We are almost there – part of the way through March. Lots of snow, ice and cold, but things will look very different in just a few weeks. Here from the Muskoka Lakes Association is the March NewsBites.
Courtesy of the Muskoka Lakes Association
Welcome to March 2015 NewsBites
The MLA is pleased to inform our members that we will be presenting the MLA’s 2014 Water Quality Initiative Report to Bracebridge, Sequin, Gravenhurst, and Township of Muskoka Lakes councillors over the next two months. Water Quality Director Andrew Watson presented our Continue reading Muskoka Lakes Association March NewsBites→
The MLA is pleased to announce that our President, Michael Hart, has met with Township of Muskoka Lakes Mayor Don Furniss, Bracebridge Mayor Graydon Smith, Seguin Township Mayor Bruce Gibbon and District Chair John Klinck. These meetings provided an opportunity for our President to discuss current issues of concern and interest to the MLA and to provide an update on MLA activities. Michael is looking forward to meeting Gravenhurst Mayor Paisley Donaldson in the coming weeks. The MLA looks forward to continued congenial open relations with all District of Muskoka elected officials.
The MLA reminds all our seasonal residents to reserve Monday February 9th, 7 to 9 p.m. to attend the Township of Muskoka Lakes’ (TML) Community Input Strategic Plan meeting at the Hilton Garden Inn, 3201 Highway #7, Vaughan. Your input is critical to the formation of TML’s 4-year Strategic Plan. TML Mayor and TML District Councillors want to hear what you value most about Muskoka. As well, don’t forget to fill out TML’s on-line survey to provide you input to the Strategic Plan. The press release can be found here.
DISTRICT OF MUSKOKA
Sale of a Portion of Airport Lands – At the January 19th District Council meeting, Council held a very passionate debate on whether to sell, or lease, a parcel of land at the Muskoka Airport. In the end, Council voted 13 to 9 to sell the airport lands. Selling the land and receiving confirmed Provincial and Federal government redevelopment funding and resulting creation of local jobs won out over annual revenue from leasing the land. By selling this land, the development potential for an east/west runway is lost along with any future economic development potential on those lands. District CAO Michael Dubin stated that the District typically sells land versus leasing it and that it will still retain first right of refusal to repurchase the land. Lake of Bays Mayor Bob Young called the vote to sell the airport lands “a tragedy”. For that story click here. Although the MLA supports increased job opportunities in Muskoka, an agreed upon, long-term strategic plan would have been helpful prior to this decision.
Bala Falls Entrance Permits Update – Swift River was before District Public Works committee asking for some minor wording changes to the conditions of their entrance permits. It was noted that Swift River has had difficulty obtaining a Performance Bond. Several delegates spoke about risk management and the importance of setting substantial financial securities in place in the unfortunate event something happened to the District’s assets in Bala; namely on District Hwy #169 and the bridge. A representative from the Wahta Mohawks reminded the committee that the government’s Duty to Consult had not yet been fulfilled. As such they requested the entrance permits be stayed until this has occurred. As their letter stated, “It would be most unfortunate for all should Wahta Mohawks find themselves in a position in the future where there are negative impacts caused by this potential development and we are forced to seek legal redress due to lack of adequate consultation.” Committee resolved to change the Performance Bond to a Letter of Credit for no less than $2 million dollars. This issue will be coming back to District Council for approval later this month. The MLA continues to support the District in taking extra care to ensure District assets are protected. The MLA
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→
Not to be missed is this wonderful show at the Port Carling locks. From the MLA:
The Age of Elegance – Saturday August 9, 2014 from 10 am to 4 pm.
Old photographs of life in Muskoka are irresistible. Whether you see them at the Muskoka Boat and Heritage Centre in Gravenhurst or are lucky enough to have peaked into to a friend’s old family album, the images take you back to a dreamy time – graceful old cottages, beautiful mahogany launches, sporty little gentlemen’s racers, and men and women dressed in their finery. What was it like to live in the “Age of Elegance”?
A few of the cottages in those photos have been maintained and can be seen today on parts of the Muskoka Lakes. Not so visible are many wooden boats, several approaching their centennial, hidden away in boathouses around the lakes. Mostly they were built right here in Muskoka for Muskoka cottagers. They may have been bought and sold, but they stayed in Muskoka accumulating history as integral parts of summer life for the generations that interacted with them.
