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Bracebridge

Weekend Roundup, July 23 to 25

Music and art continue to make their marks this weekend in Muskoka.

Vintage goods abound at the Muskoka Antique Show

Friday, July 23
Look out for antique goodies as 40 dealers from across the country gather at the 29th annual Muskoka Antique Show in Port Carling.

Take in a memorable celebration to one of country music’s modern legends, as Leisa Way stars in Rhinestone Cowgirl: A Tribute to Dolly Parton. The performance, part of the Huntsville Festival of the Arts, makes its way to the Algonquin Theatre tonight.

Saturday, July 24
Enjoy a pancake breakfast with live music or set up the kids with some face painting and a petting-zoo experience at the Baysville Walkabout Festival. After that, treasure seekers can peruse the offerings of more than 120 artisans and craftspeople who line the town’s main street.

Combine art and nature at Bracebridge’s Artful Garden. Here, more than 40 artists showcase their original garden-inspired visuals in the open air at the studio and home of area residents Jon and Suzann Partridge.

Sunday, July 25
Pay homage to true divas at Classic Primadonna, a Festival of the Sound production starring soprano Mary Lou Fallis. Dessert and coffee are served while you enjoy a classy evening with music by Mozart and Schubert.

Rock on with jukebox hits performed live on the water by Freddy Vette and the Flames as part of the Music on the Barge Festival concert series in Gravenhurst.

Weekend Roundup, July 16 to 18

Muskoka’s arts and music scene is abuzz this weekend.

The Festival of the Sound kicks off Friday night at the Charles W. Stockey Centre

Friday, July 16
Browse creative and colourful pieces at the Muskoka Arts and Crafts Show. More than 200 local artists and craftspeople offer their original works at this weekend-long event in Bracebridge.

Be dazzled by classical music. The much-anticipated Festival of the Sound kicks off this weekend at Parry Sound’s Charles W. Stockey Centre with a gala opening concert featuring Oxford Six Pianos.

Saturday, July 17
Stay in Parry Sound and take the opportunity to check out the premiere of Impressions of the Massasauga Provincial Park, and meet the artists as they share their interpretations of this breathtaking Canadian landscape.

Prepare for a thunderous roar as vintage planes soar overhead at the Muskoka 2010 Air Show, which this year honours the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Norway and the Battle of Britain. This year’s event is held slightly southwest of Muskoka in the town of Midland, site of the Norwegian Air Force’s WWII training base.

Sunday, July 18
Partake in an artful afternoon at Huntsville’s River Mill Park. From noon to 3 p.m., kids can paint a masterpiece (or have their faces painted) for free as part of Art Splash. Those with an interest in more “established” talents can enjoy an arts walk with live demonstrations by local artists.

Dance to some hot new-country music as an uncanny look-alike performs the Ultimate Tribute to Shania Twain at a Music on the Barge concert in Gravenhurst.

Weekend Roundup, July 9 to 11

Decisions, decisions, decisions. Muskoka’s still hot with things to do!

See the Cavenerners interpret Beatles classics this weekend

Friday, July 9
Justin Hines exudes an optimistic attitude through his music. A genetic joint condition confines him to a wheelchair, but this singer-songwriter’s tunes display a soaring spirit. Be inspired tonight at the Algonquin Theatre.

Wade into the cool water with your fishing rod in tow for Ontario Family Fishing weekend. This weekend only, Canadians can fish without a license!

Saturday, July 10
Discover Gravenhurst’s water-bound heritage at the annual Antique & Classic Boat Show. Saturday features a showcase of finely crafted wooden boats, while Sunday brings classic fiberglass boats and classic cars.

Devour a pancake and sausage/peameal breakfast or participate in an evening barn dance at the Muskoka Pioneer Power Show. After checking out the grand parade, meander through the heritage exhibits, blacksmith shop and classic and antique vehicle displays on the Bracebridge Fairgrounds.

Sunday, July 11
Kick back in a comfortable lawn chair on the grounds of Spencer’s Tall Trees restaurant while the soothing melodies of Jazz in the Garden caress your ear.

