About the Chamber
The voice of Muskoka Lakes
The Muskoka Lakes Chamber of Commerce is the voice of the Muskoka Lakes and area business community. A non-profit, member-driven organization, the Chamber is governed by a 12-Member Board of Directors with input from almost 300 members.
The Chamber offers a variety of opportunities for business to engage in events ranging from workshops to Business After Hours networking evenings.
The Chamber offers services and products to its members and the broader business community, including:
- Promotion of member businesses
- Informational and networking events
- Member benefits
- Member to member discounts
- Business development workshops
- Policy and advocacy locally with the Township of Muskoka Lakes and provincially and federally through its membership in the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and Canadian Chamber of Commerce
The Muskoka Lakes Chamber of Commerce serves the Township of Muskoka Lakes and Wahta Mohawk Territory in Muskoka and businesses doing business within the Chamber’s geographic area.
Muskoka Lakes Chamber of Commerce will endeavour to improve economic prosperity in the Township of Muskoka Lakes through connectivity, education, and advocacy for our membership
Muskoka Lakes Chamber of Commerce serves the Muskoka Lakes community, driving economic prosperity by connecting with our members to benefit, promote and support their businesses.
Board of Directors
Johnston and Daniel Rushbrooke Realty
Clear Water Property Management
Muskoka Lakes Farm and Winery
Mediator and Wedding Officiant
Events and Communications Coordinator
Summer Administrative Assistant and Tourism Ambassador
Tourism Ambassador, Port Carling Visitor Information Center
The Muskoka Lakes Chamber of Commerce traces its history back to 1961 when the Bala and District Chamber of Commerce was incorporated. It became more active in the early 1980s when it started as an association for Bala and area businesses.
In 1990, it became the West Muskoka Chamber of Commerce. In 1999 a FedNor grant made it possible to hire Jane Templeton on a part-time basis. Jane’s role grew and she continued on as General Manager for 17 years until 2016. Membership grew as well from a few dozen members to almost 300. In the mid-1990s, the Port Carling business community began considering joining the Chamber.
As the Chamber had been serving a wider business area of Muskoka Lakes for several years, the membership changed the name to the Muskoka Lakes Chamber of Commerce in 2003. The Chamber’s year round office is located in Bala Pines Plaza at 3181 Muskoka Road 169 in Bala. A second, seasonal Visitor Information Centre is operated in Port Carling.
1961: Bala District Chamber of Commerce incorporated in April 1961 by J. Baker
Early 1980s: Bala and Area Business Men’s Association formed
1985: Name changed to Bala and Area Business association
1987: Membership fees were $25.00 with 51 members
1990: Changed to West Muskoka Chamber of Commerce (WMCC). Visitor information booth built at Windsor Park
1992: Helped develop Hardy Lake Provincial Park and active in setting up Bala’s 125th anniversary
1993: Bala, Wales twinned with Bala, Muskoka
1999: Jane Templeton hired as Tourism Promotion Coordinator. Chamber website developed.
1999: First ever “Business after Hours” held and “Heritage Walking Tours” created
2001: Chamber created first ever Bala Farmers’ Market
2002: Chamber took over Santa Claus Parade
2003: Changed name from West Muskoka Chamber of Commerce to Muskoka Lakes Chamber of Commerce
2003: Chamber awarded $30k grant to build broadband business plan, creating the Muskoka Lakes-Wahta Community Broadband project
2003: Chamber logo produced
2004: Chamber grows to 12-member board of directors, with by-laws and had 50 volunteers
2005: Produced the first ever Visitor Guide and Member Directory. Developed Seasonal Accommodation inventory project.
2007: Township purchased the Duke House and a Visitor Information Centre was established there
2008: Chamber moved into their present office space in the Bala Pines Plaza
2009: Chamber starts an annual Christmas Market in Port Carling
2013: Chamber joins Canadian Chamber of Commerce
2013: Finalized the ‘Choose a Chamber Member First, Keep it in Muskoka’ Campaign
2014: Hosted first ‘Spotlight on Muskoka Lakes’ Event
2016: Jane Templeton retired after 17 years; Norah Fountain begins as Executive Director
2017: Chamber joins the Ontario Chamber of Commerce
2018: Chamber hires FedNor Intern Katelyn Broad as Events and Communications Coordinator
2019: Chamber (in partnership with Gravenhurst Chamber) hosts the 107th Annual Ontario Chamber of Commerce Annual General Meeting and Convention (the smallest Chambers ever to host this event)
2019: Chamber awarded Ontario Regional Economic Development grant for Workforce Development Project