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April 5, 2000

This Week In Muskoka - early April edition

Is it Spring yet? You tell me: the snow's gone; the lakes are clear; there are tulips coming up in my garden (I guess I can thank the previous owner of this place for that); my house is surrounded by a freshly-exposed two inch blanket of dog shit (my neighbour's Labrador, I resume); and I can now watch Peter Kent's 6:30 p.m. newscast and still be able to read by the light coming in through the window. Of course it's Spring. But springtime in Muskoka means so much more.

In Muskoka Spring means the end of the snowmobiling season. The nights have lost that killer-bees-from-Hell whine; you can get a table at The Bass Lake Restaurant; and every second pickup truck around here is towing a trailer of Ski-Doos off to storage. Yes, the end of the season has come. All that's left to be done is total up the damage. And if you're one of the lucky guys who has a snowmobile trail cutting through your property - that can be extensive. That's why the trails tend to move around a bit from year to year. It's not because those detours are fun. Or convenient. Or safe. People just get sick of the mess. And no... they don't just 'grow back' anytime soon.

In Muskoka spring also means that for the next little while all impaired driving charges will pertain to people in cars... at least until the boating season opens, anyway.

Meanwhile the maple sugar season is in full swing and the local service clubs are all running with it by hosting fundraising pancake breakfasts. If I may loosely quote Ali MacGraw, "Fundraising means never having to say 'these pancakes are cold". And by the way, you know you don't spend enough time in Muskoka if you think 'sugaring off' sounds either sleazy, disrespectful or extremely painful.

But this year tulips aren't the only things poking their heads into view - there have been several flasher incidents in beautiful downtown Bracebridge as well! Someone took the term 'dinky little town' a little too literally. And judging from the very different descriptions of the perpetrator(s), it's either the latest dance craze or the rest of the guy didn't leave much of an impression.

But it's nice to see that the other big craze of this winter - show-and-tell with dad's shootin' iron at school - seems to have come to an end without a shot being fired. Luckily in Canada just showing up with a piece is enough to prove you're a crazed badass nutball - you don't have to rack up a body count to drive the point home.

Meanwhile the front page of this week's Examiner proclaimed "Downtown dirty and dark says BIA". And deserted, too if you're there after 5 p.m. when all the stores close, guys. Hey... is that Sergio Leone music I hear?

Speaking of business improvement, several young entrepreneurs had their hopes and dreams dashed this week when they were fined $10,000 for an overly successful agricultural venture. Apparently a harvest worth $3.5 million is a bad thing when it's marijuana. Now if it had been hemp we might have been able to weasel these guys out of trouble on a New Age hipster/ doofus Save-the-Planet ticket

And speaking of controlled substances, you can't order the Cannabis Resin Super Sub at Fenbrook Medium Security's Mr. Submarine outlet anymore. Chantal got fired. Bummer, eh?

While we're on the subject of brushes with the law, regular readers may recall that I've mentioned Hwy. 169 was very popular with the O.P.P. Emily (Pedal-to-the-Metal) Armstrong of Toronto found that out the hard way this week when she was clocked doing 152 kph in a posted 80 kph zone. Pizza Pizza says she's got a job there anytime - provided she still has a license when the O.P.P. are finished with her.

The Yuppification of Muskoka continues unabated in Port Carling as what used to be Murdon Marine is turned into The Mahogany Emporium. I smell knickknacks and crested sportswear! It's scheduled to open in May. So far they've driven a few pilings into the water. Unless they're lowering this thing into place prefab from a Sikorsky Skyhook - I'd make that July. Mid-June if they pull a few all-nighters.

Other news in brief: no one can figure out how much it costs to rent ice time at the Bracebridge Arena; Home Depot with either kill Bracebridge or be its crowning glory (depending on who you talk to); and the Aston Resort has gone belly up and risen from the ashes as a Holiday Inn (now what do you do with a granite monolith with a dolphin carved into it?? Any local Miami fans need a headstone?).

That's Muskoka in a nutshell for this week. Consider yourself abreast of the issues.

READ ON (Mid April Edition)

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