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Community Profile


GRAVENHURST GATEWAY TO MUSKOKA Gravenhurst is committed to being the Muskoka destination as a clean, green, intelligent and sustainable community that strives for innovation. The Town of Gravenhurst demonstrates accountability, collaboration, integrity, respect, service excellences, and wisdom to residents, visitors, and businesses alike. Discover the unforgettable Gateway to Muskoka!


INTRODUCTION Known as the “Gateway to Muskoka”, Gravenhurst is the first stop in Muskoka coming from southern Ontario. From the Canadian Shield to pristine lakes to beautiful landscapes, Gravenhurst truly is a sight to behold.

Gravenhurst is home to many of Muskoka’s most recognized cultural assets, including the Gravenhurst Opera House, where there are many theatre productions featured, as well as a score of other events throughout the year. Gravenhurst is easy to get to: a short drive from Toronto, fly into Muskoka Airport, arrive by floatplane, or come by boat through the TrentSevern waterway. Leave the pressures and haze of big city living behind and soak up the sun lakeside, or relax and gaze at the night stars. Gravenhurst is the ideal location for you to live, work, and play!   Come see experience the hospitality for yourself. Enjoy the natural beauty that Gravenhurst has to offer!  

More than simply physical beauty, Gravenhurst is the embodiment of small town living. The Town began in lumber trade and before long became prosperous and flush with sawmills and lumberyards. This brought the railway, which in turn welcomed the first tourists to Muskoka. With the railway, more and more tourists visited, leading to the everlasting development of the tourist trade as many resorts and hotels were built around our lakes. Gravenhurst hosts a wide range of year round attractions, restaurants, and accommodations for visitors and community members alike.

DISCOVER THE PEOPLE Gravenhurst’s population has grown steadily year after year. In addition to a year-round population, there is a sizeable seasonal population base. On a regional level, Gravenhurst is part of the District of Muskoka, which is experiencing a growth rate of 1.0% Gravenhurst is the third largest community in the District, both for permanent and seasonal populations. The ideal location combined with a steady population increase continues to create a demand for new businesses and services. Gravenhurst


Current Population



Seasonal Population



2020 Projections



2025 Projections



Similar to the rest of Muskoka, Gravenhurst’s median age is above the provincial rate. However,

21% of the population is between the ages of 25 and 44 years old.

Trends have begun to show an increase number of young people choosing the area.

80+ 70‐79 60‐69 50‐59 40‐49 30‐39 20‐29 10‐19 0‐9

947 1391 2094 2051 1453 1353 1244 1025 976 0






Since 2010, the vast majority of new residents came to Gravenhurst from within the province.

Mobility ‐ 5 Years 8%

5% Intraprovincial Migrants


Interprovincal Migrants External Migrants


Gravenhurst Education Levels


University above bachelor level


College, CEGEP


Apprenticeship or trades

914 3,847

Post Secondary Highschool or equivalent


Certificate, diploma or degree



896 0







Gravenhurst supports a qualified and diverse workforce. The vast majority of our residents are educated and highly-skilled. 59% of the population aged 25-64 has some form of post-secondary education. This lends to the resulting strong numbers of workers in skilled trades, business, finance and management.

Gravenhurst has a healthy average household income of

$76,787, $787 above the provincial average. The average income per person is $40,774.

Gravenhurst’s employment base growth rate is higher than the provincial average, at 1.6% from the last five year period.

Gravenhurst’s unemployment rate of 6.28% is lower than the provincial average of 6.6%.

Participation Rate


Employment Rate Unemployment Rate

50.56% 6.28%

DISCOVER THE LIFE Discover Affordability Gravenhurst’s typical home is valued at $230,000, while a typical condominium is assessed at $261,000. There is an expected average increase of 1.6% in 2017 for property values. The assessed values in Gravenhurst are lower on average than the surrounding area, making Gravenhurst an ideal location for your next home. In addition to lower cost of housing Gravenhurst has many unique amenities to offer.

Discover More Time An increase in commute times and higher volumes of traffic detract from the amount of time that could be spent relaxing and enjoying time off with family and friends. Moving away from the heavy traffic that plagues many urban centres enables you to cut your costs on gas and insurance by enjoying a shorter more scenic commute in Gravenhurst. The unique mix of retail, outdoor recreation, and cultural events provides plenty of options, allowing for a more relaxed work-life balance. Lower costs of living also translates into more disposable income to do what you love, and enjoy your extra time.

