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How to “Fit In” and be Pure Muskoka

Everyone’s version of Muskoka is different, but there are things that those of us who live and love this place know.

And when you know, you know.

Tourism is Muskoka’s most important industry and we are grateful for “out of towners”, but if you don’t want to stick out like a sore thumb, take notes. Here are some dead give-aways that you are new in town, or just visiting:

You call it “The Muskokas”.

Perhaps the most commonly used, regional misnomer. It may work for Muskoka Lakes township (Muskoka Lakes being plural), but that is only one of many townships that make up the region. There is only one Muskoka!

You ask “What’s there to do here?”

Ok, obviously, but more important than learning the lay of the land…….how about just do nothing! Grab a cold drink, head to the dock, sit your butt down and RELAX.

The bugs drive you crazy.

The bugs only bug you if you’re easily bugged……..or when they’re really bad (Oz has got nothin' on us)… just aren’t prepared. Muskokans are always prepared. We know.

You don’t know how to drive your boat.

So much of the allure of Muskoka is about the lakes, so it goes without saying that locals, cottagers and visitors alike all want to get out on the water. When learning, it takes some practice to effortlessly dock a boat, but not properly following markers, buoys and signs is like wearing a neon sign that says “I just rented/bought this boat and am unaware/have no idea what I’m doing!” Not cool.

You wear insensible shoes.

Hey, who doesn’t love a pair of sweet stilettos? But come on now, this terrain is not the place for that!

You still shower every day, even though it's summer time.

There’s really no need. Go jump in the lake! Besides, smelling like campfire is considered "très chic" when you’re in Muskoka!

You drive like you’re in a rush.

Driving doesn’t just have to be about going somewhere. Enjoy the scenery!

You brighten up the night with your outdoor lights.

One of the many benefits of being outside and away from the city are the dark skies at night. Muskokans love to stargaze and enjoy the sounds of the night. Light pollution not only makes it difficult to see the stars, but also disrupts the activity of nocturnal animals. So turn off the lights, please!

You line up at The KEE to Bala at 9 pm.

Psssssst……the band doesn’t go on until 11:00.

You don’t know how to work hard / play hard.

There’s definitely an art to this balance, but us Muskokans actually have it down to a science. We know how to reap the best of both worlds, and we do it better than anyone else. But hey, we get it…….Muskoka’s not for everyone! ;)

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  • Heather

    Very well written. The light pollution tip is a biggie for me. I live next door to year rounders who leave their outside lights on ALL NIGHT, EVERY NIGHT, all year round. RUDE!!!!!

  • Ed Haney

    There are plenty more ways to tell a tourist from a local here, lol

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