Riding the Portage Flyer is a magical Christmas experience that takes place in Huntsville.
On Saturday, Dec. 21 climb aboard the Portage Flyer Christmas train for a trip to see Santa.
Starting at the Muskoka Heritage Place train station, purchase a $5 ticket and enjoy complimentary hot chocolate and cookies while you wait for the antique steam train to arrive.
The Christmas light-covered train travels along the Muskoka River on the one kilometre track to Fairy Lake where riders get off the train and visit with Santa. Then, they return on a later train. Each trip takes about 20 minutes. Visitors are reminded to dress warmly as the coaches are open-aired.
Trains run from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. with the last train leaving at 7:30 p.m. For more information contact Muskoka Heritage Place at 705-789-7576.
Ian Thomas joins Froude fundraiser
Canadian icon Ian Thomas is taking to the stage, raising funds for Muskoka Chautauqua founder Gary Froude.
A Juno winning singer/ songwriter, Thomas has agreed to donate his Jan. 4 performance to the cause.
Froude, who has long been a champion of arts and a community leader, is in a Barrie hospital. He was stricken with a mystery virus on June 26. After spending the first month of his illness in Toronto’s St. Michael’s Hospital, Froude was moved to Barrie’s Royal Victoria ICU, where he is currently on life support.
To help Froude continue his recovery, both in the Barrie hospital and at home in the future, a group of volunteers from the community has come together to put on the Up Close and Personal With Ian Thomas - The Bring Gary Home Benefit Concert, as well as a silent auction and art sale in January at JW Marriott The Rosseau Muskoka Resort & Spa in Minett. The silent auction and art sale takes place from Jan. 3 to 4 leading into the benefit concert.
Froude is best known as a founding members of the Muskoka Chautauqua and Muskoka Lakes Music Festival but he’s had a hand in organizing numerous other events, including the Spring into Summer festival, the Kaleidoscope Children’s Festival, Muskoka Chautauqua Literary Weekend, Aboriginal Week and Robbie Burns Weekend.
Those who wish to attend the concert can visit the website http://www.bringgaryhome.ca/ to learn more.
Prepare for your Muskoka wedding
Many couples dream of celebrating their special day with a Muskoka wedding. Attending the fourth annual Muskoka Wedding Show is a simple way to make it a reality.
About 500 guests are expected to visit the one-day show at Muskoka Boat and Heritage Centre on the Wharf in Gravenhurst. Those planning a wedding can chat with the approximately 50 different vendors including florists, caterers and jewellers, as well as providers of wedding gowns and tuxedos.
“We are just about sold out for vendor space,” says Cathy Tait, director of sales for Real Muskoka and the organizer of the Muskoka Wedding Show. “We will have everyone you need to plan your complete wedding.”
Many different Muskoka resorts will also be represented at the show. Tait says this year, there are many new vendors and some from out of the area.
A highlight of the day is the fashion show, scheduled to take place at 4 p.m. It will feature fashions for the bride and groom, wedding party and even mother of the bride.
Cost to attend is $10 per person. Each attendee will be eligible for the many door prizes, plus receive a swag bag at the door. Visit http://realmuskoka.com/2014-muskoka-wedding-show/ for more information.
Throughout the day guests will get to sample food provided by participating caterers. Wine samples will also be available.
“It’s a lot of fun,” says Tait. “It’s a day of glitz and glam.”
Six stylish and seasonally decorated homes in Bracebridge will open their doors to the public during the South Muskoka Memorial Hospital Auxiliary Christmas House Tour fundraiser on Dec. 7.
These homeowners are helping raise money to purchase equipment for the hospital.
This tour is a great opportunity to see homes with décor that make the most of the Christmas season. One can even find some ideas to incorporate into their own home for the festive season.
“It’s been very successful, we’re thrilled,” says Donna Green, fundraising chair for the Hospital Auxiliary.
The last house tour was held in 2011 and raised $17,500. “100 per cent of the proceeds go towards purchasing equipment at the hospital,” says Green. In 2011, 355 tickets were sold for the tour.
The event’s main sponsor is Scotiabank, which will match all donations made up to $5,000. Tickets for the tour are $25 each and are available at Bracebridge, Gravenhurst and Port Carling Scotiabank branches.
There are six homes involved that have never been open to the public, including the last of the three buildings that make up the former Anglican Monastery property, the refectory.
Other homes on the tour include The Ecclestone Home, built in the 1880s, Chuter’s Retirement Retreat, an extensively decorated home with a grand piano, and the home in the woods owned by Tina and Roy Davies, which features log construction, a stone fireplace and an interior rock climbing wall.
Also part of the tour is the Hospital Auxiliary craft sale and best bid auction at the Rotary Centre for Youth in Bracebridge.
“It’s a great time to do some Christmas shopping and help out a great cause,” says Green.
The Christmas House Tour begins on Dec. 7 at 10 a.m. and runs until 4 p.m. It is a self guided tour and the homes can be visited in any order. The Rotary Centre for Youth will be open from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. for the craft sale and best bid auction.
For more information call Donna Green at (705) 645-4038.
Huntsville hosts holiday art show
The time is right for a Muskoka artists show in Huntsville.
An eclectic group of artists featuring glass, sculptures, paintings and more will be gathering at Sutherland Hall on Dec. 13, 14 and 15 for the first annual Made in Muskoka Christmas show.
Featuring 15 Muskoka artists, the show is a great place to find a one-of-a-kind holiday gift for all tastes, says glass artist Susan Higgins who is co-ordinating the show.
She says many of the participating artists are visited in the summer months during tours at their studios but not as much in the winter. Higgins credits all the artist for volunteering their time to help organize the event.
“I had been thinking about it for a while that it would be really nice because there are so many professional art and craft people in Muskoka,” says Higgins. “There hadn’t been a professional level show in Huntsville.”
In lieu of an admission they are asking those attending to donate what funds they can which will go to the Table Food Bank. The women’s group from All Saints Church will be serving lunch on Saturday, Dec. 14.
To find out more, visit: madeinmuskokachristmas.com
Enjoy a winter visit to Santa’s Village
Santa’s making a quick visit to his summer home in December and inviting everyone to join him.
Santa’s Village SantaFest takes place Dec. 21 to 23 and a Thank Santa Day is held on Dec. 28 in Bracebridge.
About 2,500 people visited last year, and Christopher Edwards, sales and marketing for Santa’s Village suggests it makes a great family tradition. “It’s a chance to see Santa’s Village from a whole different perspective – in the winter.
While a visit with the famous guy in red is the highlight, there are also many fun winter activities in which families can participate. The village is open each day from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. with sleigh rides available from noon to 4. Don’t forget to decorate a Christmas cookie, make a holiday craft, have your face painted and visit the petting farm.
Donations for the toy drive or food bank are appreciated and will be delivered to the appropriate organizations by Santa’s elves.
Santa’s Village will accept unwrapped toys for the toy drive and non-perishable food items to deliver to local drives after the event.
Admission is $8 per person and children under two are free. “Come and enjoy a great day of outdoor fun,” says Edwards.