We’re Hiring! Carpenters, Installers, and more… Join our Team

General Muskoka Bylaws & Regulations You Need to Know for Your Muskoka Property

Muskoka Lakes, and other districts in Muskoka, have several property bylaws that ensure homes are kept to a minimum standard. While we have already covered renovation-specific bylaws, these are further things you need to know. 

These bylaws help keep our neighbourhoods and lakes clean and safe. You should be familiar with them and understand your responsibilities as a Muskoka resident to avoid any violations. Some of the most common standards for all properties in the region of Muskoka are listed below. 

 

Waste & garbage disposal

Depending on where you are, waste is either covered under the District Municipality of Muskoka or your local town bylaws or regulations. Here are all of the waste collection rules for the District Municipality of Muskoka. 

All garbage, refuse, and ashes are required to be placed in the suitable container and made available for removal. Each dwelling unit will be provided with a sufficient number of suitable receptacles to contain these disposals that may accumulate on the property, but be sure your receptacles are maintained in a clean and odour free condition at all times. 

 

Roof standards and snow/ice removal

Bylaws for roofs may be dependent on your specific municipality. Below is an example of a property standards bylaw from Muskoka Lakes. 

A roof including the fascia, soffits, cornice, and flashings is required to be maintained in a watertight condition. Under the Muskoka bylaws, you must promptly remove any excessive amounts of ice or snow from the roofs to prevent the leakage of water into your property. 

 

Safe passage and signs

Similar to the bylaws in any city, exterior driveways, steps and walkways must be maintained to afford safe passage under normal use and weather conditions. In addition to this, signs must also be mounted in a safe manner to prevent any hazard to persons or property. 

 

Fire alarms and detectors

The owner of any Ontario property is required by the Ontario Fire Code (Fire Protection and Prevention Act) to have a fire alarm or fire detection system. These systems should be maintained in good working order.  

 

Yards and vacant property

Backyards and any vacant property must be kept clear of all objects or conditions that might cause a safety hazard. Your property should be kept clean, cleared up and free of all garbage, waste material, refuse or other debris.

 

Windows and doors

Windows, doors, skylights and basement or cellar hatchways, must be maintained in good repair, be weathertight and reasonably draught-free, to prevent heat loss and infiltration by the elements. 

Maintenance for your windows and doors includes painting, replacing damaged doors, frames and other components, window frames, sashes and casings, replacement of non-serviceable hardware and reglazing where necessary. The screening of your windows and doors should also be maintained in good repair. 

Old and failing windows and damaged doors are problems that should be addressed as soon as possible in order to comply with the Muskoka property bylaws. Unfortunately, many cottages come with windows and doors much older than 20 years. If you’re planning on repairing or installing new ones, it is highly recommended they be handled professionally. 

Muskoka Window & Door Centre is the Muskoka region’s preferred supplier of high quality window and door products. Our expert team is ready to take on door and window installation projects of any size, from small to large. For a free estimate, get in touch with us today and book an appointment. 

Why You Should Move to Muskoka

The pandemic has changed so much about the way we live our lives. While much of the past year has been so difficult for all of us, a few positive things have come out of it. Perhaps the most significant change is that people who once felt shackled to their desks have now gained the ability to work from home. Not just that, but they now have the ability to leave the hustle and bustle of the city and head for greener pastures. The work from home revolution has seen many people leave the city in search for something more. Many of those people have landed right here in Muskoka, the place we like to think of as perfect.

There’s so much to love about this beautiful region. Not only is it close to the big city, but it contains so many naturally incredible sights and sounds, more events and get-togethers than you could imagine, and the chance to finally slow down and appreciate the little moments in life. There are many reasons why you should move to Muskoka if you have the opportunity, but these are a few of our favourites.

 

More affordable than the city

One of the biggest reasons why people are looking to get away from the big city and seek out smaller towns is affordability. Muskoka is perfect for young adults looking to get away from high-priced apartments, with plenty of well-priced starter homes available. There’s a misperception that Muskoka real estate is expensive, but when you start looking at homes that aren’t on lakes, the price point drops significantly. 

