Muskoka Chambers Form New Committee

Dear Members & Partners,

In the spirit of growth, I am contacting you on behalf of the Gravenhurst Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.

Some of the Muskoka Chambers have formed a committee to investigate how the existing Chambers of Commerce can bring added value to their members by exploring a number of possibilities of how working and sharing resources can be of benefit. In the coming months, we plan to produce a report on the plan’s feasibility.

The committee is comprised of Board Members and Staff from the Bracebridge, Gravenhurst, Huntsville, Muskoka Lakes and Port Sydney/Utterson Chambers of Commerce. Forming a committee was a decision that each board voted to support. The primary goal is to improve value to your membership. Through the coming months, the committee will meet routinely to investigate if shared services, increased collaboration and operating together will provide greater value to members and each community.

Some preliminary benchmarks for the committee’s report are:

  • Is a regional structure financially viable?
  • Can we enhance the Muskoka Brand and better support regional business development opportunities?
  • Will this operation better utilize Chamber resources?
  • Can we increase membership benefits?

We will be asking for your considerations and participation as part of the process and you can be assured that no decisions will be made without the support and involvement of our members.

Like all business owners, development and growth is a continual process and in the instance of this committee, we look forward to better understanding the potential opportunities that can progress through regional collaboration. Included below is a list of the committee members from each of the communities.

I remind you, this is exploratory and no outcome is predetermined.

Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me or the Chamber office for additional information.


Bob Collins,
Gravenhurst Chamber of Commerce

Gravenhurst Chamber Welcomes New Executive Director & Interim Manager of Programs

tarajoy sandy caption

Gravenhurst Chamber of Commerce has completed their search for its incoming Executive Director. Gravenhurst resident, Sandy Lockhart, will fill the role beginning the week of August 22nd.

“I’m really excited about representing Gravenhurst as the Chamber’s Executive Director,” says Lockhart.  “In past roles, I’ve always had a Muskoka-Wide focus, so I’m looking forward to putting Gravenhurst first. I’ve been lucky enough to live here for almost 30 years and raise my family here.”

Sandy’s career has been focused on media, communications, public relations and event coordination.  Raised by entrepreneurial parents and with a self-employed husband, she is familiar with many of the challenges and benefits of operating a small business in Muskoka.

“I look forward to meeting all the chamber members and engaging the community as I introduce myself to the Gravenhurst business people,” she says.

Chamber President Bob Collins believes the new Chamber Executive Director is going to make the position her own. “She will lead the Chamber with conviction and new ideas,” he says.

Sandy will replace Danielle Millar who has been the Chamber’s Executive Director since 2012. Millar announced her departure in June and the planned Executive Director transition allows for a brief overlap in staff.

The change of Executive Directors is only one of the significant staff transitions taking place. Manager of Programs Tara Doyle just began her maternity leave expecting a baby boy to arrive in the next few weeks.  The Chamber welcomes Joy Cantle-Jones back to the Organization for the coming year. This will be Cantle-Jones’ second term with the Chamber as she held the Manager of Programs role for Doyle’s 2014 maternity leave.

“We wish Tara and her expanding family all the best for the coming year,” says Collins.  “As we are transitioning key staff members, we are pleased to be welcoming back Joy Cantle-Jones who brings experience and enthusiasm to the position.  Joy is a long-term friend of the Organization and having her back on board is a positive step.”

For more information, please contact:

Bob Collins
President, Gravenhurst Chamber of Commerce

From the Ground Up – June 2nd – Chamber Newsletter

Good Afternoon,
It is wonderful to see the hub of activity that is taking place around town.

First we would like to send a nice big shout out of congratulations to the Team at the Gravenhurst Opera House. We attended the Summer Season Gala on May 27th and share the enthusiasm for the upcoming season.  Keep an eye out in the mail for the Opera House’s direct mail brochure which includes a 2-for-1 coupon to attend a summer season performance that is available only for local residents.

The weather has been a wonderful indication of the summer momentum.  Yesterday we joined the Heritage Committee as they honoured A.P. Cockburn with a naming tribute at the Wharf Gazebo. The celebration also aligned with the 150th anniversary of the first steamship launched into Lake Muskoka.  The Steamships are ready to set sail this weekend marking yet another annual milestone.

