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Rocking out to a whole new sound -Hunters Bay Radio is first on the dial

Aileen Taylor - Monday, August 18, 2014

With windows down, wind blowing through your hair and music playing on the radio, you can feel emotions and connect to things in a way you didn’t think was possible – that is what makes music special.

Hunter’s Bay Radio is community owned and run, setting this Huntsville team apart from other networks. Rocking the sound waves on the internet since 2009, HBR recently acquired their FM licencing to provide Muskoka on air sounds and commentary. HBR is heavily involved in the local music scene, supporting events like the Downtown Huntsville Sidewalk Stage and Muskoka Sound in September. Concentrating on local events, music and community, HBR has an open-style studio that provides a feeling of inclusion and a sense of awe, as anyone can walk into where broadcasts are recorded.

HBR has a huge online and social media following, a news department and about 40 volunteers in the community. Listeners from across the globe have only had positive comments about the station. As the sole independent voice of Muskoka, HBR filled a gap in community programming. Managing Director Jeff Carter brought individuality to Muskoka through his passion for music and promotion of local artists. A stage within the studio plays host to live public music night broadcasts. This wider experience that Jeff and his strong management team of experienced professionals strive for, provides not only a place for local artists, but the ability to bring social commentary back to the media. 


Muskoka Futures was an integral companion in the journey HBR took to spread their musical excitement and community-based commentary on FM radio. This continued expansion makes Jeff and his team feel great about the next steps for HBR, getting bigger and more popular. “I just wanted to offer something different from the mainstream media”.

Muskoka Futures wants to make Muskoka an economic hub and thriving community so that both those making a life here and those visiting, can enjoy it to the fullest. Muskoka Futures helps local entrepreneurs and businesses flourish through business support services and loan provision. By promoting sustainable local economic development, Muskoka Futures makes a personal connection with individuals, helps them recognize their dreams and makes it about more than “the money.”

Hunter’s Bay Radio: something different, something independent and the first channel on your dial. It’s pretty simple to find them and you won’t be disappointed in their musical taste, nor their promotion of the vast talent we have in Muskoka. Tune into HBR – keeping it local.

MEDIA RELEASE - SEGBAY Chamber Receives Muskoka Futures Funding for Tourism Map

Aileen Taylor - Tuesday, August 05, 2014

45  Lone Pine Road

Port Severn, ON  L0K 1S0

MEDIA RELEASE                                                                                                     August 5, 2014.

SEGBAY Chamber Receives Muskoka Futures Funding For Tourism Map

Port Severn - The Southeast Georgian Bay Chamber of Commerce ( is pleased to announce a $4000 grant from Muskoka Futures, through the Muskoka Community Initiative (MCI), for the design and manufacture of a tourism map installed at the Muskoka Tourism Information Centre.


The Muskoka Community Initiative (MCI), which is designed to assist local organizations and communities in their pursuit of creative community-based projects that promote and support economic self-sufficiency and independence, has provided funding to assist in the creation of this map.


The map provides visitors with easy access to the locations of the tourism attractions, and their contact information, in the southeast Georgian Bay region during and after business hours, benefitting and sustaining not only the attractions, but also accommodations and hospitality businesses in the region.  The local attractions will benefit from increased visitors to the area, and this will provide jobs to seasonal workers.  The map also illustrates the ATV and snowmobile trails in the region.  There is spin-off revenue for the businesses that request signage above the map, hospitality businesses that benefit from the tourism in the area.

The Southeast Georgian Bay Chamber of Commerce is very pleased overall with the completed project.  The sign and map greatly enhances the entrance to the Muskoka Tourism/Chamber of Commerce facility.

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The objective of the Southeast Georgian Bay Chamber of Commerce shall be to promote and improve trade and commerce and the economic, civic and social welfare of the district while preserving the environment.



Beer Drinkers Deserve the Best -Lake of Bays Will Keep You Thirsty for More

Aileen Taylor - Thursday, July 24, 2014

Simply put: they make beer. An answer short and sweet for the complex process required to design flavours, brew, and promote the beverage that many of us enjoy during hot summer evenings and as a dinner accompaniment.

