Saturday, April 17, 2010


Muskoka is derived from Mesqua Ukie, the Ojibwa leader associated with the area during the 1800's. He was highly revered and his name deserves to be honoured, however sadly the area is often referred to incorrectly as the Muskokas, a name synonymous with the Hamptons and an aberration from its true meaning and First Nation's heritage.


  1. There are those who disparage those who call it 'The Muskokas', as there is only one region of Muskoka, but many Muskoka Lakes and many Muskokans. My husband was corrected by a local this past week! (He never listens to me!) Good post.

  2. I agree about the singularity of Muskoka, but the origin of the name is a bit more in doubt.

    Mesqua Ukie's name is often invoked, but an elderly Ojibwa woman told me a few years ago that she didn't buy that explanation. She said the name comes from mush-kwa-kwa -- not sure about the spelling, but it means "it's red here", or "the place where it's red."

    Why is Muskoka red? Well, if you're in northern Ontario and start heading south in the autumn, Muskoka is where you leave behind the boreal forest (where the leaves are primarily yellow in fall) and enter the hardwood forest (where reds predominate). The Ojibwe were a northern people originally, so they would have been quite taken by the reds of Muskoka when they first came here in autumn.

    Not sure if it's true, but it certainly makes a compelling alternate explanation.

  3. Either way, just plain wrong to refer to a region that way!