Sharon Hunter Aiken, winner of the 2020 Gairdner Award
2020 Gairdner Award

We are proud to announce that Sharon Hunter Aiken is a 2020 recipient of the J&D Gairdner Award, presented in recognition of exemplary sales performance and success in real estate at Johnston & Daniel.

“Congratulations on your achievements in a most unusual and challenging year,” said Johnston & Daniel VP Business Services Corporate Brokerages, Debra Harris.

“I am so grateful for all of my wonderful clients whose continued trust, referrals, and heartfelt testimonials truly mean the world,” said Sharon. “Thank you also to my colleagues and to the entire J&D staff and leadership team for all of your hard work and support. Last but not least, thank you to George, Donna and Trish. This is a team effort and I truly appreciate all you do for Muskoka Getaway. Here’s to 2021.”

The awards were presented at a virtual ceremony in February 2021.

Picture of dock with bubbler on Shaw Island, Lake Muskoka
Shoreline Bubbler Lights — Make Them Blue

We are very pleased to see the debate on the best colour for bubbler lights cleared up once and for all, with the excellent article presented jointly by Muskoka Ratepayers Association and the Muskoka Lakes Association in the Winter 2021 edition of Muskoka Lakes Association’s Shorelines (PDF, opens in a new browser tab).

A Shaw Island dock with a bubbler

Blue is Best — Here’s Why

The short story is this:

  • Red is dangerous because a red light can easily be confused with a snowmobile brake light, thereby leading a rider into open water.
  • Amber is not ideal for visibilty, and that colour can be mistaken for the interior of a cottage light and so is not recommended.
  • Blue is the universal colur of warning and emergency used by snowplows and the OPP, plus, it performs best in low visibilty conditions.

We encourage you to check out the original article here (PDF, opens in a new browser tab. Article is on page 4, but the entire issue is excellent). Below is a picture of the article.


Join the MRA and the MLA

If you do not already belong, we encourage you to join the Muskoka Ratepayers’ Association, an oversight and advocacy group that represents member taxpayers’ interests in local government, property taxation, economic development, and environmental issues; and the Muskoka Lakes Association, whose mission is to promote the responsible use, enjoyment and conservation of the unique Muskoka environment.

Certainly, a group of concerned citizens can accomplish more by working together than any individual can on his or her own. Thanks so much to MRA Director Jim Boyd and MLA past president Lawton Osler for putting this bubbler light issue definitively to rest.

Ovelooking Lake Muskoka from Huckleberry Rock, January 16, 2021
COVID-19 Update for 2021

January 2021 — Let us raise a toast as we close the door on 2020. (Here’s-your-hat,-what’s-your-hurry?) It certainly was a year for the history books, and all kidding aside, a difficult one for many.

We send our condolences to all of you who have experienced the loss of a loved one or who have become ill or suffered setbacks due to the pandemic. The arrival of the vaccine brings with it the promise of hope and a return to better times.

While Ontario continues under a COVID-19 State of Emergency, real estate has been designated an essential service, with important provisions to bear in mind. Below is a link to a statement from our professional association.

State of Emergency Update: What You Need To Know

Ontario Real Estate Association, published January 12, 2021

Accordingly, the Johnston & Daniel office in Port Carling is open, but as much as we’d love to see you, unless there is an urgent need to meet in person, this is not the time.

Other Ways To Connect

If you have been contemplating making a change, buying or selling waterfront real estate in Muskoka, there is much that you can do, prepare, and discuss without meeting in person.

Let’s make good use of all the virtual tools that we’re fortunate to have at our disposal. The web, virtual tours, Zoom, Facetime, WhatsApp, Teams and our favourite, the good, (relatively) old fashioned cell phone.

Call Sharon at 705-646-3116 to discuss how you can prepare and position yourself for success in an uncertain future.

Stay well. Stay safe. We look forward to speaking with you, and beyond that, to meeting in person as soon as it is safe to do so.

Know the dangers of cold water
Ice Safety
Dangerous Ice
Pay attention to warning signs

Frozen lakes in winter can be inviting for a walk-about. Frozen lakes can be dangerous. Here are some winter ice safety tips and things to remember when venturing in Muskoka this season. 

Ice Danger

Be Prepared on thin Ice
  • remember—ice doesn’t freeze at a uniform thickness
  • near-shore ice is often much thicker and safer than ice farther out, especially at the start of the winter season
  • watch for open water near the shore created by dock bubbler systems
  • check thickness regularly with a spud bar or auger as you move farther out
  • ice that formed over flowing water, springs, pressure cracks, old ice holes or around the mouths of rivers and streams can be weaker than surrounding ice
  • Keep an eye out for Ice Shoves/Pressure cracks that appear on the lakes

Colour Of Thin Ice

Colour of Ice
Don’t go near the ice.
  • clear blue/black ice is the strongest
  • white or opaque ice is much weaker
  • grey ice indicates that water is present and ice may be weak or slushy
  • stay away from ice that looks honeycombed, common during thaws or in the spring

Driving on ice

Driving on Frozen Lakes
  • be careful when driving snowmobiles or vehicles over frozen lakes or rivers
  • People need at least 10 cm and snowmobiles need at least 20 centimetres (8 inches) of clear blue ice
  • double the thickness if the ice is white or opaque
  • Avoid driving at night and in areas you are unfamiliar with
  • heavy snow on a frozen lake or river slows down the freezing process
  • If traveling in an inclosed vehicle leave doors unlocked, windows down, lights on and seatbelts off to facilitate a quick escape. Do not wear a lifejacket or floatation suit while inside as these may hamper escape 
  • Do not drink and drive