Lake of Bays Brewing Company has mastered just that, combining the art of brewing different seasonal and year-around beers with community involvement, local hiring, and creative expansion of an already successful business. President and founder Darren Smith always knew he wanted to start his own business. He watched his father build a business from the ground up and establish himself in the community. Knowing he wanted to do the same in a different field, Darren headed off to study economics. It wasn’t until his last year of school and the right circumstances in the Baysville area, that Darren put his true kitchen brewing skills to the test. He invested time planning his business and creating a start-up of what would become a household name for craft beer. Construction started in the fall of 2009 and was open by May 2010.


Since then, Darren says “It can be like riding a tiger”. With rapid growth comes the necessity for rapid adaptation, especially in such a quickly flourishing industry. This niche manufacturer saw changes that were at times difficult, but have helped make Lake of Bays the established company it is today. With a strong local presence in the community through Chamber membership, local employment, and sponsorship of community events, Lake of Bays targets a broad range of customers. Muskoka Futures was an advocate in helping Lake of Bays to continue broadening their reach, offering support for expansion, additional unitank fermenters and equipment for single-serving tall cans were purchased. Increases in production and new equipment have led to an upsurge in employment. Darren has participated in Muskoka Futures’ mentorship program, and says establishing and maintaining these connections is important, and he continues to find them helpful today. 

Muskoka Futures wants to make Muskoka an economic hub and thriving community so that both those making a life here and those visiting, can enjoy it to the fullest extent. This is done by helping local entrepreneurs and businesses flourish through business support services and loan provision. By promoting sustainable local economic development, Muskoka Futures makes a personal connection with individuals, helps them recognize their dreams and makes it about more than “the money”.

Lake of Bays Brewing Company sees a strong future, expanding into other provinces and filtering starting into the United States. You may have seen their NHL Alumni beers, releasing a new beer every three months and featuring classic hockey players like “China Wall” Johnny Bower and “Cujo” Curtis Joseph. For those into a sport of a different kind, keep an eye out for CFL Alumni-themed beers that should be available in time for this year’s Grey Cup. Starting simply and ending simply: they make beer with copious amounts of character. 

No Need to Fish Around- Blue Marlin

Aileen Taylor - Friday, June 20, 2014

You may not have seen the Blue Marlin, nestled in among the trees alongside Highway 11 North at Gravenhurst. It hasn’t been there long, so no one can fault you if your eye skips over it but you really are missing out.

A chef for 21 years, Blue Marlin President Chris Rooney aspires to bring food back to the ‘good ole days’, where you could buy things fresh and plan your menu according to availability. Providing fresh wholesale and retail seafood in Muskoka that is sustainable and wild, Blue Marlin has been open since 2011 and offers one of the healthiest seafood options. Seizing an opportunity that Muskoka lacked a seafood market, Chris backs up his claim of freshness with a quality product that tastes as it should. Blue Marlin services local golf courses, restaurants, caterers, and the every-day Joe, maintaining a large local consumer base.

Muskoka Futures was integral by providing the capital investment and business know-how required to get Chris’s dream off the ground and establish what is now Blue Marlin. Chris says he came into Muskoka Futures with an idea but lacked the know-how of exactly what he needed to make his business a reality. Muskoka Futures focused him to answer some tough questions and look at the viability of the big picture. “I never feel nervous at Muskoka Futures … there is a constant learning curve and Muskoka Futures was extensive in their support, offering help and keeping up with the business.” In the preliminary stages of the mentor program offered through Muskoka Futures’ Business Support Program, Chris will be working with a local mentor to help him tighten up ship around the management aspects of his business.

Muskoka Futures wants to make Muskoka an economic hub and thriving community so that those living here and those visiting, can enjoy it to the fullest extent. This is done by helping local entrepreneurs and businesses flourish through business support services and loan provision. By promoting sustainable local economic development, Muskoka Futures helps individuals recognize their dreams and makes it not just “about the money”. A personal interaction makes it possible for individuals to shape their dreams and their futures into something they can be proud of and that can serve the community.

In the future, Blue Marlin would like to hire additional staff, open a home-delivery aspect, and possibly do a winter Blue Marlin Fish School, teaching individuals how to handle, season, and cook seafood. Chris currently offers seniors and service individuals a 10% and 15% discount respectively. “I want people to stay healthy, and eat healthy. It’s a win-win for everybody”. Chris works with his family and hopes to one day pass the business on to his sons, opening additional locations to expand his reach of sustainable and delicious seafood even further.