Included below is information on a complimentary Steamship Cruise taking place this Saturday.  Have you taken a steamship cruise recently, how about your staff?  The 1-hour complimentary cruise is a great way to familiarize yourself, or remember why the Steamships attract thousands of visitors to Gravenhurst each year.

Keep an eye out for our first weekly Calendar of Events to be distributed next week, keeping you up-to-date with activities, concerts and all the things to see & do in Gravenhurst.

Have a great week –

Click Here to view the complete Newsletter

In this edition you will find:

  • Meet our Summer Students
  • Call for Car Show Volunteers
  • Blue Willow Tea Shop Hosts Indonesian Feast
  • Register for the South Muskoka Chambers Golf Tournament
  • Muskoka Futures Schedule of Education Events
  • AMA Trip Advisor Opportunity
  • Steamships offer 1-hour complimentary cruise
  • Employment North offers funding for student hiring
  • Morrison Meadows Accessible Playground Grand Opening
  • Spring Into Summer Art Crawl Schedule
  • Frosty Pint Musicfest
  • Totem Juice Now Available in Gravenhurst at Sawdust City
  • and your complete events listing for &




We Are Hiring a Summer Student


Each year we look forward to hiring a young enthusiastic professional who will assist our team with our Tourism Marketing campaign and Special Event Coordination.  It truly is a win-win scenario as we welcome the assistance in our busy season while the students develop practical on the job workforce training.  We also find that it gives us a chance to learn from our students who clearly lead the way in digital marketing.

The deadline for applications is May 20th, 2016.

What to Learn More?  
Check out the Employment Opportunities




From the Ground Up – May The 4th Be With You

Good Afternoon Chamber Members –
We have our Gravenhurst BIA ‘Fresh” Fashion & Lifestyle Show tickets, will we see you tonight?

Earlier this week we announced our participation in the South Muskoka Chambers Golf Tournament, this year it will be hosted at Muskoka Bay Club in Gravenhurst on June 23rd. We have included full details below and look forward to sharing more over the coming weeks.

You will notice the events listings continue to grow as the summer approaches and to keep on top of the growing list of things to see & do, we will begin to distribute the “This Week in Gravenhurst” weekly.

Also, this Saturday we are headed on a tour of Southern Ontario distributing Visitor Information promoting Gravenhurst at high-traffic travel centres, attractions and travel planning locations.  We are thrilled at the response from our local partners and look forward to beefing up the RTO12 regional racks with a big Gravenhurst presence.  We look forward to speaking with the Travel Centre staff who will be assisting us build relationships with coordinators around Ontario.

Please Note – The Chamber Office will be closed on Monday, May 9th, and will be operating on limited hours Tuesday, May 10th and Wednesday, May 11th.  Should you need immediate assistance, contact information is posted on the office closure notices.

We look forward to reporting back to members, what we see and hear from communities throughout the province.

Have a great week-

Click Here to Read the Full Edition

This week’s edition also includes:

  • Residence Inn Marriott Muskoka Wharf hosts Breakfast Fundraiser
  • Invitation to Attend Ahjo Living Open House
  • District of Muskoka Council Highlights Newsletter
  • Updated Events and Business Advancement Opportunities
  • Culture Days – Register Your Event/Venue
  • FunFest, Gravenhurst’s Newest Festival
  • Gravenhurst Opera House Summer Theatre Launch

Three Chambers, Three Times the Fun for Annual Golf Day


For Immediate Release//May 2/16 – The Bracebridge Chamber of Commerce announces the expansion of their Annual Golf Fun Day.  Celebrating the 25th anniversary of the event, the Golf Fun Day is growing and partnering with Gravenhurst and Muskoka Lakes Chambers of Commerce.  Taking place June 23rd at Muskoka Bay Club in Gravenhurst, the Chambers will invite members, stakeholders and guests to golf at the event.  

“We are thrilled to grow the golf day to include business leaders throughout South Muskoka,” comments Bracebridge Chamber Executive Director Brenda Rhodes.  “As a community we believe there are overwhelming benefits to partnerships.  It’s good business not only for the Chamber’s but also great value for members allowing them to connect with other businesses throughout the region.”

