Welcome to the Civic Holiday Long Weekend

FOCA Elert ~ early August 2023

We have tonnes of news! Make sure you see all the updates -

you're at the end when you see this wide image banner again:

Register now to Celebrate with us in September!

Celebrating 60 Years of FOCA

We're ready to celebrate FOCA's 60th anniversary on the afternoon of Saturday September 23rd, 2023 in Peterborough at the Market Hall.

We're looking forward to a fun gathering with friends, the FOCA Board of Directors (current and past), music, memories, and more. The theme of the event is "Connections": to community, to each other, and to the water!

Come for the full experience including a cocktail reception with the Board, or join just in time to participate in the silent auction in support of the next 60 years of FOCA's work! We're looking forward to celebrating with you.

Registration is now open, and space is limited: https://foca.on.ca/60-years/#event

Enjoy your cottage with reliable and fast internet

Stay connected at the cottage with powerful WiFi coverage and reliable Ignite Internet, powered by wireless home internet technology.

Call us at 1-866-256-2138 for personalized assistance (press "1") to check availability at your address. Or, visit the Rogers booth at an upcoming cottage country show:

> Muskoka Market, Huntsville (August 19th)

See you there!

FOCA Publications

Ontario Lake Stewards Magazine

It's here! the 2023 edition of FOCA's annual Lake Stewards publication has arrived in time for your long weekend reading list. Enjoy articles about generator safety, engagement ideas for lake associations, algae blooms, boat cleaning stations and their role to prevent the spread of invasive species, wood ash & sugar maple sap... and more! Download your digital copy now (PDF, 32 pages)

FOCA Champions Safe & Affordable Rural Living

FireSmart ... at the Cottage

Check out the new FireSmart Home Ignition Zone Poster (PDF, 1 page). By taking simple actions around the cottage, you can significantly reduce the risk of wildland fires impacting structures on your property. Start in the 'Immediate Zone' and work out to the 'Extended Zone'.


FOCA Cottage Succession Seminars

FOCA is thrilled to be on the road again with estate lawyer Peter Lillico, helping families plan for the intergenerational transfer of the cottage! We've already hosted five events this year. You can still register to join us at one of our remaining 2023 digital events:

  • Wed. Sept. 6th - "Cottage Succession A to Z" hosted by the Big Basswood Lake Property Owners’ Association
  • Thurs. Sept. 14th - "Cottage Succession A to Z" hosted by the Four Mile Lake Association
  • Wed. October 18th - "It's All About the Kids" deeper dive session for all FOCA Members
  • Wed. October 25th - "Cottage Succession A to Z" hosted by the Lake Weslemkoon Conservation Association

Each session runs from 7:00 to 8:30pm by Zoom webinar and includes Q&A with the speaker. Bring your questions! These events are FREE to FOCA members; remember to indicate your FOCA affiliation when you register to be confirmed for an event.

Learn more, get registration links, or purchase access to a digital recording of a previous session, on our webpage: https://foca.on.ca/cottage-succession/

Towing Safety for Boaters

If you are a boater who kids or adults for waterskiing, tubing or other on-water activities, we encourage you to review a boat safety e-learning video created by Scott Ferguson and circulated previously by our member group, the Muskoka Lakes Association. Watch the video here: https://pcelearning.com/Towing%20Human%20Beings/

Be #WakeAware

Did you know? Boat wake can cause shoreline erosion, damage docks and moored boats, topple inexperienced swimmers or smaller craft including canoes, and drown nesting birds and loon chicks. Please learn more, and pledge to Be #WakeAware.

