Gravenhurst is a small city in the Muskoka region of Ontario. Norman Bethune, the Canadian doctor who became famous in China for battlefield surgery, was born here, and is the town's most famous former citizen. The city refers to itself as 'The Gateway to Muskoka' as is indicated on a large archway in the south-end of town. The town is a drawing point for summer cottage season. Many cottagers in the Muskokas use Gravenhurst for groceries and supplies and visit the town once or twice a week during cottage season.
Gravenhurst is located approximately 190 kilometers north of Toronto. The easiest way to get to Gravenhurst is by automobile, as commercial bus service is limited and there are very few passenger trains to the area. To reach Gravenhurst, take Highway 400 north from Toronto through Barrie to the Highway 11 cutoff (direction North Bay). Proceed up Highway 11 and take Muskoka Road 169 - Bethune Drive (formerly Ontario Highway 169) right in to downtown. Summer travel can be time consuming, as it is a popular tourist destination and the gateway to the Muskoka Lakes region. The roads in Gravenhurst are well-maintained, so no need to worry about using a sport utility vehicle.
There is no commercial airport in or really anywhere near Gravenhurst, so the easiest way in for international travellers to access the region is to fly to Toronto Pearson International Airport, rent a car and proceed north. There is an airport in Bracebridge for propeller planes and/or private jets. Bracebridge is approximately 20 minutes by car away from Gravenhurst. If you're coming in from other domestic locations, it is possible to fly to Sudbury or North Bay and drive in if Toronto doesn't appeal to you.
Bethune Memorial House - 297 John Street North, Gravenhurst - (705) 687-4261. The Victorian church manse where this great Canadian was born in 1890 and where he lived for the first three years of his life. Bethune was a doctor who was an early proponent of universal health care, who was a key role-player in the development of humanitariran rights in China.
New Heritage Museum - 820 Bay Street, Gravenhurst, Ontario - (866) 687-6667. The recently built museum pays tribute to the history of a region that has shared its beauty and nature with generations. A great place to see the old wooden boats that at one time, were a common site on the great Muskoka lakes.
Grace and Speed - Muskoka Boat and Heritage Centre - 275 Steamboat Bay Road, Gravenhurst - (705) 687- 2115. One of Canada's Top 10 New Attractions of 2006 .
Ontario Fire College Museum - 1495 Muskoka Road North, Gravenhurst - (705) 687-1388. Training facility for provincial fire fighters. Has a small museum.
RMS Segwun and Wanda III (fully operational steamship cruises) - 185 Cherokee Lane, Gravenhurst - (705) 687- 6667. Built in 1924, these small steamships are a wonderful throwback to a simpler time. At one point in time the Segwun was used to transport vacationers to their cottages, and currently offers tourists a chance to take a boat ride in to the past.
Gravenhurst Opera House - 295 Muskoka Road South, Gravenhurst - (705) 687-5550. One of Muskoka's most significant landmarks is the heart of cultural activities, featuring both local and commercial entertainment year-round. The beautiful heritage theatre features excellent lighting and sound systems, a large stage with offstage storage areas, 338 comfortable upholstered theatre seats and the most up-to-date public safety systems available.
Gravenhurst Farmers Market (Wednesday) - Muskoka Wharf, Gravenhurst - (705) 684-8731. Showcases over 70 vendors with high quality fruits and vegetables, plants, organic produce, homemade goods, fresh honey, maple syrup, preserves, meat, fish, cheese more. Local artisans sell carefully handcrafted jewellery, sewing, knitting, carvings, woodworking, soap and fine art. Shop at the market and enjoy a freshly-made crepe, sausage on a bun.
Residence Inn Gravenhurst Muskoka Wharf - 285 Steamship Bay Road - (705) 687-6600
Trenanthia Cottage, Sparrow Lake, ☎ (416) 800 0219, . A beautiful lakeside 5 bedroom, 4 bathroom cottage available to rent year-round in the Muskokas. Built-in Hot Tub open throughout the seasons. Surrounded by forest on 3 sides - a nature lovers paradise.edit
The wonderful thing about visiting Muskoka is that there are plenty of small towns in the area to visit. Port Carling, Bracebridge, Parry Sound, Huntsville, Sudbury and North Bay are all within a few minutes or 1-2 hours driving distance. Toronto is close by if you're a visitor to the province coming in from Highway 17 to the north. The region is rich with museums, shopping, and attractions. For those who like to gamble, there is Casino Rama (located near the small town of Rama) near Orillia. Webers Burgers (go south 25-30 minutes drive on Highway 11) is an attraction unto itself with it's rail-car dining area and unique (to the region) overpass walkway. And in Muskoka, one can always find a secluded lake to just sit and admire the scenery.
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