Nestled in the heart of Ontario, less than two hours north of Toronto is the natural paradise of Muskoka: a stunning landscape of sublime waterfalls, staggering granite cliffs, wild forests of aromatic pine and iconic Canadian maple, and 1,600 pristine lakes which have led many to affectionately refer to the area as simply the Land of Lakes. The District Municipality of Muskoka, known generally as Muskoka, spans an area of 6,475 km2 (2,500 sq. mi.)—larger than the entire province of Prince Edward Island. Muskoka extends from the tip of Lake Couchiching in the south to the sublime untamed wilderness of Algonquin Provincial Park in the north; and from Haliburton County and Kawartha Lakes in the east, to the beautiful and rugged Georgian Bay in the west.
The District Municipality of Muskoka contains six municipalities: Bracebridge, Gravenhurst, Huntsville, and the townships of Georgian Bay, Lake of Bays (Dorset), and Muskoka Lakes (Port Carling, Bala); as well as Moose Point 79 (Moose Deer Point First Nation) and the Wahta Mohawk Territory. Its natural beauty is interspersed with historic villages and townships, scenic farming communities, lakeside resorts, beautiful marinas, and lush golf courses and country clubs. Muskoka is home to 60,000 permanent residents, as well as nearly 100,000 seasonal property owners, who also proudly consider themselves Muskokans—and rightfully so, when one considers that many family cottages were built during the original settlement of Muskoka. The pride they uphold is reflected in the upkeep of seasonal Muskokan properties, which are notoriously well maintained—and this is doubly true for those established long ago. Many Muskoka cottages have passed through eight generations, and are still maintained in picture perfect condition.
With a year-round population of 19, 056, Huntsville is the largest urban centre in Muskoka, followed by Bracebridge, which houses the regional government seat. However, the heart of the Muskoka, the quintessence of Ontario’s cottage country, is the Township of Muskoka Lakes. With a year-round population of only 6,707, the Township of Muskoka Lakes is home to almost 32,000 seasonal residents and contains some of the most desirable seasonal real estate in the area, including Lake Muskoka, Lake Joseph, and Lake Rosseau; three intricate, interconnected bodies of crystal clear lake water, with a maximum measured depth of 93.8 metres (Lake Joseph). As the grandest lakes in the area, these were the first explored, and the first to accommodate an array of settlers and tourists, as well as sportsmen looking for some of the best freshwater fishing available.
Many permanent residents were once seasonal property owners, who, after being drawn to the tranquility and sublime beauty of Muskoka, found it simply too hard to leave, and chose instead to establish year-round homes. Many newer permanent residents of Muskoka are active retirees; previous cottagers who chose to sell their homes elsewhere and move to Muskoka full-time rather than have to endure the pain of leaving at the end of cottage season. And who could blame them? Muskoka combines the rugged untamed beauty of the Canadian Shield, some of the cleanest and most beautiful lakes in the world, and all the amenities anyone could ever need. Whether you are interested in buying a cottage in Muskoka, or making a more permanent move; with so much to offer, is there really anywhere else you would rather be?
Sources: Travel to Muskoka & Our Own Knowledge