The Golf Fun Day is a key fundraising event for the organization’s providing funds to assist the Chambers’ with ongoing operations.  With a goal of rotating the golf course and community host each year, the Chamber’s are striving to increase the attendance, sponsorship, and support for the fundraising event.  

“Membership services are only one of many activities Chamber’s tackle,” says Muskoka Lakes Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jane Templeton.  “Our membership fees account for a portion of our revenues but the golf day and other events are crucial to the organizations’ operations.  We are thrilled to be working collaboratively with our neighbouring communities.”

The tournament is a shotgun scramble beginning at 1:00pm.  Team and individual registrations are available for $220 per player.  An early bird price of $200 will be offered to teams who register before May 31st, 2016.  

“Muskoka is home to many marquis golf courses, we are confident that our business community will see this event as a great opportunity to golf while supporting local business organizations,” says Danielle Millar, Executive Director of the Gravenhurst Chamber of Commerce. “In the past year, the member events we’ve hosted in partnership have by far been the largest and most engaging.  We anticipate that the Golf day will continue this trend.”

The South Muskoka Chambers Golf Fun Day is currently seeking silent auction donations in addition to a number of sponsorships.  For more information on the day, please visit your local Chamber of Commerce website or contact one of the offices.  

The South Muskoka Chambers operate in Bracebridge, Gravenhurst, and Muskoka Lakes.  With a goal of supporting and expanding the local business community, the Chambers operate programs and initiatives to strengthen the local community.  Operating in Bracebridge for 64 years, Gravenhurst for 68 years and Muskoka Lakes for 30 years, the Chambers of Commerce represent the largest business associations and community groups in each of their community.


For Media Inquiries:
Brenda Rhodes
Bracebridge Chamber of Commerce

Click Here for Event Details & Registration

Click Here for Sponsorship Details




Dockside Festival Welcomes Title Sponsor Veridian Connections

Veridian Connections celebrates 10 years of service in Gravenhurst by supporting local festival

Gravenhurst, ON – The Gravenhurst Chamber of Commerce confirms that Veridian Connections will be stepping into the Title Sponsorship role for their 25th Annual Dockside Festival of the Arts in a three-year contract.   This new reciprocal partnership commemorates two anniversaries in Gravenhurst, as Dockside Festival celebrates their 25th Anniversary and Veridian Connections celebrates 10 years of service in Gravenhurst.  

The Gravenhurst Chamber of Commerce has been in search of sponsors for their growing events and has over the past several years worked diligently to build mutually beneficial sponsorship packages to attract partners.  Sponsorships increase brand awareness, create positive public relations for both involved parties while promoting good relations with clients and customers.   

“We are proud to have Veridian as the title Sponsor of Dockside Festival,” commented Gravenhurst Chamber of Commerce President Bob Collins.  “Our staff has worked tirelessly to develop value-based sponsorships and have proactively pursued partners that share common goals.  Hard work pays off. Chamber sponsorships deliver great marketing returns in addition to demonstrating community engagement.”

Corporate sponsorships are an integral component of the Chamber’s events and operations.  The Chamber strives to approach each program and event with a multi-funding approach, ensuring that budgets are developed to support sponsorships and grants, while also managing operational expenses.  The Chamber has seen significant growth in the recent years with the Gravenhurst Car Show and Dockside Festival with increased attendance as well as increased sponsorships.

“Over the years we’ve been successful in receiving event enhancement grants which have assisted us in growing our Chamber events, but they have also put pressure on our financials and are not a reliable revenue source,” says Collins.  “Building festival attendance and awareness are our priority and we invest heavily to accomplish these goals.  Moving forward we have stronger events, and our sponsorships provide a stable revenue source for continued growth. We believe that events assist in raising awareness and interest of our community, resulting in increased visitation and visitor spending.”

The Gravenhurst Chamber of Commerce coordinates the 23rd Annual Gravenhurst Car Show taking place June 18, 2016, and the 25th Annual Dockside Festival of the Arts taking place August 19th-21st, 2016.  Sponsorships are also available to support the Gravenhurst Santa Claus Parade and the organization’s Annual Winter Gala.  Recently the Chamber also  launched a Patron’s, Pillars and Partners program aligning opportunities for businesses wishing to increase awareness with other local business owners.  


