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Tiny Homes In Muskoka

With property prices still high in Muskoka, homeowners on a budget are downsizing – in some cases literally. 

The modern-day trend of tiny homes, popular across Canada, has reached cottage country. From a proposed ‘tiny home neighbourhood’ in Huntsville, to cute cottages in Gravenhurst, the tiny home movement is gaining momentum as would-be residents get creative in response to the hot housing market.

 

What are tiny homes?

The modern tiny house trend can be traced back to the 1970s when environmentalists raised concerns over large-scale development. It really picked up in the 2000s however after the Great Recession and has grown since then thanks to more emphasis on sustainability and affordability.

The province of Ontario defines a tiny home as ‘a small, private, and self-contained dwelling unit’, no smaller than 17.5 sq m or 188 sq ft. The dwelling must have living and dining areas, a kitchen, a bathroom, a sleeping area, and be designed for year-round use. They should also be equipped with necessary services like water and sewage.

 

Can I build a tiny home in Muskoka?

They may be small, but tiny homes still have to comply with both local bylaws and the Ontario Building Code. And in many areas of Muskoka, they are unfortunately still illegal.

Anyone wanting to build a tiny home should check with their local municipality – different areas have different bylaws and you’ll also need a building permit issued by your municipality before you can start construction.

You stand the best chance of getting a permit in the Huntsville and Gravenhurst areas, which are proving the most progressive on the issue. There are still limitations in those areas though – homes must be built on a foundation (Ie not on wheels or otherwise moveable), have the necessary building permits, and meet the Ontario Building Code and local zoning ordinances. 

Other areas have been slow to move on embracing the tiny home movement, but advocates are pushing the issue into the spotlight and the upcoming election is further adding momentum. Candidates in the Parry Sound district have already voiced their support for legalizing the small structures as a solution to the affordable housing crisis. 

With real estate rocketing and demand for more affordable homes growing, tiny homes may well be the cottages of the future. 

 

If you’re buying or building a cottage, we can help turn it into your dream home – no matter the size of your property. Muskoka Window & Door Centre is the region’s premier supplier of high performance doors and windows. Our expert team has years of experience in door and window installation, working with the biggest and best names in the industry. To find out more about our products and installation services, get in touch today.

6 Must-See Muskoka Waterfalls

Cottage country is known for its lakes, but they’re not the only stunning water feature worth checking out. Muskoka is home to some of Ontario’s most dazzling waterfalls, carved out of the unique topography of the Canadian shield.

Many are clustered around Bracebridge, making them an easy hop for a Sunday drive if you’ve a home in Huntsville, Gravenhurst or around Lake Muskoka. Others are nestled in the area’s provincial parks, delighting hikers and adding breathtaking beauty to scenic lookouts.

Refreshing in summer, shimmering in winter, these eye-catching cascades will make you fall in love with the Muskokas all over again.

 

  1. Bracebridge Falls

It’s hard to miss the Bracebridge Falls. For one thing, you can hear them roaring from town thanks to their convenient downtown location on Wharf Road. Covered by the iconic Silver Bridge, this is a picture-perfect scene that’s well worth a visit if you’re enjoying Bracebridge’s lively shopping scene or just feel like strolling around town.

 

2. Hatchery Falls

You’ll have to strap on your hiking boots to see Hatchery Falls, but you won’t want to miss this classic rock-hewn waterfall fringed by dense forest. 

West of Utterson, at the south end of Skeleton Lake, the falls are accessible off Fish Hatchery Road. Park at the former fish hatchery and follow the signs to pick up the trail across the field and into the woods. The well-marked path will lead you right to the falls within 15 to 20 minutes. 

 

3. High Falls

Back in Bracebridge again, this time for four waterfalls in one. 

The High Falls water park, located on High Falls Road to the north of Bracebridge, contains four waterfalls on one site making it a must for waterfall enthusiasts. 

Here you’ll find High Falls, Little High Falls, Pott’s Falls, and Muskoka Canyon Falls – all natural rapids that offer keen photographers plenty of stunning shots. The area is well signposted, with plenty of hiking trails so you can easily wander to the waterfalls, enjoying gorgeous views along the way. 

 

4. Ragged Falls

Just before the entrance to Algonquin Park, on Highway 60, you’ll find Ragged Falls – a stunning cascade that’s regularly named one of the best 10 waterfalls in the province.

