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Muskoka/Parry Sound

Summer Cocktail Recipe: Trout Lake Tea

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!

16 oz  boiling water
4+ cups ice
3 black tea bags
2 tbsp sugar
1 cup loosely-packed mint leaves (plus a few more for garnish)
12 oz proof whisky
juice of 1 lime
juice of 1 lemon
1 lime and 1 lemon for garnish

Boil water and pour over tea bags. Steep for 5 minutes. Pour the hot tea into a large thermos or pitcher, along with the sugar and the ice. As the ice melts, juice one lemon and one lime and then slice the other two for garnish. Loosely muddle the mint leaves in a glass or bowl. Into the pitcher of now-sweetened tea, stir in the proof whisky, lemon and lime juices and mint. When ready to serve, fill pitcher with ice and citrus slices. Serve over ice with extra mint and citrus slices. Adjust sweetness to taste. Makes about 6 drinks.

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


Weekly Planner: June 25 to July 1

Celebrate the RMS Segwun's 125th anniversary in Gravenhurst!

Celebrate an icon of the Muskoka lakes—this weekend marks the 125th anniversary of North America’s oldest operating steamship, the RMS Segwun. The festivities begin with a parade from Gravenhurst’s Gull Lake Park to Muskoka Wharf on Friday at 1 p.m., followed by free Kawartha Dairy ice cream, face painting, live performances and a fly-past by the Snowbirds. Saturday features an all-day barbecue, more live music, a fishing tournament and one-hour Segwun cruises by donation.

You might want to skip lunch on Thursday, as Flavours of Muskoka is certain to satisfy all your cravings. From 6 to 9 p.m. at The Rosseau, this annual “amazing graze” offers foodies and oenophiles a chance to sample the region’s culinary bounty as prepared by more than 40 chefs, brewers and winemakers. Best of all, proceeds help support Kaleidoscope Arts in Education programs for children.

If you’re not able to make it to Flavours of Muskoka, there’s another way to support Kaleidoscope Arts in Education—the group’s annual Kaleidoscope Children’s Festival rolls into Minett, with all kinds of family-friendly activities on Saturday at Clevelands House and Sunday at The Rosseau.

The weekend also offers the chance to pick up some lovely items for your home and cottage—or gifts for friends and family who might be hosting you—as the Bala Craft and Gift Fair sets up shop Saturday and Sunday at the Bala Community Centre. If you prefer vintage to contemporary wares, you’re in luck! The Bala Antique Show shares space with the craft fair.

Have a rip-roarin’, bronco-bustin’ good time at the Burk’s Falls Rodeo rustles up some old west excitement on Saturday and Sunday. This Ontario Rodeo Association–sanctioned event features bull riding, steer wrestling, barrel racing and much more.

Wear your red and white all Sunday long—it’s Canada Day, and communities throughout the region are offering all sorts of patriotic fun. Parry Sound, in particular, offers a full day of fun with a pancake breakfast, entertainment and fireworks at the town dock. Or if you find yourself in Huntsville, head over to Muskoka Heritage Place for its strawberry social, then watch the evening fireworks display over Hunter’s Bay.

Cottage Country Cooking: Chef Christine Bib’s Cedar-Planked Rainbow Trout

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 Christine Bib

This week, chef Christine Bib of Christine Bib Catering offers her popular cedar-planked rainbow trout, which can be cooked in a barbecue or oven.

4 rainbow trout fillets, about ½ lb (200–250 g) each
125 ml Dijon mustard
15 ml minced garlic
125 ml pure maple syrup
30 ml soy sauce
2.5 ml cayenne powder
60 ml frozen orange juice concentrate
15 ml fresh thyme, chopped (woody stems removed)

Preparing Your Cedar Plank
You should be able to purchase planks from the fish section of your local grocery store or fish monger, or buy untreated cedar at the lumber yard and make your own planks—two centimetres is an ideal thickness.

Soak the plank in water for least two hours, or overnight. The plank will float, so weigh it down to ensure it remains submerged. One plank measuring roughly 18 by 36 centimetres should be sufficient to hold the amount of fish described in this recipe.

Preparing Your Trout
Trim belly fat, if any, from the trout. Rinse with cold water, pat dry with paper towel, and cut each fillet in half to give you eight pieces. The skin can be left on the fillets.

Combine the rest of ingredients, then place the trout in this marinade, ensuring each piece is well coated. Cover with plastic and refrigerate for up to two hours.

Directions (Barbecue)
Preheat your barbecue to 425 degrees Fahrenheit (or medium-high if your barbecue does not have a temperature gauge).

Place the soaked plank on the grill and close the lid. The plank is ready when it begins to smoke and crackle (usually after 3 or 4 minutes). At this point, lay the fish skin side down on the plank, and close the lid.