For More Information Contact

Danielle Millar, Gravenhurst Chamber of Commerce

705-687-4432 /

Other Related News Releases

Veridian President and CEO presents Gravenhurst Mayor and Council with cheque and makes special announcement

Gravenhurst, ON – A delegation from Veridian attended today’s Town Council meeting to deliver both a cheque and a special announcement. Led by Veridian’s President and CEO Michael Angemeer, the group congratulated and thanked Council for the Town’s recent energy-efficient LED streetlight conversion, and then announced a three-year lead sponsorship commitment for the Dockside Festival of the Arts.

“We’re very pleased to be here in Gravenhurst to celebrate two important milestones,” said Angemeer. “First, we want to recognize and congratulate you on your investment in energy efficiency through the recent completion of your LED streetlight upgrade project. Second, we’re very pleased to mark our first ten years of service to your community with a sponsorship commitment to the Dockside Festival of the Arts which, as you know, is celebrating a milestone of its own this year.”  Click Here for Full Press Release


Sign Up to have The Gravenhurst Chamber Distribute your Marketing Materials!

Enhanced Map Distribution (1)

We’re traveling to Southern Ontario to distribute our brand new, hot off the press Experience Gravenhurst Enhanced Maps and we have room for your marketing materials!

Danielle and Tara will depart on May 7th to not only distribute our new publication, but also Muskoka Guides and other Muskoka Chamber publications etc.  We will stop at 35 locations, including Ontario Tourism & Travel Centres, Visitor Information Centres, AAA and CAA Travel Centres, from here to the US.

Here’s your opportunity to jump on board and have your marketing materials distributed to these very targeted locations, plus we’ll be sure to give more and leave less to deserving locations, based on your business’s target audiences.

If you’d like to be a part of this ‘road trip’, please prepare and drop off 1600 copies (64 bundles of 25 each) to the Chamber Office (275 Muskoka Rd. South, Gravenhurst, ON) no later than May 4th.

Looking forward to receiving your publications and promoting Gravenhurst through bulk distribution!

Tara Doyle
Manager of Programs
Gravenhurst Chamber of Commerce

Tourism Roundtable Meeting Summary

Gravenhurst Tourism Roundtable 

This morning the Chamber hosted a Spring Tourism Roundtable.  The discussion allowed local tourism operators to hear about local tourism programs and initiatives from the Chamber, Muskoka Tourism & RTO12.  As well, each operator attending shared information on upcoming events, promotions and partnership opportunities.  We’ve have posted notes below that may be of value as you start your spring marketing strategy.

2016-04-08 12.21.08

Summary of Meeting


Research & Data

Upcoming Events

  • April 13th, Commercial Airlines in Muskoka Airport, Stakeholder Info Session , 5-7 pm Click Here for Details
  • April 14th, Tourism Marketing Summit Meeting, North Granit Ridge Golf Course, Port Sydney – 9:30am to 2:00pm. Click Here for Details
  • April 21st, OTMPC Strategic Frame Review – Looking for input from stakeholders W Marriott – 5-7pm – chance to come out and speak mind to be funded by a provincial level Click Here for Details

Chamber Initiatives

  • Visitor Information Services
  • Mobile Visitor Information Services
  • Enhanced Map & Partner in Regional Tourism Guide
    • Big change this year – Community Marketing – Only an Enhanced Map this year – Collaborated with Muskoka Tourism to create one Regional Guide with all Chambers in the area. Emphasis on cultural activities.
  • Southern Ontario Tourism Print Distribution Tour – May 8-11th * Nominal Fee for Distribution of Materials*
  • New Website – Volunteers Wanted
  • blog – Volunteers Wanted
    • We ask that guest bloggers provide an outline of recommendations, experiences and expertise.  Important to not be too promotion and focus on the guest’s perspective.
    • Click Here to view list of topics 
    • ASK – We’re asking for guest bloggers – 2-3 images to accompany the blog – Experts within the community – 2-300 words on what they know best – we’ll edit, make suggestions – not too promotional – then post the blog – connect blogs to specific websites – volunteer to manage the topics of blogs and content coming in

