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January, 2002

January Edition

You know you're living in a small town when you don't need a watch to time
the arrival of the New Year's first baby - you need a calendar.
Bracebridge's newest Madison is Madison Anne Reid, born Monday January
7th. I've always thought length and weight details were best left to
fishing derbies but people seem to want to know: 8lbs., 12.5 oz., 20"
long. While we're at it, Bracebridge's oldest resident is Allen Meyer.
He's 106. No one seems to care what he weighs.

The biggest news around here this January is the snow - or lack thereof.
Last year at this time the snowmobile trails had been up and running for
weeks. This year they're just getting off the ground. And forget about
lake travel - it's been so mild that most of them are still open water.
You'd be best off to make a few phone calls before attending your favorite
winter special event - many of them have been canceled or postponed due to
spring-like conditions.

Speaking of warm weather, it's been so warm that a number of migratory
birds didn't live up to that reputation. Bad call on their part - winter
did show up around Christmas time and the birds ended up at A Wing and a
Prayer Bird Rehab Centre in Utterson. You'd think they'd have known
enough to fly south but hey, why do you think they call them loons?

ed everyone to a meeting of The Alzheimer Society of Muskoka on Friday, January 31st at 2 p.m.. Try circling that date on your calendar...Economic slowdown my ass - Bracebridge is boomin'! Boomin' Part I: The new Independent Grocer store behind Canadian Tire is up and almost clad. It's huge! You could repair aircraft in there. That's gotta be giving whoever owns A&P nightmares. Boomin' Part II: A whack o' new condos have fallen out of the sky and landed alongside the river near Bracebridge falls. Let's hope these ones aren't sitting on the same toxic cocktail that lies under the condos 300 feet to the South...

Wakestock 2002 is a go-fly for August 9 - 11 in Bala. It was close though with only one vote between should it stay or should it go. As an example of the qualified Wakestock debate: one counselor at the meeting questioned the need for a beer tent at a sporting event.

Speaking of Bala, those of you who take Hwy 400 to get into town can take heart that an agreement has been reached with the Wahta Mohawk band that will allow the MTO to widen the highway through the reserve in exchange for 8,300 acres of disputed lands, $9 million in cash and a promise that Wakestock will never be held there.

Warning: counterfeit $10 bills are turning up in Bracebridge. They're hard to spot though since the new bills look and feel pretty cheesy to begin with. For those having trouble spotting the fake banknotes, may I point out that the new ten dollar bill still features Sir John A., not Stompin' Tom.

Soon to come to FOX TV: World's Wackiest Break and Enter Screwups. Our first local entrant's reel would look something like this. Buddy parks his stake-out car on a street for hours casing houses (strike one); chucks his McDonald's wrappers out the window of said parked car (strike two - even rookie cops can pick up on that kind of thing); and when questioned by a garbage-sensitive cop Buddy gives him a fake name (strike three!). Welcome to Fenbrook Correctional - enjoy your stay!

Our second local entrant's reel would look something like this. Buddy steals a car in Orillia, abandons it in Gravenhurst, hoofs it to a cottage, breaks in, and then turns in for the night Goldilocks-style. The problem with all this? Fresh snow. You couldn't get caught quicker if you wrote "Start Search Here" on the hood of that abandoned car.

Our third local entrant's reel would look something like this. Buddy breaks into a cottage that had already been broken into the week previous; cottagers show up to survey the damage from Break In #1 and walk in on Break In #2; Buddy decides to graduate from misdemeanor to attempted murder and caps both cottagers (luckily both survived). This was last winter. Buddy's trial is now up. But first various legal giants have to determine one thing... is Buddy stark raving mad, mad as a hatter, or crazier than a loon?

Note to drunken bar patrons: when people advise you to 'take a cab home' they are referring to you being a customer, not the driver. After being picked up at a local watering hole, one of Gravenhursts' newest guest of the Crown became enraged when the cab driver didn't know the way to his house. Since explaining the route can be difficult when your tongue has gained three pounds, it was easier for this customer to just club the driver over the head and commandeer the cab. The problem with all this? He'd already told the driver his address. Unlike the cabbie the police had no problem finding the house.

But Gravenhurst isn't the only place where serious crimes come out sounding silly: a Bracebridge resident is now a guest of the Crown after assaulting his wife - with a pizza.

