Muskoka mayors sign letter urging an end to “us versus them” mentality directed at seasonal residents

Call comes as premier admits to trip to check on well-being of his seasonal home

A letter, signed virtually by mayors throughout Muskoka, is urging year-round and seasonal residents to work together through the crisis.

The open letter signed by Bracebridge Mayor Graydon Smith, Georgian Bay Mayor Peter Koestsier, Mayor Paul Kelly of Gravenhurst, Huntsville Mayor Karin Terziano, Lake of bays Mayor Terry Glover, Mayor Phil Harding of Muskoka Lakes, and was also signed by District Municipality of Muskoka Chair John W. Klinck. It reminds residents, seasonal or otherwise, are valued, and recognizes there is a long tradition of coming together and supporting one another throughout the District.


This letter comes as many call for seasonal residents to remain home throughout the pandemic, that their presence could put a strain on supply chains and health care. The letter states this is “not the time for divisive attitudes of the propagation of negative ‘us versus them’ commentary.

The letter, in full, is as follows:

Dear Friends and Neighbours,

This global pandemic is affecting all of our lives in ways that none of us could have imagined. It is our hope that this writing finds each of you and your families well and committed to continuing the great work you have all been doing in fighting the spread of this insidious virus. Through your efforts, our Muskoka communities have remained relatively safe and healthy compared to so many others.

We are all so very thankful for our frontline healthcare professionals, first responders and essential goods and services providers that are keeping us safe and ensuring that our necessities of life continue to be available in these times of uncertainty. They are our heroes!

We must remain positive and continue to be vigilant by following the advice and direction of both our Federal and Provincial leaders as well as their respective public health experts.

Together, we are making a difference!

Let us remind ourselves that all our residents – both year round and seasonal – are valued, and recognize that we share a long tradition of coming together to support one another.

Now is not the time for divisive attitudes or the propagation of negative “us versus them” social commentary relative to seasonal versus permanent residents. For that type of behaviour is counter-intuitive to our Canadian values and falls far short of reflecting the sentiment of the vast majority of Muskoka residents. We are all in this together.

As our higher authorities begin to turn their attention to the next steps in the transition to a new normal, may each of us commit to following the existing guidelines and directives relative to our own personal actions and activities. Should you elect to either leave or come to Muskoka you must:

  • purchase provisions in advance and self-quarantine as appropriate,
  • self-isolate and limit all public interaction,
  • do not congregate in groups,
  • practice social (physical) distancing measures,
  • wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your face and mouth,
  • consider face coverings.

Now is not the time to forsake our efforts to date. All the experts suggest that continued diligence in the short term will facilitate favourable long term results.

May you all be safe!