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Doors Open

Things to Do in Muskoka: June 10 to 16


A Father's Day cruise on the Wenonah II (right) is a great thing to do in Muskoka this week (photo: Stonehorse Studios

A Father’s Day cruise on the Wenonah II (right) is a great thing to do in Muskoka (photo: Stonehorse Studios

JUNE 15 & 16  Take the opportunity to discover Muskoka’s grand history during Doors Open. On Saturday, Gravenhurst venues like its heritage opera house and railway station can be explored, while Sunday sees Bala and Port Carling open their doors to history buffs.

JUNE 16  Make Father’s Day a memorable one in Muskoka by taking dad on a special dinner cruise. Boarding Muskoka Steamships’ Wenonah II in Gravenhurst gets your pop a three-course prime rib dinner, Muskoka Brewery beer tasting and more. Lady Muskoka Cruises, operating out of Bracebridge, also offers a Father’s Day excursion on the water.

JUNE 16  If your old man would rather stay on dry land, why not take him to the Bracebridge Car Show? Starting bright and early with a pancake breakfast, the event also features a scavenger hunt, push-car races, live entertainment and, of course, some of the region’s most exotic vintage and contemporary automobiles.

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.

Weekend Roundup: Best Bets for Sept. 30 to Oct. 2

Orpheus House, a musical theatre society, is one of the stops you can make during Culture Days. Photo credit: Alan Dean Photography.

Friday, Sept. 30
Circus workshops, Victorian photo collage mash-ups, and cabaret performances are just a few of the local activities being served up as part of Culture Days, a cross-Canada initiative that aims to put the spotlight on the country’s cultural institutions. More than 50 free events in Ottawa alone offer a range of opportunities to fuel your inner artist, from getting down and dirty in pottery class to going behind the scenes at theatre workshops. From Friday to Sunday (see website for full schedule).

Beau’s Oktoberfest, the party that beer lovers look forward to all year, is back for another rip roaring weekend. This annual event, put on by a local brewery, serves up Bavarian inspired food and seven different Beau’s beers to wash it down, as well as music by Cuff the Duke and Jim Bryson. Activities taking place include Bavarian dancing, world class beer speakers, brewery tours, a kids’ zone with 1,000 lbs. of Playdough, a sauerkraut cook-off, a keg toss, and a variety of other kooky competitions (spouse carrying race, anyone?) — no lederhosen required. The event runs Friday to Sunday, but don’t wait long to get tickets: Saturday’s already sold out.

It’s got a stronghold on the Internet and has also become a verb, now Google is the star in Mexican artist Emilio Chapela‘s first major solo exhibition in Canada. Ask Google, on at SAW Gallery from Sept. 30 to Nov. 12, presents image and text-based works generated from search engines and transformed into poetic statements about race, language, and translation. The show kicks off tonight with a reception and party at 8pm with food and tequila donated by the Embassy of Mexico.

Saturday, Oct. 1
Love the look of handmade goods, but lack the artistic talent? Then Urban Craft is just the ticket. This monthly craft sale, which debuted in September, offers up new and returning artisans, so there will be an ever-changing selection of goods to choose from, including screen-printed tees, local and organic body products, trendy fascinators, and even toys for modern tots. (more…)

Hot Date: The City Opens its Doors

Spadina Museum

MAY 28 & 29 Strolling Toronto is even more exciting when you’re invited to explore treasured architectural gems during Doors Open. The free event welcomes thousands inside more than 150 modern and historic buildings, some of which are not generally open to the public. Visit the enormous art deco R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant as it celebrates its 70th anniversary, or discover the history behind such sites as the Redpath Sugar Museum or the Spadina Museum: Historic House and Gardens. Don’t forget your camera! Doors Open is beloved by shutterbugs, and this year’s event honours photography even further, with many buildings featuring displays of archival imagery.

Hot Date: Welcome In!

Peek inside Toronto's Old City Hall and many other buildings as part of Doors Open

MAY 29 & 30 Step out into the street and discover some very interesting buildings as part of Doors Open Toronto, an annual celebration of the city’s architectural excellence. This free event offers visitors access to 150 unique modern and longstanding structures—including Old City Hall, St. James Cathedral and the reopened City Hall Podium Green Roof—each with their own historical, cultural, architectural and even environmental stories. Some locations offer tours, interpretive materials and activities to augment your visitor experience. And don’t forget to bring your camera—some of these sites are not open to the public at any other time of the year. Various venues and times; call 416-338-0628 or click here for further details.

Weekend Roundup, June 12 to 14

Entertainment, fine dining, outdoor adventures and the rejuvenation of body and spirit—it’s all in a day’s (or weekend’s) play in Muskoka!

Friday, June 12
Book some seats at the Algonquin Theatre for music and dance as Muskoka Dance Academy’s year-end performance of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland amuses the entire family.

Luxuriate in the comforting confines of the Spa at Deerhurst Resort and savour the sweet and healthy minerals of its Muskoka Maple Sugar Body Polish.

Saturday, June 13
Discover the hidden heritage and cultural charm of 19th-century cabins and farms featured as part of Doors Open Lake of Bays.

Appreciate the woodcarvings and watercolours of wildlife, home and country on the annual Muskoka Lakes Spring Art Tour.

Sunday, June 14
Behold the breathtaking woodland vistas and elevated tee decks as you seek to tame the challenging, 18-hole golf course at North Granite Ridge.

Nosh on local specialties—like Ontario rainbow trout served with baby potatoes, zucchini, eggplant and summer squash—amidst the verdant backdrop of Algonquin Park at Arowhon Pines restaurant.

See Inside the City

The Don Jail is sure to be a popular Doors Open venue for history buffs and photographers alike.

The Don Jail is sure to be a popular Doors Open venue for history buffs and photographers alike.

As highlighted in our current “Weekend Roundup,” May 23 and 24 offer perhaps your best chance to really get to know Toronto, by exploring its most hallowed halls (and revered contemporary edifices) as part of the 10th annual Doors Open Toronto. The immensely popular event allows visitors to enter 175 buildings of historical, cultural and architectural significance free of charge. Among this year’s participating structures are the über-hip Drake Hotel, the spectacular BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir—a Hindu temple built from more than 6,000 tons of hand-carved marble, limestone, sandstone and wood—the Mies van der Rohe-designed Toronto Dominion Centre and, open to the public for the first time in more than 30 years, the Don Jail. Adding to the interest: many buildings offer informative guided tours and excellent photo opportunities.

Obviously, one can’t expect to view 175 buildings in a single weekend. Your best course of action? Peruse the full list of Doors Open venues and stay within one or two city districts. Not only will you maximize the number of sites you’re able to see, you’ll get a nice neighbourhood walking tour to boot!

May Hot Date—Erudite Enjoyments


May 23 & 24 Books and buildings are being cracked wide across the city for Doors Open Toronto. This year the annual free showcase of architecture celebrates Toronto’s 175th anniversary with a spotlight on its literary history and happenings. A roster of 175 notable edifices host behind-the-scenes tours, in-depth displays and author readings. Get an insider’s look at such striking cultural landmarks as the luxe Drake Hotel, first constructed in 1890. The dining room, neighbourhood café and eclectically decorated rooms are sites not to miss. Call 416-338-0628 for a list of other locales.

TIP! Catch the tail end of Lit City, a literary festival commemorating writers who have set their tomes in Toronto. Check out an author reading or a literary walk at more than a dozen venues, including Union Station and Todmorden Mills. Call 416-338-0688 for a list of events.