October 2020 in Muskoka: Live Entertainment, Lake Cruises, Halloween and More

After a very unusual spring and summer season, people in Muskoka are desperate to get out of the house and explore the world around them. Luckily, there are more than enough COVID-friendly events taking place over the fall, letting you and the family enjoy lake cruises, live music, and special events for Thanksgiving and Halloween. Before the snow falls, be sure to get out and enjoy everything the Muskoka region has to offer. Here’s what’s going on in Muskoka this October.

October 2nd – Matt Weidinger Presents the Music of Van Morrison
Where: Peter’s Players in Gravenhurst, ON
When: Friday, October 2nd at 4:30 PM
Cost: $125.00

Kitchener’s Matt Weidinger is a young up-and-coming singer-songwriter with multi-instrumental talents and a voice like no other, performing like a veteran musician at just 26-years old. His commanding presence has satisfied audiences of all ages, and his passion for performing is palpable. Weidinger has been playing music for over a decade now, frequenting blues festivals all around Ontario. 

On Friday, October 2nd, Weidinger brings his unique stylings to Peter’s Players, where he’ll perform the music of legendary rock musician Van Morrison. Get ready for an evening of favourites, including Wild Night, Moondance, Astral Weeks, Wavelength, Hungry For Your Love, and many more!

For more information about Matt Weidinger Presents the Music of Van Morrison is available online.

Until October 12th – Travel Back in Time at Muskoka Heritage Place
Where: Muskoka Heritage Place in Huntsville, ON
When: Now until Monday, October 12th
Cost: Full Site Access – $12.65 (Children up to 12 years old), $18.60 (Adults), $16.75 (Seniors)

Muskoka Heritage Place has long been a favourite for Muskoka locals and tourists alike, offering a full day of fun for the entire family. The Museum and Village at Heritage Place have finally reopened, offering a socially distanced day of educational fun and sightseeing. Enjoy a look at the rich history of the region at the Muskoka Museum, and experience the pioneer life at the storied Pioneer Village, offering a unique look at the lives of Canada’s early settlers. The Pioneer Village features a number of activities and demonstrations including candle-dipping, school lesson, cattail dolls and warriors, children’s games, laundry day, wool carding, rug making, and more.

To learn more about Muskoka Heritage Place, visit their website.

Until October 13th – Sunset Cruises on the Peerless II
Where: Peerless II in Bracebridge, ON
When: Now until Tuesday, October 13th
Cost: $32/person (1.5 hour cruise), $38/per person (2 hour cruise)

A sunset cruise on the Peerless II is the best way to enjoy the gorgeous sights and sounds  found on the Muskoka Lakes. This cruise, captained by Captain Potts, allows you to kick back, relax, and take in truly breathtaking views. Aboard the Peerless II, you’ll hear about the region’s local lore and history, giving you further appreciation of the area’s pristine lakes. Due to COVID-19, reservations are required, and masks are mandatory.

For more information about the sunset cruises on the Peerless II, visit their website.

Until October 17th – Muskoka Bay Steamship Cruises
Where: Muskoka Steamships in Gravenhurst, ON
When: Now until Saturday, October 17th
Cost: $33.90/adult (1 hour cruise), $42.30 (2 hour cruise)

Muskoka’s steamships are a longtime staple of the region, with steamships being found on our lakes since the 1800’s. Now you can enjoy a cruise through Muskoka Bay on one of the historic steamships in the region, taking you through the grand estates and cottage islands that Muskoka has become famous for. 

Along the way, you’ll be able to enjoy pristine views of local historic landmarks and gain a further appreciation for the rich history of the region. Due to COVID-19, it’s requested that passengers arrive 45 minutes before the cruise departs. Mandatory physical distancing, face coverings, and temperature checks will be in effect, along with other actions to reduce the risk of COVID-19.

For more information about the Muskoka Steamships cruises, visit their website.

October 24th – Let the Spirits Rise in Downtown Gravenhurst
Where: Downtown Gravenhurst in Gravenhurst, ON
When: Saturday, October 24th from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Cost: Free

Halloween might look a little different this year due to the pandemic, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy the festivities! What better way to celebrate all things spooky than trick or treating in Gravenhurst’s historic downtown area? On Saturday, October 24th, bring the kids out for trick or treating in downtown shops and free family activities at the Gravenhurst Opera House, including crafts, face painting, and live music. Put on your best costumes and look for the orange and black balloons!

Find out more about Let the Spirits Rise in Downtown Gravenhurst on the Historic Downtown Gravenhurst website.

October 31st – The Great Pumpkin Trail
Where: Pioneer Village at Muskoka Heritage Place in Huntsville, ON
When: Saturday, October 31st from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Cost: $10.00 per family or $3.00 per person

The annual Great Pumpkin Trail at Muskoka Heritage Place has become a favourite of children throughout the region, giving them a safer place to trick or treat without walking through busy streets in the dark. The Great Pumpkin Trail isn’t just a perfect event for the kids – it’s a great opportunity for parents to socialize and enjoy the festivities too! Pioneer buildings will be decorated by local businesses, with themes kept on the less spooky side so young trick or treaters can enjoy the evening. Rope lights guide your way to each destination, and the Mayor will judge the best decorated building.