Churning into the Oxtongue River, the whitewater rapids are an impressive sight. It’s a short walk from the parking lot to the lookout so you don’t even have to break a sweat. Pack a picnic or just soak up the peace of this geological marvel, it’s an experience you won’t forget in a hurry.

 

5. Skeleton Falls

Also known as Minnehaha Falls, Skeleton Falls is a remote waterfall perfect for when you want to escape the busy Muskoka highways and immerse yourself in the natural playground of cottage country.

It’s a steep cascade with downstream rapids so take care when visiting the site. Located off Highway 141, the high falls are just as pretty in the colder months than summer. In deep winter, the slower-moving torrents freeze over, giving a gorgeous glacial effect. In summer, it’s a good idea to bring bug spray – locals say the falls take their name from the over-zealous mosquitos who only leave skeletons in their wake.

 

6. Wilson’s Falls

It’s worth taking a full day to explore Wilson’s Falls in Bracebridge. These pretty falls meander down rocky layers of the Canadian shield, gently rushing into the north branch of the Muskoka river. 

There’s a picnic area nearby along with plenty of walking trails and swimming spots for lazy summer days. If you’re in the mood for a lengthier hike, take the Wilson’s Falls trail, a 3.6 km loop that takes you through deep forest, sleep slopes and rocky terrain.

 

Muskoka Window & Door Centre can refresh the windows on your Muskoka cottage or home. Contact us for an estimate today! 

Vinyl vs Aluminum Windows – Which to Pick?

Home renovations are a great way to increase the value and curb appeal of your Muskoka cottage, but they can also be a huge headache and for many homeowners, the biggest challenge is choosing the right materials.

When it comes to windows, two of the most popular options on the market are aluminum and vinyl. More durable, less expensive, and easier to maintain than wood, these modern materials have a lot to offer but there are a few key differences that’ll help you decide between the two. 

 

Aluminum vs Vinyl – how do they compare?

There’s a few things to bear in mind when shopping around for window frames. 

Appearance is usually the first consideration, you want something that will beautifully frame your cottage country views while blending with the overall style and personality of your home. Cost is another key factor, especially when budgeting for a big project that goes beyond your windows. 

When you get your new windows, how much maintenance are you prepared to do to keep them in top shape? Are you a year-round homeowner who’s always there to do the little touch-up jobs? Are you confident in your DIY skills? How much wear and tear will these windows have to withstand?

Also think about durability. If you’re lakeside, you’ll need sturdy windows to keep out the moisture. Perhaps your property is on higher ground and regularly buffeted by high winds. You want windows that can withstand the elements and won’t need replacing a few years down the line.

Appearance

Many cottage owners in the Muskoka area favor the wood look – traditional, rustic, and in keeping with the region’s rich natural beauty. Wood tends to be high-maintenance and high-cost however, making vinyl a better option. Vinyl frames are usually thicker than aluminum and can be given a textured, faux-wood effect that’s just as good as the real deal. Leading manufacturer Euro Vinyl specializes in continental-style vinyl frames that help create a timeless, classic look. 

Aluminum doesn’t mimic wood as well, but it’s a good choice for anyone interested in a more modern look for their home. With thin frames and a smooth enamel finish, aluminum windows give your home an elegant upgrade. Manufacturers Andersen and BigFoot both offer industrial aluminum frames for innovative contemporary design.

Maintenance

Aluminum frames are finished with enamel, vinyl frames are typically finished with dyes. This means that vinyl edges ahead when it comes to upkeep.

Aluminum is more likely to fade, chip, and corrode than vinyl which keeps its color for longer. It’s also worth bearing in mind that aluminum frames usually come with steel or zinc fixtures, which can corrode over time. While you can mostly leave vinyl windows alone, aluminum must be cleaned semi-regularly as they can build up condensation, you should also take care to lubricate any metal hinges and openers to keep them operating smoothly.

Durability

Aluminum frames are stronger than vinyl, making them a great option if you’ve big windows that dominate your space. Strong and structurally robust, you can rely on aluminum to withstand snow, winds, rain and whatever else the weather throws at it. 

Insulation

Vinyl windows are the star performer when it comes to energy efficiency, securing your home so the heat won’t leak out and drive up your utility bills. Aluminum conducts heat and cold so is slightly less green, although this sturdy material is still more energy-efficient than wood or hybrid options.

