Local People: Q&A with Dee O'Riordan of
Posted: 06/23/2016 by Avery Kloss

Our 'Local People' series focuses on community leaders who help move the 'Shop Local Movement' forward by partnering with In 2012, Dee O'Riordan and his wife Taija became a pair of's first City Managers. Their love for Muskoka, its towns, lakes and spirit led them to and they've been working hard ever since. We asked Dee to dig deeper into his community, his life and why he loves running  

Tell us three interesting things about yourself.

1. I’m a Qualified Commercial Pilot & Flight Instructor

2. I have a Black Belt in Tae-Kwon-Do

3. I’m a total Sci-Fi Nerd

What inspires you?


If you could meet one famous influencer alive today, who would you meet?

Richard Branson

What's your mantra?

If someone offers you an amazing business opportunity and you’re not sure you can do it, say yes - then learn how to do it later.

Favourite artist of all time

Buddy Holly


Why do you choose to live in Muskoka?
It’s beautiful and I am a small town guy. I could not live in a huge city.

How are you involved in your community?

I coach youth soccer every summer. We volunteer for local charity and events.

I am also on the Revenue Committee for the Bracebridge Chamber of Commerce and I’m a former Rotarian

What's your favourite thing to buy locally?

Locally grown produce.

What's your favourite activity in Muskoka?

Lake activities like boating.  

Why do you advocate for the Shop Local movement?

Because everyone wins when you shop locally.

What makes Muskoka unique?

Muskoka is known for its beauty. Celebrities from all over the world agree, which is why they have summer homes here.

What's one thing you can only buy in Muskoka?

Muskoka Chairs!

Give us three words that describe Muskoka?

Beauty, Luxury, Lifestyle



Why did you decide to become a city manager with
Being one of the very first City Managers, I saw the potential right from the beginning. The business model is set up in a way where everyone wins. The Business owner wins, the consumer wins, and the City Manager wins. Plus, city managers can link and partner with other local organizations, so both can benefit from working together. It’s the perfect business model. Having residual income while helping local businesses, doesn’t hurt either.

What's your professional background?

I have a degree in Sports Science & Math, I was a commercial pilot and have my flight instructor rating.

What struggles are local business owners in Muskoka facing?

Muskoka business owners need to make the most of their income in the busy season. They have a very short window.

What do you hope the future of Muskoka looks like?

I hope Muskoka can attract more tech savvy businesses and not solely rely on tourists. Having an industry other than retail and trades is a must for Muskoka.

Where do you hope to see in 5 years?

In five years I hope to have our very own Hub. I also hope to have a delivery service to help our clients sell more online locally and get items delivered. I would like to have at least 4 full time staff (2 Admin/Graphic Design/Social Media and 2 Sales Reps).

What's your advice for new or prospective city owners?

Never stop networking!

What's your definition of an entrepreneur?

Entrepreneurs are innovators who use a process of shattering the status quo of existing products and services, to set up new products and new services.

Where can people find you on social media?

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter.

Why do you shop locally?

I practice what I preach. Shopping locally helps build a better stronger community, something I believe very strongly in.


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