When you move to Muskoka, you can finally have a chance to enjoy things like big backyards and convenient drives to amenities, rather than towering skyscrapers, tiny patios, and seemingly endless commutes. Lower property taxes are another reason to consider Muskoka, making it somewhere worth living all year round rather than just a great summer destination.

 

One of the most beautiful places in Canada

In terms of natural beauty, Muskoka has it all. From its gorgeous clean lakes and flowing rivers to the region’s many jaw-dropping forests, Muskoka will continue to take your breath away year after year. Each season presents beautiful new scenes, too. Have we mentioned fishing? You can start your engines at any one of the public launches at any lake in Muskoka and fish the day away. World-class trout, muskie, bass – you name a freshwater fish, it’s waiting for you to catch it in any one of our lakes or rivers. Just make sure you get your license like a good Canadian. 

There’s nothing quite like seeing the leaves change in the fall season, or witnessing the entire terrain transform as it’s covered in snow. When the snow finally melts and winter turns to spring and summer, the flowing rivers, green trees, and other sights and sounds offered by the region will leave you hungry for adventure. 

 

Endless opportunities for outdoor recreation

Outdoor adventures can be enjoyed by just about anybody, and it’s one of the things Muskoka is most famous for. Muskoka is famous for the nearly endless amount of outdoor activities available to residents, no matter what season or temperature it is. 

From spring to fall you can enjoy the hundreds of hiking and mountain bike trails found across the region, rent a boat and take it to the lake for a beautiful day on the water, dive in for a quick swim, head out with your friends on a canoe, kayaks, or paddleboards, hang out on the beach and take in the scenery, relax by the dock, or discover the terrain on an ATV. When it comes to getting outdoors and enjoying the region’s unrivalled beauty, your imagination is the only thing holding you back from an unforgettable experience.

 

Never a dull moment from winter to summer

Not only is Muskoka famous for its beautiful scenery and endless outdoor adventures, but also for its rich culture and for the sheer amount of activities happening all year long. Whether you’re into grabbing a beer at one of the region’s booming craft breweries, experiencing some of the finest dining in Ontario, going for a shopping trip in one of our historic downtown areas, or seeking to grow your knowledge at a local museum, there’s something for everybody in Muskoka.

We like to think of the region as offering nearly everything the big city does, but without the big city anxiety. All year long, rain or shine, you’ll be able to catch a live music performance or a theatrical production, check out the many offerings created by our local artisans, take part in the region’s rich arts community, or shop for things like records, books, and specialty items at our local businesses.

Whether there’s snow on the ground or beautiful blue summer skies, there’s always something to do in Muskoka, no matter what your interests are or what kind of adventures you’re looking for. It’s one of the most beautiful places on earth, offering something special to just about everybody out there. Once you make the move to Muskoka, you’ll be wondering what on earth took you so long to get here.

Muskoka Window & Door Centre is the Muskoka region’s premier supplier and installer of high quality windows and doors. Our team has decades of experience in helping home and cottage owners get the very most out of their property. To talk to a member of our team about an upcoming door or window installation project, get in touch with us today.

Make Your Home More Energy Efficient with the Canada Greener Homes Grant

The federal government launched the Canada Greener Homes Grant in May 2021, giving homeowners throughout the country the opportunity to make their home more energy efficient and receive a grant to cover up to $5,600 of the cost. This announcement comes following nearly a year of record demand for home improvement and maintenance projects, and saw over 30,000 applications within just the first week of its launch. If you’re a homeowner looking to improve your home’s energy efficiency in a more affordable way, your future home upgrades might be eligible for the Canada Greener Homes Grant.

About the Canada Greener Homes Grant
Thousands of homeowners around Canada were ecstatic after the announcement of the Canada Greener Homes Grant, making it easier and more affordable to explore energy efficient home upgrades. The initiative will provide up to 700,000 grants, EnerGuide evaluations and expert advice, as well as recruitment and training of new EnerGuide advisors to help meet the growing demand and create jobs. The Grant provides up to $5,600 per household for eligible upgrades.

Before qualifying, homeowners are required to undergo an energy audit which is paid out of pocket. After the energy audit is conducted, homeowners can find out which energy efficient upgrades their home requires and which ones may qualify for the grant. For example, if you want to replace your windows and doors with energy efficient models, this upgrade needs to be recommended after the energy audit.