Manufacturers such as Dashwood and Ostaco offer high-performance vinyl options in a variety of styles, many of which carry the Energy Star label that indicates they meet the highest energy efficiency standards. 

Cost

When budgeting for new windows, savvy homeowners know to factor in not just the purchase and installation costs, but also any future expenses that might arise. 

Vinyl is typically cheaper than aluminum and, given its low-maintenance, can also save you money over the long-term as you won’t have to worry about repairs as much. Having said that, aluminum is the stronger material so while your vinyl frames can put up with more wear and tear, aluminum can handle bigger shocks better.

 

Still can’t choose? Ask the experts!

Muskoka Window and Door Centre is the Muskoka region’s premier window and door installer. We work with a range of top manufacturers across North America to offer windows in a variety of styles and materials. So whether you favor aluminum, vinyl, or a wood composite, we can get you the materials you want in the design you love. Contact us today to arrange a consultation and get started on your window project.

The Best Windows for Your Cottage’s Architectural Design

Whether you’ve a cozy farmhouse on the shores of Georgian Bay, a sleek and sprawling mansion in Huntsville or a classic cottage in Bracebridge, you need windows that perfectly complement your home’s architectural style.

 

Creating a distinct style or theme for your Muskoka getaway means getting every detail just right. But with so much choice on the market it can be tough to know where to start. 

 

The below list gives some guidance on matching your windows to your home’s signature design so you can realise your vision and create the cottage of your dreams.

Speciality styles

Modern and contemporary

 

The modern look is characterised by sleek surfaces, expansive spaces, and a clean, unfussy feel. 

 

To create this airy atmosphere, windows in contemporary homes are all about letting in the light. Oversized panes with dark frames give a bold but simple look, allowing for plenty of natural sunlight while showing off the Muskoka landscape in all its picturesque splendor. 

 

Casement windows are a great option for homeowners with modern taste. These windows are side hinged, opening out to the right or left. They can be installed side by side to cover entire walls so you can replicate the open contemporary look and enjoy sweeping views.

 

You may also want to consider bi-fold windows for sunrooms and outdoor areas. These fold away and discreetly stack against side walls to open up living spaces -again, giving that expansive feel.

 

Ontario manufacturer Bigfoot specialises in high-end contemporary design, offering extra large windows in a variety of glazes and finishes. 

Traditional

 

From cutting-edge to back in time, traditional styles take inspiration from the past with nods to the Colonial era. A traditional design offers flexibility as you can borrow from many different decades to see what suits your home’s structure and setting.

 

Bow and bay windows are popular in traditional styles, giving a classic curved look. Window grilles and lattices can add to the antiquated feel, especially those using old world materials like wood or metal.

 

Door and window manufacturer Andersen offers custom classic styles, made in a range of materials from wood to vinyl. They specialize in energy efficient products, so your old-fashioned windows don’t add to your modern-day heating bills.

Rustic/ farmhouse

 

Buying in the Muskoka backcountry is the perfect chance to get a taste of high-end homesteading – turning your property into a mid 1800s farmhouse. 

 

This look is practical but elegant. Classic wood shutters, high accent windows, awnings, and casements feature heavily in farmhouse styles. Color palettes are generally neutral, with black frames making an eye-catching statement piece out of simple vertical panes.

 

Toronto-based Ostaco has a wide selection of made-to-order casement and awnings that can be designed with your rustic nest in mind. Made with ultra-thick vinyl and available in their ‘true triple’ pane, they’re highly durable and leak-proof.

Long-lasting luxury

 

Style isn’t everything of course. You don’t just want windows that match your look, you want low-maintenance windows that will last.

 

Muskoka Window and Door Centre works with a variety of leading North American manufacturers to provide the best quality products available. They’re made with durable, energy-efficient materials and expertly installed by our professional team – giving you peace of mind that they can withstand any weather or wear and tear.

 

A family-owned business, Muskoka Window and Door Centre has been operating in cottage country for over three decades. Give us a call today to see how we can transform your home.

Cottage Country Boom Shows no Signs of Slowing

Muskoka’s real estate market is heating up. With urban retirees still flocking north to lake country, pandemic-fuelled house prices look here to stay – at least in the short-term.