Early trick or treaters are recommended to arrive before 6:30 PM – last site entry will be at 7:30 PM. This is an entirely outdoor event, so be sure to dress warm depending on the weather!

For more information about the Great Pumpkin Trail, visit the Muskoka Heritage Place website.

Muskoka’s Inspirational Response to COVID-19

COVID-19 has affected the world in an unprecedented way. The lives of millions of Canadians have effectively been put on pause until the end of the crisis, jobs have been lost, wages reduced, opportunities lessened, and yet we continue to persevere. The ongoing coronavirus crisis has brought out the best in us, with thousands coming together to raise funds and gather supplies for hospitals, food banks, and shelters in need.

The response here in Muskoka, particularly, has been nothing short of inspiring – from offering special services to those in isolation to making generous donations to local healthcare facilities, the people of Muskoka have come together as a community to take care of those in need, rising to the occasion in every way possible. During this time of uncertainty, we’d like to take a moment to acknowledge a few of the remarkable things made possible by the great people of Muskoka, and what you can do to make a difference.

Home deliveries in Huntsville and Gravenhurst
Those who are in self-isolation can take advantage of services offered by the Gravenhurst Caretageon Group and the Faith Baptist Church in Huntsville, both of which are offering local delivery services to help deliver essential supplies to those in need. These delivery services are available to those who are at-risk and unable to run errands or pick up groceries and medication.

Those who are interested or know of somebody who requires delivery services in Huntsville can fill out the application on the Faith Baptist Church’s website, and those in need in Gravenhurst can place an order by calling 705-710-4542.

These services are currently only available in Huntsville and Gravenhurst, though more volunteers could make expansion possible. Those interested in volunteering in Huntsville can fill out the Faith Baptist Church’s volunteer form, or inquire about assisting the Gravenhurst Caretageon Group by emailing gravenhurst2020@gmail.com.

Lunch for all thanks to Gravenhurst Against Poverty
Those in need continue to have reliable access to meals thanks to the fine people at Gravenhurst Against Poverty (GAP), who continue to offer regular take-out lunches with the help of volunteers and donations from local businesses. During the crisis, only bagged take-out options will be offered to patrons, featuring items like soup, sandwiches, and fruit. GAP runs their lunch program every Tuesday from 12:00 to 1:00 PM, and a supper and fresh food giveaway on Thursdays from 4:00 to 5:30 PM. GAP continues to run thanks to the generosity of volunteers and donors. To make a donation or volunteer your time with GAP, visit their website.

Generous donations made to local hospitals
As COVID-19 slowly spreads throughout the country, our nation’s hospitals are at risk of becoming strained and overburdened. Generation monetary and equipment donations help to lessen this burden on our healthcare system, allowing hospitals to be better prepared for a possible outbreak. On Saturday, March 28th, Mayor Graydon Smith of Bracebridge announced that a generous $135,000 was being donated to the South Muskoka Memorial Hospital Foundation, which will be used for new beds in the hospital’s intensive care unit.

The donors wished to remain unnamed, stating that they made the donation to support the community they love during its time of need. Many other locals have contributed what they can towards local hospitals, offering monetary donations as well as personal protective equipment (PPE), which can be used to ensure that healthcare providers are adequately protected from the coronavirus.

How you can make a difference in your community
The best and most important thing you can do during these unprecedented times is to stay home and limit unnecessary contact. This helps to keep you and those around you protected, and reduces the risk of community spread.

Those who are healthy and able can go the extra mile by volunteering their time with local food banks and home delivery services, which help to provide essential services to those in need. Some of the organizations that currently need your support include:

These critical organizations rely on volunteers and donations in order to continue serving local communities. You can also make a difference through monetary and PPE donations to Muskoka’s hospitals:

In addition, the Muskoka Builders’ Association has launched the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a $100,000 COVID-19 fundraising campaign. The MBA has pledged $10,000 on behalf of its members, with all funds remaining in the community to benefit our local food banks, shelters, and hospital foundations. If you wish to make a donation to the ongoing COVID-19 Relief Fund, visit the official GoFundMe page for more information.

The outpouring of support seen over the last month should make Canadians everywhere proud. The continued efforts of communities around the country is truly inspiring. Whether you’re doing your part by self-isolating, volunteering with local food banks and services, or making donations to organizations in need, every little bit helps. When we work together as a community, we ensure that people of all walks have the chance to stay safe and healthy in these uncertain times. We’ll get through this crisis together and come out stronger than ever before.

Muskoka Builders’ Association Launches the COVID-19 Relief Fund

The Muskoka region has not been spared by the ongoing spread of COVID-19 that has confined millions around the world to their homes. According to the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, the area has reported a number of positive cases since the outbreak was initially reported in early 2020. As proud members of the Muskoka Building Community, the Muskoka Builders’ Association (MBA) has launched a $100,000 COVID-19 fundraising campaign to benefit the area’s local food banks, shelters, hospitals, and hospital foundations. All proceeds raised by the fundraiser will remain within the community. Muskoka Window and Door Centre is a proud longstanding member of the MBA.

