Barrie-Orillia Ontario Nearby Towns and Attractions: Gravenhurst
Gravenhurst is a town of 11,000 year-round residents, located 168 kms north of Toronto, and is gateway to the Muskoka Lakes. This town is rich in both tradition and natural beauty, lots of fine restaurants. and is the cultural heart of Muskoka. The restored 1901 Opera House hosts outstanding theatre all summer long, and other events the year round. Sagamo Park is host to Muskoka Gallery by the Bay, which features many local artisans. Gull Lake Park features summer outdoor concerts with "Music on the Barge" on Sundays.
Gravenhurst has been home to the Steamship Segwun since 1887, and you can take a nightly Sunset Dinner Cruise on Lake Muskoka (in season). Take a daytime Ontario boat cruise on the Steamship Segwun, Wenonah or Wanda from Gravenhurst.
Gravenhurst is the birthplace of Dr. Norman Bethune, remembered as a field surgeon and medical educator in China. Restored to its 1890 appearance, Bethune Memorial House is open year round. Gravenhurst is also halfway to the North Pole, giving cause to celebrate the Christmas holiday and Santa Claus year-round.
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Bethune Memorial House National Historic Site
235 John St N
Dr Norman Bethune's birthplace in 1890. The ground floor and master bedroom of this late Victorian clapboard house have been resotred to that period. The second floor has exhibits chronicalling Dr Bethune's life and accomplishments. . There are 1 hour tours by the Visitor's Centre. Allow 1 hour. Open daily 10 am to 4 pm June - October; Wekedays 1pm to 4 pm the remainder of the year. Admission $3.50, seniors $3.25, Children 6-16 $2, family rate $9.50.
Steamship Segwun & The Muskoka Fleet
820 Bay Street, Sagamo Park
Gravenhurst, ON, P1P 1G7
(705) 687- 6667 Fax: (705) 687-7820
Built in 1887, and originally a paddlewheeler, the Royal Mail Ship Segwun carries 99 passengers and has two dining rooms, the Segwun remains the oldest operating steamship in North America and the it's the last of a fleet of steam powered ships that carried passengers and mail throughout the Muskoka region before the days of the automobile and modern highway. It connected villages and resorts without a railway station to the outside world, from early spring to late fall.
The Segwun was restored in the early 1970s and in 1974 began her life as a cruise ship extraordinaire.
In 2001 and 2002, the Royal Mail Ship Segwun was voted by Attractions Canada "Best Large Attraction In Ontario" and runner-up for the Best in Canada award. Today, the Steamship Segwun sails on a variety of cruises on the Muskoka lakes from June through October. Fine dining for lunch or dinner served in the Royal Muskoka Salon, with its warm gumwood panelling and panoramic view, with intimate tables set with white linen and china.