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Dorset, Ontario: Wikis


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Dorset is a small community located on the boundary between the Lake of Bays Municipality in Muskoka District and the Algonquin Highlands Township in Haliburton County, Ontario, Canada. As of 2009, Dorset has a local permanent population of approximately 400 although these numbers increase more than tenfold in the summer months due to cottagers and vacationers.



Dorset is located within the Canadian Shield ecological region of Canada. The region has many lakes surrounded by mixed hardwood forests of predominately Sugar Maple, Red Oak, White Ash, and Yellow Birch as well as softwoods such as Eastern White Pine, Black Spruce, Eastern Hemlock, and Balsam Fir. Spruce bogs, wetlands, large granite rock outcroppings are also common in the local area.

Dorset is located on the shores of Lake of Bays as well as Trading Bay (a bay of the same lake). The two bodies of water are connected via the natural Dorset Channel that runs through the middle of Dorset.


Dorset is easily accessible by Ontario Highway 35 as well as Muskoka Road 117. Bracebridge & Huntsville are the nearest local population centers which are approximately 60 and 40 kilometers away respectively.


Historically, Dorset has been primarily dependant on of the forestry industry; although over the years this dependence has diminished and tourism has taken over as the dominant contributing industry to the local economy.


Dorset depends on tourism as it is a major contributor to the local economy. The Summer months tend to be the busiest time of the year for the community as thousands of people from the Greater Toronto Area and abroad flock to their cottages and enjoy the clean lakes and natural scenery. In Autumn, many visitors also come to see the changing fall foliage in the local forests. Dorset's relatively close proximity to Algonquin Provincial Park makes it a prime spot for tourists to rest and enjoy the area over lunch or dinner to and from the park. The community hosts a few restaurants, an ice cream shoppe, a custom electronics store, as well as a general store, and LCBO liquor store.



The Dorset Fire Tower is one of the few surviving fire towers in the Muskoka / Haliburton region and is open year round; although the access road is not plowed or maintained in the winter months. The tower is located on a high ridge above the community and the tower accesses a panoramic view of the surrounding hills and picturesque Lake of Bays. The tower as well as the ridge is a dominant geographical feature in Dorset as it can be seen from almost anywhere within Dorset. (In 1963 the former Dorset Fire Tower was shown in the opening credits of the old CBC TV show The Forest Rangers).

The Dorset Heritage Museum is located on Main Street and features many displays about Dorset's significant historical past as a major logging community.

Dorset is home to the famous Robinson's General Store, once voted "Canada's Best Country Store", owned and operated by the same family since 1921.

Festivals & Annual Events

Every third weekend of February, the Annual Dorset Snowball Winter Carnival; which includes many family activities such as hot air balloon rides, helicopter rides, dog sledding, minnow races, craft show, bake sale, broom ball tournaments, mini snowmobile rides, family skating, as well as a pancake breakfast hosted by the Dorset Fire Department. This event attracts hundreds of visitors from all over Ontario.

External links

Coordinates: 45°14′41″N 78°53′38″W / 45.24472°N 78.89389°W / 45.24472; -78.89389


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