The fish is cooked when it flakes easily and has a golden hue, about 5 minutes.

Note: it’s handy to have a spray bottle of plain water on hand, in case the edges of the plank start to smoulder.

Directions (Oven)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Place your soaked plank in the oven with a cookie sheet on shelf below to catch any drippings.

Heat the plank for 15 to 20 minutes, until it becomes fragrant and dry-looking, then lay the fish skin side down on the plank.

Bake for about 20 minutes, until the fish flakes easily (it will not become quite so golden as it does on the barbecue).

Weekly Planner: June 18 to 24

Bala's Museum with Memories of Lucy Maud Montgomery is just one of the Muskoka attractions participating in Doors Open

There’s much more to Muskoka than marinas and cottages. This weekend, get out an explore the region as part of Doors Open. Saturday sees Bala, Port Carling and Torrance offer insight into their communities at participating attractions like Bala’s Museum with Memories of Lucy Maud Montgomery and the Hall Family Log Cabin at Muskoka Lakes Museum. On Sunday, sites such as the Muskoka Boat and Heritage Centre help the town of Gravenhurst get in on the fun.

This Thursday not only marks the summer solstice, but also National Aboriginal Day. Huntsville honours Ontario’s numerous First Nations peoples from noon to 2 p.m. at River Mill Park, where guests can participate in drum and buffalo teachings and more.

View the works of some of the region’s finest painters, printmakers and more as the Northern Ontario Art Association’s 55th annual juried exhibition continues in Burk’s Falls. About 40 kilometres north of Huntsville, local furniture-maker the Wooden Roo hosts 40 distinct pieces through to June 28.

An evening of toe-tapping tunes and teary-eyed ballads awaits on Thursday evening, as the Gravenhurst Opera House plays hosts to country crooners The Stellas. Singers Marylynne and Brad Stella have the sort of effortless rapport that’s the hallmark of all great singing duos—no surprise, as they’ve been married for 16 years.

Summer Recipe: The Georgian Bay Mojito

The languid days of summer are upon us, and this year Where has partnered with proof brands to bring you refreshing recipes perfect for warm nights on the patio, relaxing cottage weekends and all of the festivities in between.

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!

2 tbsp sugar
2 oz tonic water
1½ oz fresh lime juice
1 oz proof rum
2 oz strawberry purée (or 3–4 large strawberries, muddled)
6–8 mint leaves

In a glass, crush mint leaves with sugar, pour in tonic water and mix well. Fill glass with ice and add lime juice, proof rum and strawberry purée and mix well.

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


Weekly Planner: June 11 to 17

The West Parry Sound District Museum hosts a documentary screening this week

Be entertained while enhancing your knowledge of the world around you. This Tuesday evening, the West Parry Sound District Museum‘s “Films That Make You Think” screening series continues with the documentary Vanishing of the Bees, which examines the possible causes and consequences of Colony Collapse Disorder.

A convention for all things canine awaits you in Huntsville from Friday to Sunday. The Cottage Dog Show features all kinds of vendors offering pooch paraphernalia, plus dog activities and contests, and a performance by YouTube Jesse, a Jack Russell Terrier that’s alleged to know 1,000 tricks.

Cheer on the paddlers as they stroke through the waters of Georgian Bay at Parry Sound’s Dragon Boat Festival. The day-long event takes place this Saturday at Waubuno Beach. In addition to high-energy boating heats, the event promises children’s activities, live music, food and more.

Get up close and personal with veteran Canadian comedian Scott Thompson—the Kids in the Hall member brings his cerebral, off-beat brand of humour to the Peter’s Players stage on Saturday night, as part of the popular Cottage Country Comedy Festival.

Celebrate Father’s Day weekend with your “old man” and a herd of classic and specialty cars, as the Muskoka region plays host to a pair of automotive events. The Gravenhurst Antique and Classic Car Show rolls into Gull Lake Park on Saturday; the Bracebridge Father’s Day Car Show is sure to get your motor running on Sunday.

Cottage Country Cooking: Chef James Brown’s Pan-Seared Steelhead Trout

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 James Brown

This week, chef James Brown of Parry Sound’s
Kudos Kuisine offers pan-seared steelhead trout with a port fennel reduction.

Fresh 8-oz fillet of steelhead trout
300 ml ruby port
¼ cup seasoned flour
¼ cup fine sliced fennel bulb
1 tbsp fine diced shallots
2 tbsp butter
Small pinch of white pepper

Heat port and shallots in a medium sauce pan until port is reduced by 3/4, then add sliced fennel. Continue reducing until port is the consistency of thick syrup.

Dredge fillet of steelhead trout in seasoned flour.