Muskoka Tourism – Michael Lawley Comments

  • Muskoka Visitor Guide -Thank you to Chamber for help with Muskoka Guide.  New guide is 140,000 copies and distribution with a goal of attracting guests to further explore trip planning online.
  • Tourism Marketing Summit Meeting, North Granit Ridge Golf Course, Port Sydney – April 14th 9:30am to 2:00pm – AGM follows – all invited – brand revitalization project – share with everyone that we’re using the same language to customers – leverage opportunity to share what we have working for us that other regions don’t – same messaging for all of us – – digital world very important these days – how to do analytics – later in the afternoon – AGM – great conversation in the afternoon as well.
  • – Looking at the digital world as the path forward to reaching potential customers. 7000 visitors to website – 1.8 million page views – 336,000 outbound links – brand awareness – show consumer choice options between websites – 39% increase from previous year – consumers are using digital tours to make a buying decision – encouraging everyone to enter that world and if you are, amp them up – direct link between investment and return  Focus: Romance, Health and wellness, Getaways, Entertainment, Meetings, Cycle Tourism
  • Community Landing Pages – Gravenhurst Centric Information – Showcase accommodation, things to see and do, shopping etc.  Convert interest to point back to other websites and hopefully close the sale.
  • Specialty Retail Shopping – Small businesses, antiques, repurposed furniture, arts/culture community – dedicated pages presenting a different side of Muskoka – introduce them to a wonderful range of things throughout Muskoka – digital platform and introducing Muskoka Brand – Path forward

Explorers’ Edge – James Murphy Comments

  • Strategic Plan – 45 pages on where money goes and priorities
  • Encourage everyone to work with Muskoka Tourism and Chamber
  • 1700 Partners – rely on MT and Chambers
  • Consumer-centric philosophy Marketing – make it easier for consumer to choose our area over any other area in the world
  • Content strategy – push over through social media feeds – FB and google ad words – tell stories in a new way – shows analytics – search for the word Muskoka has doubled over the past couple years – Muskoka in your business name, more organic traffic. How to create loyalty, new customers and new markets
  • Fuel and Fun Program – 2 nights in the region – get gas card and two vouchers.  Get new travelers to the region – Can use it at any tourism operator they want – sign up with RT012 to be a part of it – redeem for services -Idea to get them out of the hotels and in the area spending money
  • New products and services – Ride the Edge – Motorcycle Touring – Group of Seven – Bike Cottage Country – Paddling – Craft/Beer etc. – Self guided tours getting people out in the region to get them out and about
  • New markets South and GTA and this year to the US markets – Canada’s birthday is coming up – opportunity to go into the US to target expats – come here to celebrate this birthday – wilderness experience just south of Toronto
  • Packages and Itineraries – Different conversations between locations – CEO’s etc. to help us articulate packages
  • Commercial Airlines into Muskoka Airport– bring consumers up to airport rather than coming through border in a car – everything in our power to make it easier to choose our destination over any other. 12 week pilot project over next couple years to bring consumers in from destinations from the US and the UK.  Flights out of Gatwick, opened up into Pittsburg – big thing is security screening – options to leave the least footprint on the region and most cost effective option – July and August pilot project  -Work with MT and Gravenhurst Chamber – Bethune House – Marriott – Gravenhurst flavor with board and organization.  -What drives us with first resorts were steamships – now new markets with airport.  -Bigger scope of airline industry – let’s get into the game.  Danielle – Come and express your opinions – there will be people thinking this is a negative impact – but as a Tourism Operator please respond.  Trade? – Any option for trade services – loss of rail service – uphill battle of what it would take – businesses in South River who relied on the rail service – few conversations – turned to airport to try and do that – cost difference between airport and train.  April 13th Wed night from 5-7 – airport dinner
  • OTMPC Strategic Frame Review – Looking for input from stakeholders – April 21st – JW Marriott – 5-7pm – chance to come out and speak mind to be funded by a provincial level – co-marketing with MT etc. A lot goes on behind the scenes with this money and how it impacts the community – this region 14% on tax base – tourism spending impacts us the most – now is not the time to cut, we need more investment. Michael Lawley – strategy point of view – 150 years of equity as the premiere destination in Ontario – If not there, more option for Toronto, Ottawa, Niagara Falls etc.  We need you there to prove Muskoka – Muskoka as the premiere Resort Destination.  Also a -Webinar with opportunity to give feedback – strong opinion, send email to Danielle, James, Michael etc. Message needs to be consistent – need to be part of the group
    • -David Rose suggested that getting the dignitaries here – on a plane – sawdust city bus – reach out to the press – why aren’t we bringing up writers, bloggers etc. take them through Muskoka – bring people here who are influencers – big tour, big story.

