About the Chamber
The business 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 endeavours 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
North Granite Ridge Golf Club
Johnston and Daniel Rushbrooke Realty
Clear Water Property Management
Muskoka Lakes Farm and Winery
JEAN-ANN BARANIK is the Retail & Customer Experience Manager at Muskoka Lakes Farm and Winery. Before joining the Farm four a half years ago, she also ran her own business, The Fun Store, in Port Carling. A former deputy mayor for the Township of Muskoka Lakes, Jean-Ann served two terms as Municipal Councillor for Ward C. She has also volunteered on the Glen Orchard Public School Parent Council and with the Port Carling Figure Skating Club. Jean-Ann studied Travel and Tourism at Seneca College. The mother of three daughters has lived in Port Carling for over 20 years.
DOUGLAS E. MCINTYRE, M.B.A., is presently retired, having had a long and distinguished insurance career. He was most recently Vice Chairman of Echelon Financial Holdings Inc. and of its wholly-owned subsidiary, Echelon Insurance Company. McIntyre holds an MBA from the University of Toronto, a Post Masters Certificate in Advanced Management from the Schulich School of Business, York University, and has attained both his Associated Risk Management designation (A.R.M.) from the Insurance Institute of America, as well as his Fellowship designation (F.C.I.P.), from the Insurance Institute of Canada. Aside from his career accomplishments, he is affiliated with several organizations, including: Society of Fellows, Insurance Institute of Canada and Sigma Chi Fraternity. A full-time resident of Muskoka, McIntyre served as a member of the board of the Muskoka Lakes Public Library for six years and currently serves on the board of Muskoka Chautauqua.
CHRIS NEAR, PGA, is the Director of Operations, The Lake Joseph Club. During a golf trip in his early teens to Muskoka, Chris quickly realized this was where he wanted to work and live. He set his sights on making this dream a reality by learning as much as he could in different roles within ClubLink (including at Blue Springs Golf Club, King’s Riding Golf Club, and Corporate Office Member Services). He became the Operations Manager at Oak Bay Golf & Country Club in 2014 and was then hired as the Head Professional at Rocky Crest, one of Canada’s top-rated golf courses, before becoming Director of Operations at The Lake Joseph Club. Chris proudly serves on the Golf Muskoka Board, is the Chair for the Muskoka Chapter of the PGA of Ontario, and is excited to further invest himself in the local community by joining the Board of the Muskoka Lakes Chamber of Commerce. Chris and wife Kelsey are eagerly anticipating the arrival of their first child, Reese, this summer!
Mediator and Wedding Officiant
BOB BODEN is a Mediator with Mourneau Schepell and the Wedding Officiant for Muskoka Lakes. He has been mediating court-ordered mediations since 1999 under the Attorney General. He has expertise in resolving staff and family conflicts. Bob has volunteered for Habitat for Humanity, the former New ACT theatre company, and was a counsellor for the Simcoe County District School Board. He has lived in Muskoka since 2011. He is a father of two children and has our grand kids who love visiting him on Gibson Lake. He is presently collecting Tupperware for Prince Harry and Meghan’s first child, and has given permission for them to name said child after him.
NORAH FOUNTAIN, B.A. has been the Executive Director of the Muskoka Lakes Chamber of Commerce since July 2016. Norah has previously served on the Board of the Chamber and helped the Chamber win grants for broadband builds in Muskoka Lakes-Wahta for which she was recognized with a Township of Muskoka Lakes volunteer award. A veteran marketing communications professional, Norah has consulted for national and international financial service firms, tech firms and also has a background in tourism as an advertising manager for a wholesale travel company. An award-winning web producer and journalist, Norah started her career in radio in Toronto, while maintaining her lifelong home in Torrance, Muskoka. She holds a B.A. in Cultural Studies from Nipissing University, and a Journalism Diploma from the Humber College School of Media Studies and Information Technology. She is the mother to one daughter and is an avid scuba diver, skier and singer.
Events and Communications Coordinator
Tourism Ambassador, Bala 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
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