The MLA Antique Boat Show is a bi-annual event held in Port Carling and sponsored by the Muskoka Lakes Association. It was started in 1971 by the late Bob Purves to honour boats that have been built in Muskoka or have spent most of their life in Muskoka Waters.
Come out and enjoy a day with these fine craft and their owners along with displays including vintage outboard motors, seafleas and antique Buicks from the 1920’s. One of our presenting sponsors will also be bringing a brand new Bugatti Vitesse that will be on display for all to see. It’s not very often a million dollar car comes to Muskoka!
The Show is on Saturday August 9 and runs from 10 AM until 4 PM at the Port Carling locks. Admission is free.
This event would not be possible without our presenting sponsors; Grand Touring Automobiles, Northfield Capital, Purves Redmond Insurance Brokers and Walker’s Point Marina.
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.
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.
Residential and cottage activity both up year-over-year in March
Residential sales activity recorded through the MLS® system of Muskoka Haliburton Orillia – The Lakelands Association of REALTORS® numbered 204 units in March 2014. This was up 19 per cent from March 2013. Sales of cottage properties rose 18 per cent from a year earlier to 39 units in March 2014.
“While the year-over-year increases for March 2014 look about the same, residential sales surged above 200 units in the month of March for just the fourth time in history, while cottage sales were still running below the historical average for the month,” Mike Stahls, President of Muskoka Haliburton Orillia – The Lakelands Association of REALTORS®. “In fact, the 77 per cent month-over-month increase in residential transactions from still subdued levels in February to very strong levels in March was the largest on record. This likely reflects, at least in part, the release of some pent-up demand following an unusually harsh winter.”
The median price for residential property sales was a record $225,000 in March 2014, up 13 per cent from a low reading a year earlier.
The median price for cottage sales was $385,000 in March 2014, a decline of eight per cent compared to March 2013.
The dollar value of all residential sales in March 2014 totalled $48.9 million, an increase of 35 per cent on a year-over-year basis and the highest level for this month on record.
The total value of cottage sales was $15.4 million. This was up 20 per cent from a year earlier.
Detailed – Cottage Sales and Median Price by Area
Median Sale Price
The average price information quoted can be useful in establishing trends over time, but does not indicate actual prices in centres comprised of widely divergent neighbourhoods, or account for price differentials between geographical areas and property types.
The area served by the more than 670 REALTORS® who belong to Muskoka Haliburton Orillia – The Lakelands Association of REALTORS®, is located less than a two-hour drive north of Toronto, in the heart of Canada’s Cottage Country. There are several major geographical areas within the Association’s boundaries, including the City of Orillia, Gravenhurst, Bracebridge, Muskoka Lakes, Huntsville, Almaguin Highlands, Lake of Bays and Haliburton. Each of these areas has a unique blend of properties ranging from residential homes located in the City of Orillia and smaller towns located throughout the remaining areas and the prestigious year-round recreational properties on large lakes, and lower and mid-range priced cottage properties on the smaller serene lakes.
We were taken by snowmobile today so we could determine a listing price for a very nice Lake Joseph island property.
We’ve been asked a few times actually, just in the past three or four days: “How thick(thin) is the ice on the big three?” Well we can tell you, as of today it is still very solid. Visibly on Lake Jo, there are no signs of open water except around bubblers and moving water. We have a way to go in Muskoka before break-up.
Below, even right beside the boathouse, the ice is very sound.
We can’t show you the boathouse, the cottage, or anything identifiable on the property yet, as it’s not listed. But, here’s an image I made of the point while waiting for the snowmobile to return to pick me up.
It got up to 8 degrees C today, and really quite lovely, but we have some work to do to get all this ice and snow out of here. Other than today, our high temps have been -2 or so with night temperatures 10 degrees below that. Lake Muskoka is still totally ice-covered, so the cottage awaits.
It looks like temps will be above freezing for … well, after tomorrow.
But, the ice is still very thick; hope so – we have to go price an island property on Lake Jo tomorrow, and we have to go by snowmobile. I might wear a CO2 lifejacket I got as a sailboat gift at Xmas … just for warmth of course.