Not all projects will qualify for the full $5,600 grant, making it important for homeowners to carefully consider which project they embark on. Prior to receiving the grant, the upgrades performed must first be certified, with the government reimbursing homeowners within a month of the upgrades.

Who is eligible for the Canada Greener Homes Grant?
In order to qualify for the grant, homeowners must actually be able to prove that they live in the house – no landlord living off site is eligible. Qualifying homes must not be new, and must be single or semi-detached, row houses, townhomes, all-season cottages, or select types of houseboats and mobile homes. While the majority of condos aren’t eligible for the grant, those in low-rise condo buildings can qualify. First Nation band councils, Indigenous housing management bodies and land claims organizations are also eligible to apply for the Greener Homes Grant.

Which projects are eligible for the Canada Greener Homes Grant?
Not all energy efficient upgrades qualify for the grant – only those approved by Natural Resources Canada (NRCAN) are eligible. These upgrades include insulation, air-sealing, door and window replacements, the installation of heat pumps, hot water equipment and solar panels, resiliency measures including house foundation waterproofing, batteries and roofing membranes, and installing smart thermostats, though this must be combined with other retrofits in order to qualify. In order to remain eligible, all materials and equipment must be purchased in Canada or from a Canadian distributor.

With the Canada Greener Homes Grant having stirred up so much buzz, it’s expected that consumer demand for home improvement and renovations projects is about to surge once again. If you were planning to perform one of the eligible upgrades in the next couple years, now might be the time to rethink your timetable in order to save some money.

The grant likely won’t cover the entire project, but it’ll certainly make home improvement projects a far more attractive proposal. While the grant is poised to be around for the next seven years, the Greener Homes Grant will only be going to 700,000 homeowners, so it’s critical that you submit your application as soon as you’re ready. Grants aren’t dispatched until after energy audits and upgrades are performed, so time is of the essence.

For energy audited Muskoka homes and all-season cottages that qualify for new energy efficient windows and doors, the experienced team at Muskoka Window & Door Centre is ready to provide you with a free estimate and walk you through the door and window installation process. To find out how our team can help make your home or cottage more energy efficient, get in touch with us today.

Muskoka Cottage Real Estate Market – Should I Wait to Buy My Cottage or Not?

The Canadian real estate market has seen an unparalleled surge throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Homeowners around the country suddenly found themselves stuck at home with plenty of time on their hands, causing many to upgrade their home to better suit their lifestyle, seek out that cottage property that always seemed to elude them, or even explore the world of real estate investing. No matter what the cause, it’s undeniable that the pandemic’s impact on the housing market in Canada has been felt everywhere – even here in cottage country.

The sale price of Muskoka cottages, like properties everywhere, have increased during the pandemic, and are poised to continue growing over the next year. The still hot housing and recreational property markets has led to many potential buyers wondering whether or not they should take the plunge and invest in the surging Muskoka cottage real estate market, or if they’d be better off waiting it out. The answer to these hesitations is further complicated by low inventory and the fact that even experts aren’t sure what’s going to happen to the market once restrictions are relaxed throughout Canada and the rest of the world.

The state of the Muskoka cottage market in 2021
With cities everywhere experiencing red hot real estate markets that are only now just beginning to cool slightly, the Muskoka cottage real estate market is still feeling the heat. Muskoka’s real estate market has been affected by people migrating from the city and those looking to purchase a second home or cottage. In fact, Royal LePage recently reported that home prices in the Ontario recreational property market increased 19.4% from 2019 to 2020, and that prices are expected to continue to climb through 2021 – possibly as high as 17% in Ontario.

The market as a whole has experienced record high demand for real estate, with low inventory across the board which has resulted in tense bidding wars in markets where such a thing rarely ever occurred. Some real estate agents are reporting that they’re witnessing up to 10 offers on every listing. Cottages in particular are quite sparse in terms of inventory, meaning buyers looking to purchase a Muskoka cottage have limited options. While most years would see little activity during the winter months, 2021 started with an unprecedented amount of activity, once again showing the consistent sense of urgency felt by many home and cottage buyers.

