The new name for Muskoka Rd. 38 will be unveiled in Sept. 2023.
Three potential names will be brought forward by the Wahta Mohawks First Nation, whose administration and community centre building is located on the road. A tri-council committee involving officials from Muskoka Lakes, the District of Muskoka, and Wahta Mohawks will then decide which name is best and present their decision to district council which will have the final say.
“Road names can reveal a lot about a community and how they want their history to be remembered,” district officials say.
Similar to other numbered district roads, Muskoka Rd. 38 will keep its numbered name, but also have a formal name. Officials say it will be like Muskoka Rd. 26, which is also known as Mortimer’s Point Rd.
Muskoka Rd. 38 is a district-maintained road that extends from Hwy. 169 in Bala, through Wahta Mohawk Territory, to Hwy. 400 at exit 177.
Officials explain renaming Muskoka Rd. 38 is a way to “strengthen the broader community’s understanding of the Wahta Mohawk’s history, language, and culture and help non-Indigenous residents on their path to reconciliation.”
In an April 2022 report to district council, Tina Kilbourne, Continuous Improvement Team Lead, wrote it would cost around $26,860 – based on 2020 costs – to rename the road. The most significant cost is the $20,000 in one-time payments district staff estimate will be paid, when requested, to impacted residents and businesses. In the report, Kilbourne says the $100 residents and businesses would request would be considered “goodwill payments.”
This pilot project will mark the first time the district has renamed a road.