Bracebridge, Muskoka: Small-Town Charm in the Heart of Winter

Bracebridge is arguably one of the busiest hubs in Ontario’s cottage country in the summer season. Located centrally in the popular vacation region (and known affectionately as “the heart of Muskoka”), this small-town that’s big on charm is home to great shopping, great dining, festive eventsand an exceptional arts and culture scene.

What’s perhaps less known is that this spot on the meandering Muskoka River (where you can stroll right over one of the most stunning waterfalls in Ontario) has much to offer travellers all winter long as well.

The big draw in the snowy season is the incredible Winter Village in the centre of town. Day and night skaters gather to glide around Memorial Park, amidst the twinkling of sparkling lights in the trees that surround them. Special events that feature the Winter Village are organised often, including the hugely popular Fire & Ice Festival that takes place on January, 28, 2017 (and which also features a giant 3-run tube luge down the main street).

Outdoor skating also takes place at Annie Williams Park on the Muskoka River, a spot that will be familiar to anyone who has ever attended the Muskoka Arts & Crafts Show, the Session Muskoka Beer Festival, and The Great Muskoka Paddling Experience.

LivOutside 4

Bracebridge has much to offer the outdoor adventure enthusiast in winter. Head to the Liv Outside centre for snowshoe and fat bike rentals, and enjoy using the “Riverside Trails” that were recently selected as some of the best in Canada by Explore Magazine. Liv Outside provides guided expeditions and clinics as well, including back country skiing and ice climbing when the temperatures make for great opportunities.

If you’ve got your own equipment, consider skiing and snowshoeing at the Bracebridge Resource Management Centre just outside of town. This expanse of Crown Land features 16 kms of trails that are groomed for Nordic skiing in winter.

Bracebridge is also connected to the OFSC snowmobile trails located in District 7, so it’s easy to book accommodation, pull your trailer up and ride. Fuel is also available just off the trails in town.

Ride-the-Edge-opening-up-900x480Kid fun indoors means heading to the Rich Hill Candles factory to make your own candles or to take a tour, to the indoor Play Pit next door, and a stop at Applause! Toy Store on the main street.  Also on main street you’ll find the fine arts & craft studio, Let Go The Cat, which often has children’s programming running.

Adult fun starts at Muskoka Brewery (celebrating its 20th anniversary!) for a tour and tasting.

muskoka brewery 20th anniversary

This winter, visit the ‘heart of Muskoka’ and discover why cottage country has a warm welcome for you all year long.  

For more great shopping and dining in Bracebridge, click here. To plan your stay, click here.

Time lapse video by Moore Photography. 

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