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Gravenhurst

The Muskoka Seven: Things To Do from May 30 to June 5, 2011

Cruise the lakes of Muskoka on the RMS Segwun

1. Embrace the warm weather and life on the water with a cruise aboard the historic RMS Segwun. The late-19th century steamship takes passengers on one- to four-hour sightseeing cruises around Lake Muskoka. The lunch and dinner cruise options are especially popular.

2. Should you find yourself closer to Parry Sound, scope out a seat on the patio at recently opened restaurant Kudos Kuisine. Its contemporary digs overlook the Parry Sound harbour. (more…)

The Muskoka Seven: Things To Do from May 16 to 22, 2011

Summer is approaching, and that means the resorts, attractions, restaurants and boutiques of Muskoka are getting set for high season up north! It also means that it’s time for another summer of Where Muskoka’s top things to do in the region. Check back weekly for our fresh picks!

Hit the links at Deerhurst Highlands

1. Book your first tee time of the season at one of Muskoka’s premier golf courses, Deerhurst Highlands. If you’re feeling rusty, take a few hacks on the driving range before heading to the first hole.

2. Take the family to Sudbury’s Science North, where four floors of exhibitions offer a fun and educational introduction to the Canadian Shield biosphere.

3. Stock up on all your cottaging essentials—from watersports equipment to dock and patio furniture—at Port Carling’s Indian River Trading Company. (more…)

Weekend Roundup, August 27 to 29

Summer activities are still burning bright this far into August. Take in the sights, do some shopping, and be sure to get in a round of golf!

Take a swing at the Ridge at Manitou golf club

Friday, August 27
Rifle through antiques for treasure at the annual Bracebridge Antique Show & Sale, on today through Sunday. Great finds amongst the jewellery, furniture and quilts!

Kick back, relax and enjoy pizzas, pasta, steak and fish on the dockside patio at the Cottage Waterfront Grill in Huntsville.

Saturday, August 28
They say Marty Curtis is the Michelangelo of butter tarts. Find out for yourself by ordering the Canadian staple at Marty’s World Famous Café. Other filling options abound, from grilled cheese sandwiches to tempting Muskoka apple pies.

Discover some of the country’s best ales, lagers and stouts at the Muskoka Beer Festival. The 19+ event presents an opportunity to sample more than 75 different craft brews, see a wakeboarding show, and participate in a number of other activities.

Sunday, August 29
Whether you’re a seasoned duffer or a relative newcomer to the game, the Ridge at Manitou offers an excellent Muskoka golf experience. Following your round, enjoy the hospitality in the clubhouse lounge and its breathtaking view of Manitouwabing Lake.

Stay young at heart with a trip to Applause! Toy Store. (Or just treat your children.) This toy heaven in Bracebridge is filled with games, toys, puzzles, art supplies, and an interactive kids play area.

Weekend Roundup, August 20 to 22

Be sure to check out the Algonquin Theatre’s entertaining shows—there’s an artistic pick for each night this weekend!

Sarah Harmer serenades the Algonquin Theatre on Sunday night

Friday, August 20
Shop, play games and win prizes at Muskoka Wharf’s Dockside & Steamship Festivals. There’s much to do on the water, with more than 80 artisans participating in an arts and crafts show, 90-plus shopping options, live shows and a kids’ zone.

Enjoy a night of storytelling, song and dance at Algonquin Theatre’s Echoes of Ireland production, part of the Huntsville Festival of the Arts.

Saturday, August 21
Spend your day Scottish-style at the Bracebridge Highland Games. Dancing, piping, caber tossing, hammer throwing—there’s so much traditional fun to choose from!

After that, get your bearings and head over to the Algonquin Theatre for the Muskoka Music Men’s 21st annual Night of Harmony, featuring the Barrie Huronia Soundwaves.

Sunday, August 22
Trek through the pristinely beautiful Haliburton Forest and Wildlife Reserve in time to catch the final day of its Forest Festival. Breathe the clean air (thanks to 70,000 acres of trees) while absorbing the glorious waterside view, or check out one of seven scheduled concerts.

Make a return trip to the Algonquin Theatre to witness celebrated singer/songwriter Sarah Harmer perform her passionate brand of folk-rock.

Weekend Roundup, August 6 to 8

Weekends in Muskoka are always packed with music, art and outdoors activities. This one’s no different. Get out there and enjoy it!

