Summer. Hands-down the most popular time for get-togethers on Muskoka’s decks and docks. But let’s not dance around the obvious: fire bans are a reality of Muskoka living. Protecting the forests and wildlife we love by honouring the bans and restrictions is just part of good stewardship. But did you know there are some fantastic, safe alternative options that can still provide that ambient glow you love come nightfall?
During their own sojourn at a Georgian Bay cottage, Peter Briese and his partner Jenn fell in love with a custom fire globe at that property and quickly added one to the outdoor space at their design centre at Muskoka BBQ & Outdoor Kitchens. Soon after that, orders came in for the customized, eye-catching Orbit and Guitar globes.
“You’re adding style to the outdoor entertainment space while taking the edge off those chillier evenings,” Peter explains. “These locally made fire features are conversation pieces that happen to add warmth.”
But what are your options for dry seasons with higher fire risks? Most fire bans permit use of propane fire tables, bowls, features, and heaters, provided they have a shut-off valve and/or a lid.
Introducing a Canadian-made fire-ban-friendly option. Meet Barbara Jean, a Winnipeg-based company that specializes in propane and natural gas fire features.
Muskoka BBQ carries a selection of their products. “Fire tables are a very popular item,” Peter shares. Blending form and function, the tables give “a focal point for beauty” while the tabletop surfaces invite your guests to stop and chat awhile.
For a portable, stand-alone option, the Barbara Jean Fire Stand works beautifully in any outdoor space. Gathering around a mesmerizing ribbon of fire provides that meditative campfire feel. They come in three sizes, with ember glass, driftwood logs, decorative stones, or rock options to create a vibe.
“The tables allow you to arrange seating how you wish. There’s legroom beneath the tabletop, space to set down drinks and food, with a cozy heat source in the centre,” he adds.
Peter and his partner Jenn love their own fire globe, as do guests at their outdoor entertainment space at home. There’s something truly wonderful about knowing firsthand how much these fire features add to the overall atmosphere of any gathering, whether for just two or the whole gang.
“We use the products we feature ourselves before we decide to add them to our lines,” Pete says. “These fire features are really something special. I’m excited to see clients adding them to their own unique spaces. And we’re glad to be able to offer some safe options for tricky times, too.”
TEXT MARNIE WOODROW | PHOTOS SCOTT TURNBULL