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July, 2000

This Week In Muskoka - Early Summer Edition

Note: Rumours of my death were highly exaggerated. While it is true that I haven't updated this site in a while I am not actually dead - summer in Muskoka can get busy, no? But fear not - I will get caught up. There's a teetering pile of Examiners, Weekenders, Advances, Suns and Muskokans in the corner of my office to remind me what went down. Or at least THEIR take on it...

I use that term 'summer' loosely, mind you. It's been colder than a mother-in-law's kiss around here and we've seen more rain than Noah. But as we say to depressed cottagers, "Nice to get up here just the same, eh?"

With all that rain comes incredibly high lake levels, a rotating system of road washouts, power outages, lousy fishing and droves of angry tourists itching to kill the next person who says, "Nice to get up here just the same, eh?" Things can get dicey when you're dealing with folks who just realized they're paying crippling big lake taxes to sit inside and watch Oprah on Bell ExpressVu. One must proceed with caution when kidding.

Those of you who used to drop by Clevelands House for the water ski show will have to adjust your fire this year - the ski show has moved to The Lake Joseph Club. Why the move? It could be for the increased parking. It could be for the increased dock space. Or it could be for the increased drink-yourself-cool bar tab offered the participants. I'm going with the latter but that's just me.

You may notice that downtown Bracebridge looks different this year. But amid the game of musical storefronts that went on last winter there was one less-than-popular move - what was once Shards 'n Shavings is now occupied by an accountant's office. Local merchants would have preferred to have a business in there that generated more walk-by traffic. The ever-optimistic number-cruncher defends his move claiming his office is very busy. Apparently no one told Sparky that the shell-shocked recently-audited rarely do much shopping on their way to the nearest cliff...

Hwy 118 between Bracebridge and Port Carling is smoother than a baby's ass now but it was a nightmare for a while there while Fowler Construction resurfaced it. And whose trucks are primarily responsible for the fact that the road surface was all ripped to rat shit in the first place? You guessed it - Fowler Construction. Nice gig, eh? It's like the town dentist running a candy shop on the side.

Those of you who have been up here may have noticed that the Lady Muskoka looks a little different this year. It's still wicked ugly, of course, and it still sounds like a landing craft heading for Omaha Beach. But it's longer now - they dragged it out of the water last fall, cut it in half, and added a section to the middle. I'm told it initially sank when they relaunched it but hey, who hasn't, at one point or another, put a boat in the water that was missing a drain plug?

Just before the Reform... oops... Canadian Alliance leadership campaign Muskoka was hit by an avalanche of candidates as Tom Long, Preston Manning and Stockwell Day all converged on the area to drum up support. Which meant that the big fashion question of the day had to have been: so what colour of tie looks best with a brown shirt?

The Bracebridge Farmer's Market is in full swing again. Look for it Saturdays in Jubilee Park next to the Centennial Centre on Wellington St. Farm fresh food at room service prices.

If you're thinking of taking a taxi somewhere in Bracebridge this summer, think again - seven of Bracebridge's ten registered cabs were taken off the road after they failed to pass a Ministry of Transportation inspection. And this after the cab companies were given a week's notice of the upcoming inspections! Which leaves one wondering: if you DO manage to find a cab in this town are you lucky? Well... are you punk?

Hats off to Bracebridge Examiner summer cub reporter Allyson Snelling for her work covering the Muskoka International Air Show in late May. It's not everyone who gets to blow their chow all over the instrument panel of one of the Snowbird's Tudors.

If your kid was fond of the playground equipment behind the Centennial Centre you might want to hold off on taking them there this year - it was condemned in May. If your kid was injured there last year - that may be why.

The relatively new Cranberry Marsh Cove Resort near Bala seems to be doomed to have the worst press image since Slobodan Milosovic. There were so many rumours floating around about their expansion plans for the wetlands they own across Hwy 169 on Lake Muskoka (huh?!?!?!) that the resort's management took out a full page ad in the local paper to give their side of the story. An approach obviously designed by someone who subscribed to the theory that there's no such thing as bad press. But many would argue it spread more rumours than it put to rest.

And lastly... the Kinsmen club of Bracebridge outdid themselves with an excellent Canada Day fireworks display. But if I may offer some advice for next year: fire the warm-up announcer! The job ain't as easy as that shmoe thinks it is.

READ ON (August Edition)

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