Should you buy a Muskoka cottage now or wait it out?
While experts are suggesting that the Ontario real estate market is finally beginning to cool after months of growth, the high demand and low inventory being seen throughout cottage country is reason to believe that the market will remain hot in Muskoka for the foreseeable future – at least until things return to normal and the housing market as a whole begins to stabilize. With low inventory, consistently low interest rates and many buyers facing the dreaded fear of missing out, now might be the time for buyers to jump into the Muskoka cottage market if it makes financial sense for them to do so.

The inventory scarcity means that if you see your dream cottage on the market, it might be a while before another perfect property is listed. If you decide to buy a Muskoka cottage, be prepared to be met with plenty of competition – other buyers will be ready to swoop in at a moment’s notice with a higher or more aggressive bid. If you’re looking to take advantage of interest rates and secure the cottage of your dreams, and aren’t scared off by the very real possibility of being involved in a bidding war, then now’s the time to get in.

On the other side of the argument, the unknowns about what the rest of the year may look like are enough to make even the most confident buyer a little gun shy. If the market returns to “normal” quicker than expected due to COVID-19 restrictions being relaxed at the end of the summer season, demand may ease up and inventory could return to its normal level.

The truth is that nobody can predict what’s going to happen, though experts continue to suggest that a return to normalcy for the Ontario real estate market will likely take quite some time. If a cottage is in your future but isn’t necessarily something you need now, waiting out the market could save money and the headaches that could stem from bidding wars and aggressive buyers, but may mean that you lose out on the possibility of the low interest rates currently being offered by lenders.

With so much happening in the real estate market and the situation changing almost daily, it’s highly recommended that you speak to a real estate professional and mortgage specialist before making any big decisions about a purchase.

If you’re buying a cottage, chances are very good that it’s going to need some new windows. In a hot market, sellers don’t tend to do the renovations they normally would to increase a property’s sale price. Muskoka Window & Door Centre is cottage country’s preferred 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. For years, we’ve worked with Muskoka cottage owners, builders and architects to help create unforgettable views that can be enjoyed for years to come. To find out more about the window and door products and installation services offered by Muskoka Window & Door Centre, get in touch with us today.

What’s Behind the High Price of Wood? Lumber Costs Soar During the Pandemic

If you were planning to have renovations or construction done this summer, you may want to rethink your budget. The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted supply chains all around the continent and sparked an inexplicably red hot housing market throughout Canada, causing the price of lumber to skyrocket in recent months. Coupled with a very low lumber supply, and you have a recipe for paying far more than you were planning for that new deck or shed.

Experts are currently recommending that anybody planning new construction projects (especially for new homes) should add more to their budget due to the price of lumber. So what exactly is behind the high price (and low supply) of wood, and will this disappear anytime soon? Here’s everything you need to know.

The cost of lumber and building materials has more than doubled
The pandemic has affected just about every industry in the country in some way, with constant lockdowns and increasingly harsh restrictions derailing supply chains everywhere. This has led to supply shortages in many sectors, with low supply being met by record high customer demand. One of the most affected materials is lumber, which has seen a massive price increase over the last year. With homeowners spending more time at home than ever before, the demand for lumber has skyrocketed at a time where supply can’t possibly keep up.

In fact, the price of lumber has nearly tripled since April 2019. The price increase is largely driven by a massive decrease in supply caused by the pandemic, which saw lumber mills ceasing production or dramatically scaling down their operations back in March 2020. Some mills were even forced to close permanently due to the pandemic’s effects on the economy.

Even with mills now back in action, the effects of the production slowdown are still being felt, and will continue to be felt for some time. Prior to COVID-19’s emergence in Canada, builders were paying an average of about $550 for a thousand board feet of lumber. Today, they’re paying nearly three times that much for the same amount of wood. The surge in new home constructions have worsened the problem, with homebuilders willingly paying up to $30,000 more in material fees in many cases. Even smaller homebuilding projects can cost up to $10,000 more due to the soaring price of lumber.

Homeowners who had plans to replace their wood flooring, build decks, sheds or new fences before the pandemic are now being faced with a dilemma – do you pay the higher price now, or do you wait for an undetermined amount of time to go ahead with the project? Even if you choose to go ahead with the project, many contractors are having trouble even getting their hands on a sufficient supply of lumber to complete projects, further complicating the situation and forcing homeowners to choose different contractors who might have access to more lumber.

