South Falls Fiasco – Please, Not in Bala

Posted by on October 8, 2014 in Business & Marketing

South Falls Fiasco – Please, Not in Bala

Please forgive the length of this blog but I felt it important and compelling reading about what transpired at South Falls, near Sundridge, written as a somewhat personal and somewhat educational note to inform us about what could transpire in Bala.  While i have not identified the writer, this was the email written.  In addition, if you’d like to read more, there is a page on the SaveTheBalaFalls Web site pertaining to this at:


“Sorry I could not get back sooner to you.  This unsightly dam is located in South River Ont.  Not too far of a drive from Bala. Just straight up hwy 11 to Sundridge, South River turn off.  South River approx. 8km N of Sundridge. Turn right down Ottawa St at the lights and go to Isabella St.  Here you turn Left and follow around. It will bring you to former gorgeous Falls sight but now you will see not the beautiful cascades of water but the immense cement building and pipes .

There are 2 bridges and the water on both bridges wouldrush down from the South to the North but now is basically dried up and exposed rock faces and horrid cement blockades. It really would be worth your while to see what these Provincial aided contracts can do to old historic sites. It is to my mind a travesty and they have the nerve to call it “green renewable energy” after they have destroyed all the beauty.SouthRiver-B4-after-blog

There is a book ‘Waterfalls of Ontario’ showing all our treasures of our small communities (including South River) as it WAS!  And Bala Falls. It is written by Mark Harris and I am thinking if all these beautiful historic landmarks keep being devastated by the Grants and encouragement of our provincial government, he will have a full book he can rewrite of before and after shots. The beauty and uniqueness of our small towns gone forever. The devastation of our Falls was for a measly 880 KW , makes no sense what so ever . A company from Quebec did our damage, either Montreal or Sherbrooke, not sure on that and its name is ‘HYDROSYS’.  A local realtor got in on the offering from government with these small projects and it was passed before anyone knew about it.

Your outfit of course is Swift River Energy Ltd. they are associated with The Horizon Legacy Group and lobbyist Marc Desmarais and all seem to have the same address at 2300 Yonge St. Unit801 Toronto, M4P 1E4. If you can believe, the company of Swift River was thought up by two buddies who played squash together and could see the McGuinty Govt. Was offering sweet deals for these smaller dams in our communities.  The Bala dam will only produce 4.5 MW (and I doubt even that!) in energy, and is so sad to think of the upheaval and destruction on the gorgeous Falls for so little. It is a blight on our small communities for the Provincial Govt. to entice and make it easy for these power corporations to come in and destroy what defines us. It is our Heritage and it should not be up for sale.

They have also said that there would be “No Compensation for Lost Business”. Our Provincial Liberal Government is the biggest Bully out there helping the other Bully’s do their dirty little deals. They have offered 184 contracts and giving premium prices to the developers and waiving tariffs in order to streamline the approvals. We are then faced with spending money to protect our Heritage sights against these upshot power companies. Swift River is also now looking at a dam to build in Manitoulin as well as the Bala dam. It is such a farce that you have Oakville Mayor Rob Burton putting the pressure on so he doesn’t get a coal fire generation plant in his backyard, but allegedly is wanting to help finance South River Energy to go ahead and destroy another communities backyard. I wish you all the luck in the World as you will need it and I hope so much that you are successful in keeping Bala the way it was meant to be and not a mess of cement and pipes and Lost Falls as what happened in South River, Ont.

Warmest Regards and Wishes”


So sad – let’s not allow this here in Bala


A Kodak Moment-Perfect Storm Part 2

Posted by on September 11, 2014 in Aerial Video & Photo

A Kodak Moment-Perfect Storm Part 2

Great ideas are rarely low hanging fruit.  This is a principle im well aware of.  So when this one came to me during a family gathering watching the Tour De France, we all knew it would be a winner.  The key was getting traction from key players, like Jay Mothersil of Muskoka Paddle Shack, and owners Kim & Chris from the Bala Bay Inn.  While I have a reputation for being ‘echoic’ in so many ways (an audio and music guy), there is a time and a place to be ‘iconic’.  Many years ago, the very creative gang at the Roy Williams Academy proved that 1000 words are more impressive than a picture…..  today’s offering shows that a picture can indeed be worth its weight in gold……  please take 2 minutes and enjoy the video here at   and get educated about why we are doing our best to Save The Bala Falls.

A Perfect Storm

Posted by on August 20, 2014 in Aerial Video & Photo

A Perfect Storm

SBFs-paddleshackDesignThat is…no wind.  But it did not start out that way.  As I’ve said and written many times, “there is lots of money around, but there are not that many great ideas!”  As typical with me, we just had to add persistence, determination and partners who ‘get it’ and say – “Im in!”   These were the words spoken by Jay Mothersil who owns Muskoka Paddle Shack on Highway 11, just south of Gravenhurst, and a new, perfectly located operation across from the famous and history-laden Bala Bay Inn.

