The District Municipality of Muskoka, more generally referred to as the District of Muskoka, though not as “the Muskokas”, is a Regional Municipality located in Central Ontario, Canada. It extends from Georgian Bay in the west, to the northern tip of Lake Couchiching in the south, to the western border of Algonquin Provincial Park in the east. Located approximately two hours north of Toronto,. Muskoka has some 1,600 lakes, making it a popular resort destination for tourists.
This region, which, along with Haliburton, Kawartha Lakes, and Peterborough County is referred to as “cottage country”, sees over 2.1 million visitors annually. It is a scenic area sprinkled with picturesque villages and towns, farming communities, and lakeside vacation hotels and resorts near to golf courses, country clubs, and marinas. The regional government seat is Bracebridge. This area encompasses the townships of Lake of Bays, Georgian Bay and Muskoka Lakes, and the towns of Huntsville, Bracebridge and Gravenhurst.
The name of the municipality derives from a First Nations chief of the 1850s. Lake Muskoka was then the hunting grounds of a band led by Chief Yellowhead or Mesqua Ukie. He was revered by the government, who built a home for him in Orillia where he lived until his death at the age of 95.
Muskoka has 60,000 permanent residents, but an additional 100,000 seasonal property owners spend their summers in the region every year, making this a major summer colony. Many of the seasonal properties are large mansion-like summer estates, some of which have been passed down through families from generation to generation. Most of these expensive properties can be found along the shores of Muskoka’s three major lakes: Lake Muskoka, Lake Rosseau, and Lake Joseph. In recent years, various Hollywood and sports stars have built retreats in Muskoka, including Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks, Mike Weir, Martin Short, Harry Hamlin, Cindy Crawford, Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell. Most recently the Muskoka region was host to the 2010 G8 Summit which brought world leaders together to discuss hot button world issues.
Muskoka was the inspiration to The Group of Seven, a group of Canadian landscape artists that traveled throughout the Muskoka region perfecting their techniques and documenting the great unknown landscape known as the Muskoka’s. Playing a pivotal role in introducing a style uniquely Canadian to the world of art as well as it’s beautiful country side.
There are six municipalities in Muskoka: the towns of Bracebridge, Gravenhurst, and Huntsville; and the townships of Georgian Bay, Lake of Bays, and Muskoka Lakes. The Wahta Mohawk Territory and Moose Point 79 are also in the district.