New this year, Chris makes all his deliciously fresh fish available at some of the Muskoka Farmer’s Markets now in full swing, including Gravenhurst, Baysville, and Bracebridge markets. Don’t miss out on the Blue Marlin anymore … 

FedNor announces funding for Muskoka Futures and MCN

David Brushey - Saturday, October 26, 2013
Harper Government invests to support growth of Parry Sound–Muskoka start-ups
Funding to Accelerate Business Development and Stimulate Growth Throughout the Region

HUNTSVILLE, Ontario, October 25, 2013 — The Honourable Tony Clement, Member of Parliament for Parry Sound–Muskoka, on behalf of the Honourable Greg Rickford, Minister of State for Science and Technology, and FedNor, and Minister responsible for the Ring of Fire, today announced an investment by the Harper Government to help create jobs, growth and prosperity for the Parry Sound–Muskoka region.

“The Harper Government is proud to invest in initiatives that promote sustainable economic growth in Parry Sound–Muskoka,” said Minister Clement. “By supporting the development of business accelerators and incubators, our Government is helping to spur innovation and providing entrepreneurs with the tools they need to develop their ideas and grow their operations, leading to a stronger more diversified economy.”

FedNor funding of $443,700 will help create both a business incubator and business accelerator for the Parry Sound–Muskoka region. Of the total, the Muskoka Community Futures Development Corporation will receive $333,730 to establish a business incubator that will provide mentoring, coaching and training programs, business readiness assessments, as well as workshops to assist entrepreneurs commercialize their products and ideas. And $110,000 will enable Muskoka Community Network to complete a feasibility study and develop a business plan to create a technology accelerator and data centre in the Town of Huntsville.

These FedNor investments complement the Government of Canada’s Venture Capital Action Plan, a $400-million strategy launched in January to help increase private sector venture capital investments across Canada. Economic Action Plan 2013 provided $60 million over five years to help outstanding and high-potential incubator and accelerator organizations expand their services to worthy entrepreneurs.

“On behalf of the citizens of Huntsville and the entire Parry Sound–Muskoka region, I welcome this FedNor investment to develop, enhance and diversify the regional economy,” said Mayor Claude Doughty, Mayor of Huntsville. “Today’s announcement will provide entrepreneurs throughout the area with the resources they need to grow, innovate, bring ideas to the marketplace and create jobs.”

The funding announced today is provided through FedNor’s Northern Ontario Development Program, which supports projects that promote sustainable community economic development, enhance business development and growth, and facilitate innovation throughout the region.

"Our Government remains focused on providing the right environment for economic growth, through effective cooperation across all sectors, to keep Canadians working and to ensure the long-term prosperity of all our communities," concluded Minister Rickford.

To find out more about our programs and services, please visit: and follow us on Twitter @FedNor.

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For more information, please contact:

Mary Ann Dewey-Plante
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Greg Rickford

Barclay Babcock
Communications Officer
705-690-0957 / 877-333-6673 Ext 303

Celebrate Ontario 2013 is now open for applications

David Brushey - Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Celebrate Ontario is an annual program through the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, that helps new and existing festivals and events enhance their programs, activities and services. The program also supports bid and event hosting costs of major one-time events and festivals attracting out-of-province visitors through the Blockbuster category.

This support helps grow tourism in the province by making it easier for event organizers to offer new and improved experiences that will attract more tourists and increase visitor spending.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: All organizers of festivals and events are required to apply via the new Grants Ontario web-based application system.

Applicants must register with the Government of Ontario’s encrypted ONe-key log-in system at Grants Ontario as users and apply online. You are strongly encouraged to register for your ONe-key password as soon as possible to ensure you meet the application deadline.

* Full details, including what’s eligible, how to apply, and when to apply are on the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport’s website at:

Your local tourism advisor can also assist you with any questions you might have about Celebrate Ontario Main Stage and Signature 2013 grant applications.

Loans for Start-ups - Toronto Star article

David Brushey - Thursday, July 12, 2012
See the Toronto Star article (by Kenyon Wallace) - Risky Business: Loans for a Start-Up

This article contains good tips for being prepared when seeking a loan for a small business.

