Dan Strongman


A life in Muskoka that's anything but boring

For Dan Strongman, an HVAC specialist who works at the Muskoka Grown facility, life is about finding moments to have fun while you’re working hard. When he’s not on-site, he’s helping to run Old Fort Furniture with his wife Jess, while also fitting in some quality time enjoying life in Muskoka. The couple, who have known each other since kindergarten and got married just last year, prefer things a bit quieter, but still know how to have fun when the shop closes at 5 p.m. 

Here, the newlywed tells Stories about his favourite ways to unwind and why it was important to him to take his wife’s last name.

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Q: Why did you decide to take your wife’s last name?

Jess wasn't a big fan of taking my last name and I wanted both of us to have the same last name, so I decided I would change mine to Strongman. It really is a better name!

Q: What do you get up to in your down time? How would we find you spending your weekends in the summer?

I don't often have much downtime. Jess and I own a furniture store, Old Fort Furniture, which is open on Saturdays and Sundays. We specialize in Mennonite furniture, rustic, reclaimed and barn board furniture. That takes up a lot of our weeknights and weekends, but we also spend time working in the yard, hanging out by the pool and having bonfires.


Q: Where do you take friends or family when they are visiting you?

We love to check out places to visit or eat around Georgian Bay. In the wintertime, we like going up to the cranberry marshes in Bala for some ice-skating.

Q: If you’re travelling, what do you tell people about where you live?

I tell people that we live in one of the greatest places on Earth! We have all the great lakes within our province. The number of small lakes and rock features Muskoka has to offer seems to never end. There isn't a bad place to be.

Q: What are some of your favourite memories about spending time in Muskoka?

It sounds pretty simple, but my favourite memories are being out on the water - fishing, water tubing and cruising. I didn't have a family cottage growing up, so when I get the chance to go, most of my time is spent on the water. 

Q: You mentioned a friend’s cottage in on Acton Island. Do you still get to visit there?

Yes, I visit about once a year on average. Unfortunately, we are not able to get away more often. It is a good time when we are there, we always make a boat trip to the docks in Bala to get ice cream and walk around. 

Q: If you could own a cottage in Muskoka, where would you end up and why?

I would most likely choose Bala. It's the area I have spent the most time in. I like the small-town feel, it has great waterways and the people are very friendly. There are a ton of fun winter activities as well.

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Q: Congratulations on getting married. How’s married life so far? What do you enjoy most about being married?

Thanks! Married life is great, we are nearing the one-year mark. The thing I enjoy most about being married is knowing that I’ve got a partner for life to help me get through the good times and bad.

Q: Can you talk a little bit about the work you’ve been doing with Muskoka Grown?

Muskoka Grown is quite a unique project. The scale of the project is fairly large and also complex. The effort put in by David Grand, our mechanical engineer (Peter Renton) and the rest of the design team to ensure we have the most robust and efficient facility is outstanding. Our job is to turn all of those thoughts, ideas and drawings into reality, so we can create the exact environmental conditions demanded by the master growers. It’s awesome to be a part of it.

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