Buyers are predominantly coming from the GTA and while these wannabe cottage owners are concerned about affordability, they don’t mind splashing out. According to real estate firm RE/MAX, average property prices for a waterfront home in the Muskoka area rose by a whopping 15% in 2021. 

Why cottage country?

Ontario’s cottage country has always attracted interest from buyers looking to leave the city behind. Particularly retirees as they seek to escape the last vestiges of the rat race with an idyllic country retreat.

Renowned for its stunning scenery, friendly communities, outdoor activities, and beautiful homes, the Muskoka area is a no-brainer for those with the finances and freedom to relocate.

And, of course, being so accessible is another attractive selling point. Just a few hours drive from Toronto, lake country is the perfect destination to get away from it all while still staying connected.

Interest has held steady for many years, but the pandemic injected a note of urgency into the market as repeated lockdowns and the rise of remote working led to a migration from urban areas to rural retreats.

As a result, lakeside towns like Gravenhurst, Collingwood, and Owen Sound went from vacation destination to the epicentre of the cottage goldrush almost overnight.

How a hot market benefits both buyers and sellers

A surging market is obviously good news for sellers. Always a lucrative investment, lakefront property is seeing record returns. And in a competitive market, the seller holds all the cards – they can nearly always expect to take more than their asking price, and set the terms of the sale, adding or omitting conditions as they wish.

It’s also generally much quicker to close the deal when demand is high. Average days on the market for a Muskoka waterfront property dropped from 55 in 2017 to 31 in 2021, according to real estate firm Mark Benson, and, as of September 2021, that number was further reduced to 23.

Where does Muskoka real estate go from here?

Buyers may be on the back foot in peak periods, but it’s not all bad news. Record prices are dampening enthusiasm somewhat, which means there’s less chance of properties attracting a bidding war. Instead, small numbers of highly motivated buyers are drilling down on what they want, leading to quick closures and hassle-free negotiation.

In short, the market may still be buzzing, but the frenzy of last year appears to have abated – to the relief of both buyers and sellers.

In 2022, the Canadian Real Estate Association predicts the market will dip slightly from 2021’s record-breaking year, but stay high.

Whether you’ve just moved to cottage country, or need some help getting your home ready to sell, Muskoka Window and Door Centre can help you get your property looking perfect. We work with North America’s leading door and window manufacturers to offer you the most up-to-date styles, features and products for your holiday home. Contact us today to see how we can help with your next construction or installation project.

What is “Energy Star” and Why Should I Look for It on Windows?

Energy conservation may not be the first thing that comes to mind when building or renovating your Muskoka dream cottage or home. But if you’re not using energy efficient windows and doors, you’re missing out on some serious savings.

You can lose up to 25 percent of your home’s energy through leaky windows and doors. So whether you’re trying to cool your lakefront cottage or warm up your Huntsville home, it pays to go green.

Look for the logo

You can easily spot an energy efficient home in the Muskokas from its windows. Just look for the Energy Star logo.

This blue symbol lets you know that the product has been tested and certified to ensure it meets the highest standards of energy efficiency. The Energy Star program is a collaborative effort between government and industry to make manufacturing more energy aware. It’s recognized in both Canada and America, so all North American manufacturers can take advantage of this rating.

For cost-conscious cottage owners, choosing these accredited products is a no-brainer. Energy Star windows are around 20 percent more efficient than the average window, while Energy Star doors are 15 percent more efficient.

And if you really want to bring down your bills, look for Energy Star’s ‘Most Efficient’ label. These windows and sliding glass doors offer up to 55 percent more energy efficiency than average models.

Use any of these products and you could even qualify for Energy Star rebates or incentives to further offset your cottage costs.

Style, sustainability and savings

At Muskoka Window & Door Centre, we want to make sure your lakeside getaway isn’t just beautiful, it’s also taking advantage of the most up to date and reliable energy-saving technology. That’s why we partner with manufacturers who can provide elegant yet efficient windows and doors.

 

In fact, one of our long-standing suppliers, Andersen Windows & Doors, has been working with the Energy Star program for over two decades and, in 2017, received the program’s Partner of the Year award for Sustained Excellence.

From specialty windows to sliding doors, we carry a wide-range of Energy Star-rated products that keep the weather out and the energy in – without sacrificing style for savings.