Local jazz singer Laura Rosch is headed to South Korea for a four month gig. I just saw a documentary on TV where gals who were hired to sing in Brunei got there and were told that buttering the imperial poo-ba's toast was part of the package. Hope Korea's different, Laura!

What do you do if you're new to the area and trying to start up your own contracting business? Why not threaten passersby with a machete in a drunken haze? Gravenhursts' newest Outstanding Citizen (out standing by the police car) is now a guest of the Crown but promises (maybe threatens) he'll be back when his sentence is over.

A Bracebridge teen arrested with baggies of marijuana in his ski hat tried to get out of his arrest by contending he hadn't bought the drugs - he was selling them on consignment. Apparently that's illegal, too.

You know it's going to be an interesting year when the biggest issue facing the Town of Bracebridge is where to hang the limited edition litho of Kris King they recently sprung for. And before you get mad that counselors are wasting tax dollars, get this - they paid for it with their own money! At least they're keeping the economy rolling.

The next Lieutenant Governor of Ontario will be James Bartleman. James scores big with me on three fronts: he's a local boy ( born in Orillia/ grew up in Port Carling); he'll be the first aboriginal LG; and he's not Hillary Weston. I think we can put away the Grey Poupon for a while.

Note to drunken boaters: the O.P.P. hate playing Hide & Seek. Especially late at night. On the lake. When it's getting cold. While zipping off into the night and then killing the power and lights might keep your friends from following you, that's because they have better things to do. The cops don't have ANYTHING else to do. They'll keep looking until the find you. And when they do they won't be happy. Today's marine forecast: heavy fines with loss of license for at least a year.

Bracebridge: The Strong-Arm Capital of Northern Ontario. And no, it's not because we have more than our share of loan sharks - that's Woodbridge. Bracebridge is home to World Arm Wrestling Championship medalists Wenda Orchard (two golds) and Earl Wilson (one each: gold, silver and bronze). Joey Costello also competed and placed fifth and seventh (I think that's aluminum and manganese).

If you have a cottage on lakes Muldrew, Wood or Tasso take note: the Ministry of Natural Resources is considering changes to the dams on those three lakes. Their goal? To eliminate or minimize the MNR's need to monitor the situation. That's got to make you feel better - even the MNR wants less to do with the MNR.

The Commercial Loans Manager at Huntsville's Bank of Montreal has been sentenced to 18 months' house arrest for embezzling about 60 large. If he spent that money on home improvements he'll be in clover...

You've got to love the Weakender - who else could print a lengthy article on Muskoka loppet results and never once bother to mention what the hell 'loppet' is. Whatever it is it takes a lot of room to do it well - the winner took 1:31:30 to complete 30 kms of loppetting.

Want to be Port Carling's version of Paul Weber? Kaos is up for sale. All that sits between you and burger-flippin' fame is $1.4 million. Judging from how it's run at the moment no experience is necessary.

Some places have drive-by shootings. In Huntsville it's drive-by snowballings and they make the front page of the Ads-vance. But in small towns like Huntsville you have to pick your marks carefully. Three Grade 9 students recently made the unfortunate mistake of ambushing a Tai-Boxing instructor and were quickly introduced to the concept of consequences.

First there was The Long March. Now there's Billy's Walk for Camp Oochigeas. The former was China's version of self-flagelation. The latter is Billy Anderson's way of raising money for a summer camp for kids with cancer. Billy's walking from Torrance to Toronto. In January. I guess your feet don't hurt when they're numb.

A Dwight man has been charged with assault with a deadly weapon after a woman reported he snow-plowed her against a building. Someone's been watching the video Beautiful Girls too many times.

The renovations at Bracebridge's South Muskoka Memorial Hospital are almost finished! Sure they're about a year behind schedule, $2.7 million over budget and both the architect and the consulting engineers are being sued by the hospital but hey, ask any cottager - that kind of shit happens.

If you're the kind of person who likes those community suppers put on by local churches and service clubs, then Muskoka-Parry Sound ain't your kinda place. The local health unit has pulled the plug on many of these dinners since hall facilities and kitchens didn't meet their commercial inspection standards. "What? There's no fire-supression stove hood at the Rousseau Community Center?! You can't serve pancakes there!"

Oh, sorry - I almost forgot. January was Alzheimer Awareness Month. The ad in the paper invited everyone to a meeting of The Alzheimer Society of Muskoka on Friday, January 31st at 2 p.m.. Try circling that date on your calendar...

Read On (February Edition)

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