Cottagers donate $135K to South Muskoka Hospital Foundation

person putting money into a jar Photo by Cozine/Shutterstock

As COVID-19 continues to pose a risk to Canadians, especially in rural locations where there are fewer medical resources, one cottage town has received a generous donation from seasonal residents.

Last week,  the South Muskoka Hospital Foundation made a statement asking for donations to purchase more ICU beds in the local hospital. They cost $45,000 each. Within a week, a group of seasonal residents came forward with a donation of $135,000 to the foundation for the cause.

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Bracebridge mayor, Mayor Graydon Smith, took to Facebook last Saturday to announce the news of the donation and to thank local healthcare and frontline workers. Here’s how you can donate.

“[The donor] is a cottager in the community who, despite all the controversial conversation, loves this community and recognizes an opportunity to help,” Smith said. “He and other seasonal residents got that $135,000 together quickly and got that money to the foundation.”

In an interview with Cottage Life, he said he was “blown away” by the generosity and the speed by which people took action.

“It’s really indicative of our seasonal community.”

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While the residents who organized the fundraiser wish to remain anonymous, Mayor Smith passed on their communal message.

“Muskoka is important for all of us—the place our families come together and grow together,” they wrote. “Supporting local healthcare and community services is just the right thing to do. We’re all neighbours up here.”

The tension between cottagers and residents has escalated after local mayors, Premier Doug Ford and Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, Theresa Tam, asked seasonal residents not to self-isolate at their cottages.

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While Cottage Life unable to reach South Muskoka Hospital Foundation to find out how exactly this money will be allocated, the community, including Smith, have voiced their gratitude to the fundraisers and donors for their support.

“I want to thank everyone who is supporting the foundation and thank anyone who has been helping other people during this time,” said Smith. “Lastly, I want to tell you to stay well, and I think we’ve got a shot of getting through this okay.”

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