And, of course, choosing your windows and doors is only the first step. Shoddy workmanship and poor installation can sabotage your efforts to seal up your home, leading to leaks and soaring bills. Our team is very experienced in installing, maintaining and (when necessary) replacing Energy Star products so you’re guaranteed longstanding and secure windows and doors.

Reducing your energy use isn’t just good for your wallet and your home. It also benefits the beautiful Muskoka environment – less energy wastage means more sustainable energy use. 

Boost your conservation credentials with a beautiful set of energy-efficient furnishings and you’ll be indirectly helping to preserve the picturesque beauty of cottage country for generations to come!

Muskoka Window & Door Centre is one of the region’s oldest and most established suppliers and installers of high quality windows and doors. Contact us today to talk to a member of our team about how we can help make your home more energy efficient.

Now’s the Perfect Time to Plan your Cottage Renovation for 2022

Savvy Muskoka home and cottage owners know it’s never too early to plan their next renovation project. From choosing designs to finalizing the small details, home improvement takes time. Starting well in advance will keep you from rushing into upgrades that’ll leave you with a bad case of the reno regrets.

Book early to secure your spot

Ontario cottage country is a busy place even in a normal year, and 2021 has been anything but normal.

Urban dwellers flooded to the lakes in 2021 as pandemic restrictions limited most Canadians to staycations. Seeking respite from the city, cottagers embraced Muskoka’s natural charms but not everyone was content to lounge by the lake.

Many turned their attention to upgrades and improvements, giving the local construction industry a much-needed boost, but contributing to the rising demand for labour and materials. Ask anyone in the area who wanted a job done this year and they’ll tell you – the best in the business were either completely unavailable or working through a huge backlog of clients.

That heightened demand shows no signs of slowing, so it’s a good idea to prepare now if you’re looking to spruce up your Muskoka cottage for 2022. In addition, lumber prices are plummeting, so locking in a price with a contractor now for anything which involves lumber is a good idea economically. 

If you’re looking to redesign your doors, update your windows or simply keep up with the latest styles and specialty products, we can help. 

Muskoka Window and Door Centre has been helping cottage owners with their renovations and home improvement projects for over three decades. Family-owned and operated, we have the experience and know-how to help you realize your vision and bring your dream cottage to life.

We partner with leading North American manufacturers such as Andersen, Bigfoot, and Ostaco to give you a range of choices, from on-trend awnings to the latest sliding door technology. Industry trendsetters, these partners are carefully selected by us to deliver the highest quality products for your home, no matter the size or scope of your project.

 

Off-season opportunities are abundant

Muskoka Window and Door Centre is very well established in the area, so our slots fill up quickly. Most clients book in fall for spring projects, or contact us in early spring for summer jobs. Book with us now, however, and you can have your pick of installation dates in 2022. 

You can even get a jump on renovations by starting in the off-season. Our team works year-round to suit your schedule. We’ve the resources, the experience, and the expertise to fit your windows and doors even in the depths of winter when the snow’s falling. In fact, some homeowners prefer to book upgrades when they’re not at home, finding it more convenient to have the work done in their absence.

If you like the sound of stepping through a new and improved front door in spring, get in touch with us today to talk dates and get started on your Muskoka home or cottage makeover.

The New Generation of Muskoka Cottage and Home Owners

Ontario cottage country is awash with timeless beauty thanks to its gorgeous scenery, but that doesn’t make it immune to change. With all the shifts and upheavals of the past year, home and cottage ownership in the Muskokas is also evolving. While wealthy retirees dominated the local real estate market in the past, they’re now making room for city dwellers, families and would-be landlords eager to scoop up a good investment.

A family affair

Muskoka real estate has always been among the most sought after in Canada, but while the area previously attracted mostly wealthy retirees, it’s now more multi-generational as families from Toronto and the GTA realize their dreams of cottage ownership or make the move up North. 

Boosted by this urban exodus, sales surged in cottage country over the past year as owners aged out of their waterfront havens and family members rushed to sell off their high-demand properties. Homes and cottages that had been in a family for decades were listed and snapped up within weeks.

In 2020 the Muskoka region saw a 42% increase in sales of waterfront property and a 27% increase in sales prices, according to the Lakelands Association of Realtors.

All this activity has ushered in a new era of cottagers – Gen Xers looking to create their own family memories on fresh turf, with most popular areas being Gravenhurst, Bracebridge and Huntsville.

