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Opera House in Gravenhurst
Gravenhurst Main street
Gravenhurst (2001 population= 10,899, area= 523 sq. km) is a town in the Muskoka Region of Ontariomarker, Canadamarker. It is located approximately 15 kilometres south of Bracebridge, Ontariomarker. The mayor is John Klinck. The Town of Gravenhurst includes a large area of the District of Muskoka, known to Ontarians as "cottage country." The town centre borders on two lakes: Lake Muskokamarker, which is the largest lake in the Region, and Gull Lake, a smaller cottage-bordered lake. Another lake, Kahshe Lakemarker, is situated ten kilometres south of the town.


Norman Bethune Memorial House, Gravenhurst

Gravenhurst was originally named McCabes Bay and later as Sawdust City. Gravenhurst was named after a village in Englandmarker which is mentioned in Washington Irving's Bracebridge Hall.

Nearby Muldrew Lake was named after the lake's second cottager, Dr. William Hawthorne Muldrew. He was the principal of the first Gravenhurst high school in 1894. In 1901 he published a book called Sylvan Ontario, A Guide to Our Native Trees and Shrubs. It was the first book published on this subject in Ontario, and the drawings were his own. All the different types of trees and shrubs of Muskoka could be seen at the school, as he transplanted many of the specimens from Muldrew Lake.

From 1940 to 1943 Gravenhurst was site of "Little Norway," an important training camp for what is today the Royal Norwegian Air Force during World War II. From 1940 to 1946 Gravenhurst was the site of Camp XX, the Gravenhurst Internment Camp, for Nazi Prisoners of War, known locally as "the Muskoka officers club". Before the war it was the Calydor Sanitarium. After the war it was turned into a TB sanitarium, again, and later became a kosher resort called The Gateway.

Original Townships

The Town of Gravenhurst includes these original townships from the 1800s:
  • Wood Township (eastern half)
  • Morrison Township
  • Ryde Township
  • Muskoka Township


Gravenhurst had a population of 11,046 people in 2006, which was an increase of 1.3% from the 2001 census count. The median household income in 2005 for Gravenhurst was $245,962, which is below the Ontario provincial average of $260,455.

Age Structure
  • 0–14 years: 14.6%
  • 15–64 years: 64.3%
  • 65 years and over: 21.1%


Located on the shore of Lake Muskokamarker since 1949 Gravenhurst has been home to the Ontario Fire College. The College run by the Province of Ontariomarker, under the Fire Marshall's Office, offers training and education programs which are based on the Ontario Fire Service Standards. Courses are available to members of any Ontario municipal fire department, whether full-time or volunteer. The campus also provides a location for Ontario Provincial Police marine and K-9 training.


Gravenhurst also declares itself the "Gateway to the Muskoka Lakes" and has a large gate bearing this message hanging over Muskoka District Road 169, the main road leading into town from Highway 11. The gate had been removed but was rebuilt in 2009 and stands again at the south end of town. It is the home port of the RMS Segwun, the oldest vessel powered by a working steam engine in North America.

The Gravenhurst railway stationmarker along the Northlander line receives passenger service six times per week.

Famous residents

Norman Bethune was born in Gravenhurst and his family's home there has been preserved as a Canadian National Historic Site.


External links

District of Muskoka Municipalities
Town of Bracebridgemarker | Town of Gravenhurst | Town of Huntsvillemarker

Township of Georgian Baymarker | Township of Lake of Baysmarker | Township of Muskoka Lakesmarker

Ontario Municipalities

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