Some of the vital charities and services that will benefit from the MBA’s COVID-19 relief fund include:

To kick off the campaign, the MBA has pledged $10,000 on behalf of its members. Muskoka Window & Door Centre is a long-time member of the Muskoka Builders’ Association, and we take pride in being able to assist our community during its time of need. All funds raised will go towards giving food and other essentials to those in need, purchasing critical PPE for healthcare workers, and offering shelter and safety to ask-risk individuals during these uncertain times.

Every dollar helps in the fight against the COVID-19 crisis

Each and every donation made to the fundraising campaign goes a long way in helping those in the Muskoka region who have been affected by the crisis, and will ensure that our fearless healthcare workers, food bank volunteers, and other vital professionals have the resources they need to continue in their battle against this pandemic. They need our help now more than ever before – your donations allow them to continue working to keep us safe in the coming weeks and months.

The building and construction community in the Muskoka Parry Sound region cares deeply about each and every person affected by the ongoing crisis. We want to ensure that our fellow citizens remain happy, healthy, and strong throughout the COVID-19 crisis. Help us help our community by pledging any amount you can to show those around us that they’re not alone in this fight. Times may be tough, but when we work together, no obstacle is insurmountable. Together, we’ll get through this and come out stronger on the other side.

Remember, every donation to the COVID-19 Relief Fund makes a major difference to the community. Share the campaign’s GoFundMe page with your loved ones to spread the message about this important fundraiser, and donate to the campaign today – contributions of all sizes matter during these difficult times.

March Break in Muskoka

March Break 2020 is almost here, giving you and your family the perfect opportunity to pack in an entire week of great events for the entire family. There’s no shortage of family fun on Muskoka’s March Break schedule – from Friday, March 13th to Sunday, March 22nd, there are over a dozen events and activities taking place all around the region. Here’s just a taste of what’s going on during this year’s March Break:

March 13th to April 24th – Muskoka Maple Trail
Where: Huntsville, ON
When: Friday, March 13th to Friday, April 24th
Cost: Free entry, varying costs for local vendors

The famous Muskoka Maple Trail returns for another year of incredible culinary offerings and family fun. The festivities kick off on Friday, March 13th and go all the way until Friday, April 24th, with many of Muskoka’s favourite vendors offering plenty of delicious treats. This year’s Maple Trail stops include Erika’s Bakery & Gift Shop, the Deerhurst Resort, Farmer’s Daughter, Maple Bluff Farm, Hubbert’s Maple, Whimsical Bakery, Sugarbush Hill Maple Farm, and so many more. Parents can enjoy a quick stop at the Lake of Bays Brewing Co., Muskoka Brewery, Sawdust City Brewing Co, Clear Lake Brewing Co., and Muskoka Lakes Farm & Winery.

The Maple Trail will culminate with the highly anticipated Muskoka Maple Festival on Saturday, April 25th, which will feature a full day of maple themed goodness for the entire family.

Get the scoop on all the hotspots along the Muskoka Maple Trail by visiting their website.

March 14th – Cranberry Dinner
Where: McArthur House Cafe, Bala, ON
When: Saturday, March 14th from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM & 7:30 PM to 9:30 PM
Cost: $60 per person

Take your loved one out for a delicious three course cranberry dinner at Bala’s McArthur House Cafe! The dinner takes place at the McArthur House Cafe at the Muskoka Lakes farm and winery, where you can enjoy the Cafe’s delicious cranberry-based culinary offerings and a glass of wine. Choose from two seating times: 5:00 to 7:00 PM and 7:30 to 9:30 PM.

Find out more about the cranberry dinner at the Muskoka Lakes Farm & Winery website.

March 16th – Peter Mennie, “That Magic Guy”
Where: Gravenhurst Opera House, Gravenhurst, ON
When: Monday, March 16th @ 2:00 PM
Cost: $5 per person

There are few things kids love more than magic. “That Magic Guy” Peter Mennie will bring his unique comedic magic show to the Gravenhurst Opera House to kick off the March Break. The show is sure to elicit plenty of great reactions from the kids, and will leave them in amazement. Crowd participation and interactive elements ensure that the whole family is in stitches!

Find out more about Peter Mennie’s magic show at the Gravenhurst Opera House website.

March 18th – Team T&J
Where: Gravenhurst Opera House, Gravenhurst, ON
When: Wednesday, March 18th @ 11:00 AM
Cost: Free

Team T&J host a unique show featuring interactive music and entertainment that encourages kids to explore, get creative and participate in what’s described as a “high-energy, super powered concert”. The show is free for the entire family, sponsored by the Gravenhurst Public Library.

For more information on the upcoming Temam T&J show, visit the Gravenhurst Opera House website.