Working with the  folks, we wanted something iconic that had the potential to be viral.  Once the idea germinated, the project became mostly logistics:  weighted anchor bags (thanks to Dons Bakery), lots of rope, skilled guys on paddle boards working the water, and prayer to the Muskoka weather gods for no south wind.  And let’s not forget the land team hoisting the 38 kayaks over hill and dale and into the waters of Bala Bay. For 45 minutes old ‘Murphy’ sat on my shoulder laughin at me trying to abort our mission, but after four hours, we problem solved our way through to a terrific design.  Once 95 percent complete we sent ‘Drone2’ up for a video peak and then made the final adjustments for the day’s shoot.

Sometimes, but not often, a picture IS worth a thousand words.

Take 2 – Back In The Saddle

Posted by on August 14, 2014 in Aerial Video & Photo

Take 2  – Back In The Saddle

OK – so it’s Drone2 reporting in!  Drone1 is somewhere at the base of the South Falls in Bala in Muskoka at an undetermined depth, due to pilot error and what was a raging current at the time!  Gopro and all…gone…along with what would have been some pretty amazing video footage of the falls.  So ‘lesson #204’  learned.

Typically determined, and persistent to a fault, i climbed back on that horse 5 days later with a new rig, new gopro and a new appreciation for pilots everywhere.

Having taken ground school and flown ‘circuits’ for a few months, I already had an appreciation for ‘flight’  but Drones are another breed of airborne wizardry.  Since re-shooting the Bala Falls and several cottage jobs to date, I have realized how crucial pre-planning is to the outcome of a project, for customers who yearn for these high res photo’s and high def videos.

If you are a real estate agent, business owner, or cottager, and are seeking a partner for these services, you’ll find my business proposals unique, affordable, and the quality and quantity of my output fantastic.  Nothing less.

Plus, you won’t find ANY drone pilots who have my Muskoka marketing expertise.  Call me, and I’ll help you close a property or two.

Not A Done Deal

Posted by on August 4, 2014 in Business & Marketing

Bala Power Plant – Not a Done Deal!

 Our Feds – Transport Canada, must provide approval under the Navigation Protection Act before any in-water work can commence.  We’ve asked Minister Tony Clemet to include public consultation in this matter.  Why would they not??  We have many concerns about SAFETY.


Did you know that the proposed generating station would be remotely- and automatically-controlled?  Video cameras would only be as good as the lighting and weather conditions – and the remote operator’s attentiveness – permit.  NOT good enough for safeguarding life given how many people will be both up, and down-stream of this location, day and night, and in all seasons of the year. Based on the weather, there may not be any way for those nearby to know if the water is safe.

Our Concern – HELLO !!!

During the summer months, the variable and treacherously turbulent water would occur often enough that it would always be a “clear and present danger”

Action:  Please Help –

Our representation for such federal matters is through our Minister Clement, you can e-mail him at

And…. SIGN UP our newsletter at



Let’s Help Gary Froude

Posted by on August 3, 2014 in Life @ North45

Let’s Help Gary Froude

SWS (Summer Water Sports) raises funds for “Bring Gary Home” – Monday, August 4 For the Daily Rehearsal on Monday August 4 only please:  At 7pm on Monday, August 4, Summer Water Sports “SWS” will donate the proceeds from their weekly Monday evening waterski show to support the “Bring Gary Home” fund.

Every Monday, SWS ‘passes the hat’ at Clevelands House and the marina next to the resort, to give audience members the opportunity to show their appreciation.

More than a year ago, Muskoka’s Citizen of the Year, Gary Froude, became ill with an unknown virus.  Since then Gary has been on life support due to paralysis throughout most of his body including his diaphragm.  He remains active in the community through communication with his wife Gayle Dempsey, and his sense of humour is intact.

A fundraiser concert was held by the local Rotary Club in January at JW Marriott The Rosseau Muskoka, with Canadian celebrity musicians Ian Thomas and Marc Jordan.  The concert raised over $25,000.

Last week, Gary learned that the “Bring Gary Home” vision will soon be a reality.  Gary has been accepted into the West Park Home Ventilator training program.  He will soon have a new wheelchair that he can control on his own, and we expect to welcome him back home to our community before the end of this year.  Work is needed, to prepare Gayle and Gary’s home to accommodate a wheelchair. $25,000 is a great start but more funds will be required.

For donation info, please contact:

Leah Leslie, Director of Sales & Marketing| JW Marriott The Rosseau Muskoka Resort & Spa  705.765.7028

Clowning Around With Peppy

Posted by on August 3, 2014 in Life @ North45

Clowning Around With Peppy

Growing up as a child from age 4 – every summer in #Bala, #Muskoka, I have, of course, some specials memories.  Going to Cunninghams (now purksplace) for worms to fish and fish and fish, would be one…. but often, on rainy days (and others too) I’d be fortunate to go visit Paul Arnie at the #BalaArcade.

