Blue Heron Writes

Sharing to Inspire through Words and Pictures

River of Tears

River Road near Taylor Road, Bracebridge disappearing into the Muskoka River

River Road near Taylor Road, Bracebridge disappearing into the Muskoka River

High water levels are expected to continue for several more days on the North and South branches of the Muskoka River in Bracebridge.  Many roads are still flooded, several closed to vehicular traffic. Yesterday I met one resident who has decided to remain in her home. She and her husband have five pumps running to remove water from their basement. So far this working. To get into town, they use a canoe. Their home is heated with propane but electricity is disconnected and they are without fresh water.

Neighbours and strangers from the community volunteered to sandbag homes along the river but for some the water level has exceeded the height of the sandbags.

The photos in this post were taken on April 23 of the River Road flooding here in Bracebridge. The extension of River Road, known as Wilson Road is completely flooded forcing residents to walk through the bush to reach town.


River Road from up river at the north-end of the flooded area.

Child's playhouse flooded in the yard of a home on River Road and Ann Streets.

Child’s playhouse flooded in the yard of a home on River Road and Ann Streets.

The road on the right of this photo provides access to the home you can see across the river and another one to the left. At the moment  the road is not accessible.

Here are two pictures of Bracebridge Falls taken last year – one during the 2012 Spring Run-Off, the second one in mid-July. For comparison the third photo was taken this past week.

BB Falls March 24_12

Bracebridge Falls during the spring run-off last year – taken March 24, 2012

BB Falls July 2012

Bracebridge Falls, July 2012. This is how our beautiful falls look most of the year.

Bracebridge Falls spring run-off 2013

Bracebridge Falls spring run-off 2013

Once the water does recede, the real work will begin for the town and for residents as they try to put their lives and homes back together. Some support will come from the government to assist in repairing infrastructure damage. The Salvation Army is providing accommodation to families in need and products donated by Canadian Tire to aid in the clean-up. It will be weeks or months before any degree of normalcy returns to their lives. To make things worse, the Media reports that insurance companies will not cover damage and loss due to natural floods. Many people will not have the money to rebuild. I can’t imagine being in their shoes; my heart goes out to them all.

Photos & Text © Wendie Donabie 2013



  1. What a shame. Nature can be both beautiful and destructive. Hopefully, no lives are lost.

  2. Absolutlely incredible!

  3. shirley trimmer

    Wendie how sad for the folks who have lost so much. I always fear the loss of photos for that will hold our history. Hopefully sunshine and wind will return the water back up to the atmosphere…sooner than later!

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