March 19th – The Stunt Ventriloquist
Where: Gravenhurst Opera House, Gravenhurst, ON
When: Thursday, March 19th @ 2:00 PM
Cost: $5 for children, $10 for adults

Tim Holland has developed his reputation as a master ventriloquist over the last two decades, hosting a hilarious show full of unruly puppers, dangerous juggling, and unique unicycle stunts that leaves the audience in awe. His Stunt Ventriloquist puppet show has taken him around the world, sharing the stage with renowned performers like Sharon & Bram and Martin Short. His show at the Gravenhurst Opera House is the perfect way to keep the kids entertained during the March Break.

For tickets to The Stunt Ventriloquist, visit the Gravenhurst Opera House website.

March 20th – Camp Articus
Where: Gravenhurst Opera House, Gravenhurst, ON
When: Friday, March 20th @ 2:00 PM
Cost: $5 for children, $10 for adults

Camp Articus is the perfect way to cap off an eventful March Break, featuring high flying fun that everybody can enjoy. Camp Articus is a one-of-a-kind theatre circus show that fuses theatre and circus arts for an experience you won’t soon forget. The show sees Camp Counsellors Phillip and Lindsay on a backwoods journey where they’ll put their circus performance skills to the test, juggling marshmallows, dangling 20’ above the ground, and so much more.

For tickets to Camp Articus, visit the Gravenhurst Opera House website.

February 2020 in Muskoka: Winter Festivals, Family Day and More

There are few things more beautiful than the Muskoka region in the wintertime, offering residents plenty of opportunities for winter hikes, ice fishing, skiing, and so much more. February in particular brings out the best in our communities, with plenty of family friendly events that everybody can enjoy. Whether you’re enjoying one of the area’s annual winter carnivals or taking the kids out to celebrate Family Day, there’s plenty of enjoyable activities for everybody to enjoy.

February 13th to 17th – Gravenhurst Winter Carnival
Where: Gravenhurst, ON
When: Thursday, February 13th to Monday, February 17th
Cost: $5 for adults, $3 for children (children under 5 get in for free)

This year’s Gravenhurst Winter Carnival marks the events 50th anniversary, bringing with it plenty of new and exciting activities, along with longtime favourites. The demolition derby will be returning this year, and a new lumberjack presentation will also take place at the Carnival. The annual Carnival is sure to feature family favourites like bed races, snowmobile radar runs, polar bear dips, and so much more.

For more information, visit their website.

February 15th – Fifth Annual Muskoka Hullabaloo
Where: Muskoka Brewery, Bracebridge, ON
When: Saturday, February 15th from 1:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Cost: $10 (includes 3 beer token)

On Saturday, February 15th, Muskoka Brewery hosts the fifth annual Muskoka Hullabaloo to kick off the Family Day long weekend in style! The Hullabaloo rages on from 1:00 PM to 6:00 PM at the Brewery, featuring beer, food, and local artisans. Attendees will have the opportunity to sample over 20 beers and cocktails, dance to live music, and take part in games and activities with friends.

More information about the Muskoka Hullabaloo is available at their website.

February 17th – Family Day @ Muskoka Discovery Centre
Where: Muskoka Discovery Centre, Gravenhurst, ON
When: Monday, February 17th
Cost: $10 for kids, $16 for adults

The Muskoka Discovery Centre’s Kidzone will be open on Family Day, giving you the perfect place to take the kids for an afternoon of educational fun. The Kidzone is one of Muskoka’s most beloved destinations, offering the chance for kids to take part in activities like the LEGO building creative centre, the interactive water table, play in the tree house, and so much more. What more could a kid ask for?

For more information about the Kidzone, visit the Muskoka Discovery Centre website.

February 17th – Baysville Winterfest
Where: Baysville, ON
When: Monday, February 17th from 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM
Cost: Free

Muskoka winter celebrations continue with Baysville Winterfest 2020, bringing with it free Family Day fun for everybody! Families can enjoy a full day of kids crafts, skating, hot chocolate, games, and even a chili cook off! The festivities kick off at 8:30 AM and run until 4:00 PM, giving families the perfect way to spend the holiday.

For more information on the event, visit the Baysville Winterfest Facebook event page.

February 21st and 22nd – Huntsville SnowFest
Where: Huntsville, ON
When: Friday, February 21st to Saturday, February 22nd
Cost: Free

The Huntsville SnowFest is a two day celebration of all things winter, featuring a full lineup of outdoor activities in downtown Huntsville. The festivities begin with a downtown pub crawl, with guests travelling to participating venues in a horse drawn sleigh. The next morning the fun starts again, with activities like Nordic and alpine skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, fat biking, skating, and so much more. Saturday night will also feature live entertainment from Blackie and the Rodeo Kings.

For more information about Huntsville SnowFest, visit their website.

February 27th to March 7th – Matilda the Musical
Where: Rene M Caisse Memorial Theatre, Bracebridge, ON
When: Friday, February 28th to Saturday, March 7th
Cost: $30 for adults, $25 for children (special rates available for groups of 10 or more)

If outdoor activities aren’t for you, the Rotary Club of Bracebridge has the perfect event for you with their annual winter presentation! ​Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical will take the stage from Friday, February 28th to Saturday, March 7th, telling the story of a magically talented girl who is pitted against mean and nasty grown-ups. Matilda has been a longtime family favourite on the page and on the screen, and the Rotary Club’s musical presentation is sure to be a hit.

