Part of cottage country and full of history, Gravenhurst is a boating town at heart. Bordered by Lake Muskoka and Gull Lake, the town offers six beaches, a top-rated golf course and the chance to take a ride on a steamship that’s older than the country of Canada itself. A visit to Gravenhurst can feel like a trip to the past, when visitors visited the opera house and rode ships across the lake to their summer homes.
Where is Gravenhurst?
Located 182 km north of Toronto, Gravenhurst is in the Muskoka region. Arrive by car from the south and north through Highway 11. Those coming from the east can take Highway 118 and from the west on Highway 169.
During the summer, you can take GO Muskoka through a partnership with Ontario Northland and GO Transit. This combination of bus and train service runs from Toronto up to Gravenhurst on Fridays with a Sunday return trip. A great way to relax and let someone else do the driving.
You can also fly into Muskoka Regional Airport (IATA: YQA, ICAO: CYQA) during the summer. Located 9 km north of the
city, the airport accepts private aircraft and some commercial carriers.
Things to Do in Gravenhurst
Finding things to do in Gravenhurst isn’t hard – the town has activities for all ages and interests. There are six public beaches at the lakes in the area. Bring your own boats and use public launches and docks or rent a watercraft from one of the local companies.
Interested in getting on the lake but don’t want to be the pilot? Take a ride on a steamship. One of the ships here was built before Canada became a country!
A must-see for history buffs is the Gravenhurst Opera House. The opera house has been providing theatre, music and entertainment to the town since 1901. You can also take a tour of the Victorian-era home of medical pioneer Dr. Norman Bethune. Bethune Memorial House commemorates the life and achievements of the battlefront surgeon and promoter of public health care. Dr. Bethune is most famous for the last two years of his life, which were spent in China, serving as a surgeon and teacher.
If you’re an outdoor lover, in addition to swimming and boating in the lakes, ride the biking trails that wind through the town. Play 18 holes at one of the top 50 courses in Canada, Taboo Muskoka Golf Course. And be sure not to miss the waterfalls in the area, Trethewey Falls and Muskoka Falls.
Are you visiting in the fall? Take a driving tour through the region to view the leaves changing colour. Astronomy lovers should head to Torrance Barrens. With low trees and flat wetlands, the lack of light pollution gives a clear view of the stars and planets. If you arrive at the right time, you might even get to see the elusive Northern Lights.
In the winter you can enjoy skating, skiing and snowshoeing. And don’t forget the Gravenhurst Winter Carnival, which has a demolition derby, lumberjack demonstrations, dances and polar dipping, among many other activities.
And of course, you shouldn’t miss the food and drinks in town. There are a variety of great restaurants in and around the Muskoka Wharf. Look to relax at one of the many tea houses and coffee shops. Enjoy oatmeal stouts, pilsners and seasonal beers at Sawdust City Brewing Co.
Neighbourhoods in Gravenhurst
The town of Gravenhurst includes these original townships from the 1800s:
- Morrison Township
- Muskoka Township
- Ryde Township
- Wood Township (eastern half)
Things to Know About Visiting Gravenhurst
Whether you’re still in the planning stages or you’re already on your trip to Gravenhurst, it’s nice to learn what the locals know about the city.