|The famous Bala Falls|
Numerous city folks refer to us as if we were a town, and this demands clarification. There is only one Muskoka, it is not: 'The Muskokas'.
Muskoka is could be named for Mesqua Ukie, the Ojibwa leader associated with the area during the 1800's. It was then the hunting grounds of a band led by Chief Yellowhead or Mesqua Ukie. There is a Yellowhead institute.
About Chief Yellowhead William Yellowhead (1760-1865), known as Misko Aki or “Red Earth”, was an Anishinaabe leader in what is now Southern Ontario. His traditional territory stretched from East Toronto, through Lake Simcoe, and to hunting grounds in Muskoka, Ontario (the township is named after Yellowhead).
Yellowhead led his people through some of the most oppressive periods of British colonization. This included being at the first reserve experiment in Canada and subject to numerous fraudulent land surrenders.It is a region, and includes the Township of Muskoka Lakes.
The District Municipality of Muskoka was established in 1971. We have 57, 563 residents (StatCan, 2006), with that 20, 658 summer homes, increasing our population to about 130,000 in the summer. From its glory days of logging precious little remains. Most buildings were made of wood in the early years (late 1800s) and most have burned at least once since those wood stove days.
Each layer of government has different responsibilities. This extra layer is disconcerting as various stakeholders want to have input.
Values clash in many provinces between residents, large landowners, First Nations, seasonal tourists, hunters, business owners, Cottager or Ratepayer Associations, and it is important that we respect the needs of all to preserve our beautiful place.
Levels of Canadian Government, a learning activity I created with students:
The individuals towns are looking at fire and first responders, parks, arenas, trails, cemeteries, zoning by-laws, building permits and inspections, libraries, by-law enforcement and public docks.
The following six Area Municipalities comprise the lower tier in Muskoka:
- The basis of the Muskoka economy is tourism with over 11,000 people employed in the Tourism and Service sector. This represents 43% of the labour force.
- In 2001, over 1.7 million tourists came to enjoy the lake-based environment in Muskoka and spent over $1.25 million.
There are over 120 resort facilities in Muskoka, all centred on our local lakes and rivers.
- A study of second homes in Muskoka was conducted in 2004 by the District Municipality of Muskoka.