Find out more about Matilda the Musical on the Rene M Caisse Memorial Theatre website.

Muskoka is Home to Some of Ontario’s Best Craft Breweries

The Muskoka region is home to a wide assortment of activities for people of all ages – from hiking the many beautiful nature trails and swimming in Muskoka’s scenic lakes to checking out local museums, art galleries, and local shopping opportunities, there’s no shortage of things to do all year long. One of the most popular year-round activities enjoyed by many in the area is to take a tour of Muskoka’s impressive craft breweries, or just stop by for a quick pint. The region is home to some of Ontario’s most acclaimed craft breweries, including Muskoka Brewery in Bracebridge, Sawdust City Brewing Co. in Gravenhurst, Lake of Bays Brewery in Baysville, and Clear Lake Brewing Co. in Muskoka Lakes.

Muskoka Brewery
In 1996, Muskoka Brewery was founded in Bracebridge, Ontario. Originally located in the downtown area, the 8,000 sq ft brewery has since moved to a much larger 40,000 sq ft space. Muskoka Brewery is one of Ontario’s most acclaimed craft breweries, offering a wide selection of great beer including perennial favourites like craft lager, cream ale, Mad Tom IPA, and Detor, one of Ontario’s first ISA’s (India session ale).

Along with its lineup of regular offerings, Muskoka Brewery offers a wide variety of seasonal favourites. Tours of the impressive brewery are available year-round, as are special events including live music, open mic nights, and much more.

Find out more about Muskoka Brewery.

Sawdust City Brewing Co.
Founded in 2011, Sawdust City Brewing Co. in Gravenhurst, Ontario quickly became renowned throughout the Muskoka region for its dedication to creating exceptional craft beer. Its 20,000 sq ft brewery opened in 2014 in downtown Gravenhurst, and business has been booming ever since.

Tours of the brewery are available by appointment from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM every Saturday, offering visitors the chance to check out the impressive facilities and get a behind-the-scenes look at how their favourite beer is made. Sawdust City’s tap room gives visitors a chance to try its wide assortment of craft beer, including favourites like Lone Pine, their West Coast IPA, Ol’ Woody Alt, an Amber Lagered Ale, Little Norway, a Pale Lager, and the always refreshing Golden Beach Session IPA.

For more information about Sawdust City Brewing Co., visit its website.

Lake of Bays Brewery

Opened in 2010, Lake of Bays Brewery has become a staple of the community of Baysville. Lake of Bays has a simple philosophy – to make great beer, stay down to earth, and have fun running the business. The Brewery has a wide selection of beer currently available, including the Northern Glow Brut IPA, Lift Lock Light Lager, Switchboard Pilsner, and Starboard New England IPA among other favourites. The Lake of Bays Brewery and retail store open year round, with brewery tours available by appointment on Saturday afternoons between 12:00 and 3:00 PM, and on Sundays by chance. In addition to brewery tours, visitors can enjoy Saturday winter music sessions and other regular events at the Brewery.

Find out more about Lake of Bays Brewery by visiting its website.

Clear Lake Brewing Co.

Founded in September 2016, Clear Lake Brewing Co. is the newest addition to the Muskoka craft brewery scene. Offering a full lineup of craft favourites including the Clear Lake Session Ale, Clear Lake American IPA, Clear Lake Cran Radler, and everything from pilsners to porters, there’s a little something for everybody at the Muskoka Lakes-based brewery. Clear Lake Brewing serves up cold beer, features a full restaurant, and hosts a variety of events and live entertainment. Clear Lake closes for the winter season, but the brewery is a summer hot spot for locals and tourists, and Clear Lake beer is available in a number of nearby Beer Store and LCBO locations. Learn more about Clear Lake Brewing Co. on its website.

Habitat for Humanity Plays an Important Role in Muskoka

Since 1976, Habitat for Humanity International has worked to bring communities together with the goal of helping families in need to get access to affordable homeownership. Last year, 238 families found a new home with Habitat, including 612 children and 16 newcomers to Canada. Thousands of Canadians have volunteered their time with the nonprofit to make these efforts possible, helping to add millions of dollars to Canada’s affordable housing portfolio. Recently, Muskoka Window & Door Centre was lucky enough to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity Ontario Gateway North, working alongside other volunteers to help out local families in need.

A total of 54 Habitat for Humanity chapters can be found in every Canadian province and territory, helping local families in 400 different communities become homeowners with the generous support of volunteers and donors. Habitat for Humanity’s Ontario Gateway North has helped families all around the Muskoka region achieve stability and independence through affordable homeownership.

