Anniversaries come and go, but 2016 will be a year unlike any other as far as Gravenhurst is concerned.
In 1992, the Gravenhurst Farmers’ Market was established. In this, its 25th year, it has grown to incorporate no less than 91 registered vendors. Annually, the number of patrons taking advantage of this great resource approaches 100,000. Not only is it a great source of local produce but cut flowers and artisanal crafts as well. Original gift ideas and stocking stuffers abound at the satellite Xmas Farmers’ Market held in late Fall.
Also in its 25th year, is the Gravenhurst Chamber of Commerce’s Dockside Festival of the Arts. This popular weekend event takes over the Gravenhurst Special Events field each year and is a mecca for summer residents, and locals alike, wishing to enjoy some of Muskoka’s best musical talent, while also, sampling great food. Booths proffering arts and crafts fill out the venue.
Gravenhurst’s national historic site, Bethune Memorial House, celebrates its 40th birthday since being restored and opened as a public museum. It had been purchased by the federal government in 1973 with the intention to recognize the importance of Dr. Norman Bethune to the Chinese people. Parks Canada says visitation surpassed 15,000 last year for the first time.
In 1901 Gravenhurst Opera House was built and today, 115 years later, the annual program of theatrical presentations and community events continues to be imaginative and well supported.
When Alexander Peter Cockburn, the Father of Muskoka Tourism, launched The Wenonah (Ojibway for first-born-daughter) in 1866 (150 years ago), little did he anticipate his fleet would eventually number 21 vessels built over the lifetime of the company!
Another anniversary of note is the 10th one of the anchor of Muskoka Wharf, none other than the Muskoka Steamships and Discovery Centre (aka Grace and Speed or MBHC). It is North America’s largest in-water boat museum.
It comes as no surprise that these essential elements, that fabricate the summer atmosphere in Gravenhurst, have reached such respectable milestones.
– Written by: Colin Old – Gravenhurst Heritage Committee