Gypsy Market Mews– Try to find ways to collaboratively market with other people – Glenn with Ice Cream Ice Cream – Split ads – competition means this Town is vibrant and exciting – opportunities to link our business with other businesses – Muskoka as a linked region

Historic Downtown Gravenhurst BIA – New approach – integrate itself with all initiatives – new relationships – Wharf Association – more business with the downtown whether with the BIA or not – Fashion Show May 4th – silent auction etc.

Gravenhurst Opera House – Presenting 2nd full season of professional summer theatre – last year a great success in relaunched – doubled sales compared to four year average before that – new staff team which is incredible – Krista trying to get out there on a larger scale – packaging again this year – no funding from the DTR this year though – same marketing budget for several years – sponsorship opportunities within local business community – try to bring more people to the region – bring people into Gravenhurst midweek – looking for those who want to package with us – hotel etc. can be in Muskoka as a whole – 100 + shows this season – increased rentals – great musical acts – working with local play writes – Film Festival – to impact other facilities at other places – expand programming into the fall – join Opera House mailing list

Investors Group – Isabelle Frati – Business or personal services – offer lunch and learns to local businesses as a tool for recruitment and retention strategies for topics such as, investments, retirement, goal planning, risk management, insurance, group benefits, RRSP programs etc. – free no obligation personal financial reviews – offer packages for RRSP for succession planning as well.

Joanne Lake – Forest Hill Realtor – buyers in Toronto to come here to Muskoka – Get to know businesses, to tell customers about who we are – Walker’s Point Community Centre pot luck once a month – encourage people to come into Town to come off the islands – focus on the off season – marketing for coming winters etc.

Sawdust City Brewing Company– Tourism tastings – free tours – two big events this summer – July 2nd Funk Festival – 16 diff Brewery’s, taps to Gravenhurst, Food trucks, live music.  Oktoberfest Sept 30th and Oct 1st – 3 sessions – still finalizing details – Accommodation please reach out to us because we’ll list you on our site – opening up our patio every long weekend, not May 24, 6 taps out there.  Trivia night, every second Tuesday, and country night is the next one April 29th – subscribe to newsletter

Frosty Pint Pub – Bob Obrien – Next Saturday pub crawl, poker run, two pubs in bb and Huntsville – May 28th partnered with Graeme Murry golf tourney at Taboo – 2nd tournament – Music Fest same day as Car Show, fundraiser for Graeme again – Sean Cotton – another event after labour day – and Bob is a grandpa!!!  Graeme Murry THANK YOU to Bob for golf tourney, not for profit organization – same opportunities he has a youth to get into sports – be successful in whatever they choose to be.

Rustix Furniture – Stanley Marshall – Promote business, no real events – store is mainly to promote myself and what I do – have other artists that contribute to the store – multiple artists– summer retail, looking forward to it

Muskoka Steamships & Discovery Centre – Jordan – Rebranded! – Exciting year for us – signage changes around Town etc. 150 years of Wanonah 1 – 100 mile cruise – antique boats, crazy day, port carling spring bridge etc. Grace and Speed 10 year anniversary – family friendly exibit theme, science theme, life in and around the water – relates to everyone in Muskoka – two fam tours everyone is welcome to attend May 27th 11:30-12:30, June 4th 12-1pm – pirates, star wars, frozen cruises for kids

Economic Development Renato Romanin – TOG – Thank you to Danielle – DTR concluded, revitalization does not stop, never ending, taking that and carrying on.  Rebranding in place, banners, wayfinding signage etc. Great celebration last Friday with clock tower, awakening of our downtown is happening – community improvement program still continuing – last intake concluded – applications being review – $55,000+ to give – encourage you to think about partnerships and marketing programs – from a downtown perspective – these ideas to bring people downtown shopping

 Sunshine 89.1 –Martha Gillan – Bayshore Broadcasing – work collaboratively with everyone to create promotions – both online and on the air – May 8th fundraiser, country western theme.

