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parry sound

Things to Do in Muskoka: June 3 to 9


Sonny Landreth is scheduled to perform at Peter's Players—just one of this week's things to do in Muskoka (photo: Acadiana Centre for Film and Media

Sonny Landreth is scheduled to perform at Peter’s Players—just one of this week’s things to do in Muskoka (photo: Acadiana Centre for Film and Media)

JUNE 5  Spend an afternoon at Huntsville’s River Mill Park and check out the colourful canoe-paddle art created by Huntsville High School’s youth in transition.

JUNE 7  Listen in wonder as Louisiana slide-guitar virtuoso Sonny Landreth performs classic tracks and songs from his latest album at Peter’s Players.

JUNE 7 & 8  Parry Sound’s Stockey Centre hosts a toe-tappin’, head-noddin’ good time thanks to its two-day Rock Fest. Friday night is headlined by “Signs” singers the Five Man Electrical Band, while Saturday sees performances by Eagles tribute band Hotel California and others.

JUNE 8  Classic rock fans may want to make a return trip to Peter’s Players: the Gravenhurst venue’s second show in as many days features Yardbirds founding member Jim McCarty and his blues- and classical-influenced band.

JUNE 8 & 9  Hit the road this weekend—not just to enjoy the region’s natural scenery, but also to take in the excellent visuals by participants in the annual Muskoka Lakes Spring Art Tour.

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.

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.

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.

Spotlight on Muskoka Chefs: Rory Golden


A longtime proponent of the Savour Muskoka culinary initiative, Deerhurst Resort executive chef Rory Golden is committed to filling his menu with seasonal ingredients found close to home. In summer he also highlights the power of the barbecue with lots of grilled meats and vegetables—even grilled desserts.


You’ve heard of the 100-Mile Diet. At Deerhurst it’s more like the 100-metre diet—herbs, mushrooms, honey and maple syrup are all on site. Farther afield, Golden sources Ontario ingredients such as omega-3-enriched pork from Willowgrove Hill farm near Stratford. The chops are given a maple glaze and served with a tomato and locally made Big Ass Garlic “jam”.

Spotlight on Muskoka Chefs: Christine Bib


With her eponymous company, Christine Bib Catering, Chef Bib creates simply prepared, seasonal menus for all manner of clients in both Toronto and the Muskoka region.


Trout is a favourite ingredient; Bib often serves Milford Bay smoked trout, for example, on a potato latke with crème fraîche and dill, and grills fresh trout—farmed off of Manitoulin Island—on a cedar plank with a citrus-soy marinade. Later in the summer she takes advantage of Ontario’s fruit and vegetable harvest, from tomatoes and corn to peaches, pears, apples and wild blueberries.

Spotlight on Muskoka Chefs: James Brown


Originally from Niagara-on-the-Lake, chef Brown has spent more than two decades cooking in wine-and cottage-country kitchens (he moved to Parry Sound in 1993). At Kudos Kuisine (one of Where’s best new restaurants of 2011), he combines the skills he developed in Niagara with culinary influences from Northern Ontario, including traditional inspirations from the Shawanaga First Nation.


Georgian Bay pickerel is marinated in maple syrup, crusted in cornmeal and pan fried, while wild shiitake mushrooms are incorporated into a sauce for the restaurant’s AAA striploin steaks.

The Muskoka Seven: Things to Do from August 1 to 7, 2011

Take a trip on the Island Queen

1. Pick a pleasant-looking day (blue-skied and sunny, perhaps with a calm little breeze) to enjoy touring the Georgian Bay biosphere on an Island Queen Cruise. Don’t forget your camera—the rugged landscape is definitely worth framing.

2. Take a trip to the English countryside from within the Gravenhurst Opera House, which presents its annual dinner theatre production from August 2 to 13. This year’s show is a hilarious British farce entitled Beyond a Joke. (more…)