The Township of Muskoka Lakes is cottage country paradise. Miles of boating, natural wonders, a vibrant history and a superb quality of life attract visitors from around the world.
We’re a land of 80 lakes, including the three big lakes that define the Muskoka experience: lakes Muskoka, Rosseau and Joseph. Enchanting old Muskoka cottages and spectacular boathouses dot their shores. Still, more than 80% of our land retains its natural cover and the municipality maintains 85% of naturally vegetated shoreline. Parks and beaches provide public access to our pristine waters.
Natural wonders include the striking geological and biologically diverse Torrance Barrens. It’s also North America’s first dark sky preserve, where the “ancient constellations and planets shine forth in majestic profusion,” as described by the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. Along with the hiking trails at the Barrens, nearby Hardy Lake Provincial Park and the Huckleberry Rock Lookout are two more of seven trails not to be missed. In winter, there are trails for snowmobiling, snowshoeing, skiing and skating.
The character of the township is reflected in its eclectic mix of events, including the award-winning Bala Cranberry Festival (always the weekend after Thanksgiving). There’s also the Port Carling Winterfest, antique and craft shows, the Bala Trek to Bethlehem, Flavours of Muskoka Chautauqua culinary experience, art studio and cottage garden tours and farmers’ markets. Explore our heritage at the Muskoka Lakes Museum that includes an original settler’s log home and a view of how local craftsmen once made
Muskoka North America’s wood-boat-building capital. Beautiful antique boats still grace our lakes.
Bala’s museum offers guided tours and a fun experience for families and fans of Lucy Maud Montgomery, author of the beloved Anne of Green Gables series. Montgomery spent a summer in Bala and based her book, The Blue Castle, on her time here.
Music is part of our heritage, too. Starting in 1942, people danced the night away to the big-band sounds of
Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey and others at Dunn’s Pavilion, now The Kee to Bala that continues to host top Canadian bands.
Bala is also known for its waterfalls and its cranberries. The Johnston family has been farming cranberries for three generations. Today, Johnston’s Cranberry Marsh and Muskoka Lakes Winery offer Bog to Bottle, Wagon and Wine Makers tours noted as a Canadian tourism “Signature Canadian Experience.” The scenic cranberry farm has something for everyone to discover year round.
For the sports-minded, try waterskiing, wakeboarding, stand-up paddle boarding and more at many locations and catch our famous water ski shows. Love to fish? Ask local bait shops for tips on where to land the big ones. For the golfer, Muskoka Lakes offers 12 public and private golf courses. And the loops around our lakes make for great cycling tours.
Historically, several buildings are significant, including the municipal office, which was originally the Port Carling Village School (1906). The White’s Road schoolhouse (1890), the original Windermere Village Hall (1953) and the Township of Muskoka Lakes Visitor Centre (1897) have also been restored for public use. Anchored by communities such as Bala, Port Carling and Windermere, our region offers both the sophistication of a popular tourism destination with iconic Muskoka resorts offering all the amenities,
and the wholesomeness of country living. Our resorts are perfect settings for families, romantic getaways, weddings and conferences. Our summer camps are equally famous and loved.