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Muskoka/Parry Sound

Summer Cocktail Recipe: Watermelon Punch

Check back every other Wednesday this summer for a new cocktail recipe and enter for your chance to win one of four ultimate summer prize packs from proof!

Ingredients
lots of mint
4 oz proof rum
4 oz fresh lime juice (3-4 limes)
4 oz watermelon juice*
2 oz simple syrup**
8 1-inch (2.5-cm) cubes of watermelon, frozen

Directions
Place a mint sprig in each of your 4 glasses and muddle by crushing the mint against the side of the glass with a wooden spoon. Stir together proof rum, lime juice, watermelon juice and simple syrup in a large pitcher, then add watermelon cubes and remaining mint sprigs. Pour rum mixture into glasses. Serve immediately.

*To prepare watermelon juice, process peeled watermelon in a blender and strain.

**To make simple syrup, combine equal parts sugar and boiling water. Stir until sugar is completely dissolved. Pour into a jar or bottle with a lid, let cool and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.

For more great recipe ideas, visit www.proofbrands.net.

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Weekly Planner: August 6 to 12

Colin James plays Huntsville’s Algonquin Theatre on August 8

An eclectic evening of rock, pop, blues and evening swing music awaits on August 8 as Canadian music icon Colin James plays his hits as part of the Huntsville Festival of the Arts.

Prism Theatre brings the Bard to Bracebridge from August 8 to 11 (and August 14 to 16); the troupe’s production of Shakespeare’s As You Like It offers romance, intrigue and much Elizabethan-era comedy at Annie Williams Memorial Park.

Get ready to bust a gut this week in Bracebridge and Gravenhurst—the Cottage Country Comedy Festival returns with five shows scheduled from August 9 to 11. Among the highlights are Mike Wilmot’s “Going Over Board” show at the Gravenhurst Opera House, while Just For Laughs star Joey Elias takes the stage at Bracebridge’s Club One.

August 12 offers yet another opportunity to ogle some fantastic water-bound pleasure craft as Port Carling hosts the Muskoka Lakes Association’s antique boat show. The free event features approximately 75 classic boats, many of which have been owned by Muskoka-area families for several generations.

You’ll definitely be “Working for the Weekend” over these next few days—classic ’80s band Loverboy offers its enduring fans a night of stadium-rock hits on August 12 at Deerhurst Resort.

Weekly Planner: July 30 to August 5

Nikki Yanofsky plays Huntsville’s Algonquin Theatre this week (photo by Jeff Lipsky)

Jazz is on the schedule at both of the region’s big music events this coming weekend. If you’re in Huntsville on Saturday for its renowned Huntsville Festival of the Arts, be sure to check out the vocal stylings of Nikki Yanofsky. Northwest, Parry Sound’s Festival of the Sound offers a somewhat more venerable lineup—a performance by legendary vibraphonist Peter Appleyard, then a show by iconic bandleader and clarinestist Phil Nimmons.

There’s even more music this week at Gravenhurst’s Peter’s Players! Blues and soul belter Bobby “Blue” Bland—known for classics like “Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City” and “Turn On Your Love Light”—takes the stage on Friday, while Saturday sees a rocking appearance by Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels.

Families are always welcome in Muskoka, of course, but there’s even more fun this Friday through Sunday at the MacTier Big Weekend Festival, which is simply stuffed to the gunnels with everything from a beach volleyball tournament and a regatta to comedy night and “under the big top” dance party.

Stay out late on Friday night in Bracebridge—the town’s Midnight Madness event runs from 6 p.m. to midnight with all manner of fun distractions, including buskers, a climbing wall, kids zone, live music and more.

 

Summer Cocktail Recipe: The Blue Heron

Check back every other Wednesday this summer for a new cocktail recipe and enter for your chance to win one of four ultimate summer prize packs from proof!

Ingredients
4 basil leaves
2 tsp cane sugar
1 oz  sparkling water
3 tbsp frozen blueberries
1 oz fresh lime juice
1½ oz proof rum
1 basil branch
2 wild blueberries and small skewer for garnish

Directions
Combine basil leaves and cane sugar into an old-fashioned glass and add sparkling water. Mix ingredients lightly with pestle. Add frozen blueberries, crush and mix for a second time. Fill the glass two-thirds full with crushed ice. Add lime juice and proof rum and stir well. Thread wild blueberries onto skewer. Garnish glass with wild blueberry skewer and basil branch. Makes 1 cocktail.

Pitcher size: To a pitcher, add ½ cup basil leaves, ⅓ cup cane sugar and 6 oz sparkling water. Muddle with the back of a wooden spoon. Add 1½ cups frozen blueberries and muddle again. Finally add 6 oz lime juice and 9 oz proof rum, stir well to mix. Pour into glasses filled with crushed ice. Makes 6 drinks.

For more great recipe ideas, visit www.proofbrands.net.

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Weekly Planner: July 23 to 29

Bala’s Museum presents its annual “Everything Anne” day—fun for the whole family on July 24.