For these new homeowners (many of whom work remotely) a Muskoka cottage isn’t just a recreational property, it’s a place to live, work and raise a family. Some have been able to overcome the price tag shock by selling their GTA properties and using those funds, others are teaming up with siblings or other relatives to make a family investment.

Rental returns

With prices still much higher than in previous years, it’s clearly not every family that can afford to move to Muskoka. Cottage country continues to occupy the premium end of the market – the average sales price of a waterfront home in September 2021 was just over $1.6 million, according to Royal LePage.

In order to meet those costs, many are looking at Muskoka as an investment. Short-term rentals and vacation lets can help the property pay for itself.

 

New owners keen to convert their homes into a source of income are banking on continuing demand as pandemic restrictions ease but international travel remains inadvisable. More staycations means more revenue for savvy buyers willing to let their family home do double duty as an in-season investment.

The new normal

The Muskokas will always have a large retiree contingent, but the generation gap is gradually widening as cottaging changes with the times. Realtors predict that the area will continue to see surging interest from younger first-time buyers. Especially now that the market is cooling, paving the way for more affordable lakeside living.

Whether you’re new to cottage country and putting your mark on your rural idyll, or a seasoned owner in the midst of renovations, Muskoka Window & Door Centre can help create the property of your dreams. We work with North America’s top manufacturers to offer the latest fixtures and furnishings, from three-season windows to specialty sliding doors. Contact us today to see how we can help transform your home.  

Shop Local in Muskoka This Holiday Season

The holidays are right around the corner, meaning you’ll soon be looking to cross off some items on your Christmas lists. What better way to do that than by shopping locally? Shopping within the Muskoka region helps you avoid the inevitable holiday season hustle and bustle of the big city so you can stay right where you’re comfortable.

 

This is an especially important year for shopping locally – business owners are still reeling from the effects of last winter’s devastating province-wide lockdown, making this the very first holiday season since their businesses were forced to shut down.

 

This holiday season, consider shopping locally to show these pillars of the community that you’re fully behind them, and that you value their offerings more than the big box stores or online marketplaces which have become too big to fail. Without support from the community, this could very well be the final holiday season for small businesses around the Muskoka region.

 

The importance of shopping local this year

While things seem to be on the right track now, they were far, far more bleak at the beginning of the year. The 2020 holiday season was a very different one, filled with plenty of fear and uncertainty about the future. Businesses were limited on how many patrons they could have indoors, were subject to ever-changing levels of restrictions, and were about to be hit by the crippling post-holiday lockdown.

 

These factors severely affected businesses all around the Muskoka area, turning what is usually a joyous and prosperous season into something far darker. This is exactly why it’s so important for local businesses to feel your love this year – giving your business to big box chains and online conglomerates could spell disaster for your favourite local haunts.

 

The benefits of shopping locally

By choosing to shop local, you can help to ensure that these businesses will be around well into the future, generating growth within your community and the Muskoka region at large. Purchasing gifts and other items from local businesses keeps your money within the local economy, creating jobs for your fellow Muskokans, allowing businesses to expand and improve, improving the area’s standing as a tourism destination, and even inspiring others to launch businesses of their own.

 

Not only is it great for the community, but shopping locally lets you find far more creative and unique gifts than you could ever hope to find in a big box chain. Browsing a storefront you’ve always wanted to check out but have never quite made the time to do so can lead you to finding the perfect gift for that special somebody. Maybe it’s handcrafted or artisan made, maybe it’s been produced locally using materials sourced directly from the area, or maybe it’s just a niche item you never even thought existed. When you choose local, you’ll soon find that your gift giving game can be taken up a notch.

 

Myths about shopping locally

Despite many people advocating for shopping locally all year long, there are many misconceptions about shopping within your community that continue to halt the progress of the shop local movement. The most damaging myth about shopping locally is that it’s more expensive. There are, of course, select storefronts which cater to those in search of higher ticket items, but for the most part shopping locally isn’t any more expensive than the alternatives.

 

Purchasing handmade or artisan gifts from stores in the Muskoka region won’t be any more expensive than doing so in a bigger city or seeking out a specialized marketplace online. Even if you discover that the price of that perfect gift is slightly higher here at home than it is in the city,  when you consider how much heart and soul went into the items you’re buying and that every dollar you spend stays within the community, it’s easy to justify a marginally higher price.

