Category Archives: Spring 2011

Art You Can Feel

Photo courtesty of Miranda Thomas

One Huntsville artist shows just how tactile textiles can be

By Sarah Ryeland

Miranda Thomas has been an artist for as long as she can remember. And for someone who’s only 26 years old, that adds up to a lifetime of creation.

“I’ve always been an artist,” she says. “For as long as I can remember I’ve been drawing, painting and creating things.”

But it wasn’t until fairly recently that she discovered her passion for textile arts…

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History Revealed


Photo by Sarah Ryeland

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How two fires in Huntsville’s past bring a family’s history to light

By Alison Brownlee

A Huntsville building and the family history behind it may have been forgotten had another landmark – the Empire Hotel – not gone up in flames in October 2009.

The Empire sat on the corner of Centre and Main streets and when the hotel was demolished, it left the side of the neighbouring building exposed. The exposed wall showed a crumbling sign that read something like “Merchant Tailor” on an exterior brick wall. Alison Brownlee dove into Huntsville’s history to discover just who this merchant tailor was…

The whole story

76 Trombones and a Butter Tart

The Music Man rehearsals

Photo by Jon Snelson

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Huntsville’s the Music Man runs on homemade baking and community spirit

By Gillian Brunette

Four Muskoka residents – an engineer, a music teacher, a high school student and a former furniture maker – might well have never met, but for the fact they share a common passion.

Love of the performing arts.

They also have a strong sense of community and for that reason the four, along with dozens of other likeminded folk, come together periodically to put their talents to work for the benefit and pleasure of their fellow citizens…

Tell me the rest!

The World According to Ed

Farmhouse and Barn

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One Muskoka blogger takes the web by storm

Story by Sarah Ryeland, Photos by Ed Boutilier

Muskokans often pride themselves on their ability to unplug and get away from it all. One of the main goals of cottagers and year-round residents is to come up here to disconnect, turning off mobile phones, stowing laptops and enjoying a tech-free world.

But for some of us, Muskoka inspires a different reaction.

For Ed Boutilier, coming up to his northern home is a chance for him to connect to the wilderness – and the Internet. An avid photographer, Boutilier shares his passion with followers of his blog,

Dubbing himself a “weekend warrior”, Boutilier sheds his nine-to-five businessman persona when he gets to Muskoka and takes to road to find inspiration for his art…

What’s Ed up to?

Events Calendar

March 27

Community Mural


The Community Mural will take place from March 27 – 29 at the Huntsville Hospital cafeteria from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. For more information, please contact the Huntsville/Lake of Bays Chamber of Commerce at 705-789-4771, ext. 21.

Spring Craft Show


The Spring Craft Show will be held at the Huntsville Place Mall from March 29 – 31. Hours are: Thursday, Friday: 9:30 a.m. – 9 p.m., Saturday: 9:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. For more information please contact Dianne Mehaffy at or call 705-789-3889.

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Help Napster Help Japan

Purchase a copy of "Bird Bath" and donate to Japanese relief efforts

By Sarah Ryeland

Napster loves Sideroads of Muskoka and he also loves the people of Japan. That’s why this season he’s created a custom painting for Sideroads, dedicated to the people and pets affected by the earthquake and tsunami.

This painting is called Bird Bath, and was created on March 14 with the help of Nancy Tapley and Sarah Ryeland.

If you look closely, you’ll see a dark lake, with bluebirds splashing and playing in the water. Above the water, there are birds soaring into the sky, playfully diving and twirling.

To us, this painting represents hope and a fresh start. It reminds us of birds returning to Muskoka in the spring, rebuilding their nests and lives and strengthening bonds.

The people of Japan need our help to find hope and rebuild their homes and lives. If you’d like to help Napster help the people of Japan, you can purchase a copy of this painting with all proceeds going to the Canadian Red Cross for Japanese relief efforts.

Cards and prints range in cost from $3 to $40, and you can even mix and match to get your favourite Napster pieces.

Contact Napster via email at, or visit his blog here.

An Unlikely Artist

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How one talented cat is making a difference

Story and photo by Sarah Ryeland

Meet Napster.

He is mysterious and aloof. He has struggled with his weight. He loves to paint. And he’s a cat.

Napster’s life story has all the typical trials and tribulations you’d expect from an artist. Born to a wild mother 12 years ago in Bobcaygeon, the kitten was soon abandoned and left to fend for himself until someone scooped him up and brought him to Muskoka…

What happened to Napster?