There’s no lack of snow in Muskoka, and now the Dorset Health Hub is using it to help raise awareness and cash. The health hub is hosting a “Deep Freeze” fundraiser this weekend as part of the Dorset Snowball winter festival. The event will have seven snow huts at the Dorset Pavilion, which will house 11 people for the night. The snow huts are called quinzees, and differ from an igloo which are made from cutting blocks from snow and stacking them.

Collin Reaney is on the board of the Dorset Community Partnership Fund, which pays for around a third of the health hub’s operations, services, and programs, as well as on the Board of Directors for the Huntsville Hospital Foundation. This weekend’s deep freeze is a joint fundraiser for the two organizations; Reaney says their goal is to raise $20,000 and split it up between the two healthcare organizations.

He says the money will help the Huntsville hospital pay for basic necessities like beds and mattresses, as well as more specialized equipment. He says community support is critical because the province doesn’t pay for equipment. When it comes to the health hub, Reaney says the money will go toward community outreach and home visits.


He says that will help keep people out of the hospital’s emergency room by providing preventative and primary care.

When it comes to building the quinzees that the volunteers will sleep in overnight, Reaney says it’s a group effort. He says it starts with a construction company coming in with a backhoe to pile the snow up, in order for it to harden and freeze.

Once that is done, the Dorset Fire Department will come in on Friday night to spray the huts with water so they will freeze and it’s safe for those sleeping inside.

Reaney says the Dorset Health Hub has over 400 patients, and will have an additional 1,200 visits over the year from people with a doctor but may need minor or post-operative care. He also notes the health hub provides care to both seasonal and local residents.

If you want to sponsor the event and help to bring in some cash for the health hub and the Huntsville Hospital, you can do so on the Canada Helps website. The Deep Freeze sleep out is happening on Saturday, and a full event schedule for the Dorset Snowball is on its website.