Thank you for your contribution

How Habitat for Humanity helps families in need
Habitat for Humanity helps families in need by giving them a path to homeownership that requires hard work and dedication, but ensures long-term success. Qualified families who are accepted to the program become homeowners through an interest-free mortgage that requires no down payment, volunteering a minimum of 500 hours with Habitat for Humanity in return. In order to qualify for a home through Habitat, families must be able to prove that they are in need of better housing, willing to volunteer their time with Habitat, and must be able to make affordable mortgage payments that don’t exceed 30% of their gross annual household income.

The Habitat for Humanity ReStore
Another way that Habitat for Humanity has been able to help families in need is through Habitat ReStores, which act as home and building supply stores. ReStores accept new and used building materials, reselling it to generate funds for local home building projects. Donating to ReStores is an environmentally conscious decision, helping to avoid products from ending up in a landfill. ReStores accept many items including furniture, home appliances, electronics, floor and tile, lighting, windows and doors, clothing, and so much more. Rather than putting these items to waste, you can donate them to your local Habitat ReStore and contribute to a building project!

Our involvement with Habitat
In 2017, Muskoka Window & Door Centre was lucky enough to get involved in a local Habitat for Humanity Ontario Gateway North project. The new development was a duplex situated in Huntsville, and would house two families in need. The team was excited to be part of such an important community initiative, and went to work to provide families in need with quality windows. Our workers donated their time to install windows in the home, with all window units donated to the project by Andersen Windows & Doors. Andersen has a long history of supporting Habitat projects in the United States, and they were happy to help.

How you can help
The holidays are the perfect time to get involved with local and international charities. There are a number of ways you can give back to Habitat for Humanity Ontario Gateway North, including making a holiday donation, volunteering your time with a local home building project, or donating new and gently used home and building materials to our local ReStore in Bracebridge or Huntsville. The Bracebridge and Huntsville ReStores are the perfect place to visit when clearing out holiday clutter before and after the new year, with your donations going a long way to support those in need. Our local ReStores can be found at:

Bracebridge ReStore
505 Muskoka District Road 118 West, Unit A3
Bracebridge, ON P1L 2G7
(705) 646-0106
Monday-Saturday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Sunday: Closed

Huntsville ReStore
70 King William St,
Huntsville, ON P1H 2A5
(705) 788-0305
Monday-Saturday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PMSunday: Closed To find out how you can make a difference to families in need by making a donation or volunteering your time this holiday season, visit Habitat for Humanity Ontario Gateway North’s website today.

December 2019 in Muskoka: Fun Holiday Events for the Whole Family

Nothing beats the sights and sounds of Muskoka during the holidays. Throughout the month of December, the entire Muskoka region has plenty of holiday events to help you and your family get into the Christmas spirit. Whether it’s bringing the kids to Santa’s Village, taking in a holiday favourite stage show, or checking out New Year’s Eve fireworks, there’s no shortage of great holiday entertainment in Muskoka this year.

December 7th/8th, 14th/15th, 21st/22nd – SantaFest at Santa’s Village
Where: Santa’s Village in Bracebridge ON
When: Weekends of December 7th/8th, 14th/15th, and 21st/22nd
Cost: $14.95, free admission for children 3 and under

Each year, Santa Claus take a break from his busy pre-Christmas schedule to stop by Santa’s Village in Bracebridge, visiting with kids and families from all around the area. SantaFest is the perfect opportunity to bring out the entire family to meet Santa Claus, and to take part in a full day of Christmas fun. In addition to meeting Santa, kids can enjoy fireside hot chocolate, ride a horse drawn carriage through Whispering Pines Campground, decorate gingerbread cookies, make Christmas crafts, and take part in the unique VR dog sledding experience.

Grab your tickets to SantaFest on the Santa’s Village website.

December 11th – Warren Miller’s Timeless
Where: Algonquin Theatre in Huntsville, ON
When: Wednesday, December 11th
Cost: $18.08 for adults, $14.13 for children

The late Warren Miller was the world’s most famous skiing and snowboarding filmmaker, helping to advance the popularity of these winter sports throughout North America. Warren Miller’s Timeless, presented by Volkswagen, celebrates 70 years of skiing and snowboarding films with some of the sport’s leading athletes and personalities. Warren Miller’s Timeless brings viewers on a wild adventure to some of the world’s most popular skiing and snowboard destinations, including Arlberg, the Matterhorn, Jackson Hole, and Eldora, Colorado.

More information about this very special screening can be found on the Algonquin Theatre website.

December 14th – A Christmas Carol
Where: Algonquin Theatre in Huntsville, ON
When: Saturday, December 14th
Cost: $20.00 for adults, $10.00 for children, $50.00 family pass

Charles Dickens’ classic Christmas tale comes to the Algonquin Theatre in Huntsville, presented by Dufflebag Theatre. This family friendly stage show sees the iconic penny-pinching curmudgeon Ebenezer Scrooge be visited by the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future on Christmas Eve. As with any good adaptation of A Christmas Carol, all your favourite characters from Tiny Tim and Bob Cratchit to Mr. Fezziwig and Jacob Marley will be present.

Tickets to A Christmas Carol can be found on the Algonquin Theatre website.