Climb aboard the M.V. Chippewa

Friday, August 6
What better way to start the weekend than with a Baroque on the Boat morning cruise? Allow the Festival Winds to serenade you aboard the M.V. Chippewa, departing from Parry Sound.

Spend a rockin’ night in Gravenhurst with the Holmes Brothers. The acclaimed roots-R&B-gospel-blues band stages a barn-burning show at Peter’s Place.

Saturday, August 7
Enjoy a true Woodland Art Experience in the scenic gardens, courtyards and rooms of Wood’s End Studios, where 25 artists display and discuss their excellent work. A garden luncheon is catered by North Restaurant.

Explore the world of locomotives at the Muskoka Model Train Show. At the Bracebridge Fairgrounds, peruse the collections of train enthusiasts, vendors and manufacturers, earn souvenirs and door prizes, and nibble on barbecue fare.

Sunday, August 8
Assemble at Annie Williams Park to cheer on the competitors in the Bracebridge Triathalon. You’ll be amazed by these athletes as they swim, cycle and run for glory.

Finish the day right with Endless Summer Live, a California-inspired show, part of Gravenhurst’s Music on the Barge festival.

Weekend Roundup, July 30 to August 2

July is not going down without a party first. Take particular note of numerous jazz concerts as you celebrate this Civic Holiday long weekend!

North Restaurant chef Alain Irvine serves up the flavours of the Muskoka region

Friday, July 30
Don’t miss the Huntsville Jazz Festival, running this weekend only!  Juno award–winner Alex Cuba opens tonight at the Algonquin Theatre.

Prepare for an evening packed with family fun, shopping and entertainment at the Bracebridge BIA Midnight Madness event.

Saturday, July 31
Indulge in one of Muskoka’s best meals at Gravenhurst’s North Restaurant. Chef Alain Irvine’s fresh, seasonal cuisine is sure to please.

Continue the jazz extravaganza tonight at the Festival of the Sound. The 16-piece Dave Young Big Band performs the renowned bassist’s original compositions and breathes new life into old standards.

Sunday, August 1
Find swing of a different kind by booking a tee time at the exceptional Ridge at Manitou golf course.

Dash into the 1950s tonight as the Lincolnaires offer a nostalgic set of early rock ‘n’ roll classics for Music on the Barge.

Monday, August 2
If the greens are still calling, tee off at the Muskoka Bay Club’s naturally beautiful 18-hole course. On site, the newly renovated Clifftop Clubhouse boasts a pro shop plus indoor-outdoor bistro with tantalizing dining options.

Step aboard the Island Queen for its Sunset on the Bay Musical Cruise. Watch as the sun dips under the water while vocals and instruments provide a musical lullaby.

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.

Top Chefs: Alain Irvine, North Restaurant

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 ALAIN IRVINE
North Restaurant
, Gravenhurst

Can you tell us a bit about your restaurant and its philosophy?
Our culinary philosophy draws upon these four key elements. First is our cuisine. Through the application of traditional techniques and modern flair along with locally sourced, seasonal ingredients, we seek to redefine original dishes to create an unparalleled restaurant experience. Our service exudes warmth, intuition and honesty—always attentive and articulate. Diners are made to feel welcome, and can be confident in our staff’s knowledge and expertise. The third element is our setting. Our dining room compliments our cuisine; it’s an urban oasis in Muskoka. And finally there’s aesthetics—we believe that combining cuisine, service and setting with a touch of magic creates an inimitable journey to savour.

What are your thoughts on the local food movement?
More and more people are looking for local food from farmers’ markets, farms, or even from their own gardens. Locavores believe food tastes better because it’s fresh and that it’s more nutritious. Farmers’ markets are becoming trendy again, people love to get out and be seen.

What culinary trends do you predict in Muskoka in the near future?
The trend will always stay the same; we still use nuevo cuisine from the ‘80s. Everything is just a good chef taking the best available products and creating a great centre-plate experience.

Can you tell us about one of your signature dishes?
I don’t really have a signature dish. I love to cook, so everything on the menu has 40 years of experience put into it. It’s always the details that separate an average dining experience from a great one.

Aside from indulging in fine dining, how else would you suggest visitors to the Muskoka region make the most of their time?
Explore the endless lakes and countless islands. Muskoka’s three big lakes—Joseph, Rosseau and Muskoka—and their lakeside communities are playgrounds for tourists, cottagers and residents.  Algonquin Park is full of wildlife and great trails.

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.

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.