The single most important thing you can do to protect the value of your Muskoka cottage waterfront property investment is to protect the water quality of your lake. One of the best ways to help sustain/improve water quality in your lake is to ensure you have a natural shoreline and a buffer zone; an area of natural vegetation running along your shoreline.
The function of the buffer zone is to act as a filter for water flowing to your lake, and studies show that they greatly reduce water pollution. The plants and soil absorb runoff water laden with sediments, nutrients and pollutants harmful to the lake. Turf grass does not do an adequate job filtering water runoff, and is very attractive to geese and other nuisance species.
Native Plants … and lots of them! “Ideally the buffer area is thickly covered with native vegetation. The higher the percentage of the ground that is covered, the better your buffer can work. A landscape made up of native plants is low maintenance. Once established, they can survive without extra watering, and without application of pesticides and fertilizers. Native plants are adapted to deal with local bugs and diseases and can get all the nutrients they need from existing soil.”
On the Living Edge Sarah Kipp, Clive Callaway
You can pre-order native plants from the Muskoka Lakes Association.
“The Annual MLA Seeding Day is scheduled for Saturday May 18, 2013 at the Port Carling Community Centre from 9 am to 12Noon. The emphasis this year will be on Muskoka native species. An order form (with pricing) is available from the MLA website here. We have a lot of seedlings available in some of the most wanted species including White Birch, Balsam Fir, White Spruce, Dogwood and Nannyberry among others.”
Order soon as quantities are limited. Orders can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org, faxed to (705) 765-3203 or mailed to Box 298, Port Carling, ON, P0B 1J0
I’m sure the Bonnet Chest isn’t only a Canadian phenomenon. But, if you Google it, you will get lots of Canadian, and only a few US links. Even Wikipedia doesn’t know about them; searching for bonnet chest there will get you nothing. They are not mentioned in the otherwise excellent: The Heritage of Upper Canadian Furniture by Howard Pain. It seems that they may have been a Mennonite piece designed, of course, to protect bonnets. The design made its way into Canada from Pennsylvania and seemed to have become more popular here.
I have always liked their shape. Especially the ones with the upper section projecting out a few inches (chest on chest), highlighting the oversize drawers; makes me want to pull one open and look inside. There’s just something about the lines and the substantial size. So, a bonnet chest has been on my list of things to make for a long time. Recently I saw a fairly good example of what was once a lovely chestnut piece at a cottage we sold. Unfortunately our seller was keeping it, and it moved away.
Now recently, in that case, was more than two years ago. I went out the same week and bought some 4/4 curly maple. It took a couple of weeks a bit at a time to process the rough sawn wood into useable boards. But, it took over a year to build it. Not just because furniture making is done in my spare time. It’s because I was designing my bonnet chest based on ones I liked, while looking at pieces for sale on the local Kijiji and Craigslist.
And while looking, I saw one that I had to buy in Beeton. Over the years it had been pretty much reduced to a pile of water-stained boards, it was 90% apart, had had some type of birds (chickens maybe) living in the lower drawers and all the upper drawers and backsplash were gone – years ago and nobody knew where. But, it was only a hundred bucks or so, what was left was all made of butternut, and the money went to support Beeton hockey so I bought the pile of parts, headed to a sawmill and bought some rough-sawn butternut to replace the missing pieces and took it all home.
It was winter so we weren’t too busy with cottages and within a week or so it was done.
I feel great about saving this one; it could go on for another century or more, rather than rotting away.
We are VERY busy in the summer, and pretty busy the rest of the year, so I got back to the new chest only from time to time. I am fairly slow with carcass pieces to begin with. In addition to turning some 8/4 maple on the lathe for the legs, which took some time to get around to, I knew I wanted to hand-cut dovetails, front and back in all the drawers. This turned out to be 100 dovetails in all, which makes the piece cool in the builders mind, but added a couple of months to the project in “eked out” time.
Anyway, the bonnet chest is complete now, just as the summer is drawing to a close. We don’t have any bonnets, so we keep dog-leashes in one of the bonnet drawers of the old one, and not much at all yet in the new one.