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Saturday, June 30, 2018

Ho, ho, ho land is Santa's Village summer playground; classic boat show; steamboats a' comin'



   One-Tank Trip for June 30/18

   (c) By Jim Fox

   Ever wondered where Santa spends his off season with Mrs. Claus?
   Like many Ontarians, he heads to his cottage at the appropriately named Santa’s Village in Bracebridge.
   The “jolly gent” is rather laid back at this time of year enjoying the cooling breezes away from the North Pole.
   He spends his days welcoming families and talking with kids about their “want lists” as the Christmas countdown clock is into the 170+ days.
Kids gather around Santa at his village in Bracebridge.
   Muskoka’s theme park is aimed at younger children and set in an “Enchanted Forest” located halfway between the equator and the North Pole on the 45th parallel.
   On the banks of the Muskoka River and set amongst fragrant pine trees, it’s been Santa’s seasonal domain for 63 years.
   This ho-ho-ho land of themed rides and attractions was established in 1955 as a tourist destination by a group of Bracebridge residents.
   Along with Santa visits, there are Christmas-themed riverboat and train rides, a rollercoaster, petting farm, splash pad, paddleboats and lots of food and picnic tables.
Taking a cruise on Santa’s Summer Sleigh on the Muskoka River is lots of fun.
   There’s also Sportsland geared to older kids with pay-as-you-play activities, including batting cages, immersive soccer and bowling games, a go-kart course, laser tag, mini-golf, a bungee trampoline and an arcade pavilion.
   One of the newer attractions is Muskoka Zip Lines and Aerial Park while overnight facilities include a campground and cabins. Details: santasvillage.ca; (705) 645-2512

   Just add water
   Boats and water mean summer fun in Muskoka, the land of 1,600 lakes, and historic wooden craft and steamboats.
   Check out these coveted vessels up close at the Antique and Classic Boat Society of Toronto’s annual Vintage Boat Show at the Muskoka Wharf in Gravenhurst on July 7.
Crowds gets a closer look at classic Muskoka wooden boats in Gravenhurst.
   This is a free event with the theme “Keeping the Passion Alive – A Salute to the Heritage Boat Shops.”
   There will be more than 100 antique boats and modern high-powered watercraft on view and in the water.
   For kids there’s card board boat building at 1 p.m. where participants can then paddle their creations in the bay, along with painting model boats throughout the day.
   Organizers say the “eclectic display” of vehicles from 1906 to the mid-50s will include Amphicars on land and in the water, classic sports cars, pickup trucks and many vintage automobiles.
   A fashion show takes place at 2 p.m. at the Lions Pavilion featuring clothing from Muskoka Bay Clothing and Muskoka Discovery Centre. More information: acbs.ca; (416) 299-3311

   Steamboats a’comin’
   American humorist and social observer Mark Twain said it best and would be pleased to have seen all the watercraft dating back 152 years on the Muskoka lakes.
   Still taking passengers on voyages on these blue-black waters is a “modern interpretation” of Muskoka first steamship, Wenonah, from 1866, named Wenonah II, circa 2002.
The Segwun and Wenonah II are still working the Muskoka lakes. (Jim Fox photo)  
    Joining her for sailings is the 131-year-old refurbished RMS Segwun, North America’s oldest operating mail steamship, said John Miller, president of the Muskoka Steamships and Discovery Centre.
   The milestone sailing event that’s older than Canada paved the way for the early settlement of Muskoka and the beginning of the lucrative tourism industry in the region, he added.
   This year’s sailing season from Gravenhurst continues to Oct. 14 with sightseeing cruises along with themed and children’s special events.
   Each summer, Segwun attracts thousands of tourists enabling passengers to see the beauty of Muskoka as it should be seen – by water – as she proudly plies the Muskoka Lakes representing the elegance, style and heritage of our past,” Miller said. Find out more at: realmuskoka.com/steamships; 1-866-687-6667

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Jim Fox can be reached at onetanktrips@hotmail.com
For more One-Tank Trips: http://1tanktrips.blogspot.ca

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