Blue Heron Writes

Sharing to Inspire through Words and Pictures

Spring Run-Off – Waiting for the Crest

While we watch the news of major flooding in the USA and the Red River in Manitoba, homes here in Muskoka Ontario are also under states of emergency.

Now in my third year in Bracebridge, I’ve learned to expect the impact of the annual spring run-off  on the Muskoka River.  The river rises dramatically, swells its banks and the roar of the falls in the middle of town reaches our home 400 feet away, where we sit high and dry above the river. Melting ice and snow, from  the headwaters located in Algonquin Park, travels approximately 100 miles through lakes and rivers  to finally reach the Muskoka River.


Bracebridge Falls one week ago.

A week ago I took pictures of Bracebridge Falls. The flow charged over the upper and lower cascades splashing up onto a concrete walkway that borders the lower, larger falls and leads to the trail along the river.  In an average spring, this is what we expect to see.

But over the last couple of days the additional heavy rains have resulted in the Muskoka River reaching record levels. Bracebridge declared a flood state of emergency when many roads became submerged, some washed out, stranding residents. Relief centres have been set up for the next few days to provide shelter for those unable to stay in their homes. Friends of ours who live on the river report the water is probably 6 feet higher then normal. Their house is high enough to be unharmed.

Click here to see a video from CTV News in Toronto.

Below are shots taken yesterday of the Bracebridge Falls and the Muskoka River.

This is Mother Nature at her best and her worst. She surely deserves our respect.

Photos & text © Wendie Donabie 2013


Upper Bracebridge Falls


The dam at the Lower Falls is unable to handle the volume of water


Water pours over the dam and footbridge that spans the Lower Falls


Water rushes over the foot bridge, cordoned off to restrict pedestrians.


Lower Bracebridge Falls – note the Falls are pouring over the dam and bridge.


The walkway bordering the Muskoka River flooded. See those blue park benches at the water’s edge, normally approximately 5 feet above the river.


Lang Park located below the falls flooded.

The parking lot located just below Muskoka Falls flooded and filled with debris.

The parking lot located just below Muskoka Falls flooded and filled with debris.

TimBr Mart located at the upper falls. See the raft tied to the tree in the midst of the water? That tree was at the water’s edge, some distance above the river, only three days ago.




    Hi Wendie,  seen a story of this on the news and was thinking of you and all the folks there!  Take care and be safe!! Hugs – Karen


  2. Scary and powerful! Hope no one has to endure any damage.

  3. Carole Livie-Field

    Wendie…I hope you have the buckets out. Take care.

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