Ian MacKenzie's
SO MUSKOKA - what you've missed
More Not So Current EventsBACK
January, 2001

Late December - January Edition

I was out of town from late-December through January and I must admit that coming back and reading six weeks' worth of papers was truly depressing!
I like Bracebridge. I've met some great people here. But if you were to rely on local newspaper accounts of the place you'd swear it was some in-bred backwater hick-town in the Ozarks. Thems who ain't goin' a few rounds with the wive and drivin' while intoxicated are getting arrested for break and enter, shoplifting, and this year's fav rav felony/misdemeanor - uttering threats. What is it with 'uttering threats'? Is this a new crime or are the police just getting touchy about drunken louts screaming "I'm gonna kill ya!" from the back seat of the cruiser. Here's a few of January's lower points to give you an idea of what I'm talking about...

Driving while intoxicated (dozens)/ ski-dooing while intoxicated (dozens)/ resisting arrest (high speed ATV chase after intoxicated guy who turned out to be carrying enough dope to get him into even MORE trouble)/ harassing phone calls to ex-wifes (2)/ harassing phone calls to underage girlfriend ( 1 and you get a side order of sexual assault with that since she's too young to consent, Sparky!)/ sexual assault in a hotel room (mental note: tell teenage niece to never agree to meet obsessed ex-lover in a motel room at 1 a.m.)/ brandishing a firearm (19-year-old Gravenhurst gal finds out scaring school kids with an air pistol is a bad idea that's further complicated when the cops show up and you're holding a few ounces)/ dangerous driving causing bodily harm (30-year-old guy from Severn Bridge finds out that if you're going to evade a R.I.D.E. checkpoint you'd best step on the gas BEFORE the cop sticks his head in your window - dragging the guy 30 meters does nothing to endear you to the local constabulary)/ single vehicle alcohol-related accidents galore/ single snowmobile alcohol-related accidents galore/ and at least eight folks charged with threatening to kill everyone from their spouse and the attending O.P.P. officers to the talent scouts sent from the Jerry Springer Show.

Apparently I'm not the only guy who noticed the above social trend. The Muskoka-Parry Sound Health Unit's winter ad campaign began, "More drunks live in Muskoka-Parry Sound than anywhere else in the province". People got pretty cheesed over that. Luckily, few of those people were sober enough to actually call the Health Unit and complain.

Thinking of coming to Bracebridge? You'd best take a circuitous route if you do because the main bridge into town is now closed! The Silver Bridge (the one at the falls at the foot of Manitoba Street) is closed for repairs until sometime in mid-May.

The Roads Department has announced that their budget is going to be shot to hell this year. Is it all the snow we're getting? Sort of. Is it the crippling price of gas? Sort of. So what is it that's going to soak up all that extra money, you ask? Sand. The price of delivered sand has shot up 13% in the past couple of months. Those damn Arab sand-exporting cartels! If only we had some of our OWN...

Port Carling residents had best not hold their breath for their water treatment facility to be finished - Carosi Construction walked away from the job back in November over contract disputes with the town and it doesn't look like they'll be returning any time soon. If the building is completed sometime this summer it'll be a miracle. The dispute was over cost overruns. Seems when Carosi et. al. (they're from Mississauga) started digging the foundation for the plant they ran into rock. Rock?? In Muskoka?? Whodda thought....

The Bracebridge Examiner's Martha Armstrong gets this month's Fullerton Prize for Local Journalism for her piece on the deterioration of the buildings in downtown Bracebridge. She described one instance where "a piece of paint the size of a woman's torso" fell off a building. Now there's an American Psycho mental image for ya... But is that a Japanese woman's torso or a Russian woman's torso? For passersby it could make the difference between a headache and a compressed vertebrae.

There was a break-in at Bracebridge Taxi and it wasn't just a run-of-the-mill 4 a.m. shoulder-to-the-door deal, either. Someone called both cars to opposite ends of town knowing that the dispatcher would have to lock up to take that second call. Then they snuck in and stole two silver dollars! That's no break-in - it's a CAPER! Movie rights are no doubt being negotiated.

With the bumper crop of snow there comes a skyrocketing incidence of snowmobile thefts. The local constabulary published a list of tips to help safeguard your sled. Tip #1: remove the key. They flatter us all that they didn't start with "Turn it off".

Speaking of sledding, the Happy Wanderers can breath easier these days - they're no longer the laughing stock of Ontario snowmobile clubs (although the name's gonna still get chuckles, trust me). The club has finally settled their dispute with a landowner on the Bracebridge-Baysville part of the trail.

Moose hunters take note: you've got to shoot what you've drawn. Swapping tags with your buddies in the next camp, while logically sound, is illegal. The thousand dollar fine makes all that 'free' meat cost the equivalent of prime rib. Shooting moose you DON'T have a tag for is even more of a transgression as far as the Ministry of Natural Resources is concerned. Shooting the MNR's fake moose... from the cab of your truck hastily parked on the shoulder of Hwy 118W... is not only wildly illegal but stupid to boot.

Those of you who have looked longingly at the parking lot of late-model cars at the Dura plant can take heart that there aren't as many now as there were a while ago. The recent dip in the auto industry has already translated into layoffs at suppliers.

How can you tell that it's winter in Muskoka? Counterfeit hundreds turn up in Gravenhurst, that's how. It seems to be a yearly thing now. "Hey Earl, print up another few hundred - the rent's due!" Maybe I'm just small-time but if I was going to counterfeit something I'd be making fake quarters - nobody knows what to expect when they look at a quarters these days anyway! You could put Dudley Doright on it and people would say, "Oh, there's a new cartoon series out!"

If you go to Timmies you have two choices: lock your car, or take your laptop inside with you. You decide which is easier.

Someone in the Examiner took great pains to write a story about the Canadian/Norwegian building project going ahead at Muskoka Airport. All they didn't mention was WHY? But it's an historic occasion, don't ya know, and the King of Norway is going to open the building when it's finished in 2002. The tension mounts...

If you wear baggy-ass pants and comb your hair straight up you'll be pleased to hear that Bala has given the green light to Wakestock 2001. Whooooooo-WHO!

Some people who thought they had a $2 ticket on a snowmobile draw got a surprise when they received $2 back in the mail. Seems one store didn't get their tickets into the drum in time for the draw. Muskoka - we may be inept but we're honest!

READ ON (February 2001 Edition)

BACKQuestions or comments about this article,
email Ian MacKenzie

For a more general view of Muskoka, its Businesses, its Attractions & its History click HERE


All text Copyright © Ian MacKenzie
Home | A Brief History Of Mine | In A Perfect World