Lake Of Bays Garden Centre
The Lake Of Bays Garden Centre was established in 2001 and is located on the western border of Algonquin Provincial Park in the heart of Muskoka’s cottage country, servicing Lake of Bays, Dwight, Dorset, Huntsville and surrounding areas.
Lake of Bays Garden Centre (formerly Dwight Garden Centre) began the old-fashioned way, from humble roots and hard work—two things we’ve never shied away from since. Owned and operated by Linda Boothby (née Clark) and her daughter and son, Emily and Tom Keown, the garden centre began in 2001 with Linda selling annuals and bags of soil off a flatbed trailer at the side of Highway 60. Now occupying eight acres at the north end of Lake of Bays, the flatbed has been upgraded to two greenhouses and a 2400-square-foot building housing the garden centre, a home & cottage décor and fashion store, and a florist. (And yes, we still have the flatbed.)
Linda initially purchased the eight acres of bush in 1996, after successfully bidding to supply Algonquin Park with cut firewood for five years. Managing a small team of employees, single-mom Linda conscripted Emily and her brother, Tom, into the family business while they were still in elementary school. On weekends, after school, and during school holidays, Emily and Tom helped Linda and her team pack and deliver 40,000 bags of firewood into the park from the last weekend in April to Thanksgiving weekend, delivering to 700 campsites twice a day.
After the contract with Algonquin ran out, Linda decided to change things up. She had inherited a love of gardening from her mother and opted to tap into that. She set up at the side of the highway to sell annuals and soil to locals, cottagers, and tourists. Her sister had a friend who potted up her own perennials, and Linda started buying these to sell to her customers, driving to the city once a week to pick up plants and bring them back to Lake of Bays.
The business, like its product, grew organically, as Linda saw and seized opportunities. With a divorce not far behind her, limited resources, and two young kids, she learned to work—and work hard—with what she had. To this day, when customers at the garden centre ask after the founder, they are generally pointed outside, where Linda is pumping propane, pulling weeds, or moving a load of aggregate with the skid-steer.
With roots in three longstanding local families—the Cunningtons, Keowns and Boothbys—Linda, Emily, and Tom know Muskoka-Haliburton, including what will survive in our soil conditions and climate, what will thrive, and what just won’t make it, no matter what you do. They take pride in serving the many loyal customers who have watched the garden centre grow over the years.
Linda, Emily, and Tom continue to look for ways to better serve those customers and the first-timers who stop by every day. In that effort, they are open year-round, have extended business hours for contractor services—opening daily at 7 a.m.—and offer door-to-door delivery of everything from trees, mulch, and cut flowers to Muskoka chairs and gift baskets. They also provide myriad services, including propane supply, landscaping, garden design, property management, contractor supplies, self-storage, and expert workshops.
Over 15 Years of Experience
Owner & Operator