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Bracebridge (Canada 2006 Census population 15,652) is a town and the seat of the Muskoka District Municipality of Ontariomarker, Canadamarker.

The town was built around a waterfall on the Muskoka River in the centre of town, and is known for its other nearby waterfalls (Wilson's Falls, High Falls, etc). It was first incorporated in 1875. It was named after a book, Bracebridge Hall by Washington Irving, that the postmaster in charge of naming towns was reading at the time. The same novel also provided the name for nearby Gravenhurstmarker.

The town is the seat of the district government, a centre of tourism for the Muskoka area, and home to several historical sites, such as the Inn at the Falls, Woodchester Villa, and the Silver Bridge, which joins Manitoba Street with Ecclestone Drive. The Silver Bridge was repaired in 2002. Bracebridge is also the home of the Muskoka Cottage Brewery.

Don Coates is the current mayor.


View down Manitoba Street in Bracebridge circa 1910
The character of the town of Bracebridge is shaped by its proximity to Lake Muskokamarker to which it is connected by 6 miles of the Muskoka River, and by the promise of abundant water power afforded by the great waterfall at the foot of the town. Early growth of the town occurred in proximity to the falls which powered the first factory. The arrival of the Grand Trunk Railway cemented the town's role as a transportation hub for the area.

Modern settlement of the town began in the 1860s, beginning at first with a few log huts. By 1870 the village had a population of about 400, growing to reach a total of about 2,000 by the turn of the 20th century. The village was incorporated in 1875 and became a town under an Act of Parliament in 1889. In 1894 Bracebridge became the first town in Ontario to have its own hydro generating station.

The municipal boundaries of Bracebridge also encompass the smaller communities of Clear Lake, Falkenburg (ghost town), Falkenburg Station, Fraserburg, Germania, Lakewood, Matthiasville, Monsell (ghost town), Purbrook, Rocksborough, Springdale Park, Stoneleigh, Uffington and Vankoughnet.


The town of Bracebridge built a state of the art Sportsplex in 2006 which contains a rock climbing wall, indoor track, eight-lane swimming pool and fitness studio. The town partnered with the Muskoka Limberettes Gymnastics Club to create a gymnastics facility in the same building. The Sportsplex is part of the same complex including the Bracebridge and Muskoka Lakes Secondary School and Rene M. Caisse Memorial Theatre.

Attractions and venues

Bracebridge is the home of Santa's Village, a Christmas theme park, established in 1955. It was inspired by the town’s location at 45 degrees latitude, halfway between the equator and the North Polemarker.


Bracebridge is served by several elementary schools, and two high schools: Bracebridge and Muskoka Lakes Secondary School, and St. Dominic Catholic Secondary School.

Nipissing Universitymarker and Georgian Collegemarker have a shared satellite campus in the town. Both Georgian College and Nipissing University have expanded their campuses (2008). Georgian has moved into the town's former swimming pool/recreation centre, the "Centennial Centre" on Wellington Street. Georgian's grand opening date was September 11, 2007. Nipissing University opened its doors next to Georgian the following year for the 2008 semester.


The Bracebridge Towne Express trolley, sponsored by Santa's Village, provides the town with local public transport.
However, it only makes trips to Santa's Village on Sunday afternoons during the summer season.
The Bracebridge railway stationmarker receives service six times per week by the Northlander line.


Bracebridge is served by the local radio station, CFBG 99.5 FM, a hot adult contemporary station that uses the on-air brand "Moose FM" owned by the Haliburton Broadcasting Group. Local newspapers include Bracebridge Examiner, District Weekender, Muskoka Sun and Muskoka Advance.

The first newspaper in Bracebridge was the Northern Advocate begun in 1870 by Thomas McMurray. It was joined in 1872 by the Free Grant Gazette owned by E.F. Stephenson. The Advocate ceased publication in 1874 and was bought out by Stephenson. Competition resumed, however, in 1878 when Mr Gaffe and Mr Oaten founded the Muskoka Herald.

Notable people of Bracebridge


External links

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