Bracebridge is a town in the Muskoka region of the province of Ontario. Its most notable and first recognized characteristic is the European style downtown, which has been modernized tastefully in recent years. In the summer, the small town's population increases significantly providing recreation for tens of thousands of tourists and seasonal residents.
Car travel is the most popular way to reach Muskoka. It is on the 45th parallel, approximately 200 km north of Toronto. Take Highway 400 north through Barrie and continue north up Highway 11 in the direction of North Bay. In the summer, Highway 400 and the two northern highways (Hwys 11 and 69) will always be packed heading north on a Friday and south on a Sunday. Dual lanes in each direction have eased the traffic in the past few years, however on 'long weekends' (Victoria Day, Canada Day, Ontario Civic Holiday and Labour Day), travel to Muskoka is always busy and can take several hours from the Toronto area.
Winter travel to the region can be tricky depending on the weather. Bracebridge and the surrounding area do get several winter storms per year, and can be difficult to access if you are not used to winter driving. Some recent winters have been milder, and improved roads in the area in recent years also help. However, this can vary from year to year as it lies on the cusp of the strong snow-belt areas of the country.
The Greyhound bus does have limited service to and from Bracebridge. It is possible to travel by bus from Barrie (and in turn, Toronto), North Bay, and Parry Sound. Ontario Northland may also pick up some of the schedule. It is advisable to check the services offered through their websites.
Ontario Northland Rail Service provides daily service from Toronto to Northbay and stops in Bracebridge on the way. It is advisable to check schedules prior to departure since the train runs on designated CN rail lines and often stops to let freight go by above Huntsville.
In the summer, it is possible to park your car and take advantage of Bracebridge's trolley service. The trolley runs around town to various destinations including to Santa's Village. Getting a taxi is never a problem in Bracebridge, as there always seem to be several whenever needed. Bracebridge is small enough to see on foot as well, however Santa's Village is slightly outside the city, and would be diffucult to walk to from downtown.
Muskoka is famous for its picturesque scenery.
The downtown area also boasts many small shops along the main street and a small park at the centre of town.
Santa's Village and Sportsland, open year round, is a popular destination for families. Younger children can visit Santa and participate in age-oriented fun, while teenagers can enjoy go-karting, mini-golf, batting cages, Laser Tag, and video arcade at the same location. Day, weekend, week, and season passes are available on-site.
Georgian College, . Bracebridge is home to Georgian College's Muskoka Campus. The campus currently offers diploma programs in Addictions Counseling, Bilingual Administrative Affairs, Paramedic, Advertising, Art & Design, Automotive Marketing, and Aviation Management.
Muskoka Furniture, (195 Wellington Street, Unit 7 Bracebridge, Ontario Phone: 705-645-8183). Offers cottagers the chance to buy high-quality and feel authentic 'Muskoka' furniture. All pieces sold are hand-crafted and offer stunning detail.
There are many places to enjoy great food in Bracebridge, from cafés and delis to bistros and fine food restaurants. The small town is home to over 40 eating establishments making it a drawing point of the region based on cuisine alone.
Fox & Hounds: Offering both fine dining and pub fare, the authentic English Pub has a more casual setting with more than adequate drink selection and meals. Fun patio open in the summer. Address: 17 Dominion Street, Bracebridge ON
As much of Bracebridge's economy is based on tourism, there are plenty of places to sleep in the area. The summer season can become quite busy so as it is not necessary to book ahead, it is certainly recommended if you have particular tastes. There are also some wonderful bed and breakfast places.
South Muskoka Memorial Hospital, Located approximately 2.5 km from Highway # 11. An 84 bed hospital. Emergency facilities available, X-ray, ultrasound, mammography, lab, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, dietary services, mental health echocardiography.
Bracebridge is a great place to stay while exploring the Muskoka region. Other picturesque destinations in the area include Port Carling, Bala, Rosseau, and Parry Sound. Day trips to Sudbury to visit Science North and the Big Nickel are also quite easy to do in the summer while the roads are good.