If you want to avoid “A Hard Day’s Night,” get your groove on at Canada’s premiere Beatles tribute show, performed by The Caverners for Gravenhurst’s Music on the Barge.

Weekend Roundup, July 1 to 4

Celebrate Canada Day weekend with an explosion of events—we’re not just talking about the fireworks!

Enjoy a Canada Day cruise aboard Parry Sound's Island Queen

Thursday, July 1
Commemorate Canada Day aboard the Island Queen’s Sunset Musical Cruise, part of Parry Sound’s annual Festival of the Sound. Enjoy ebullient tunes by the Shores of Newfoundland band, then open your eyes wide for a fireworks display in the harbour.

Sway to country, folk, gospel, blues, rock ‘n’ roll and children’s music with Bracebridge’s Memorial Park Bandshell Concert Series. Or, try your luck by entering the annual duck derby at Bracebridge Falls.

Friday, July 2
Mark your calendars! The Huntsville Festival of the Arts returns to Muskoka today, and runs through to August 11. Tonight, catch Canadian rock band Lighthouse at the Algonquin Theatre.

Head over to the Kee to Bala to see Matthew Good live in concert. The popular singer-songwriter‘s eponymous band also features Dave Genn on keyboards and guitar, Ian Browne rocking the drum kit, and Rich Priske on bass.

Saturday, July 3
If you’re one of the lucky ticket holders for the popular Baysville Beef and Lobster Fest, you’ll be sure to spend the day feasting on succulent lobster and juicy meat. Participate in the silent auction and win prizes.

Witness rising star Mark Masri performing live with Canadian songbird Amy Sky at the Algonquin Theatre.

Sunday, July 4
View the works of emerging artists, displayed throughout historic downtown Bracebridge for Art in the Heart.

Walk the line to Gravenhurst’s Music on the Barge show. Tonight offers a “Legend in Black” tribute to Johnny Cash and June Carter.

Top Chefs: David Friesen, Riverwalk

There are many reasons to visit Muskoka: the small town ambience; the pristine lakes; its world-renowned golf courses. These days, the region offers another excellent incentive thanks to the tremendous growth of its dining scene. We asked some of Muskoka’s most prominent kitchen captains about their restaurants, their cuisine and the area’s emergence as a foodie-friendly destination. Watch this space for a new chef every week of the summer!

CHEF DAVID FRIESEN
Riverwalk, Bracebridge

Why do you think Muskoka has gained such popularity as a dining destination?
More great chefs are making the move outside of the city and opening more great restaurants. Over the last few years the Savour Muskoka program has helped brand the region as a place to enjoy local food products.

Your thoughts on the local food movement?
I love it. Using seasonal product has always been forefront throughout my 20+ year career. It’s great to be able to go straight to farms and speak directly with farmers. They’re responding with open arms and asking chefs what we want them to produce. This is a win-win situation.

Can you tell us about one of your signature dishes?
Crackling skinned organic chicken with handmade corn noodles—local chicken, farm-fresh eggs for the noodles and seasonal Brooklands Farm corn. Mmm!

What inspires you to cook?
Tastes, textures, smells. bringing those elements together in harmony and creating memories through the senses.

Weekend Roundup, June 25 to 27

You’re in for a good laugh this weekend with hours of comedic skits ahead of you. Another exciting note: Muskoka hosts this year’s G8 Summit, a gathering of the world’s economic leaders.

Music on the Barge offers a Sunday evening showcase in Gravenhurst

Friday, June 25
Be on the lookout for famous politicians as economic leaders from as far as Russia fly in to attend the 2010 G8 Summit today and tomorrow at Huntsville’s Deerhurst Resort.

Discover the makings of Muskoka’s heritage by exploring historic buildings in Bala and Port Carling as part of the weekend-long Doors Open Muskoka event. Tomorrow, Bracebridge welcomes you into its most intriguing sites, while Gravenhurst opens its doors on Sunday.

