Bracebridge is in North-Central Ontario on the scenic Highway 11 (90 km NE of Barrie and 160 km S of North Bay. Highway 11 continues north of their to become the Northern Route of the Trans-Canada in Ontario.
A picturesque town at the centre of Muskoka, Bracebridge sits on a hill over-looking roaring waterfalls and both branches of the Muskoka River. With 22 waterfalls, Bracebridge is Canada’s waterfall capital. The cascades can easily be found along the roads and trails of this vibrant town. The Festival of the Falls, usually held the first weekend of May, celebrates the Town’s development in 1894 because of the readily available hydropower.
Bracebridge was a major town on the important colonization road built through the District Municipality of Muskoka, starting at Washago in 1858 and reaching Bracebridge by 1861. The town is named by an 1864 postal official after Washinton Irving’s 1822 novel “Bracebridge Hal or the Humourists”
Bracebridge Bay Park, at the base of the falls captures the imagination of the visitor. Location of a trestle train bridge to the mill. Today, you can view the basin and the falls from along the historic walk, past all the vantage points and the interpretive signs.
Bracebridge is easy to explore on foot. The main street rises in tiers of shops, services and restaurants, many with vintage architectural facades. At night the Town’s clock, bell tower, courthouse and “silver bridge” are outlined in unique, colourful lighting. The town has many turn -of-the-century old homes and churches just off of Manitoba Street. You can also follow the Historic Heritage Walk.
Anchoring the downtown core, at the top of the falls is the renovated Bird Mill, once entrepreneur Henry Bird’s woolen mill, and now the Town’s Visitor Information Centre, as well as Riverwalk, a fine dining restaurant & Jazz Club, and the Bracebridge Chamber of Commerce. Bird’s impressive restored octagonal home, Woodchester Villa, is perched on a hill opposite the falls.
The town also has a sign that points out that it lies on the 45th Parallel, halfway from the equator to the North Pole, from which Santa’s Village takes its cue.
Muskoka has been the traditional “getaway” destination for cottagers and vacationers for over a hundred years. During the summer, Muskoka’s population swells from just over 50,000 to nearly 150,000.
Box 14, Bala, ON Canada P0C 1A0
Phone/Fax 705-762-5876 or 1-888-579-7739
Bala’s Museum with memories of Lucy Maud Montgomery, restored to its 1922 glory, when she vacationed at this location. One of her books, “the Blue Castle” is based on her vacation experiences.. Handwritten excerpts and photos from LMM’s Bala diary. The silver tea service given to LMM as a wedding present in 1911 is on display. See the boat that sank under actress Megan Follows in the TV movie “Anne of Green Gables”. One of the best Anne of Green Gables gift shops in Canada is here in Muskoka! Allow 30 minutes. Summer Hours: Thursday -Monday 1 pm – 4 pm, Closed: Tuesday, Wednesday; Fall and Spring hours: Saturday-Sunday 1:00pm – 4:00 pm Call to arrange special tours on fall/spring week days. Admission.
Bethune Memorial House National Historic Site
235 John Street North
Gravenhurst, Ontario P1P 1G4
(705) 687-4261, Fax: (705) 687-4935
Bethune Memorial House National Historic Site of Canada commemorates the life and achievements of Dr. Henry Norman Bethune who was a battlefront surgeon, activist, humanitarian, inventor, teacher and artist. An international hero, Dr. Bethune is most famous for the last two years of his life, which were spent in China, serving as a surgeon and teacher. Generations after his death, his name is still warmly remembered by millions of students in China. Open daily June 1 to September 7 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m; and September 8 to October 31 Saturday to Wednesday. From November 1 to May 31 call for appointment.
High Falls Water Park
Hwy 11 N & Hwy 117
Muskoka’s “Niagara of the North” is where this new Magical Water Park awaits your arrival. It’s a great place for family fun, relaxation, scenery and lots of activities. Bask in the sun on our 2000 feet of sandy beaches and a sand bar island, sit and listen to the water hitting the rocks in the several natural pools at the base. A nature’s paradise and the only bay in Canada where 5 separate water falls come together like magic.
Unlimited free access to paddle boats, water trampoline, kayaks, floating slides, picnic tables plus sandy beaches. Horse swim, where adults and children ride two Belgium horses across to the island, is twice a week, approximately Wednesday and Sunday mornings. Beach Volleyball, too.
Admission. Open 9 am – 9 pm.
Johnston’s Cranberry Marsh/Muskoka Lakes Winery
P.O. Box 24, Bala, ON, P0C 1A0
(705) 762-3203 Fax (705) 762-3213
Canada’s oldest cranberry farms (since 1952) and home to award winning Muskoka Lakes Winery.
Take a tour of the farm and winery, hike or bike on our Cranberry Trails, shop in the Cranberry Store or bring your family for a picnic. Taste the wines. Children’s wildlife programs during the summer and many events for the whole family! Come be a part of our future. Open year-round.