Waterloo Summit Centre for the Environment - Open House

David Brushey - Monday, June 25, 2012

The Waterloo Summit Centre for the Environment is pleased to announce it will be hosting an Open House on July 5, 2012 from 5 pm to 7:30 pm. The Waterloo Summit Centre for the Environment is located at 87 Forbes Hill Drive, in Huntsville, Ontario. All are welcome to attend.

The Open House will showcase a number of things that are currently happening at the facility including the University of Waterloo and the Town of Huntsville’s vision for the Centre. Dr. Stephen Murphy, Chair of the University of Waterloo’s Department of Environment and Resource Studies, within the Faculty of Environment, will be on hand to talk about Waterloo’s role here in Huntsville. Visitors can see Waterloo’s recently completed ecology lab and research projects being undertaken by Waterloo’s Faculty of Environment students this summer.

Attendees will learn about the initiatives of other building tenants including Muskoka Community Network and the Innovation Muskoka Pilot Project being led by Muskoka Community Futures Development Corporation.

Muskoka Community Network (MCN) works with both the public and private sector to extend high speed internet coverage in the cottage country of Muskoka and Almaguin, thus providing the region with a modern and attractive business climate. 

Building on the success of the mentorship program, Muskoka Futures partnered with the MCN in November of 2011 to host an Innovation Muskoka event at the Waterloo Summit Centre for the Environment. The event resulted in an “Innovation Sandbox”, where local entrepreneurs pitched their ideas to a panel of experienced business people and received practical advice for a successful enterprise. From the Sandbox came the Innovation Muskoka Pilot Project which is housed in the Waterloo Summit Centre. This project involves advisory panels assisting six local entrepreneurs ready to take their business to the next level. The advisory panels consist of several experienced business people for each participating business, with each panel member providing different skill sets and experiences. A number of the pilot participants will be on hand at the Open House showcasing their products and businesses.

At the event, attendees will also discover more about the projects underway with the Unity Plan – Huntsville’s Guide to a Sustainable Future. The Town of Huntsville’s wide range of rental facilities for your events of all styles and sizes will be showcased at this event as well.

About the Waterloo Summit Centre
The Waterloo Summit Centre for the Environment is a year-round research, teaching and community centre, and run by the University of Waterloo and the Town of Huntsville. It is a research centre for ecology, climate change, tourism, land-use planning, and local economic development. The Centre can host short courses, meetings, conferences, workshops, and field exercises, with on-site overnight accommodation available for up to 46 people. It is located near Arrowhead Provincial Park and within easy driving distance from many other natural areas and provincial parks, including Algonquin Provincial Park. The Centre is within walking distance to the shops and restaurants of beautiful downtown Huntsville. For more information, visit

About the University of Waterloo
The University of Waterloo, located at the heart of Canada’s Technology Triangle, is one of Canada’s leading comprehensive universities. Waterloo is home to 34,000 full- and part-time undergraduate and graduate students who are dedicated to making the future better and brighter. Waterloo, known for the largest post-secondary co-operative education program of its kind in the world, supports enterprising partnerships in learning, research and discovery. For more information about Waterloo, visit us at

For more information on the event, please contact Robin Brushey, Events Manager, Waterloo Summit Centre for the Environment, University of Waterloo at 705-571-0259 or

To pre-register for the event, please contact the Huntsville/Lake of Bays Chamber of Commerce at (705) 789-4771 or email at

Youth Enterprise Camp 2012

David Brushey - Friday, May 18, 2012

A Different Kind of Summer Camp!

Youth Enterprise Camp’ offers a special experience designed to stimulate aspiring young business entrepreneurs! It’s a fabulous way for kids to exercise their brains, their spirits, and their bodies, while having some old-fashioned summer fun!

Muskoka Futures is an enthusiastic partner of this innovative camp. It’s a great opportunity for young people to gather together and develop their business skills. Kids from the ages of 9 to 15 pool their entrepreneurial resources, develop their creative ideas, and learn how to be their own boss for a week. All this while still enjoying the natural outdoor perks of the summer camp experience! 

The camp is located at the beautiful Canadian Ecology Centre in Mattawa, Ontario. The games and activities of business enterprise – how to fund a business venture, make a business plan, create a marketing strategy, and actually sell an invention – are complemented by traditional outdoor fun, such as canoeing, swimming, and mountain biking. 