Start your weekend off right with some belly laughs courtesy of Yuk Yuk’s and comedians Rob Ross and Ian Sirota. See their stand-up stylings tonight with with a reservation at the Muskoka Bay Club, 9 p.m. Tickets $30; call 705-687-7900, ext. 301.

Saturday, June 26
The Rene M. Caisse Memorial Theatre in Bracebridge also offers its share of chuckles this weekend. In the afternoon, CBC Radio’s The Debaters records Canadian comedians as they tackle hot topics and compete for the biggest guffaws. Later in the evening, the Cottage Country Comedy Festival’s performers will have you in stitches.

Shake your hips to the many hits of beloved Canadian blues-rocker David Wilcox, as he performs live in concert at the Kee to Bala.

Sunday, June 27
Enjoy such madcap performances as “Moose Bloop” and “Summer Fun by Jam Sandwich” as part of the family-friendly Kaleidoscope Children’s Festival.

Stay tuned this evening for the Bi-focals concert band as Gravenhurst’s Music on the Barge continues its summer-long concert series.

Top Chefs: Michael Rickard, One Fifty Five

There are many reasons to visit Muskoka: the small town ambience; the pristine lakes; its world-renowned golf courses. These days, there’s another excellent incentive thanks to the tremendous growth of its dining scene. We asked some of Muskoka’s most prominent kitchen captains about their restaurants, their cuisine and the area’s emergence as a foodie-friendly destination. Watch this space for a new chef every week of the summer!

CHEF MICHAEL RICKARD
One Fifty Five, Bracebridge

Tell us about your restaurant and its philosophy.
All of our dishes are house-made from the finest available ingredients using traditional French techniques. We have endeavoured to create an affordable fine dining experience in a comfortable environment—light and fresh at lunch, romantic at night.

The Muskoka region is gaining popularity as a dining destination. Why do you think this is?
As an up-market destination for cottagers and tourists and with the influx of retirees from the Toronto area, there is an ever-growing demand for a better dining experience.

What are your thoughts on the local food movement?
I think the local food movement, as promoted by Savour Muskoka, is a great thing.  Supporting our local purveyors is good for the diner, restaurateur and farmer. I find local food and produce to be fresher and tastier. It gives me a great feeling to “buy local”—a feeling of being connected to the life of the land around me. It’s a bit more work as a chef to buy local as you have to be more attuned to the local market, but it’s definitely worth the effort.

What inspires you to cook?
I am passionate about food and I like to be creative.  I was raised in the hotel industry and so was lucky enough to live in places like Malaysia, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda and the United States, where I was constantly exposed to a variety of local foods as well as the fine cuisine served in the five-star hotels my father managed. I’ve also travelled and cooked in such places as England, New Zealand, Thailand, Mexico and British Columbia, widening my culinary horizons. My parents are both very good cooks, so I guess you could say that cooking is in my blood.

Weekend Roundup, June 11 to 13

Muskoka offers a rich cultural experience involving theatres, parks and galleries. Don’t miss these artistic experiences!

Enjoy the natural landscape of Killbear Provincial Park (photo by John Vetterli)

Friday, June 11
Learn a thing or two about early cottage life, boat-building heritage and pioneer settlers at the quaint, local Muskoka Lakes Museum.

Enjoy an evening of family entertainment as the Algonquin Theatre comes alive with the Wonderful Sounds of Music, a rousing performance by the Muskoka Dance Academy.

Saturday, June 12
Don’t miss a chance to check out vintage vehicles and win prizes at the 17th annual Antique & Classic Car Show at Gravenhurst’s Gull Lake Park.

Take in a revue of emerging local dancers at the Rene M. Caisse Memorial Theatre. As the venue promises, the name may be difficult to pronounce but the shows are easy to love!

Sunday, June 13
Swim, sail or scuba dive your way around Killbear Provincial Park—in the midst of Georgian Bay’s 30,000 islands—or marvel at the splendour of the Canadian Shield while wandering one of the park’s many hiking and biking trails.