When will lumber prices go back to normal?
The reality of the situation is that nobody knows when prices will return to “normal” or how that might happen. The supply chain interruptions coupled with record high demand we’re seeing have created a huge market disruption that could take some time to overcome. It’s likely that the best cure for high lumber prices is simply going to have to be time – once demand returns to normal and supply chains have time to catch up, it’s likely that the market will correct itself and that prices will fall closer to what was once considered normal. However, this may take as little as six months to as long as two years.

Until new home construction and high consumer demand return to their pre-pandemic levels, these high prices are here to stay for a little while. With vaccinations, the pandemic will wind down significantly as 2021 progresses, meaning consumer habits are very likely to return to normal once people are able to travel and return to their pre-pandemic lives. Lucky for us (and you!), the price of windows and doors has only been marginally affected, so any window or door project you hire us for won’t have these additional costs built in.

Looking to kickstart your renovations with gorgeous new windows and doors? Muskoka Window and Door Centre is the premier provider of quality windows and doors for homes and cottages. Our showroom is home to the absolute best the industry has to offer, curated to reflect the tastes and needs of Muskoka cottage and homeowners. To get started on your upcoming door or window installation project, get in touch with us today.

Is Your Water Safe? Time to Get it Tested!

With the ice and snow finally melting and spring making its presence known all around the region, it’s time for Muskoka cottagers and homeowners to have their water tested. Cottage owners whose water is drawn from the lake or a private well should be regularly testing their drinking water to ensure that it’s safe to continue using. These water sources can be contaminated by a wide variety of things, and so having it tested regularly can prevent you, your family and your friends from accidentally drinking contaminated water.

Why you should be testing your water
No contaminated water is ever safe to drink, making it crucial that your water gets tested on a regular basis, especially when drawn from a lake or private well. This applies to a great deal of the area’s home and cottage owners, many of whom draw water from Muskoka’s lakes or private wells. Even if the water in question is only used for swimming and other recreational activities, it’s important that it gets tested.

Any body of water, whether a natural lake or a privately dug well, can be contaminated by humans, animals, and other sources including blue/green algae, naturally occurring chemicals and minerals like trihalomethanes (THM), arsenic, lead, uranium, and sodium, or water-borne illnesses and pathogens like E.coli, cryptosporidium and giardia, making it very important to make a habit of testing your drinking water.

This is especially true if it doesn’t come from a municipal water system, if you haven’t tested it in a while (or ever), or if you’ve recently noticed a change in smell, taste or appearance. Drinking contaminated water can lead to a wide variety of serious health problems and should be avoided at all costs. Water testing can identify contaminants, allowing you to directly address any problems before they can affect you or those closest to you.

How to test your drinking water
Testing your water is easier now than ever before thanks to Ontario’s push to have home and cottage owners test their private water sources often. If you draw water from a private well or other private drinking water system, you can have your water tested free of charge by the Ontario Public Health Laboratory. 

All you have to do is pick up a sampling kit from your local District Health Unit location and take a sample of your drinking water by collecting it in the provided sterilized bottle, and drop it off with the Health Unit. From there, an inspector will analyze your results and offer advice on how you should proceed with fixing any existing issues.

These free services cover bacterial contamination, but Public Health Ontario doesn’t cover chemical or other contaminants, meaning you may have to consult a private licensed laboratory in order to fully test your private drinking water, especially if you’re concerned about chemicals and minerals that may be harmful. 

The government of Ontario has provided a list of licensed laboratories in the province which can perform mineral and chemical contamination tests on your drinking water. Before you send a sample to one of these private labs, remember to first contact them to determine whether or not your sample will be accepted (based on their licence class) and how to properly submit a valid sample to ensure that it doesn’t get rejected.

Getting your water tested now will give you lots of time to put remedial measures in place if an issue is discovered, leaving you free to enjoy your summer without being concerned about your water quality. 

Muskoka home and cottage owners looking to have their private drinking water system tested should contact the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit for more details.