Lady Muskoka Cruises
P.O. Box 1327
Bracebridge, Ontario P1L 1V4
705-646-BOAT (2628), Toll Free: 800-263-LADY (5239)
Summer Fax: 705-646-2027 Winter Fax: 705-765-6577
The 300 Passenger Lady Muskoka offers an incredible on-the-water sightseeing opportunity in the Muskokas, on cruises typically 2-3.4 hours, past local landmarks, resorts and summer homes. The “Lady” is 104 ft. long, 24 ft. wide, Carpeted throughout with 6 modern, clean washrooms. Full Food and Bar Service ranging from Snacks to a variety of 3 course meals and/or Buffets for special functions available on request. Handicapped Accessible. Departures at 11 am and 2:15 in July & August, and vary in May-June and Sept-October.
Lakes of Muskoka Cottage Brewery
13B Taylor Rd.
Bracebridge, ON P1L 1S6
(705) 646-1266 Toll Free: 1-800-881-4229
All natural, pure, premium beer. Fresh from the heart of Cottage Country. Come to the historic Granary building and try a sample of our award winning beers.
Muskoka Heritage Place
88 Brunel Rd.
Huntsville, ON P1H 1R1
Steam Train & Pioneer Village, historic site with authentic activities for the entire family. Visitors to Muskoka Heritage Place enter through a turn-of-the-20th-century Muskoka museum to a 90 acre outdoor site encompassing Cann Lake and nature trails. Life in the late 1800s is historically recreated with genuine Huntsville area settlement dwellings with Costumed narrators to demonstrate pioneer life. Village is open daily Victoria Day wekend to Thanksgiving Day weekend in October. The train runs Tuesdays through Saturdays in July and August, subject to availability. Separate admission for Museum and for Village
Muskoka Rails Museum
53 Covered Bridge Trail
Bracebridge, ON P1L 1Y2
Since the late 1800’s trains have played an important role in the communities of Muskoka. The first railroad appeared in 1875, built to a terminus in Gravenhurst and then extended northward in 1885 to Bracebridge and Huntsville. The Muskoka Rails Museum operates a replica of the original Bracebridge railway station. The building will house a museum and various commercial activities. (NOT YET open)
Santa’s Village & Sportsland
Box 398 Santa’s Village Rd.
Bracebridge, ON P1L 1T7
Welcome to Santa’s Village and Sportsland in where it is like Christmas all season long. At Santa’s summer home, catch the Candy Cane Express or Kris Kringle’s Riverboat. Also on this 20 hectare (50 acres) attractions, you’ll find a petting zoo, live entertainers, rides and attractions. Next door is Rudolph’s Sportsland. Open daily from 10 am to 9 pm end of June to Labour Day,and 10- 6 during early June and after Labour Day in September.
Open June 24 – Labour Day September 4, and the September weekend after Labour Day. Admission.
15 King St, Bracebridge, ON P1L 1H4
This octagonal house was built in 1882 by logging pioneer Henry J. Bird stands on a sloping lot, with the west or main entrance close to the grade at the front , and the lower basement kitchen entrance level with the grade at the rear, lower down the slope. Four of its sides are 16 feet wide and the other intermediate four walls being 14 feet wide, probably to cut down the size of the inevitable triangular rooms. The basement walls are of squared random-width fieldstone, as were the original walls above, though ground settling necessitated subsequently repairs and stucco. The walls are 16 inches thick on average. Today, as a house museum, Woodchester Villa is furnished in the style of the year 1914. open to the public from Canada Day (July 1) until Labour Day (first weekend in September). Hours are Tuesday to Saturday, from 9 am to 5 pm. Admission.
Galleries & Handicrafts
Alexandra Luke Gallery
RR#1 1086 Partridge Lane
Bracebridge, ON P1L 1W8
In a picturesque setting west of the town of Bracebridge, discover original oil and watercolour paintings and photography by a variety of local Muskoka artists, as well as cards and gifts. Jul.-Aug. open daily, weekends only May & Jun. Sept. & Oct.
Artifex Coppersmithing & Stained Glass Inc.
RR#5, 1070 Purbrook Rd.
Bracebridge, ON P1L 1X3
Richard Ellard-Coppersmith Christine Ellard-Glass Artist A creative business that partners custom copper & glass to create beautiful, inspiring works using traditional techniques & new innovative designs. The main focus is “Art in Architecture”.
Elke Scholz / The Artist’s Reply
2 Pinewood Dr., Box 1421
Bracebridge, ON P1L 1J5
Born in Köln, Germany, international artist Elke Scholz has spent 26 years painting, teaching fine arts and managing her successful art studio in Canada. She has won many awards and recognition for her paintings.
Muskoka Arts and Crafts Incorporated
Box 376 15 King St.
Bracebridge, ON P1L 1T7
Muskoka Arts & Crafts is an active organization of well over three hundred creative thinkers and doers! Our members work in all types of media and range from full-time professionals to people who are just embarking on their creative odyssey.
Seeking Beauty Gallery and Studio
1301 Foreman Rd., RR#3
Port Carling, ON P0B 1J0
Acrylics, drawing, oil painting, photography, watercolours, wool painting. Subjects of passion: wildflowers, garden flowers, muskoka landscapes, close-ups, natural habitats, abstracts and architectural details.
Silver Bridge Gallery
4 Manitoba St.
Bracebridge, ON P1L 1V2
Shop features the works of a range of artists from Muskoka and across Canada. Works include ceramics, blown glass, paintings, wood and iron pieces. Bracebridge gallery open daily. Port Carling gallery open Victoria Day – Canadian Thanksgiving.