Mark the 90th anniversary of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s notable sojourn in Muskoka at “Everything Anne” day, July 24 at Bala’s Museum with Memories of Lucy Maud Montgomery. The heritage centre, now celebrating its 20th year, is a must-visit for fans of the Anne of Green Gables books (written by Montgomery, of course). This particular special event focuses on the book series’ red-haired protagonist, and offers all manner of old time family fun—sack races, cake, prizes for best in-character costumes and much more!

Climb aboard the RMS Segwun on July 27 and embark on the Muskoka Heritage Foundation’s annual summer cottage tour of Lake Muskoka. This year’s excursion offers a look at some of the classic cottages in the Beaumaris area, and includes lunch at the acclaimed Taste restaurant at Touchstone on Lake Muskoka.

The Huntsville Festival of the Arts continues this week with daily performances and highlight concerts by the likes of crooner John McDermott (July 25), indie rockers the Joel Plaskett Emergency (July 26) and a comedic appearance by farce-master Rod Beattie, who presents Wingfield on Ice (July 27).

And for even more music, try the Festival of the Sound. Its classy concerts this week include an evening of songs by Leonard Cohen, Elvis Costello, George Gershwin and others as interpreted by soprano Patricia O’Callaghan and the Gryphon Trio (July 24), plus an opera gala (July 28) featuring top Canadian vocal talents.

End the week by feasting your eyes and filling your mouth! From July 27 to 29, Gravenhurst hosts the Muskoka In-Water Boat and Cottage Show in conjunction with the Muskoka Rib Fest. It’s a veritable smorgasbord of more than 100 top-of-the-line boats and cottage displays to view, plus live entertainment, giveaways and, of course, succulent barbecued meat.

Cottage Country Cooking: Chef Andrew Dymond’s Red Pepper Marinara Sauce

All summer long, Where Muskoka brings you fresh and tasty recipes courtesy of some of the region’s top chefs. Check back every other Wednesday for some great meal ideas!

Chef Andrew Dymond

This week, chef Andrew Dymond of Taboo Resort offers a red pepper marinara sauce to add richness and flavour to your pasta.

Ingredients
1 cup sundried tomatoes
2 cups red peppers, seeded and chopped
4 cups fresh tomatoes, chopped
1 cup olive oil
3 garlic cloves
1 tbsp fine sea salt
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
2 tbsp dried basil

Method
Soak the sundried tomatoes in warm water for one hour. Then use a high-powered blender to blend all of the ingredients until smooth. (You will need to stop the machine once and scrape down the sides of the jug using a rubber spatula.) Heat with pasta and serve.

Weekly Planner: July 16 to 22

Jim Cuddy plays the Huntsville Festival of the Arts this week.

The 20th annual Huntsville Festival of the Arts is now in full swing, with it’s slate of daily concerts by local performers plus three headlining shows this week. First up is Blue Rodeo frontman Jim Cuddy, playing on July 17 in an intimate trio setting with violinist Anne Lindsay and guitarist Colin Cripps. On July 19, powerhouse vocalist Molly Johnson demonstrates why she’s one of the country’s best-known jazz and blues singers. And on July 21, CBC radio host, writer and musician Jian Ghomeshi takes the stage to share stories and insight from his time behind the microphone.

The Festival of the Sound, another hugely anticipated annual concert event, returns on July 18 with a gala featuring England’s Choir of Trinity College performing Eleanor Daley’s festival-commissioned Paradise: A Song of Georgian Bay, plus works by Bach, Mendelssohn and more. And if that wasn’t enough, the event offers classical music every day this week, including an appearance by the Canadian Brass on July 21.

Want more music? You’ve got it at Bracebridge’s Rene M. Caisse Memorial Theatre, which hosts a Jazz in July celebration on July 21. Expect an ebullient evening of big band swing, Latin jazz, R&B, motown and more, as interpreted by 12-piece ensemble Spektrum.

Once you’ve taken in the tunes, it’s time to eye some superlative visuals at the 50th Muskoka Arts and Crafts Summer Show. Running from July 20 to 22 at Bracebridge’s Annie Williams Park, this very popular gathering brings together dozens of Ontario-based painters, sculptors, jewellers, fashion designers and even a batch of gourmet food vendors. It’s a veritable one-stop shop to help make your home or cottage look its best for years to come.

 

Summer Cocktail Recipe: The Black Fly

Check back every other Wednesday this summer for a new cocktail recipe and enter for your chance to win one of four ultimate summer prize packs from proof!

Ingredients
2 oz proof whisky
2 oz  Chambord black raspberry liqueur
½ oz simple syrup*
1 oz fresh lemon juice
Garnish with blackberries

Directions
Pour proof whisky, Chambord, 2 tsp simple syrup, and lemon juice into an ice-filled shaker. Shake well and strain into a tumbler glass filled with cubed ice. Garnish with blackberries. To make a tall drink, top with 2 oz soda water.

Pitcher size: To a pitcher, add 8 oz proof whisky, 8 oz Chambord, 2 oz simple syrup and 4 oz lemon juice. Stir well to mix and pour into ice filled glasses. Makes 4 drinks.

*To make simple syrup, combine equal parts sugar and boiling water. Stir until sugar is completely dissolved. Pour into a jar or bottle with a lid, let cool and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.