Single Detached Dwelling Average Sale Price:

$225,000 Townhouse/Apartment Average Sale Price:

$281,000 Average Rental Rate for Residential Property:

$905/Month Commercial Building Average Sale Price:

$235,133 Commercial Building Average Rental Cost:

$15/Sq. Ft. Discover High Quality Education Gravenhurst is served by the Trillium Lakelands District School Board and the Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board. Schools in Gravenhurst include; Gravenhurst Public School, Gravenhurst High School, and Gravenhurst Adult Education Training Center. Living in Gravenhurst also puts you in close proximity to many postsecondary institutions. Georgian College operates its main campus in Barrie, Ontario, with additional satellite campuses in the nearby communities of Orillia and Bracebridge. Lakehead University also operates a campus in Orillia, providing a variety of undergraduate and Master’s programs.

Discover Recreation Gravenhurst’s location in Muskoka provides year-round entertainment and outdoor recreation opportunities. Surrounded by dozens of lakes, there are many opportunities for kayaking, canoeing, boating and swimming during the summer. Additionally, Gravenhurst is located just a short drive away from many Provincial Parks and Conservation Areas for a weekend camping get-away. Enjoy the many hiking trails in the area to get a view of the impressive fall colours, or take a sunset cruise on the Wenonah II or RMS Segwun. With three world class golf courses, nine hiking, skiing and snowshoeing trails totaling 37.5 km, over 400 kms of groomed snowmobile trails, four baseball diamonds, six parks with beach access, tennis courts, a splash pad, soccer fields and a stunning recreation centre with skate park and arena, there is no shortage of outdoor activities to choose from.

Discover Shopping Gravenhurst provides a unique shopping experience, whether it be in historic Downtown Gravenhurst or at the picturesque Muskoka Wharf. From artisan galleries, to home décor, to fashion boutiques, Gravenhurst has something for every shopper. Running from May until October is also the Farmer’s Market, showcasing upwards of 90 vendors during the summer months.

Discover Fun There are exciting events all year long in Gravenhurst! Highlighting the winter season is the Winter Carnival, a week long community celebration featuring a polar bear dip, a demolition derby, kids events, live entertainment, and so much more. Throughout the summer enjoy “Cinema Under the Stars’, which is outdoor movies in Gull Lake Rotary Park. Other iconic events include: Dockside Festival of the Arts, the Antique and Classic Boat Show, Spring into Summer Art Crawl, Music On the Barge, the BIA Fashion Show and Muskoka RibFest.

Discover Culture Celebrating our culture is a priority for the Town of Gravenhurst and essential to making Gravenhurst a place to live, work, play and invest. Gravenhurst is proud to have many cultural focal points throughout the Town, including the Gravenhurst Opera House, Music On the Barge, Muskoka Steamships and Discovery Centre and the Bethune Memorial House.

DISCOVER BUSINESS For those setting up shop for the first time, Gravenhurst offers a ‘Welcome to Town’ package. The Town also offers an official welcome and ribbon cutting ceremony to help boost your opening. If a business is located in Downtown Gravenhurst, they are encouraged to participate in the Downtown Dollars program, which is a gift certificate program that promotes shopping in local businesses. It is a free program for businesses and is run by the Town in collaboration with the Chamber of Commerce.

Downtown businesses are also encouraged to participate in the Community Improvement Plan (CIP) Program; which aims to help business owners and operators improve their property through grant programs up to 50% of eligible costs. 12 grant categories exist in this CIP program and applications are due on March 31st of each year. Gravenhurst is part of FedNor for Federal Funding, and the Eastern Ontario Development Fund. Whether you are looking for gigabit internet for your home or office, or wireless internet for the cottage, Gravenhurst has a number of providers that can serve your internet needs.

Union Gas is the natural gas provider, and Veridian Connections and Hydro One both have territories within Gravenhurst as electricity providers. Much of the urban area of Gravenhurst has access to municipal water and sewer, which is administered through the District of Muskoka.

Gravenhurst has a competitive commercial tax rate that is lower than our neighbours and other similar sized municipalities. With an industrial tax rate of 2.03%, we are well below the Ontario average. Easy access to major highways and a large seasonal population, mixed with the low cost of doing business makes Gravenhurst a great place to start your next venture. Ingersoll




Central Elgin




Perth East


Severn Township

Commercial Tax Rates





1.83% 0







Gravenhurst prides itself on an open dialogue with those looking to live and invest in our community. As outlined in our corporate values, we are accountable, and therefore responsible and responsive. We also work together as a team and value our community partners, by practicing respect and inclusivity. Above all, we are open, honest, and transparent which is exemplified by Town staff. Visit the Town of Gravenhurst Municipal Office where staff are happy to assist you with your transition to the area.