Be Prepared

Ice Safety
Safety Gear for being on Ice
  • check ice conditions either with local ice hut operators, bait shops, snowmobile clubs or by cutting holes in the ice in various locations  
  • let others know where you’re planning to fish or ride and when you plan to return
  • wear appropriate clothing and equipment for safety and comfort. This includes a floatation suit, ice picks, helmet, insulated clothing
  • Carry safety equipment with you including rope, pocket knife, compass, whistle, fire starter kit and cell phone 

For more information on Ice safety or to check out courses regarding winter survival check out these links below. Remember- NO ICE IS WITHOUT RISK . Frozen lakes can be dangerous.

Bambi – Public Enemy #1

Deer love to eat the plants around your cottage. They are truly beautiful and a delight to observe, but the damage they can cause to the gardens at the cottage while you are busy at your city home make these darling Muskoka deer Public Enemy #1. Don’t be fooled by that docile “who me?” look as you pull up the drive on a Friday afternoon and catch a glimpse of mamma and her spotted fawn. This isn’t a Disney movie; Bambi wants dinner, your garden is a free buffet and he’s not making reservations.

Spring Buffet

Every spring when deer come out of their wintering areas, they come looking for young, tender grass or herbaceous greenery. You can bet your Muskoka cottage garden will be one of their first stops. Come summer, your garden offers gourmet delights aplenty; daylilies, hostas, impatiens and just about every green or blooming thing you value. And if you’re trying to grow a cottage veggie or herb garden, you can count on it that a four-legged connoisseur would love to nibble away at the choicest morsels long before you get to enjoy a single salad.

Deer War

To save your beautiful garden from this treachery, you’ll need to wage war on these four-legged beauties. You need to tell them the “buck” stops here. We have a very high local deer population in this wonderful region, and they can easily devastate weeks of hard work and in a few short hours munch their way through all the money you invested in plants. Here are some tips for cultivating a garden that the deer will not want to eat.

Plant what they don’t like

Consider planting deer-resistant plants. Spring is the perfect time to get started. Plant them amongst the other plants you love to help deter the deer. The plants listed below (taken from the Plantskyyd website) can provide you with some ideas. Although not all are native to the Muskoka area, many will do well here.

Generally speaking, plants that have fuzzy leaves, intense fragrance, bitter taste or thorny texture will be less attractive to deer. Most ornamental grasses are also not palatable to deer as they “tickle” their tongue.

Trees
Maples, Honey Locust, Hawthorne, Oak, Birch, Ash, Douglas Fir, Bristlecone Pine, Colorado Blue Spruce, Austrian Pine, Mugo Pine, Canada Hemlock, Engelman Spruce

Shrubs
Barberry, Juniper, Lilac, Rugosa Rose, Mugo Pine, Potentilla, Rubber Rabbitbrush, Spirea, Red Osier Dogwood, Mock Orange, Fragrant Sumac, Common Buckthorn, Buffalo berry, Bridalwreath, Viburnum, Chokecherry, Currant, Elderberry, Gooseberry, Caragana

Vines, Bittersweet, Baltic Ivy, Clematis, Honeysuckle

Perennials
Ornamental Grasses, Columbine, Astilbe, Tickseed, Bee Balm, Black-eyed Susan, Bleeding Heart, Campanula, Catmint, Purple Coneflower, Gaillardia, Gayfeather, Bluestem Joe-Pye-Weed, Cranesbill Geranium, Foxglove, Dianthus, Hellebore, Bugbane, Sunflower, Candytuft, Iris, Japanese Anemone, Lavender, Lupine, Monkshood, Pearly Everlasting, Penstemon, Peony, Poppy, Lungwort, Daffodil, Goldenrod, Speedwell, Yucca, Yarrow, Salvia, Russian Sage, Sedum, Shasta Daisy

Ground Covers
Carpet Bugle, Lily of the Valley, Periwinkle, Pachysandra, Lamb’s Ears, Lamium, “Silver Brocade”, Artemisia, Snow in Summer, Thyme, Dead Nettle.

Deer love to eat the plants around your cottage. A homemade solution.

Homemade Repellant Spray.

Here is a home remedy found on-line:

  • 3 large eggs, shells included
  • 1 large clove of garlic
  • 2 cups of fresh green onion tops
  • 2 cups of water

Put everything into a blender and liquefy for 2 minutes. Add this mixture to a pail containing 2 quarts of warm water and melted deodorant soap such as “Dial”. Stir together, then add 2 tablespoons of chili powder or cayenne pepper and mix well. Splash, spray, drip or paint the mixture on the plants. Be sure to get egg shells on the leaves. When used every two weeks it is effective year-round. Save some of each batch to “ripen” the next batch. If making up this stinky remedy is not appealing, commercially-prepared repellants such as “Plantskydd” also work well.

Many experts recommend rotating your repellents and combining them with other tools or scare tactics such as a surprise burst of water, a loud noise or even a good old fashioned scarecrow.

Plan early so that in the summer, you can enjoy your Muskoka cottage gardens green and lush!

Thinking of Selling your Muskoka Cottage? Contact Sharon.