December 14th/15th – Noel North
Where: The Annex in Bracebridge, ON
When: Saturday, December 14th and Sunday, December 15th
Cost: Donations accepted

The holiday season is the perfect time to shop locally and celebrate the wonderful artists and artisans of the Muskoka region. The first ever Noel North brings some of the region’s finest creators to The Annex in Bracebridge, giving shoppers a great opportunity to pick up hand-made jewellery, fine art, pottery, home goods, artisan food and clothing, and so much more. The show runs on Saturday, December 14th from 10 AM to 6 PM and Sunday, December 15th from 10 AM to 4 PM.

More information about this great event can be found at the Noel North Facebook page.

December 24th – Torchlight Parade
Where: Hidden Valley Highlands Ski Area in Huntsville, ON
When: Tuesday, December 24th
Cost: Free

On Christmas Eve, Huntsville’s Hidden Valley Highlands Ski Area is bringing back an annual holiday favourite – the Torchlight Parade. The Parade features ski patrollers and snow school instructors descending the Flying Dutchman with brightly lit torches to create a gorgeous procession of lights. The annual event is capped off by a special appearance by jolly old Saint Nick. The Parade will begin at 6:00 PM, with hot chocolate, cookies, and live music in the Chalet beforehand.

More information about the Torchlight Parade can be found at the Hidden Valley Highlands website.

December 31st – New Year’s Eve Fireworks
Where: Hidden Valley Highlands Ski Area in Huntsville, ON
When: Tuesday, December 31st
Cost: Free

Ring in the new year in style with New Year’s Eve fireworks at the Hidden Valley Highlands Ski Area in Huntsville. Bring out the entire family for an evening of live entertainment, cookies, hot chocolate, and fireworks. The fun begins at 5:00 PM and ends at 8:00 PM, with fireworks kicking off at 6:00 PM. For more information about the New Year’s Eve Fireworks, visit the Hidden Valley Highlands website.

Kick Your Holiday Off the Muskoka Way

Now that the leaves have fallen and we’ve had our first snowfall, it’s safe to say that the holiday season is fast approaching. The holiday season is Muskoka is unlike any other, featuring dozens of fun festive events for the entire family. This year’s season officially kicks off on Friday, November 29th, when communities throughout the Muskoka region will be celebrating in style with Christmas walks, tree lighting, night shopping, and so much more. If you’ve never experienced the start of the holiday season in Muskoka, this is the perfect year to join in on the fun!

Huntsville – Christmas Tree Lighting and Santa Claus Parade
Where: Downtown Huntsville ON
When: Friday, November 29th: Tree Lighting at 6:15 PM, Santa Claus Parade at 7:00 PM
Cost: Free

Bring the whole family for an unforgettable night in Huntsville’s historic downtown. The festivities kick off at 6:15 PM on the steps of Huntsville’s town hall, where the annual Christmas tree lighting will take place. This year’s tree measures 15 feet tall and will feature plenty of lights and ornaments to adorn the steps of the town hall throughout the holiday season. Once the tree has been lit, the focus will shift to everybody’s favourite jolly old Saint Nick as the annual Santa Claus Parade kicks off at 7:00 PM. The Parade route will go along Main Street and King William Street, beginning starting at Centre Street and ending at Huntsville Mall. This year’s holiday kickoff celebration is sponsored by Downtown Huntsville, the Rotary Club of Huntsville, and the Town of Huntsville.

More information about the Christmas tree lighting and the Santa Claus Parade is available on the Downtown Huntsville website.

Gravenhurst – Christmas Tree Lighting and Black Friday Deals
Where: Gravenhurst Opera House, Gravenhurst ON
When: Friday, November 29th from 6:00 PM until 8:00 PM
Cost: Free

The holiday season kicks off at the Gravenhurst Opera House with the annual lighting of the Christmas tree. The tree will be beautifully decorated with lighting and ornaments and is sure to wow everybody in attendance. After the tree has been lit, the whole family can explore the downtown area and take advantage of some great Black Friday deals. Stores are set to be open late, giving shoppers an opportunity to stock up on Christmas gifts until at least 8:00 PM. Add in carollers and delicious treats, and you have a recipe for a perfect holiday season opener.

For more information about the Christmas Tree Lighting, visit the Downtown Gravenhurst website.

Bracebridge – Santa’s Festival of Lights and Shopping Party
Where: Downtown Bracebridge ON
When: Friday, November 29th from 6:00 PM to 10:00 PM
Cost: Free

Santa’s arrival in Bracebridge will kick off the holiday season on a high note, bringing with it fireworks, beautiful sights, shopping, and so much more. Santa is set to arrive in town at 6:00 PM, with fireworks to follow at 6:45 PM. You and the entire family can enjoy sleigh rides all night long, running from 6:00 PM to 10:00 PM. In addition to Santa’s arrival, downtown Bracebridge will get an opportunity to enjoy caroling, living window displays, live entertainment, kid’s activities, and some late night shopping. There’s a little something for everyone to get you into the Christmas spirit.

For more information about Santa’s Festival of Lights, visit the Downtown Bracebridge website.