Discover new art and purchase cards or gifts at Bracebridge’s Alexandra Luke Gallery, which features the original oil, acrylic and watercolour paintings of Wendy Moses.

Door to Dock

Do it all from the water this boating season—dine, shop, sightsee and more. Landlubbers need not apply. By Meaghan Lamb

The Charles W. Stockey Centre for the Performing Arts

PARRY SOUND
The summer population quadruples in this town on the eastern shore of Georgian Bay. Culture-seeking boaters can cruise into the world’s deepest natural freshwater port and hop ashore to the Charles W. Stockey Centre for the Performing Arts, while the Bobby Orr Hall of Fame celebrates the region’s favourite hockey legend.

HUNTSVILLE
See outdoor murals inspired by Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven in the town that plays host to the 2010 G8 Summit. Scout out The Finds, Wooden Penny and Nutty Chocolatier. Style the whole family at Big Bear Outfitters (64 Main St. E., 705-788-1351), The Village Shop or Muskoka Jewellery Design.

BOATING FOR BEGINNERS
Take a few paddling lessons and you’ll be skimming the lakes in no time.
>> White Squall is the place for kayak touring. Take both beginner- and advanced-level classes starting at $60 for two and a half hours, or request a private session.
>> Algonquin Outfitters boasts daily canoe and kayak programs at its Huntsville location situated on the water’s edge.

Try a White Squall paddling adventure

BRACEBRIDGE
Water has been an integral part of the area’s history with the North Falls acting as a source of hydraulic power. Tie up at Bracebridge Bay Park in the heart of downtown and get fashionable at Tiggs Clothiers, have Christmas in July at The Gingerbread House and be spoiled for choice selecting cupcakes at Sweet Aroma. For leisurely pursuits, visit Applause! Toy Store, Readers World and the Norwood Theatre (106 Manitoba St., 705-645-2333).

ROSSEAU
Sing your heart out while coming into the Rosseau wharf as holidaymakers did when arriving on the steamships a century ago. Peruse The Craft Room Rosseau or the Farmers’ Market (at Short Street) on Fridays.

FULL SERVICE
>> Port Sandfield Marina offers watercraft rentals, fuel, repairs, servicing and detailing on-site, as well as storage. Shop the Boathouse for clothing, footwear and boating accessories or grab a coffee or ice cream.
>> Pride Marine Group has four marinas under their umbrella here—Pride of Muskoka, Pride of Muskoka West, Pride of Lake of Bays and Pride of Rosseau—each of which provide service seven days a week, gas, as well as new and used boat sales.
>> Skeleton Lake Marina sells new and used boats as well as servicing and repairing many styles of boats. No boat? Rent one and have it delivered to your lake.

Steamships glide through Port Carling

PORT CARLING
Cruise through the locks from lakes Muskoka to Rosseau where you’ll find pleasant respite at the “Hub of the Lakes.” Dock at Turtle Jack’s Muskoka Grill (123 Medora St., 705-765-1753) for a lunch of burgers, salads, beer-battered fish and chips and more. Grab the necessities from Tommy Bahama before rejoining the water world.

MUSKOKA WHARF
The $170 million rebirth of this wharf in Gravenhurst meanders the length of the waterfront. Find docks, marinas, dining, boutiques, lodging, heritage facilities and the homeport of the Muskoka steamships. Berth your own vessel and promenade along the boardwalk.

Weekend Roundup, September 4 to 7

Things to do in Muskoka don’t dwindle down even as summer does. Our special four-day itinerary offers much to do over the Labour Day long weekend.

Explore the vast expanse of Algonquin Park this weekend (photo by Craig Moy).

Explore the vast expanse of Algonquin Park this weekend (photo by Craig Moy).

Friday, September 4
Discover what happens when art and agriculture come together at Muskoka Place Gallery‘s Harvest Muskoka exhibition, featuring artwork capturing the region’s crops and food production.

Choose the perfect outfitting package at Portage Store for your long-weekend hiking trip through Algonquin Provincial Park.