Gauthier Development Group – Mary Gauthier –  Passionate of Muskoka and Gravenhurst – share with each other – Town councilors out to see what happens behind the scenes – big commercial opportunities down at the Wharf – based on airport opportunity – in business, how do we get them to see what’s all around Town – transportation, coming from Airport – fly in then get them somewhere – Boats, Planes and Automobiles – lots happening – happy to be at this meeting – have to get back to the Government and let them know we need more money towards us

Residence Inn by Marriott Gravenhurst Muskoka – Jon Massey –  He wears many hats – summer ahead – things good on our end – exchange rate – more US visitors – hotel pace is up year after year – going along with is –in partnership with Chamber, during Car Show will be doing a Car Wash as a part of Father’s Day weekend – Children’s Miracle Network

Snowcrest Riders – John Massey thank you to the members and business partners – trying winter – appreciate partnership – AGM first Sat in June at the Marriott – Golf tourney as well at Taboo – June 9th – attending the snowmobile show this October, more involvement with Chamber businesses

Muskoka Wharf Association –Jon Massey –   – Ontario Tourism – suggest as a Team we sit down and talk about what we want to do as a Tourism Destination 150th birthday– work with whoever we can – Gravenhurst event – 7th year

Bethune House – Scott Davidson– Would like to work together as well for 150 birthday next year – work at the birthplace of a hero – Canadian that made its reputation with a social conscience – 40th Anniversary of the Bethune House – last year was a huge year for them over 13,000 visitors – all parks Canada sites will have Free Admission in 2017 for birthday – big year – new exhibits – outdoor play area for kids – biggest market is GTA, Chinese decent, 30-40 somethings above average families – Fall is crazy time for them – delegations that come with Government, wealthy Chinese families staying for months driving around Canada etc. – Visiting friends and relatives, students etc.  Canadian’s working on health care are new market – rent space for meetings and that kind of things too.  Offering private guided tours – staff fluent in Mandarin – Book fam tour open house.

KOA – Paul Cook –  20,000 adults who come to KOA camping each season – also has a great Golf Course – Par 3

Peter’s Players – Peter Swanek-  Starting 9th season – Summer line up ready to go – big names coming – two cruises in the year, spring and fall, purchasing parking across the road – airport market is perfect for him – potential to fly in to Muskoka then send back out – work on the edge, creates exciting business

Rosseau Arts and Culture Project – Vince Gritani – Muskoka Theatre Project – Incredible Film Festival – couldn’t book anything, no accommodation, Rosseau was just too far to come up for a day – made decision to get the hell out of Rosseau, wanted to come to Gravenhurst, has accommodations and businesses etc. – moving into the fall, Fall for Muskoka initiative – Destination Rosseau through Celebrate Ontario – focus on bus tours – want to get back into the bus tours, can’t do it in Rosseau, Film Festival at Opera House – has potential to be something huge with the word ‘Muskoka’, giving up Muskoka Theatre Project, wants Opera House to take it over – don’t know about Celebrate Grants yet, puts hold on everything – Put Muskoka back on Northern Ontario status Petition – benefits on all levels for this

Muskoka Wharf Marine – Muskoka Wharf Association – Greg DeMarco – Boat rentals, adventure tours, expanding into electric scooters, atv and side by side tours, start collaborating with other businesses, controls all docks at the Wharf – Muskoka Wharf Association – not just about creating a better wharf, but collaborating with other organizations to become more of a community together for Gravenhurst – important we don’t run our businesses separately

Muskoka Rose B&B – Elaine Rodaro & David Rose –  first year of operation, next to no reservations, now almost a third full, Town’s been helpful to us, different than regular B&B, separate house, space for meetings, yoga, cooking demonstrations, waterside events etc.  Marketing person, brought business here, first year has been really important in learning about Muskoka – most of the time, extremely excited to be here and partnering with the group, drop in and say hello to them, wants to create pacakges