Bala – Bala Tree Lighting and Carol Sing
Where: Bala Community Centre, Bala ON
When: Friday, November 29th from 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Cost: Free

Bala gives Muskokans another great chance to witness the magic of a tree lighting festival with the annual Bala tree lighting event at the Bala Community Centre. A barbershop quartet will be in attendance to help you ring in the holiday season, singing all your favourite Christmas classics. All are welcome to attend and sing to their heart’s content! Find more information about the Bala Tree Lighting event at the Muskoka Lakes Chamber of Commerce website.

October 2019 in Muskoka: Fall Festivities, Cranberry Festival, Halloween, and More

The summer might be over, but life in Muskoka is still as exciting as ever. The fall season is finally here, bringing with it plenty of beautiful colours and landscapes to enjoy. Whether it’s outdoor activities for the whole family, live music and comedy, or unique festivals, the Muskoka region always has something for everyone no matter what season it is. With Thanksgiving and Halloween right around the corner, there’s no shortage of things for you and the family to do in Muskoka this October.

October 12-14 – Bethune Memorial House Thanksgiving Festival
Where: Bethune Memorial House in Gravenhurst, ON
When: Saturday, October 12th – Monday, October 14th from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Cost: $3.90 for adults, $3.40 for seniors, free for children

Each Thanksgiving, the Bethune Memorial House in Gravenhurst hosts the annual Thanksgiving Festival, welcoming visitors from China, Canada, and all around the world to pay their respects to physician Norman Bethune. The Thanksgiving weekend gives visitors an opportunity to see the Bethune Memorial House at its busiest, with tours available all day. The Thanksgiving Festival is the perfect opportunity to see Muskoka at its most beautiful, and learn about Bethune’s humanitarian work in rural China.

Admission and programs available on a first come, first served basis. More information available on the Parks Canada website.

October 18-20 – Bala Cranberry Festival
Where: Citywide in Bala, ON
When: Friday, October 18th to Sunday, October 20th
Cost: $10.00 for adult passes, free for children

The Bala Cranberry Festival is a weekend long event that features hundreds of vendors, entertainers, and performers. Bring the whole family for a full weekend of great food, gorgeous scenery, local shopping, live entertainment, and most importantly – a celebration of the beloved cranberry. The festivities will take place throughout the city of Bala, with plenty of different areas to see, including a petting zoo, beer garden, museum, farmer’s market and much more. Shuttles are available to transport families back and forth, including to and from Gravenhurst. Saturday is the festival’s busiest day, with Sunday designated as Family Day.

For more information about the 2019 Bala Cranberry Festival, visit their website.

October 20 – Orillia Silver Band Fall Harvest
Where: Gravenhurst Opera House in Gravenhurst, ON
When: Sunday, October 20th @ 8:00 PM
Cost: $10.00 to $25.00

The well-known Orillia Silver Band is set to return to the Gravenhurst Opera House for a memorable fall harvest concert. The acclaimed band, conducted by Muskoka region favourite Neil Barlow, will be playing a variety of pieces, beginning with The Light Fantastic by Paul Lovatt-Cooper. Also included in the evening’s performance is A Redbridge Raga by Chris Wilcox, Steven Verhelst’s A Song for Japan, Edvard Grieg’s Peer Gynt, and more. The performance will close with a spectacular rendition of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, complete with cannons, bells, and more.

For tickets to the Orillia Silver Band Fall Festival, visit their website.

October 26 – Let the Spirits Rise in Downtown Gravenhurst
Where: Downtown Gravenhurst, ON
When: Saturday, October 26th from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Cost: Free

Gravenhurst’s annual Let the Spirits Rise event takes place returns! For one morning every year, downtown Gravenhurst collectively embraces the spirit of Halloween, hosting a variety of family fun activities. Bring the kids out for trick or treating at downtown shops, and other free family activities at the Gravenhurst Opera House, including face painting, live music, and crafts. Last year’s event featured a costume contest, zombie walk, and a dancing zombies flash mob – who knows what kind of spooky fun this year’s event has in store?

More details to follow – see the Downtown Gravenhurst website for more information.

October 31 – Great Pumpkin Trail
Where: Muskoka Heritage Place – Pioneer Village in Gravenhurst, ON
When: Thursday, October 31st from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM (last entry at 7:30 PM)
Cost: $10.00 per family, or $3.00 per head

The Great Pumpkin Trail serves as a fun alternative to sending your kids out treat or treating from door to door in the dark. The fun begins at 5:00 PM on Halloween Day at the Pioneer Village at Muskoka Heritage Place, letting you and your family trick or treat in a traffic-free environment. Pioneer buildings are decorated by locals, with themes kept on the “not so spooky” side to stay appropriate for younger trick or treaters. The Great Pumpkin Trail is as much an event for parents as it is for kids, giving you a great opportunity to socialize with other parents and take in the music, magic, and mystery of Halloween night while your kids have a safe and fun evening gathering plenty of goodies. For more information, visit the Muskoka Heritage Place website.

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