Hospice Muskoka – Providing Essential End-of-Life Services Locally

Since the emergence of COVID-19 in Canada, communities around the country have worked tirelessly to support small businesses and not-for-profit organizations like food banks and local charities through monetary donations, volunteering, and other means of support. As we quickly approach the one-year mark of the pandemic, it’s important to remember that without your support, these organizations can’t possibly continue to serve those who rely on them for essential services.

With your support, local charities and not-for-profit organizations can survive the duration of the pandemic and continue operating in a post-COVID world. The team at Muskoka Window & Door Centre is proud to have been able to lend support to a number of the region’s most important services and has been consistently impressed with the incredible support from our communities as a whole – the people of Muskoka have risen to the occasion to help those in need many times throughout the last year.

Hospice Muskoka – Providing essential end-of-life services for the people of Muskoka
We’re calling on you once again to support a local not-for-profit organization in need of your help. Hospice Muskoka has recently launched the Joy of Pets Photo Contest, offering you a great way to show off what makes your pet(s) so special while at the same time helping to provide comfort, joy, and companionship to those facing end-of-life and bereavement challenges.

Since 1995, Hospice Muskoka has been providing essential services to people throughout the region, caring for those with life-threatening illnesses and palliative prognoses, ensuring end-of-life comfort, and working with families to provide ongoing grief and caregiver support. The organization is volunteer-based and provides care to Muskokans of all ages and backgrounds. Many of Hospice Muskoka’s volunteers have been specially trained, allowing them to provide social, physical, spiritual, and emotional support in the hospital, nursing and retirement homes, and even in your own home.

Muskoka Window & Door Centre is proud to have been a community supporter of Hospice Muskoka since 2005. Our team has supported the Hospice Muskoka Annual Butterfly Release since it’s inception over 5 years ago. Become a supporter of Hospice Muskoka today by making a donation.

Muskoka Businesses You Can Support When Ontario’s Lockdown is Lifted

Ontario’s most recent COVID-19 lockdown has been difficult for everybody, but small business owners around the province have been some of the most affected. When the lockdown is lifted and small businesses are back in action, it’s important to support them in any way possible. While many of these businesses continue to offer curbside pickup and other alternative shopping solutions, many of them rely on foot traffic and a more traditional shopping experience.

Once the lockdown is lifted and shopping is deemed safe, head on over to your favourite local businesses and show your support. Here are just a few of our favourite Muskoka businesses you might want to consider supporting post-lockdown:

Lilibird is the perfect place to find gifts for everybody in your life
There’s nothing quite like finding that perfect gift for somebody special in your life. Whether it’s for your spouse, parent, child, or a good friend, Lilibird in Bracebridge, Ontario has a wide selection of amazing gifts at all price ranges. From unique household items to snowglobes, socks, and even light-up products, Lilibird’s wide assortment of interesting, unique, and high quality products serve as the perfect gift for anybody in your life.

For more information about Lilibird, visit their website.

Soapstones offers natural skin care solutions
You deserve to be informed about the products you buy, which is exactly why Soapstones in Huntsville, Ontario is the region’s leading provider of natural skincare products. Soapstones skincare products not only work, but leave a minimal footprint on the environment thanks to their all-natural ingredients that are as gentle on the world around us as they are on your skin. Soapstone products aren’t tested on animals, and are sourced from high quality Canadian ingredients. Their line of products includes everything from bath bombs and salts to body wash, hand soap, lotion, scrub, shampoo, and so much more.

To find out more about how Soapstones is changing the skincare game, visit their website.

Minds Alive! carries the latest in educational, fun and inspirational toys
Kids around the province are counting down the days until they can once again set foot in the toy store and beg their parents for the latest and greatest in the toy world. Originally created in Midland, Ontario, Minds Alive! has become a staple of the Muskoka region with stores in Collingwood, Gravenhurst, Bracebridge, and Huntsville. Minds Alive! offers a wide selection of fun and inspirational toys that not only entertain, but educate too. From building toys like Lego and high-tech toys to craft kits, science kits and board books, there’s something for kids of all ages and interests. The staff at Minds Alive! have made it their mission to help you choose the right toys for every child in your life, using their expert advice and knowledge to help you make the right choice.