Hutchings Marine Products/Boating Ontario – Judy Semple – distributor, not tourism oriented, but offer in the background, keeping that boater on the water – Boating Ontario Association, jumped on board with what’s happening with Tourism, want to ensure we supply boaters to access to water, hoping to get tourism to know how much the boating industry applies to the economy .  Recently attended the GTA of the Strategic Framework in Tourism Discussion.  Recommends that people attend April 21st event.  Janet Bauer Chief Executive Officer of Boating Ontario Association will be present at this meeting on the 21st as well.To learn more about what Boating Ontario is all about, please visit their website. Boating Ontario is the largest recreational marine trade association in Canada.  It’s members are provided with critical and regulatory support, information, advice and direction; and practical, money saving programs for all aspects of their business

Muskoka Information Radio –Gord Kidder-  Been in business for 4 years now, designed to inform people here about tourism, events, weather etc. Reach about 35,000 people in Muskoka – open to helping promote your businesses or events, please contact them – 102.3FM – Community and tourism information

Oar & Paddle, Carey’s, North Catering –Robbie Irvine –  Gravenhurst is so awesome – been in business for 10 years – just doing such a great job, and are the envy to other Towns – personal clap for each other – work in partnership with the Steamships, Marriott and private jets at the airports – exposure to client base in Muskoka – Catering is huge and business is up – value of our dollar is a good thing for Muskoka – already booked into 2017.  More and more film crews coming in, word is out about Muskoka that we can provide all services we need to.  Already established contracts with Peter’s Players for free food for bands etc. mention on website, work with Opera house and extended that same offer to any groups that come in for Free, need to keep complimenting the businesses who work really hard to do the same thing – LIVE music three nights a week at both restaurants – has not gone unnoticed – slipping some $ to help them get through the winter, partnerships are really working – airport expansion is very interesting and will support that going ahead.  Always looking for more partnerships – working with B&B’s to recommend them as a restaurant.

Social Media Consultant – Bryan White – Opera House, Megan’s Walk, Friday May 27th, RAC department Music on the Barge Sunday nights, BIA Fashion Show, dinner theatre at Opera House, dinner by Riverwalk, Vacation Time Real Estate, monthly promotions, looking to partnering, like and share promotion, Muskoka Concert Association at Opera House, Get onto social media? Live on FB – please contact me for help.

Blue Willow Tea Shop – Best High Tea Service recognized in UK Magazine – Muskoka Wharf Association integral part.  Hosting annual Mother’s Day Brunch reserve today.

Meeting Follow Up’s – 

  • Begin Canada 150th Planning ASAP
  • Share, attend and comment regarding airport expansion
  • Review upcoming Tourism meetings
  • Gravenhurst Arts and Culture Page on FB – go and post and share details on cultural events
  • Consider committee to coordinate Winter Tourism Marketing Campaign


From the Ground Up Chamber Newsletter – April 5th 2016


Good Afternoon Chamber Members –
What a week we had last week – on the short list was our AGM, hosting Tony Clement’s Women in Business Roundtable, Hot Off the Press is the Muskoka Visitor Guide, celebrating the Heritage Designation of the Post Office while sending our Gravenhurst Enhanced Map to press.  We have included some pictures below of the various activities.

This week we are looking forward to connecting with members at the Spring Tourism Roundtable Friday, April 8th from 10am – 12 pm at Sawdusty City Brewing Company.  The session will begin with an overview of programs and opportunities from the Chamber, Muskoka Tourism and Explorer’s Edge – the second half of the meeting we will ask operators to share their upcoming promotions, plans and summer activities.  The information poster is included below but in case you are too excited to wait, you can Click Here for more information and to RSVP.  

Have you updated your business listing for the directory? How does winning tickets to the CJ Chenier Live at Peter’s Players this Friday sound?  Check out the details on the contest and your step-by-step instructions below.

And finally, don’t forget to RSVP for our next After Hours hosted by Muskoka Retro and co-hosted by The Creative Plate Eatery on April 14th, 2016 from 5:30pm to 7:30pm – Poster below.

Have a great week-

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