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Gravenhurst is known as the Gateway to Muskoka. The lakes, forests and rocky landscape captivated the first visitors and have drawn people back for more than 150 years.
Early visitors, often rode a train down to Muskoka Wharf where they were transported by steamship to their summer homes and holiday resorts.
Today, take a step into the past by cruising on one of the historic ships that ply Muskoka’s big three lakes. The RMS Segwun, at 130 years old, is the oldest operating steamship in North America.
Gravenhurst has a colourful history. Lumbering and sawmills were important. In fact, at the turn of the century, there were sawmills on Gull Lake and Lake Muskoka, with logs floating to cover much of Gravenhurst Bay.
The mills are gone and today the Muskoka Wharf is buzzing with different activity. A scenic boardwalk traces the same shoreline. Along the way, stop to enjoy a meal at one of the many places to delight the palate – everything from chef-prepared specialities, more casual meals and even a coffee shop and tea house. The wharf is anchored by the historic steamship cruise office at one end and the Muskoka Discovery Centre museum at the other.
Visitors today can also appreciate the past by visiting the Gravenhurst Opera House in Historic Downtown Gravenhurst. The building, nestled in an area of unique shops and restaurants, has a century-long tradition of professional theatre but also offers an assortment of musical entertainment.
Gravenhurst has small intimate music venues offering big memorable experiences. The Barge at Gull Lake is a Sunday night tradition where people gather with lawn chairs to enjoy music. Restaurants, the brewery and a small one of a kind almost home-like theatre regularly offer live music.
Public beaches offer swimming, hiking and more. Gull Lake Park has a public beach, complete with lifeguards on afternoons in the summer. In the winter, that park is a parking area for snowmachine trailers. During the Second World War, a prisoner of war camp was located in Gravenhurst.
Remains of it and a small plaque mark the spot at Ungerman Park.
Treasure hunters will enjoy Gravenhurst’s arts, antiques and collectibles. The restored Albion Hotel is home to an artists’ gallery and many more have studios in the area. Shops specialize in everything from antiques and collectibles, including furniture and decor to great food and fashion.
Boating is big in Gravenhurst. It is home to classic wooden boatbuilders and restorers, annual power boat races, an annual rowing regatta, classic boats, fishing tournaments and a weekly summer water ski show. It is a great place to get out on the water to enjoy big lake boating or exploring one of the many smaller lakes.
There is something exciting happening almost every weekend, all summer long. The Gravenhurst Car Show, taking place the day before Fathers’ Day has been a tradition for over 20 years, the BIA hosts a popular sidewalk sale, The ACBS annual antique boat show takes place early in July, The Muskoka Wharf has regular events too including the popular Rib Fest in July and Dockside Festival arts show in August.
The colourful leaves, a thriving arts community and a more relaxed pace attract autumn visitors. Winter is a time of activities such as pond hockey, winter carnival, snowmobiling and snowshoeing or a time to enjoy the indoors, perhaps at a restaurant or the brewery. Spring is time to get back on the water and onto the trails and explore the community.
Gravenhurst welcomes you to their beautiful town year-round to experience Muskoka at its finest.