment Canada is recommended. Environment Canada bulletins can be found at http://weather.gc.ca/

The Surface Water Monitoring Centre public webpage can be found here: www.ontario.ca/flood