We’re #1 when it comes to fall colours

It’s no secret to those of us who live here, but Muskoka has been named the #1 place in Canada to view the fall colours.

In an article published Sept. 9 on Huffington Post Canada, Muskoka topped a list of the five best places to view the autumn foliage from the across the country. Also on the list are the Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia, Algonquin Park, the Laurentian Mountains in Quebec and Vancouver Island.

In making their picks, the Huffington Post considered not only fall colours but the ability to view them alongside fewer crowds and in unique ways, like boat cruises and zip lines.

Check out the full story at: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/flight-network/5-best-leaf-watching-spots-canada_b_11882128.html?ncid=fcbklnkcahpmg00000001


Lucky Dockside Festival of the Arts visitors

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Three visitors to Dockside Festival of the Arts were door prize winners receiving gifts donated by the generous vendors. Gravenhurst Chamber executive director Sandy Lockhart presents a beautiful basket of gifts to Joan Miller of St. Catharines (top left). Chamber president Bob Collins presents a gift basket to Margaret Faudemer of Washago (top right).

New Utterson resident Brad MacDonald won a bird feeder.IMG_0180 (1)


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 experiencegravenhurst.com & gravenhurstchamber.com




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 / manager@gravenhurstchamber.com

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