For more information about everything that Minds Alive! has to offer, check them out online.

The Record Shoppe is a vinyl collector’s dream
Vinyl records have seen a major resurgence in popularity over the last few years, thanks largely to small businesses like The Record Shoppe in Huntsville, Ontario, who have worked tirelessly to revive the medium by offering carefully curated selections for clients of all ages and music preferences. The Record Shoppe has been a downtown Huntsville hotspot since its introduction in late-2018, offering music lovers a wide selection of vinyl from all genres from classic rock and indie to hip hop and modern pop. In addition to their large selection of new and used records, The Record Shoppe offers turntables, accessories, and are always ready to take special orders and offer suggestions.

To find out more about The Record Shoppe and their impressive selection of vinyl, visit them online today.

The Muskoka Store is the region’s favourite cottage outfitter
Finally, no list of great local businesses would be complete without The Muskoka Store, a long time favourite in the Muskoka region and a must-visit location for all visitors. The Muskoka Store, which dates back to 1979, offers a large selection of unique products with the longstanding Muskoka tradition in mind. From high quality men’s and women’s apparel, camping gear and outdoor must-haves to home decor and gifts, The Muskoka Store is the region’s top cottage outfitter for a reason. No matter what you’re looking for, you can be sure that the Muskoka Store will have something that lets you take a little piece of Muskoka wherever life takes you.

For more information about the many products and services offered by The Muskoka Store, visit their website today.

These are just a few of our favourite Muskoka-based small businesses that we feel deserve some love once Ontario’s lockdown is lifted. There are far more incredible small businesses out there – so many that it would take all day to list the local businesses which deserve your support.

If you wish to explore more great local businesses, check out the following business directories:

Featured Product: Andersen 100 Series

We take pride in offering the very best window and door products in our showroom. One of the window brands we carry is really taking off here at Muskoka Window and Door – the Andersen 100 Series. The 100 Series offers a smart alternative to vinyl that home and cottage owners in Muskoka are embracing.

A-Series overview

Andersen is a pioneering force in high quality doors and windows, having been in the game for over 100 years. During this time, the company has repeatedly set exceptionally high industry standards. Muskoka Window and Door Centre is proud to serve as the region’s official dealer of all Andersen products.

Fibrex composite material – a viable alternative to vinyl
When it comes to window and door materials, vinyl has long stood as the king due to its low maintenance needs and versatility. The Andersen 100 Series offers an alternative to vinyl, offering homeowners many of the same benefits offered by the popular material but at a reduced price. Andersen’s Fibrex material is touted as being up to twice as strong and more durable than traditional vinyl, offering energy efficiency and a wide range of rich colours and long-lasting finishes.

E-Series Contemporary

The material can help homeowners reduce utility bills, as Fibrex has the ability to block thermal transfer up to 700 times better than aluminum material. Muskoka cottage owners need not worry about the region’s often unpredictable weather, either, as Fibrex has been designed to retain stability and rigidity in any climate – giving your home a weather tight seal you can rely on year-round. For home and cottage owners interested in looking beyond vinyl but who wish for the same durability, value, and efficiency, Fibrex composite material truly looks to be a gamechanger.

Andersen 100 Series windows and patio doors – the perfect way to refresh your home or cottage
Whether you’re remodeling, building a new cottage or home, or simply replacing windows or doors, Andersen 100 Series doors and windows are a cost-efficient way to make a statement and enjoy the many benefits of vinyl windows and doors. Featuring high performing design, seamless corners, scratch resistant finishes, and premium matte finishes that will never need to be repainted, choosing Andersen 100 Series products means never worrying about maintenance again.

E-Series patio door

100 Series windows and patio doors are available in a wide assortment of types, including gliding, casement, awning, single-hung, picture, transom, and gliding patio doors. Glass options are also available, allowing you to select anything from low-e glass to low-e SmartSun glass featuring HeatLock technology. No matter what you desire for your home or cottage, Andersen’s 100 Series can be customized to your liking, with five rich dark exterior colours and four interior colours that will make your property stand out from the rest.

