Monday, 20 October 2008

My Town Monday

My town on this Monday is quiet. As someone 'from away' (I've only lived here 2 years, but cottaged here for 45) I have been looking in on the progress of this town a little differently. I happened upon a My Town Monday group of bloggers and thought I would reflect.

The tourists have gone home, since most stores are closed after our BIG Cranberry Festival (2007 photos of the bog), which ran this past weekend (the w/e after Canadian Thanksgiving in October). It draws hundreds of thousands (2008 photos) of tourists in town --population of 650. The history of Muskoka revolves around cottagers who come north from the big city to play in the water.

I worry about our town. There are several shops and a restaurant for sale, including our big parking lot. Other shops are quite successful; General Store, LCBO, and the stores along the main street. We have a library (open Wed/Sat.), and a bank (only open 3 times a week in winter!). With several stores being closed, people speed through and pick up food at Don's Bakery, or the grocery store, but tourism dollars are down by 30%. We have some terrific shops, with specialty products, and they sell well. But it is a limited season and business owners are dependent upon summer dollars. For this reason townspeople are worried about the Hydro Dam Project.

The Kee, which used to be a dance hall in the big band era (Jimmy Dorsey, etc.), draws a different crowd. Nowadays, it is not always open on a Saturday night. When it is, there is a lot of heavy drinking and incidents have occurred. It was not licensed when I was young, and we visited it every Saturday and saw the bands that we listened to on the record player (how I date myself) and radio.

The Bala Bay Inn is another great spot. Formerly known as the Swastika Hotel -- they changed the name after it became politically incorrect and the swastika symbol was adopted by Hitler.


pattinase (abbott) said...

As Detroit's unemployment approaches 10%, we have so many empty shops.

Travis Erwin said...

I think the rough economy and hihg gas preices are hurting all towns that live off of tourism.

Jenn Jilks said...

I am not sure that the high cost of gas affects our tourists: after all even when prices were $1.35 here, it only meant another $30 per trip. I saw a senior top up his boat tank. He spent $450! He did not blink.

Up here it has been the extensive rain that has affected us. We had a cool, rainy summer.

Thanks for the comments!

Junosmom said...

Hi, Jenny Jill. Nice to meet you! I love cranberries!!!
Thanks for reading my blog, I've signed up to follow yours.

Lyzzydee said...

Very pretty photos, I'd visit if I lived anywhere near there!!

Lana Gramlich said...

Sorry to hear about the economic woes up your way. Unfortunately we seem to have the same down here lately. We moved into a (seemingly) thriving little town & suddenly in the past 6 months a bunch of places have just closed up & gone.

Anonymous said...

I think we are all getting hit hard with the global economic troubles.

I loved hearing about your town and I've bookmarked the L.M. Montgomery Museum as I'm a big fan of her books.

Barbara Martin said...

I loved the Mary Maud Montgomery books. Muskoka is a beautiful place to visit; sometimes I go with friends to their cottages up there.

Jenny, you should tell our neighbours to the south the gas is $1.35/litre, though its dropped a bit now with our lowered dollar.

Good post, Jenny.

debra said...

So glad to see you at MTM. It's hard to live in a town that is dependent on tourism for its economic base. There are so many factors that play into the success of a season.
thanks for an interesting post

Karen Fisher-Alaniz said...

What a great idea to write about how things used to be as opposed to how they are now. Our little town (not as little as yours @ 30,000+) has seen big changes too. I don't know how we're doing as far as tourism goes. Tourism was never a big thing here, but in the last ten or so years, wineries have sprung up all over the place. There are now more than 100 in the area. I don't know that I like it. But it seems to me that people who buy expensive wines have disposable income anyway, so it's probably more unlikely that the economic state of the US will affect this area. But we'll see.

Nice Blog! ~Karen