Dear Tourists of Muskoka,
I am a local. This is not my first rodeo in your seasonal playground. I have lived in other towns that you enjoy.
When I lived in the beautiful town of Collingwood, the sheer disrespect I noticed from tourists towards locals was commonplace. It was one of the reasons my husband and I left. We could not stand the rudeness from a small but loud minority of the visitors; the entitlement and condescension was appalling.
Locals in service seemed to be treated like trash everywhere you looked. People would even have the gall to complain loudly if “locals” dare shopped on a Friday.
Huntsville never struck me as the sort of place that collected disrespectful people on vacation. Living near Algonquin Park, I see and meet many polite families, singles and couples on nearby trails. There is a sense of relaxation and gratitude on the lakes compared to the hustle and bustle of the slopes.
Unfortunately, I have recently noticed the virus of rudeness spreading. I am sure the seasoned locals have more stories than I will ever be able to tell, but I thought I would share anyhow.
You may not be surprised that my story has to do with driving. To make a long story short, I was almost hit by a middle-aged driver who was trying to parallel park downtown. He failed to signal until the very last minute, did not wait for me to clear the way, proceeded to back into me and did not stop when I beeped the horn. Luckily, nobody was close behind me and I narrowly avoided his rear bumper.
When I confronted the driver with concern about him driving dangerously and inattentively, he responded with childish name calling and goading rather than a simple apology.
The woman he was with condescendingly explained that they were guests at ‘the Deerhurst’ and where they come from, this is how they drive. I reminded her that he had contravened the Highway Traffic Act and expressed that I was very concerned and frightened about his ability to operate a motor vehicle.
I then wished her a safe evening but promptly notified OPP as I could not believe that someone in a sober state of mind could drive so poorly and act so callously.
Even if this man was not impaired by drugs or alcohol, he was in no state of mind to be visiting our town. Visitors and residents of all ages were riding bikes and walking down the sidewalk, and his driving habits and conduct were very reckless and rude. When confronted about his behaviour, he displayed extreme disrespect. Name calling like a small child, and leaving a woman, who was not responsible, to deal with the consequences of someone who decided to call him out.
I know this is not how all tourists behave, but I hope that this is a message to future visitors that behavior like this does not go unnoticed.
Dear tourists, we want you to visit. We want you to enjoy the beauty of Muskoka. But remember – you are in our house now. Take off your shoes, respect the rules, and thank us for our hospitality. If that is too difficult, please feel free to park your Lexus somewhere else.
A (new) Muskoka Local
Kaitlyn moved to Muskoka with her husband last June. She has experience in the tourism, recreation and sports industries. The couple have lived in multiple cities and are originally from Northern Ontario. They enjoy everything that Huntsville has to offer.
Don’t miss out on Doppler! Sign up for our free newsletter here.