The Community With A View
The Hamlet of Dorset lies on the eastern shores of Lake of Bays. It is a unique community split between two Townships and further between two Municipalities. Generally considered a dividing line, to the east of Main Street lies the Township of Algonquin Highlands (in the County of Haliburton) to the west of Main Street is the Township of Lake of Bays (in the District Municipality of Muskoka). Like the people in Dorset, the Townships and Municipalities work together often combining or sharing services. This type of teamwork strengthens the core of the community. Evidence of this is shown during many of the local events which are Dorset based and not specific to one township or the other, e.g. Fireworks displays, Snowball Festival, etc.
The area is dotted with pristine lakes and rivers and impressive granite outcroppings whose natural beauty is simply breathtaking. Lake of Bays is the smallest of the large Muskoka Lakes followed by Kawagama Lake, the largest lake in Haliburton County, these are large, deep lakes teaming in trout and bass. Our population may grow by the thousands in the summer months but most of the area is still untouched Crown Land.
Business & Tourism
The “downtown” core of Dorset is the densest in regards to area businesses. Retail stores, restaurants, real estate offices, museums, galleries, gas/service station, post office, library, recreation centre, Algonquin Highlands satellite office, OPP satellite station, fire hall and two churches are located along Main Street and West Harvey Avenue. During the busiest seasons, both winter and summer, our revitalized waterfront is bustling with visitors enjoying the sights and sounds. Also found on Main Street is a public park with a baseball diamond, skating rink and a children’s playground.
Within ten minutes of Main Street are located; an environmental science centre, lumber yard, marinas, bed & breakfast/guest houses, construction companies, gas station, artisan galleries, pizza shop, parkette with public beach and picnic area and Township works yards. High on top of a ridge overlooking the town is the Dorset Scenic Lookout Tower which draws visitors from every part of the globe.
Although tourism is the major business throughout the area drawing thousands of visitors, the Dorset area is bustling with entrepreneurs and many self employed people including: artists, carpenters, carpet cleaners, contractors, electricians, handymen, housekeepers, landscapers, mechanics, musicians, painters, plumbers, roofers, snow removal contractors, stone masons, truckers and yard/garden maintenance people, to name a few. Cottage rental is also lucrative in the area. Many cottagers rent out their personal cottages while they are not using them themselves, and some cottages are purchased solely for their rental income possibilities. Summer cabins are also available for rent.
Public school children are bussed to Dwight up to grade eight, then on to Huntsville for High School. Catholic school children are bussed to Huntsville up to grade eight, then on to Bracebridge for High School. There are several college and university campuses located within Haliburton, Bracebridge and Huntsville and all within an hour of Dorset.
Emergency services are generally directed to Huntsville District Memorial Hospital, however we have a well trained volunteer fire department with a First Response Unit.
The Dorset Community Health Hub offers a range of services for residents and visitors, depending on whether or not you currently have a health care provider or not and depending on your needs. Please visit the “Health Hub” section by clicking here or call the Hub directly at 705 – 766 – 0866.
Doctors and hospitals in Bracebridge and Minden are also available to our residents. Community Assistance and Home Care are a great source of comfort for anyone in need.
Volunteers & Organizations
For a community of limited size and means we have a superior volunteer base and boast of our service groups. The Dorset Community Partnership is a group of individual and business volunteers working together for the betterment of Dorset both economically and culturally. The Dorset Lifeliners is a volunteer group that prepare receptions for community gatherings. The Dorset Lion’s Club holds annual community events such as; spaghetti dinners, fishing derbies, senior’s dinners and much more. Dorset is home to Lion’s Camp Dorset which allows Ontarian’s with kidney disease to enjoy time at a lakeside cabin while receiving dialysis treatment. Historically, throughout the community if one of our citizens is in distress, a fundraiser is often pulled together quickly to lend a hand!
Beauty, Landscape & Nature
Dorset sits in a valley with an abundance of natural beauty, which draws visitors from around the globe! Enjoyed from the top of Tower Hill, for as far as the eye can see and for as long as we can remember, people preserved this beautiful landscape. Dorset holds attractions and interests for visitors and residents alike, for all seasons of the year. With its spectacular fall colours, colourful granite rocks, pristine crystal blue waters, unlimited summer and winter recreational activities, Dorset is a safe community that cares!