Bell Canada’s new Muskoka cell phone towers to be disguised as trees

To the Ontarians who make the annual pilgrimage to cottage country, it may appear that some of the trees have had a growth spurt.

Bell Canada's new cell phone towers, being built in a number of Muskoka communities, will be decked out to appear more like giant white pines than tall eye-sores.

By adding fiberglass branches coming out of the steel 'tree trunks,' Bell hopes to blend the cell phone towers in to the natural forests, according to a Toronto Star story.

"While we are still in the planning stages, we expect to install approximately 20 tree sites throughout many communities in the greater Muskoka area," said Jason Laszlo, Bell spokesperson, to the the Star.

"The equipment comes to the location prefabricated and is assembled on site. When complete, the tree will stand between 25 and 29 metres and will be positioned to blend with existing trees."

Those trees will be showing up in a number of communities in Muskoka, including Brackenring, Foot's Bay, Port Carling East, Port Sandfield, Walker's Point East, Breezy Point Road and Little Joseph Lake.

While it is the first time that cell towers will be getting coniferous costumes in Canada, the idea has been tried in the U.S. with street lamps disguised as palm trees.

Mayor of the Township of Muskoka Lakes, Alice Murphy, said in the Star story that while the camouflaged towers look quite bizarre — "it's like a white pine on steroids" — the improved coverage will be beneficial to the people who need to continue working and stay connected while in cottage country.

"You used to see people out in their canoes or their boats in the middle of the lake holding their cellphone in a certain way trying to get reception," Murphy told the Star.

But cell service has improved over the years, making it significantly easier to stay connected.

"And it needs to be because people do their work there," said Murphy. "There are people conducting business in Muskoka, particularly during the summer, and they (cottagers) are trying to make it as seamless as possible from their Toronto offices. And that's important to us."

(Bell Canada photo)