Many young people have excellent business skills, but they don't even know it. Creativity, enthusiasm, and good ideas are just a few traits of a successful entrepreneur. Maybe there’s a kid you know who has an idea for a product and would be keen to see how this kind of innovative thinking can be the basis for an interesting career.

Traditional high-school business classes may not be the answer to honing the skills of our enterprising youth. Youth Enterprise Camp is the perfect way to learn that business can be creative and stimulating. When young people gain more understanding about the world of business, their interest and skills will expand. After all, the houses they live in, the clothes they wear, and the technology they use all represent business in action. Even student jobs (like flipping burgers or checking out groceries) are more engaging when enlivened by a glimpse of the bigger picture behind the humdrum tasks. This camp offers a terrific chance to learn more about the mechanisms behind the products and services that make our world go round! 

The camp runs from July 30th to August 3rd, with two concurrent groups: Youth Camp for ages 9 to 12, and Teen Camp for ages 13 to 15. Camp fees are $500, and Muskoka Futures is offering lots of great ideas for fundraising to encourage the kids to get a head-start on cultivating their entrepreneurial spirits. Some subsidies may be available upon request.

Help us get the word out to anyone who may be interested in this type of a camping experience. Information is available on Muskoka Futures' camp website:, including registration packages and fundraising tips. If you have any questions or concerns, contact Lucas at Muskoka Futures (646-9511, ext. 21) or by e-mail at Registrations are due by June 16th, and space is limited, so contact us soon!

And remember that Muskoka Futures believes in helping entrepreneurs of all ages. If you have a great idea and need a little advice, or if you have a successful business that you want to expand, stop by the office at 111 Manitoba Street in Bracebridge or give us a call at 705-646-9511. Muskoka Futures is interested in helping to turn your plans into reality, and we’d be happy to explore your ideas.

Muskoka Community Initiative

David Brushey - Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Community Grants from Muskoka Futures

As anyone who follows our local media knows, the communities in Muskoka benefit from numerous, dedicated not-for-profit groups and supportive volunteers who provide leadership in promoting the economic welfare of our community. These groups and volunteers plan and host a wide-range of events and projects that attract people to Muskoka, and that support our local businesses.  In hosting their events, and implementing their projects, many of these groups look to Muskoka Futures to help transform their visions into reality.  Through our Muskoka Community Initiative, Muskoka Futures offers partnership in projects that promote Muskoka’s economic and cultural sustainability. 

The Muskoka Community Initiative grant program has funded over 170 projects since 2000, assisting groups such as Chambers of Commerce, environmental associations, museums, business groups, cultural organizations, and municipalities. Spanning the entire region of Muskoka, some of our recent recipients have included:

Arts Council of Muskoka (Steps to Leadership Program)
Town of Gravenhurst (Business Seminar)
River Mill and Port Carling Farmers’ Markets
Support Your Local Chamber of Commerce Promotional Campaign
OFSAA Nordic Skiing Championships
2012 Ontario ParaSport Winter Games

To be eligible for grant consideration, projects must be located within the District of Muskoka (including the Towns of Bracebridge, Gravenhurst and Huntsville, and the Townships of Georgian Bay, Lake of Bays and Muskoka Lakes). Preference is given to not-for-profit community-sponsored groups which have been in existence for at least six months and which represent and/or collaborate with the voluntary sector, the private sector, cooperatives or various levels of government.

If your group has a plan to help our region realize its potential as a vibrant, innovative, creative, and healthy community, ask Muskoka Futures about your eligibility for a MCI contribution. Projects may support the community’s growth in a number of ways: by developing infrastructure, enhancing technological capabilities, offering training or seminars, supporting entrepreneurship, increasing opportunities for local youth, promoting cultural identity, attracting or retaining employment opportunities, or enabling feasibility studies. 

Applicants must first discuss their project with the staff at Muskoka Futures, and, if eligible, complete an application form detailing the project and its budget and including all support material. Application forms and program guidelines can be downloaded from Muskoka Futures. Applications are then reviewed by a committee of volunteers from the community, and awarded to projects most appropriate to the program’s mandate: those which exert a positive effect on Muskoka’s community and economic development, have a regional and/or significant impact, and present a sound project budget.

If your organization would like to discuss the Muskoka Community Initiative, contact Muskoka Futures Executive Director, David Brushey, at 646-9511 x.22. Application deadlines for 2012 will be May 31st, June 14th, and October 25th. 

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