FOCA's Gold Level Sponsors
Sponsors support our work, please support them.
FOCA Advocates for Responsive Government

Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Water Impacts

If you live along the shores of the Great Lakes or the St. Lawrence River and were impacted by high or low water levels in 2022 and/or 2023, the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Adaptive Management (GLAM) Committee wants to hear from you. A questionnaire to report water level impacts you experienced in 2022 and 2023 is available at the following links:

> Report your 2022 Water Level Impacts: www.surveymonkey.com/r/GLAM2022

> Report your 2023 Water Level Impacts: www.surveymonkey.com/r/GLAM2023

Lyme Disease & Ticks

July 1, 2023 - in response to reports of emerging tick-borne diseases and an increase in blacklegged tick populations across the province, Ontario's Ministry of Health made three tick-borne diseases - anaplasmosis, babesosis and Powassan virus - reportable as diseases of public health significance. Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health added that anyone who finds a tick attached to them should see a doctor if they get a fever within the next month. Read CBC coverage of this announcement, including an explanation of the signs and symptoms of each disease, and get links to additional Lyme disease resources on FOCA’s webpage: https://foca.on.ca/lyme-disease/

(image: eTick website)

Short Term Rental

The subject of short term rental (STR) continues to be a hot topic on many municipal agendas throughout the province this year. FOCA is aware of recent municipal discussions in Muskoka, Limerick Township, and Tudor and Cashel among others.

FOCA members and municipal partners can access FOCA's 2022 Report on STR with an overview of the issues, municipal responses, and templates for educational resources to better educate rural renters. Get links to all these items and more, on our webpage: https://foca.on.ca/rental/

FOCA Promotes Healthy Lands, Lakes & Rivers

Harmful Algae Blooms

The Summer 2023 edition of the "LakeLine" publication of the North American Lake Management Society (NALMS) has arrived, and is dedicated entirely to scientific articles about harmful algae blooms. FOCA is a proud member of NALMS, and happy to share that this digital edition is open to everyone! Link to the digital publication from the "Latest News" section of our Algae Webpage.

Lake Erie Deep Water Oxygen Levels

In related news, as recently reported by Water Canada, more algal blooms are predicted for Lake Erie, as deep-water oxygen levels continue to drop. This can also lead to mass kill-offs of fish, when there is a temperature inversion that sends deep waters devoid of oxygen to the surface. The York University researchers note that low oxygen levels at the bottom of the lake can produce a chemical environment where phosphorus is released from the sediments - a primary nutrient for algae! Read the article online.

Green Shovels - Invasive Phragmites

Through our participation in the Green Shovels Collaborative, FOCA has once again funded member projects that support a range of 2023 on-the-ground initiatives to strategically manage and respond to the threats posed by invasive Phragmites in Ontario.

Invasive Phragmites is an aggressively spreading grass that has become one of the most significant threats to wetland habitats in Ontario, where it drastically reduces plant and wildlife diversity and threatens species at risk. Learn more about Phragmites, and the work of the Green Shovels Collaborative, here: https://foca.on.ca/phragmites.


FOCA is also pleased to report that the IsampleON 3.0 program is underway, with sampling kits being mailed out to dozens of volunteers across Ontario's ecoregion 5E, for water sampling to take place in the last weeks of August 2023. Learn more about the program on our webpage: https://foca.on.ca/isampleon/

Volunteers: remember to take pictures while you are out sampling later in August, and share them with FOCA and through your association's e-news and social media channels!

Asian Carps Awareness

Cottage country folks along the Great Lakes: although Asian carps are not established in Canadian waters, please be on the look-out for them! There are four species of Asian carps that are invasive to North America: Silver Carp, Bighead Carp, Black Carp and Grass Carp. All four have a short dorsal fin and no barbels (whisker-like appendages at the corners of their mouths). Learn how to ID them and what to do if you spot one, from FOCA’s infographic (PDF, 2 pages), and then share the news with others.

Lake Partner Program

Ever wonder what's involved in volunteering with the Lake Partner Program? Read first-hand accounts from FOCA's water samplers about what motivates them to participate each year, and what they get out of it! See page 24 of the new 2023 Ontario Lake Stewards Magazine for their stories.

