Monday 16 November 2009

The Myths of Muskoka

The myths of Muskoka Housing
There are those who would purport that Muskoka is the land of the rich; the the famous Hollywood names and faces who play here in the summer.

This is far from the truth. There are many who live at less than poverty levels. As I wrote in my response to Cottageocracy, while many life the life fantastic, in the luxury of multimillion dollars summer homes: docktails, summer BBQs, swimming, boating, most do not.

You can see by my photos, that as a region, we are as diverse as any large town.
You can see that our winters demand much from its citizens. Home heating costs are high. 

Many more work long and hard at jobs to support themselves and their families. These are the people who cannot afford to be ill with flu. They are paid hourly wages, and cannot afford to miss a day of work. There are failing seniors, who cannot keep themselves clean, happy and healthy in their own homes, and lack the financial, physical, and social supports necessary to live healthy, happy lives.

Muskoka Interval House, for example, is a support program for women who flee domestic violence, and for their children. It is administered by the Muskoka Womens Advocacy Group. In 2008, 122 women and children stayed at Interval House shelter, in Bracebridge. The Chrysalis Transition Apartments in Huntsville have been consistently full since opening in 2008, with 82 women and children living there in 2008-09.

Services include shelter, transportation, advocacy, crisis counseling, child support, and outreach and groups for women (and their children) who have left an abusive situation. The staff provide personal support for people using the courts, and have a education program for the schools. Group programs are also available for children who witness violence.

Muskoka Cottage Central

12 Nov 2009 ... Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell, Tom Hanks, Eddie Van Halen, Martin Short and... all either own cottages in Muskoka, as do many hockey players

Muskoka: The Malibu of the North - New York Times

16 Sep 2005 ... Or at least Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell, Tom Hanks or Steven Spielberg - all either own cottages in Muskoka or visit often


Gaelyn said...

I guess I never thought of your neighborhood being for the "rich and famous." Just a nice community with what sounds like good services for people in need. Does you social medicine help the down and out?
Another interesting post Jenn.

Carolyn said...

You know Jenn, I personally have not thought or given much notice about the likes of the Eatons, Hanks, Speilbergs, people like this live among us whereever we are. Those which perpetuate the myth are the wanabees and the city folk who bring there city living and expectations to the cottage country and then complain and make cottage country unaffordable for those who really choose to live the remote lifestyle.
We are facing much of that here as people come here because of its moderate climate, can't take the isolation but in the interim have built these monsterous homes, raised taxes and retail prices of homes so those of us who choose to live here can not afford to buy.....and it goes on and on!
Sorry for the rant....smiles

Cloudia said...

I could say "ditto" for my Hawaii home.
There are many real people struggling just to survive - but heating costs are not part of the problem, though high rents are.
Good journalism, Jenn

at the cottage said...

So true Jenn. There are the seasonal residents, of varying income levels, some who work very hard to maintain a summer home and then there are the year round residents.

This is just like any other town in Ontario, or other parts of Canada. We have higher heating costs for the colder winters, no public transit, so we depend on our cars and the high gas prices, and access to specialized health care is that much further away in the larger cities.

Many people rely on the jobs that tourism creates often at minimum wage.

It looks pretty and exciting but in the off season it is like any other community. We are much the same here, although we aren't known as a resort area for the 'priveleged' - yet :| (It is slowly coming) This area was settled by more 'working class' families. Geez I hate labels!

Thanks for a thoughtful post.

Yes Gaelyn, our medical is available to ALL regardless. It isn't a perfect system and has it's flaws, but everyone is entitled to quality health care.