 

A lack of selection is often pointed to as a flaw of shopping locally, too. Despite the beliefs of many, variety can absolutely be found at local businesses. If you can’t find exactly what you’re looking for, a small business owner is far more likely to work with you to special order items or work with local craftsmen and artisans to create the perfect gift made to your exact specifications. If it means creating a new loyal customer, local business owners will be far more willing to make the time to work with you than anybody in a big box store or online storefront.

 

This holiday season, reconsider how you want to spend your money – out with the big box stores and faceless online conglomerates and in with the local businesses that do so much for the Muskoka region. Get out of your comfort zone and explore the many local businesses all around you that need your help. You’ll quickly find that the myths of shopping locally are all wrong and that you’ll be able to pick out the perfect gift for the special people in your life.

 

Check out some of the great holiday shopping opportunities in the Muskoka region:

 

Muskoka Window & Door Centre is the Muskoka region’s preferred provider of high quality window and door products. Our showroom is home to some of the biggest and best names in the door and window industry, and our talented team can help you find exactly what you need to make your home more energy efficient and stand out from the crowd. To find out more about the products and services available through Muskoka Window & Door Centre, get in touch with us today.

Catch the fall colors with these scenic Muskoka drives

Nothing beats summer at the lake but if you’ve been a resident of Ontario’s cottage country for a while, you’ll know that Muskoka is at its dazzling best well after Labour Day.

As the nights draw in and the temperature drops, the region blooms with eye-catching color. Vibrant reds, rusty oranges, sunburst yellows – the trees welcome winter with one last show.

Sure, you can enjoy this picturesque display from the comfort of your own cottage but if you really want a view to remember, it’s best to hit the highway and explore.

Muskoka Beach Road – Gravenhurst

This route, which takes you from Gravenhurst all the way to Bracebridge, is a stunning leafy corridor that makes you feel like you’re driving into fall.

The winding road twists and turns, snaking through cool old growth canopy and occasionally opening out onto beautiful lake views.

Ravenscliffe Road to Muskoka Road 45 – Huntsville

If you’re close to Huntsville this gorgeous autumnal tour is a must.

Looping around Lake Vernon, it’s got a little bit of everything – glorious fall foliage, combined with stunning lake views.

This route starts and ends in Huntsville so save some time to explore the town, one of Muskoka’s much-loved gems.

Peninsula Road – Muskoka Lakes

This dazzling drive is a treat for the senses. Save it for a sunny and tranquil fall morning and you won’t be disappointed.

Travelling from Port Carling to Rosseau, the road offers breathtaking vistas over Lake Joseph and Lake Rosseau.

If you’ve got time, head back to Port Carling via Highway 141 towards Utterson. This is another well-known fall favorite that entrances locals and visitors alike.

Midland to Parry Sound – Georgian Bay

Photographers, tourists, and sightseeing locals flock to South Georgian Bay all year round to appreciate its natural splendor.

But the bay is at its beautiful best in fall, when the dense foliage is transformed into a bright kaleidoscope of autumnal shades.

This route starts in the small town of Midland and takes you right up to Parry Sound as you hug the eastern shoreline of Georgian Bay. It’s perfect for leaf peeping, thanks to the diversity of the canopy and glimpses of the bay beyond.

If you haven’t had enough of nature’s charms, hop on a fall color cruise. Boats leave regularly during the season from Midland or nearby Penetanguishene.

Bracebridge to Lake of the Bays

Deep in the heart of cottage country, Bracebridge is a pretty town with plenty of opportunities for fall-inspired roadtrips.

This tourist hotspot is the gateway to cottage back country so it’s worth taking a whole day to get to know the area. Take Highway 117 from Bracebridge to Baysville and follow it around the eastern side of Lake of the Bays to catch some showstopping sights.

If you want to extend your trip, loop around the lake taking Highway 35 up to Dwight before turning south on Highway 9.

 

Whether you’ve just moved to Muskoka, or are a long-time resident, Muskoka Window & Door Centre can help you create the perfect lakeside dream home. Family-owned and operated for over three decades, no-one knows the region like us and our experienced team is always available to help newcomers make the most of their property.

From door installation to window fittings, we offer a range of home services. Get in touch today to see how we can help with your next project.