A note for our 2023 water samplers: Please have a friend snap a picture of you "on the job" and send the images to FOCA. We might use your image in a future Elert! Thank you volunteers.

Fireflies & Night Light

As recently reported in the Toronto Star, fireflies are facing threats from climate change and light pollution. FOCA first wrote about light pollution in our 2009 publication, Take the Plunge. We also included an updated article in our 2021 Lake Stewards Newsletter. Get links to the recent news, and the earlier articles on FOCA's Light Pollution webpage.

(image: AP-Knoxville News Sentinel-Adam Lau / THE CANADIAN PRESS; Toronto Start article 2023)

Clean + Drain + Dry!

If you are a boater, you have an important role to play in preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species. In Ontario, it's the law: you must clean, drain and dry your boat before moving it between lakes (or rivers). This helps prevent the spread of invasive species like Zebra mussels, Eurasian watermilfoil, spiny waterflea, and many more. Learn how and then spread the word: https://foca.on.ca/invasive-species/

FOCA's Silver Level Sponsors
Sponsors support our work, please support them.
Partner Updates & Regional Notices

Watershed Report Cards

Ontario’s 36 Conservation Authorities (CAs) track conditions across watersheds. For World Water Day earlier this year, CAs unveiled updated Watershed Report Cards. Find your local CA website where you can view or download 2023 Watershed Report Cards, tracking and reporting on surface and groundwater quality, as well as the conditions of our forests: https://watershedcheckup.ca/find-your-report-card/

Bigwind Provincial Park ERO posting

Property owners in the area around Bigwind Provincial Park (near Baysville) should note there are plans to convert the Park to an operating park that may have as many as 250 campsites, 25 backcountry campsites, 25 cabins or yurts, recreational trails, access roads, comfort stations, water and waste treatment facilities and maintenance facilities. It would be the first new full-service operating provinical park created in 40 years. The Province has posted the plans to the Environmental Registry of Ontario (ERO), and recently extended the deadline for public comment to September 4, 2023.

(image: OntarioParks.com)

Fine for Illegal Shorewall Construction

As reported recently by the Central Lake Ontario Conservation Authority (CLOCA), this spring an Oshawa contracting firm was fined $20,000 as a result of charges laid under the Conservation Authorities Act for the illegal construction of a shorewall along the Lake Ontario shoreline. While shorewalls can be a tool for protecting property from erosion, they must be properly designed, approved and permitted in order to avoid impacts on the environment and neighbouring properties.

Community Service Learning Opportunities

Trent University, through the Trent Community Research Centre (TCRC) has opportunities to support community groups while providing students with experience with real-world challenges related to sustainability, climate change, and a net-zero economy. If your association or organization has related events or projects coming up in the Fall of 2023, you could utilize these opportunities. Please read the information sheet from Trent (PDF, 2 pages) and see examples of other listed projects on the Trent website.

FOCA's Bronze level sponsors
Sponsors support our work, please support them.
Dock in a Box
FOCA Serves Lake & Road Associations

Participating in Local AGMs

FOCA has been busy and on the road for much of the summer, participating in Annual General Meetings (AGMs) of our member associtions, as well as regional events.

It's a joy to be back "in person" for many of these gatherings!

Since June, FOCA has attended the Lake of the Woods District Stewardship Association AGM, Muskoka Lakes Association AGM (pictured at top right), Lake of Bays Association AGM, Kahshe Lake Ratepayers Association AGM, Kawarthas Alliance annual meeting, Menominee Lake Association AGM (pictured at the side), and Greater Bobs & Crowe Lake AGM (pictured at bottom right), as well as events in Apsley, Ottawa, Maynooth and Lakefield, among others.

We're looking forward to connecting with more of you across Ontario this August!

Even if we can't be at your local meeting in person, we can still send you some materials and a FOCA update to share with your fellow members. Read more on that option, below.