100S Insert Windows

There’s a reason why Andersen has stood apart for so many years – their products are reliable, long-lasting, and beautifully designed, with the 100 Series being no exception. The unique durable Fibrex composite material, energy-efficiency, and unmatched price point makes the 100 Series the ideal choice for Muskoka home and cottage owners.

E-Series patio door

Muskoka Window and Door Centre is Muskoka’s official dealer of all things Andersen windows, including 100 Series windows and patio doors. Our impressive showroom features dozens of the industry’s top names, with products ranging in size, finish, cost, and more. To request a quote or learn more about the high performance door and window products offered by Muskoka Window and Door Centre, get in touch with us today.

How to Keep Things Quiet on the Lake

Muskoka’s cottage country comprises a number of closely-knit communities where being respectful of your neighbours is of the utmost importance. You should understand what your role is in maintaining that calm that inspires community harmony, especially when it comes to noise levels.

The unwritten rules to know
Between boat traffic and kids playing, there can be an awful lot of noise on the lake on those beautiful summer days. However, those are the kinds of sounds we come to expect in cottage country. What nobody wants to hear is all-day construction and the sound of a chainsaw revving up before the sun rises. Don’t forget, on the lake sound travels easily. 

A good, general, unwritten rule to follow is to avoid doing construction during summer days unless it’s absolutely necessary. Otherwise, the construction and lake activity can become a cacophony of noise that nobody will enjoy!

The written rules to follow
For as helpful as the unwritten rule, above, is to follow, your municipality will have written rules, too. The local bylaws could differ depending on where you are, so be sure to follow them in order to avoid a complaint or a fine. Full bylaws for each municipality can be found by following the links, but there are a few things worth noting for each. 

  • Town of Huntsville. — Notify neighbours if you are doing any loud work and limit construction to standard working hours.
  • Town of Bracebridge. — Domestic tools such as lawnmowers, leaf blowers, snowblowers, and saws are not permitted outside of standard working hours.
  • Town of Gravenhurst. — The operation of any public address system, car stereo, sound equipment, loudspeaker, or other electronic device intended for the amplification of sound is prohibited.
  • Township of Muskoka Lakes. — Noise bylaws apply between 11 pm and 7 am and include the use of loud music, engines, shouting, or any other sound that can be heard beyond your property.
  • Township of Lake of Bays. — Most excessive noise, whether it’s residential or construction, is not allowed between 9 pm and 7 am Monday-Saturday, or before noon on Sundays.
  • Township of Georgian Bay. — Unnecessary operation of vehicles that causes tire squeals, exhaust, banging of equipment, or excessive sound from a horn or stereo, is prohibited. 

In many cases, individual lake associations have their own guidelines on noise in addition to the written law from the municipality –  make sure you brush up on these annually. 

Guidance for renters
If you are renting out your cottage, whether it’s to family and friends or as an AirBnB, it’s important you provide guidance to your guests. In the end, the fines you get for their behaviour and the annoyance levels you’ll have to face from neighbours will be yours to deal with and not theirs. 

Once you have read up on the specific noise bylaws in your area and any rules your lake association has, you can apply those specific requirements to an AirBnB listing, including the time cut-offs. An additional layer can be to add the details into the rental agreement itself, in order to protect yourself and the community in the event of a problematic guest.

Additionally, AirBnB allows the listing to have each individual guest register, in order to ensure everyone is aware of the rules and bylaws for the property and surrounding community. In the event of a large gathering, a phone call ahead of time to communicate everything can be helpful.

The Federation of Ontario Cottagers has an excellent resource page for responsible cottage rental that everyone who is renting out their cottage should review. 

When should you complain? 
If noise levels are contravening local bylaws, and are significantly impacting your enjoyment of the lake, chances are good it is annoying your neighbours too and you should contact your municipality’s bylaw enforcement office. Things to give a pass for may be events like weddings, but realistically if someone is holding an event like that they should have already given a heads up to the neighbours. 

Just be respectful 
At the end of the day, it all goes back to respect for your neighbours and mindfulness of the community. As long as everyone is courteous, whether you are doing renovations or enjoying a fire in the evening, there shouldn’t be a problem. However, in the event of an issue, using bylaws as a guideline serves as an excellent fail-safe and help to maintain the peaceful cottage country environment you know and love.