In a medium skillet add half your butter, melt over medium heat, then add steelhead trout fillet. Brown the trout on both sides, making sure that it’s cooked through to the middle.

Heat the port reduction sauce until it is hot. Pull from heat and gently swirl in the remaining tablespoon of butter.

Nape the hot port fennel reduction over pan-seared trout fillet and serve with steamed fiddleheads, Vichy carrots and baby red creamer potatoes.

Weekly Planner: June 4 to 10

Pick a pepper (and other fresh produce) at Muskoka's farmers' markets

Our guide to cottage-country events and activities has returned for another summer! Check back every Monday for more timely ideas for family fun.

Support Ontario growers and get some fresh ingredients for this week’s breakfasts, lunches and dinners at a pair of farmers’ markets that are now in full swing. This Wednesday (and all subsequent Wednesday throughout the summer) the Gravenhurst Farmers’ Market operates from from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Muskoka Wharf, while the Bracebridge Farmers’ Market runs on Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., at Memorial Park.

Stretch out on a blanket at Bracebridge’s Memorial Park bandshell and listen to the acoustic folk sounds of Neil Hutchison. Influenced by the likes of Gordon Lightfoot and Ian Tyson, Hutchison takes the stage this Thursday at 7 p.m.

Grab your motorcycle boots and leather jacket and head on down to the Kee to Bala. Blues singer and guitarist George Thorogood—with his longtime band, The Destroyers—rocks the joint on Saturday, with hits like “Bad to the Bone” and more.

Drive around the region this Saturday and Sunday and take in not only the exceptional natural scenery, but also some great artistic visuals. This year’s Muskoka Lakes Spring Art Tour allows you to visit the studios of 11 top cottage-country artists in Bracebridge, Bala, Port Carling and elsewhere.

The local food movement just keeps creeping ever closer to home; one of the latest trends is to keep a chicken or two right in your own backyard (depending on municipal bylaws, of course). If you’re interested in learning more, regional culinary association Savour Muskoka hosts a poultry workshop on Sunday at Severn Sunset Eco Farm in Severn Bridge, where participants will find out some of the ins and outs of working with chickens, ducks and turkeys.



Spotlight on Muskoka Chefs: Andrew Dymond


As executive chef at Taboo Resort, Dymond heads up the luxury property’s lauded Elements fine-dining restaurant, tasting-menu-oriented Culinary Theatre and casual Boathouse eatery. Having cooked at distinguished hotels in southern Ontario and Europe, he crafts globally inspired cuisine based on the freshest available ingredients.


Grenville Farms and Four Seasons Greens provide Dymond and his staff with a wide variety of Muskoka-grown produce, while Windermere’s Winding Fences Farm is his source for naturally raised beef and Berkshire pork.

MAP: Our Guide to 16 of Muskoka’s Best Nature Trails and Hiking Destinations


View Muskoka Trails: Pathways to Fresh Air and Fun in a larger map

Nature takes centre stage in Muskoka with daily performances by 250 species of birds, 50 types of mammals and 25 species of amphibians. Turn off the iPod and open your ears to Muskoka’s natural sounds by hiking, biking, canoeing and kayaking through the region National Geographic Traveler selected selected as one of the top 20 “Best Trips of the World” for 2012. No gas required and no stress allowed.

Here, we’ve mapped some of our favourite trails for you to explore (zoom in close to see all the smaller trails).

Spotlight on Muskoka Chefs: Randy Spencer


Chef Spencer has been a gastronomic standard bearer in the Muskoka region for many years. With his wife, Karen, he owns Spencer’s Tall Trees, a venerable restaurant in a century-old house overlooking Hunter’s Bay.


Spencer’s menu balances classic and contemporary elements in dishes that are at once cosmopolitan and clearly Canadian—rack of lamb with mint-infused spaetzle and hoisin-glazed baby back ribs are among its recent offerings. In summer, vegetables are sourced from Brooklands Farm in Bracebridge. A significant portion of the restaurant’s award-winning wine list is composed of Niagara vintages, while its own house-made pies are a sought-after delicacy distributed by a number of Muskoka retailers.

Spotlight on Muskoka Chefs: Shaun Crymble


Toronto-trained chef Crymble manages the culinary operations of two restaurants, a bar, a poolside café and room service at The Rosseau, crafting continental and Italian-influenced menus for the resort’s discerning guests.


A rooftop herb garden supplies some subtle flavours and aromas for summer offerings—basil is particularly favoured for pizzas and fresh breads, while The Rosseau’s bartenders clip mint for mojitos. Tasty, too,
are the Ontario cheeses that Crymble plans to use this season. Cranberries from Johnston’s Cranberry Marsh in Bala are also a staple.