ASSOCIATION TIP: Give a Report About FOCA at your AGM

Help your fellow members understand the work that FOCA does year-round on their behalf, and the benefits they have access to because of your Association's annual membership in FOCA. Contact the office to ask for a short set of slides: "About FOCA" and/or a script you can use to explain in 5 minutes why your annual contribution is money well spent!

Risk Management for Road Associations

FOCA and our partners at Cade Associates Insurance Brokers, who administer the FOCA Association Insurance Program, remind groups that are involved in road maintenance to investigate the member resources on FOCA's website, including:

If you don't have, or can't recall, your member web login for these or other resources, contact us for assistance during business hours.

Also, we encourage you to read the latest Road Questions & Answers article in the new 2023 Ontario Lake Stewards Magazine, starting on page 20. Download your digital copy of the Magazine here (PDF, 32 pages).

Members' Corner: "Borrow" this Great Youth Engagement Idea

We enjoyed this Facebook post from our member group, the Severn River Association of Property Owners (SRAPO), who put a new twist on a kids' scavenger hunt event: find all the items on the list, and then make them into a work of art. BONUS POINTS: they got a local marina to donate ice cream prizes as an incentive! Yum.

webinar recaps: Nonprofit Governance & Recordkeeping

Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO) held two July webinars that may be of interest, especially to our incorporated member associations:

  • Introduction to Nonprofit Governance, exploring the rights, duties and liabilities of members, directors and officers of a nonprofit organization, including different ways to structure membership and boards.
  • Introduction to Privacy Law & Recordkeeping for Nonprofits: what records are nonprofit corporations required to keep, and who has a right to access them? Plus, an overview of privacy law.

Member Association representatives can access links to these recordings and additional goverance resources on FOCA's Association Best Practices webpage. If you don't have, or can't recall, your login contact us for assistance during business hours.

Apply for the 2023 FOCA Achievement Award

We've been reading your Association newsletters and following your social media posts, and we KNOW you've been busy doing great things this year!

Be sure to apply on behalf of your Association for the 2023 FOCA Achievement Award. Nominations can be submitted now! The award recipient will be announced in the early new year, with the award presentation at the next FOCA Annual General Meeting (save the date: Saturday, March 2, 2024 in Toronto and by webinar).

For inspiring stories of past recipients, the nomination form, and more information, visit our webpage:


In Memoriam

Ian White

FOCA was saddened to hear of the recent passing of former Board Director Ian White, a member of the Lake of Bays Association (LOBA). Soon after arriving on Lake of Bays in the early 2000s, Ian volunteered to be an Area Steward for LOBA, joined their Board of Directors in 2010, and FOCA's in 2015. Our condolences go out to his family, friends and lake association peers. You will be missed, Ian.

Celebrating 60 Years of FOCA

There are many ways YOU can contribute to FOCA's 60th anniversary celebrations:

  1. submit pictures to our archival photo project
  2. register to join us for our 60th anniversary celebration event on Saturday, September 23rd in Peterborough, Ontario
  3. make a donation today to support the future of FOCA's work on behalf of waterfront Ontario
  4. PSSST! Pass it on. Be part of our campaign to refer a friend or an association to become a new FOCA Member, and you could win a prize this year.

Thank you for your ongoing support. Volunteers like you make this organization strong.

Here's another amazing historic photograph from Ontario cottage country! This one is from 1905 and shows Benson O'Hara, Minnie Ketcheson O'Hara, their daughters and J.R. Ketcheson at their cottage on Moira Lake (near Madoc). Thank you for the photo submission, Jennifer Ghent-Fuller.

Keep those great pictures coming! Use the link to upload yours and tell us all about it.

Final Thoughts

Happy Civic Holiday Long Weekend!

We hope you get to spend the holiday weekend

with the people you love, in the place you love best.


FOCA Office Hours:

Please note the FOCA office will be closed Monday, August 7th, 2023

for the statutory holiday.

FOCA is the Federation of Ontario Cottagers' Associations,
the voice of the waterfront for the past 60 years.
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