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port carling

Explore History During Doors Open in Muskoka

Bala's Museum participates in this year's Doors Open Muskoka

Bala’s Museum participates in this year’s Doors Open Muskoka festivities

JUNE 15 & 16  Visitors are invited to literally walk through history during this season’s Doors Open festivities, a province-wide program designed to introduce new generations to the built heritage of various communities. On June 15, explore Gravenhurst sites like its turn-of-the-century Opera House; on June 16, venture to Bala and Port Carling for Victorian-era architecture and quaint attractions such as Bala’s Museum with Memories of Lucy Maud Montgomery. Various venues, free; visit doorsopenontario.on.ca for further details.

Weekly Planner: July 2 to 8

Real rodeo excitement comes to Muskoka in the Bracebridge Bullnanza (photo courtesy of Double D Rodeo Productions)

Thrill to the real rodeo action of the Bracebridge Bullnanza, taking place on Thursday at the J.D. Lang Activity Park. The show features bull riding, barrel racing, a performance by the Canadian Cowgirls mounted drill squad and more. Yeehaw!

Meet Muskoka artists and craftspeople—and perhaps purchase some of their beautiful ceramics, paintings, jewellery and more—as the Art in the Heart outdoor market opens for its fifth season this Saturday. Running from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., it takes place along Manitoba Street and Chancery Lane in downtown Huntsville.

Craftsmanship of a different kind can be viewed on Saturday in Gravenhurst—the Muskoka Wharf hosts the region’s 32nd annual Antique and Classic Boat Show, with more than 100 exquisite wooden watercraft displayed in-water.

Should you find yourself salivating in Port Carling, it may be due to the aroma of fresh-cooked seafood. The town hosts its summer Lobsterfest on Saturday, so be sure to book your tickets in advance at the Apothecary Shop (86 Joseph St.). Not a fan of crustaceans? There’s a steak dinner, too.

Perk up your ears to some great music. Muskoka venues host three must-hear concerts this weekend. On Saturday, slide guitar virtuoso Sonny Landreth takes the stage at Peter’s Players, while Canadian rockers Big Wreck reunite at The Kee to Bala. On Sunday, head to Deerhurst Resort, where Trooper will try to live up to its reputation as the country’s “greatest party band.”

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.

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.

 

 

The Muskoka Seven: Things to Do from July 18 to 24, 2011

Ron Sexsmith

1. Major Canadian talent makes the trip to Muskoka this week, as acclaimed singer-songwriter Ron Sexsmith takes the stage for two shows at Peter’s Place Live on July 23 and 24.

2. Check out the latest pleasure crafts and cottage accessories from July 22 to 24, as Gravenhurst’s Muskoka Wharf hosts the annual In-Water Boat and Cottage Show. If all that salivating (at boats) makes you actually hungry, you’re in luck, the Muskoka Cottage Brewery lounge, also on-site, offers a filling Ribfest, too. (more…)

The Muskoka Seven: Things To Do from June 6 to 12, 2011

Laugh along with Robin Duke and the rest of the "Women Fully Clothed"

1. The delightful dames of Women Fully Clothed—Robin Duke, Jayne Eastwood, Kathryn Greenwood and Teresa Pavlinek—bring their humorous yet affecting stories to cottage country. See their latest show, Older and Hotter, on June 10 at the Gravenhurst Opera House.

2. View and purchase the works of 20 fine artists and craftspeople while partaking in the annual Muskoka Lakes Spring Art Tour on June 11 and 12. This self-directed jaunt takes art lovers to the studios and galleries of creators in Bracebridge, Bala, Port Carling and more. Click here for a map. (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…)

Top Chefs: Charles Penwell, Rebecca’s Casual Fine Dining

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 CHARLES PENWELL
Rebecca’s Casual Fine Dining, Port Carling

Can you tell us a bit about your restaurant and its philosophy?
Rebecca’s Casual Fine Dining is located in a century-old home and we pride ourselves in providing consistent, quality service and food in this charming atmosphere. We use only the freshest and highest-quality ingredients to prepare our dishes daily.

Can you tell us about one of your signature dishes?
We are known for our Key Largo crab cake and large selection of fresh fish. I receive our fish fresh daily and hand fillet it. We also age and trim all our beef.

Our wild mushroom chaumont is also a very popular item that customers return for year after year. It’s a classic French recipe that I have carried with me for over 30 years. Made from a medley of nine varieties of wild mushrooms infused with fresh herbs and brandy, served au gratin, accompanied by garlic crostini.

Describe the quintessential Muskoka meal.
Other than a great meal at Rebecca’s, you can’t beat a barbecue on the dock with your friends and family, complete with cold cocktails and the beautiful Muskoka scenery.

Aside from indulging in fine dining, how else would you suggest visitors to the Muskoka region make the most of their time?
Visit our lovely local shops and merchants, and enjoy the beauty of the many Muskoka trails, golf courses and waterways. Visit the Muskoka Lakes Museum, too, and take a cruise on one of the historic steamships.

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, 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.

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, August 21 to 23

Your Muskoka weekend itinerary is here with lots to see and do. Saturday, in particular, looks like a doozy!

Explore the geology of the Canadian Shield at Killbear Provincial Park (photo by John Vetterli).

Explore the geology of Killbear Provincial Park (photo by John Vetterli).

Friday, August 21
Discover patches of exposed bedrock at Killbear Provincial Park, a boreal oasis located on the southern edge of the Canadian Shield.

Purchase authentic antique Canadiana at the 26th annual Bracebridge Antique Show & Sale from a selection of furniture, jewellery, coins, china, pressed glass, paper, dolls, quilts and more.

Saturday, August 22
Lace up your running shoes, unfold your map and pocket your compass for Muskoka’s First Annual Amazing Race! Over the course of the day, follow clues and test your skills to take you on a challenging trail from Gravenhurst leading to Huntsville.

Hike to the Haliburton Highlands for The Forest Festival in—where else?—the forest. As the sun dips below Bone Lake, listen as former Canadian Brass trumpeter Stuart Laughton lead the Forest Festival Brass in an outdoors-themed concert.

Sunday, August 23
Sip Earl Grey and nibble scones spread with jam and Devonshire cream at Blue Willow Tea Shop’s traditional high tea. What better a way to enjoy the view of the Muskoka Wharf?

At the Muskoka Lakes Museum in Port Carling, take in the region’s wildlife and people through the lens of local photographer Andy Zeltkalns.