Paul, the Bala Arcade owner, if you do not know him, is ageless. My wonderful wife thinks he has a magic potion in the back, an elixir, because he has not aged.  He was there when I was a child, then our 2 children, now our 3 grandchildren.  July 26th was MAGIC, as my eldest grandson and i walked in, just as Paul opened the store, and all the lights came on – around the store and on ALL the machines – the games in full color regalia – the sites and sounds – oh my!!  It was a scene out of Willy Wonka ! Finns eyes (and mine too ) LIT UP….

I must admit that i was so surprised that Peppy the clown and the old fortune teller still worked!  Paul must be an engineer as well!!

Pictures can tell a story too but hopefully these words conjure some fun images.  My grandson ‘won’ many special tickets for his prowess at the games and walked out with a prize selected with the help from the ‘ageless one’.  Today I felt 5 years old again… with a tear in my eye as I actually write this.  Bala is indeed, a special village full of adventure, and things to get out and enjoy!

Less is More?

Posted by on July 30, 2014 in Business & Marketing

Is less really more?  An overuRadio-iconsed expression to be sure.  Often verbalized by yours truly, and many others who ‘get it’.  As a Radio writer, and a voyeur and creator of clients print and graphic display ads, relative ease of listening or reading, is crucial for the message to be viewed, listened to and remembered.  After all, you must remember, to be persuaded.

In Print it is iconic memory we utilize, and in Radio it is echoic memory.  In Radio, (and often on TV), how often do you hear the writers and production gurus speed up an ad right at the end to ensure they get all their ‘conditions’ bleeted out.  Horrible.

My point is, writing 30 sec radio or 15 second radio, LESS IS MORE.  A pause in the action can be a head –turner.  A nicely paced, perfectly read script, is just SO MUCH more effective.  Next time you want to add a location or a telephone number or some feature or benefit to an already jammed up script…. consider giving your voice professional a little breathing room and your audience a chance to use their echoic memory without trying to jam it between their ears.  Is Less Really More?  You bet it is.

Early Adopter

Posted by on July 10, 2014 in Aerial Video & Photo

Early Adopter

I guess this is the time to elaborate on my latest project for added growth of my North 45 business in Muskoka. I took delivery today of a new DRONE! For those not in the know, these are aerial technology wizard flying machines that can take still and video pictures with amazing accuracy in high definition. For the faint of heart, for the un-determined, for those with a fear of flying – forget it!! Hire me! The work involved in terms of set up, wiring, actual flying skills, and all the pain and suffering of getting ‘off the ground’ well, let’s say one of my most impressive attributes is persistence! More on this later…

A few years back, I took ground school (with my very clever wife) at the Parry Sound Airport and was learning to be a pilot. LOVED the idea, loved to fly small planes as I have many pilot friends who encouraged me, and I was quite passionate about it. Was flying ‘circuits’ and having a jolly time “stalling” the aircrafts – you gotta do it in training….Until I had to have yet another knee surgery. This got me out of sequence, and along with the knowledge that I might not have a fat enough bank account dropped the program.

So… here I am doing the next best thing… knowing that if I DO crash the rig, it’s only the rig, and the camera with no people on board. I’ll leave the real flying to my buddies and work on growing my Drone business.

A Voice Makes A Difference

Posted by on June 25, 2014 in Business & Marketing

A Voice Makes A Difference

It’s a small world – even smaller in Muskoka. I have the pleasure of working with the Dunn family at Walkers Point Marina (WPM) and looking after their Radio. We’ve had some nice success and like many clients I work with, they trust me to be organized, detailed and creative.

To be persuasive and as ‘they’ say in Radio jargon, you must ‘cut through’ be ‘intrusive’ ‘memorable’ ‘effective’ – yada yada. Over my career, Ive had the good fortune to work with some of Canada’s finest and talented announcers. For WPM, possibly my finest work surfaced a few years back with a ‘boating memory’ campaign ( check it on my web site – MP3 Highlight reels) voiced by the fabulous Carl Banis. Carl once recorded the entire “A Christmas Carol” and did ALL the voices! I still have the album. Ah, but I digress…..

This year, heading into the July 1st weekend WPM had a complex scenario arise whereby they had TWO events taking place at virtually the same time – how the heck do you differentiate and promote that?! Bring in a great and well know voice to broadcast the Radio – that’s how! WPM had their traditional July 1st wakeboarding and wakesurf demos at the marina, plus the annual, incredible, Fireworks display on the Sat (June 28th this year) PLUS a somewhat last minute promo with Turtle Jacks in Port Carling to demo and display the must-see line up of Centurion Tow Boats. (the top rig tips the Toledo’s at $148k). Unbelievable technology is all I can say in these few short words. Back to the voice. “Who you gonna call?” Well.. Mike Fry of course. The Fry Guy – former Morning Man, Program Director, and all around wonderful family man from Bracebridge. Mike had to donate his time because of a parting business relationship with Vista Radio ( Moosers ), but he was happy to assist… and the bottom line?. Mike’s the new voice of Walkers Point Marina and he Sounds great!