Thanks to the 2016 Santa Claus Parade sponsors and volunteers!



It was another great year at the Santa Claus Parade on Saturday, Nov. 26. A huge thank you to all of our sponsors and those who came to help out. Without you it simply wouldn’t have been possible!

  • Community Sponsor = Ontario Power Generation
  • Band Sponsor = Chamberlain Timber Mart
  • Sponsor = Town of Gravenhurst
  • Photos with Santa = Neviss Electric
  • Hope Float Award Sponsor = Stevenson Plumbing & Electric
  • Supporter Sponsor = BV Accounting
  • Patron Sponsor = Gravenhurst Sobey’s, Robinson Haulage, Cavill Turner Funeral Home
  • Parade Marshals = Gravenhurst Legion Branch 302
  • Commentary on the fire truck = Fred Schulz
  • Gravenhurst Fire Department, including Sparky
  • OPP – road closures and leading the parade
  • Town of Gravenhurst by-law department – staff and the many volunteers securing and barricading off the roads
  • Town of Gravenhurst – Amy Taylor 
  • Bucket Brigade – 1st Gravenhurst Scout Group
  • Visits with Santa – Gravenhurst Lions Club
  • Refreshments at the visits with Santa – Gravenhurst Girl Guides
  • Crafts at the visits with Santa – Muskoka Family Focus & Children’s Place
  • Tree Lighting – Historic Downtown Gravenhurst
  • Parade Breakfast – Residence Inn by Marriott Muskoka Wharf
  • Filming the Parade – Cogeco Cable – Scott, Samantha & Jack
  • Commentary on Cogeco – Muskoka Music Source – Scott & Sherry Dunlop 
  • Maddie & Sadie – Gravenhurst High School
  • Catharina, Aimee and Chris  – Chamber volunteers

Here comes Santa Claus!

Santa Claus is on his way to Gravenhurst, and the town is ready to celebrate all weekend long!

“This is going to be an incredible weekend of family fun for the entire south Muskoka community,” says Joy Cantle-Jones, who is helping organize the events for the Gravenhurst Chamber. “This is such a big weekend for Gravenhurst and the surrounding communities. We’ve been working around the clock to make sure this is another holiday season kick-off to remember.”

Friday evening kicks off at 5 p.m. with the Gravenhurst Chamber of Commerce’s Business After Hours, held at the Chamber/Service Ontario office at 275 Muskoka Road South. As soon as the After Hours concludes, the focus shifts next door to the Heritage Square (in front of the Opera House) for the annual tree lighting at 6:30 p.m. The fun continues with Black Friday shopping running throughout the downtown Gravenhurst area, to go along with Victorian carolers, carriage rides and a visit for Mrs. Claus.

Things get rolling bright and early the next morning at the Breakfast with Santa event, hosted by the Marriott Inn Marriott Muskoka Wharf, between 7 and 10 a.m. Minimum donation is $8, or a donation of a toy or dry goods.

The Santa Claus Parade starts at 11 a.m., and the Gravenhurst Fire department will be collecting toys for children in need. The scouts will also be in attendance collecting donations from parade-goers to help the Chamber pay for the cost of operating the parade and the other events and functions they organize throughout the year. The parade is one of the few remaining that are free to enter a float.

There will also be a chance to meet the jolly old elf himself at the Centennial Centre at 12:30 p.m., hosted by the Lions Club of Gravenhurst.

Muskoka Springs After Hours draws a crowd

On Tuesday Oct.25, Chamber members were treated to a fantastic evening during the Business After Hours at Muskoka Springs. A good crowd showed up and were treated to some delicious concoctions courtesy of Muskoka Springs and Rae-Anne from Beam Suntory. Well Fed came through with H’ordouvres par excellence and Blooming Muskoka had a spooky flower arrangement for the raffle draw (congratulations to Mary Gauthier!)

Michael Billinghurst provided a riveting history lesson on the company (Muskoka Dry Pale Ginger Ale dates back to 1873), the Gravenhurst aquifer and the unique building on Bay Street. Muskoka Springs also has some intriguing plans in the works – so stay tuned.


Gravenhurst’s annual celebration of the holiday season is set for Saturday, Nov. 26. For 2016, the theme of the parade will be “dreaming of a white Christmas.”

“This year we want to take Gravenhurst back to those classic Christmases of yesteryear,” says Sandy Lockhart, the executive director of the Gravenhurst Chamber of Commerce which organizes the annual parade. “We can all picture those traditional Christmas scenes – the family gathered around a roaring fire, decorations placed with care, ornaments on the tree and the snow softly falling outside. Where the float ideas go from there is only limited by imagination.”

The annual Gravenhurst Santa Claus Parade has drawn hundreds of people to downtown Gravenhurst for the past 62 years. The parade kicks off at 11 a.m., heading out from the Gravenhurst Legion, before proceeding down First Street and then onto Muskoka Road. Afterwards, Santa himself will be available to meet the young ones (and the young at heart) in the Terry Fox Room at the Gravenhurst Centennial Centre.

  • Entering a float in the parade is free of charge
  • Registration packages are available at the Chamber office located at 275 Muskoka Road North, or on our website at
  • The parade is organized and operated by the Gravenhurst Chamber of Commerce
  • Contact the chamber at if you are interested in parade sponsorship opportunities.

Terence Haight’s Gravenhurst legacy lives on


The Town of Gravenhurst is looking to spread the word on how Terence Haight’s financial legacy can live on in your work.

The Terence Haight Financial Assistance program was established by the Town of Gravenhurst Council to provide financial assistance through the Terence Haight endowment to community groups and organizations that directly serve the residents of Gravenhurst. Each year, up to $20,000 is awarded to a number of different groups.

  • Interested in applying for a Terence Haight grant?
  • Not sure if you are eligible?
  • Don’t understand the requirements?

The Terence Haight Financial Advisory Committee is hosting an Open House to share information about the grants, discuss eligibility criteria and highlight the important elements that need to be included in your application.

When: Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Time: 5:30 – 7:00pm

Where: Council Chambers, Gravenhurst Town Hall, 3-5 Pineridge Gate, Gravenhurst P1P 1Z3

If you need more info, head over to the Town of Gravenhurst website here.

Terence Haight was born in Peterborough, Ontario, November 5, 1920. His father, a newspaper pressman, moved the young family to Bracebridge for the beauty of the area and clean air. Terence, along with his three brothers and one sister, loved the outdoors, swimming, canoeing, snowshoeing and skiing. They also helped tend their father’s vegetable garden, hunted and trapped.

As a young man, Mr. Haight ran a bakery in nearby Bracebridge, and the tourist establishments in Gravenhurst always gave him plenty of business. Eventually marrying a Gravenhurst woman named Audrey McDonald, they moved two hours away to North Bay, where he worked in a hardware store. After Audrey died, Terence relocated to New Liskeard, Ontario.

Mr. Haight was a private, yet very much community-minded person. Although he helped many causes in his community of New Liskeard, he did not seek attention, preferring to donate in a discreet, charitable manner.

What his friends and neighbours did not know was that Terence had invested in mining stocks and quietly amassed a small fortune. To everyone’s surprise he bequeathed over $ 1 million dollars to the Town of Gravenhurst.


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:


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 &