For more great recipe ideas, visit www.proofbrands.net.

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Weekly Planner: July 9 to 15

Bethune Memorial House

Honour a Canadian hero at the July 11 re-opening of the Bethune Memorial House National Historic Site. The birthplace of doctor Norman Bethune, known for his work as a field surgeon and educator in China and Spain, and for inventing the mobile blood transfusion unit, boasts a brand new 3,500-square-foot visitors’ centre complete with exhibits detailing Bethune’s life and contemporary relevance.

Sate your urge to live life as they did in the olden days by attending the Muskoka Pioneer Power Show. Running July 13 to 15 at Bracebridge’s J.D. Lang Activity Park, the event showcases all manner of antique tractors, automobiles, blacksmiths’ equipment and more. There’s also pancake breakfast on Saturday and Sunday mornings, a Saturday evening barn dance, and a town crier competition on Sunday.

Gravenhurst Triathlon weekend runs (and bikes, and swims) July 14 and 15. Cheer on all the competitors in six events, including the Olympic-distance race taking place on Saturday

Cultural variety is the name of the game on the night of July 14—that’s when the region’s second annual Nuit Blanche North event brings all manner of buskers, art installations, street theatre and more to downtown Huntsville. Part of the Huntsville Festival of the Arts, this is a night that’s not to be missed!

Take the young’uns to idyllic Wood’s End Studio on July 14 and 15 for its inaugural Teddy Bears’ Picnic. The event offers all sorts of fun and frolicking—face painting, a fish pond, teddy-making demonstrations, a costume parade and more. Families are also invited to bring a lunch to eat in the lovely gardens.

Cottage Country Cooking: Chef Shaun Crymble’s Steak Sandwich

All summer long, Where Muskoka brings you fresh and tasty recipes courtesy of some of the region’s top chefs. Check back every other Wednesday for some great meal ideas!

Chef Shaun Crymble

This week, chef Shaun Crymble of The Rosseau, A JW Marriott Resort & Spa, offers a fresh take on the classic steak sandwich.

Ingredients
1 sandwich-­length section baguette bread
7 oz (200 g) beef tenderloin tips
OR 1 filet mignon cut into pieces
2 tomato slices
2 oz (57 g) raw baby spinach
1 oz (60 ml) roasted garlic mayonnaise
sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste

Method
Marinate beef in a little olive oil with a pinch of fresh thyme, then place the beef on your barbecue and cook
to desired temperature (medium­-rare is recommended).

Cut the baguette in half and toast on the barbecue until crisp.

Spread roasted garlic mayonnaise on the toasted inside cuts of your baguette. Add tomato slices and spinach (tossed with a drop of olive oil and red wine vinegar).

Finally, add beef tips or filet mignon slices, place bun on top and enjoy!

Weekly Planner: July 2 to 8

Real rodeo excitement comes to Muskoka in the Bracebridge Bullnanza (photo courtesy of Double D Rodeo Productions)

Thrill to the real rodeo action of the Bracebridge Bullnanza, taking place on Thursday at the J.D. Lang Activity Park. The show features bull riding, barrel racing, a performance by the Canadian Cowgirls mounted drill squad and more. Yeehaw!

Meet Muskoka artists and craftspeople—and perhaps purchase some of their beautiful ceramics, paintings, jewellery and more—as the Art in the Heart outdoor market opens for its fifth season this Saturday. Running from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., it takes place along Manitoba Street and Chancery Lane in downtown Huntsville.

Craftsmanship of a different kind can be viewed on Saturday in Gravenhurst—the Muskoka Wharf hosts the region’s 32nd annual Antique and Classic Boat Show, with more than 100 exquisite wooden watercraft displayed in-water.

Should you find yourself salivating in Port Carling, it may be due to the aroma of fresh-cooked seafood. The town hosts its summer Lobsterfest on Saturday, so be sure to book your tickets in advance at the Apothecary Shop (86 Joseph St.). Not a fan of crustaceans? There’s a steak dinner, too.

Perk up your ears to some great music. Muskoka venues host three must-hear concerts this weekend. On Saturday, slide guitar virtuoso Sonny Landreth takes the stage at Peter’s Players, while Canadian rockers Big Wreck reunite at The Kee to Bala. On Sunday, head to Deerhurst Resort, where Trooper will try to live up to its reputation as the country’s “greatest party band.”

11 Questions About Muskoka With Roots Co-Founder Michael Budman

Michael Budman, Roots co-founder, chats about his favourite Muskoka Memories (Photo: George Whiteside)

Michael Budman, co-founder of Roots, first experienced Algonquin Park’s natural beauty in 1956 as a teenager attending Camp Tamakwa. For more than 13 years, the Detroit native would spend his summers at the camp as a counselor, a canoeing instructor and a camp director. Algonquin Park was also where the idea for Roots, a lifestyle shop devoted to athletic apparel, began to take shape. The first Roots store opened in 1973; more than 30 years later the company boasts nearly 200 stores in Canada, the United States and Asia.

Here, Budman and his wife, Diane Bald—who also serves as the company’s design director—share their Algonquin Park pastimes and memories. Read more…