Saturday, September 5
Learn about the role of women in boating in Boat Builders of Muskoka: Past and Present, a display on the elements of design, building and production of wooden boats, at Gravenhurst’s Muskoka Boat and Heritage Centre.

Bite into a succulent lobster tail–topped rib-eye medallion while dining on the waterside patio at Blackburn’s Steakhouse in Huntsville.

Sunday, September 6
In Haliburton, admire the breathtaking view of the Algonquin Highlands from the vantage point of the 100-foot high Dorset Tower.

Pick up jars of creamy maple butter from Bracebridge’s Maple Orchard Farms—a perfect gft for your friends back home.

Monday, September 7
Get an early start on Christmas at Santa’s Village and Sportsland in Bracebridge, where you’ll shriek with delight while riding Rudolph’s Sleigh Ride roller coaster.

End the weekend by lounging in your Muskoka chair dockside, nose buried in a novel by Muskoka author Christina Kilbourne, available at The Gravenhurst Book Store.

Weekend Roundup, August 28 to 30

Lakeside dining, the beer festival or Sunday golf? Decisions, decisions.

Keep an eye out for Woodrow the beaver at the Muskoka Wildlife Centre.

Visit Woodrow the beaver at the Muskoka Wildlife Centre.

Friday, August 28
Watch birds of prey in flight, meet a beaver and howl with the wolves at the Muskoka Wildlife Centre in Severn Bridge.

Savour Georgian Bay pickerel—pan-fried with a Japanese panko-crumb and almond crust—in the lakeside dining room at Parry Sound’s Ridge at Manitou golf club.

Saturday, August 29
Learn about the region’s Aboriginal heritage through the Muskoka’s First Peoples exhibit at Muskoka Heritage Place in Huntsville.

Find out how to cook with lagers and ales at Bracebridge’s first annual Muskoka Beer Festival, which features 25 beer vendors from across Ontario, including Mill Street Brewery, Trafalgar Brewing Company and Highlander Brew Company.

Sunday, August 30
Squeeze some more golf into the summer Scottish-style at Muskoka Highlands Golf Course, a links-style course spread across more than 150 acres in Bracebridge.

But first, pick up Quagmire Golf’s blue bubble-patterned Nicky dress at the Windermere Golf Club pro shop so you can tee off in style.

Weekend Roundup, August 14 to 16

It’s all about festivals in Muskoka! Perfect for the (anticipated) sunny weather this weekend.

Enjoy a day of boating and fishing at Arrowhead Provincial Park (photo by John Vetterli).

Enjoy a day of boating and fishing at Arrowhead Provincial Park (photo by John Vetterli).

Friday, August 14
Kick-off the weekend by picking up something original from one of more than 130 Canadian artists and craft vendors at Gravenhurst’s 18th annual Dockside Festival of the Arts. Purchases in hand, stay for the food and live entertainment.

Instead of dinner and a movie, do dinner and a play tonight. In its fourth year of bringing dinner theatre to the Gravenhurst Opera House, the Dragonfly Theatre Company performs “See How They Run,” a fast-paced comedy set in an English vicarage.

Saturday, August 15
At Bracebridge’s Art in the Heart, discover painters, woodworkers, sculptors and other emerging Muskoka artists honing their crafts along Manitoba Street and its connected laneways. This year the festival also offers street entertainment, from theatrical performers and dancers to musicians and magicians.

In the afternoon, indulge in a cottage country beer and food tasting at Muskoka Cottage Brewery. The event includes an exclusive tour of the Bracebridge microbrewery.

Sunday, August 16
Head out on a Sunday-morning fishing trip with the family for rainbow trout and small-mouth bass at Arrowhead Provincial Park.

Tap your toes to the guitar, autoharp, and banjo sounds of country-bluegrass band The Good Brothers tonight at Gull Lake Park. The nine-time Juno Award winners play the closing set for Gravenhurst’s Music on the Barge, a regional tradition since 1949.