Value of Building Permits Institutional, $1,783,000

Commercial, $3,392,086

Residential, $31,692,1899

Gravenhurst is always continuing to grow; there was over $36 million of construction value performed in 2015, with more than 670 building permits issued.




DISCOVER THE LOCATION Centrally located, Gravenhurst is situated at the southern tip of beautiful Muskoka, and central enough to allow businesses access to larger markets. Gravenhurst feeds into both main highways in Muskoka, with direct access to Muskoka Road 169 and Highway 11. Muskoka Road 169 runs northwest to Parry Sound, and southeast to Gravenhurst, while Highway 11 runs north to Huntsville and North Bay, and south to Barrie.

Accessible by bus, Ontario Northland operates services between Toronto and North Bay which allows travellers from Gravenhurst to head both northbound and southbound. Hammond Transportation also operates bus services along the Highway 11 corridor, connecting Huntsville to Barrie.

Proximity to Major Centers  Barrie — 75 Kms (45 mins)  Toronto — 183 Kms (2 hrs)  North Bay —177 Kms (95 mins)  Newmarket — 147 Kms (2 hrs) 

The Muskoka Airport is located in Gravenhurst, making us accessible by air. It is an official Canada Customs Airport of Entry, and is used by charter companies, corporate flights, and recreational flyers. The Muskoka Airport has a newly renovated air terminal that reflects the first class destination of Gravenhurst to pilots and passengers. The Muskoka Airport is anticipating that commercial air service from Toronto will become available two days a week starting summer 2017.

Given recent investment into gaining a fibre optic network, Gravenhurst also makes the ideal location for telecommuting. Most jobs today can be done with a laptop and stable internet access and with the widespread availability of video conferencing it can be as though you are right in the meeting room with everyone else. Given the proximity to both Barrie and Toronto, Gravenhurst is never more than a few hours away for when an in-person presence is needed. Telecommuting can lead to greater productivity, help address skilled labour shortages, and reduce a business’ carbon footprint.

DISCOVER DOWNTOWN Downtown Gravenhurst is a prime investment area and is home to many unique and exciting businesses. Contained within Gravenhurst’s downtown is the Business Improvement Area (BIA). This organization includes a Board of Directors made up of local store owners, who undertake beautification, marketing, and event initiatives to encourage business patronage. Downtown Gravenhurst businesses have access to various incentive programs including the Community Improvement Plan and the Downtown Dollar Program.

DISCOVER THE WHARF The Muskoka Wharf is located on Lake Muskoka and covers 89 acres. There is a variety of dining and shopping options, as well as showcasing key history and heritage components of the development of Gravenhurst, notably the Muskoka Steamships and Discovery Centre. It is home to the oldest operating steamship in North America – the R.M.S. Segwun. The Wharf is home to many festivals and events, such as the Farmer’s Market, which runs from May to October, Dockside Festival of the Arts, In-Water Boat Show and Muskoka RibFest. It is also home to two condominium buildings and a Marriott Residence Inn. It boasts over 2000 feet of boardwalk from one end to the other, as well as a playground with Splash Pad, public docks, and other outdoor recreational facilities.

DISCOVER THE AIRPORT The Airport Industrial Area is another option ready for investment. There is an annual 15,000 aircraft movements from the airport, many of which are international. The airport operates 24 hours, every day, year round. There is office space for lease in the newly renovated terminal, as well property leases available. The Muskoka Airport is an important part of the transportation industry for the area and a Transport Canada certified facility. A unique aspect about this airport is the ability to own both the land and building for your hangar or business. Leased land is also available.

DISCOVER BUSINESS The Industrial Park is an investment area located at the north end of town. It is home to a variety of businesses, such as Muskoka Custom Detailing, Kahshe Boat Works, Muskoka Signs and Graphics, and Above and Beyond Building Contractors. Easily accessible from Highway 11, it is an ideal location for businesses that require easy access to transportation routes. A final option to explore new business in Gravenhurst is the Highway 11 corridor. This busy corridor is home to many businesses who are capitalizing on easy access to transportation routes and a high volume of customer traffic. This route sees over 34,000 cars daily during peak times.

DISCOVER TOURISM Tourism worldwide accounts for $90.3 billion in spending each year, while Ontario welcomes 141 million tourists annually and is the largest travel destination in Canada. Tourism business accounts for 39% of all of the businesses located within Gravenhurst. Located in the Muskoka region, one of the strongest tourism brands in the country, Gravenhurst sees many of the 4 million people who visit this area annually. While the summer season dominates the tourism calendar, winter opportunities are becoming more and more popular each year.

Investment Opportunities 

Build new tourism experiences for niche markets (i.e. motor coach tour travellers, LGBTQ travelers, senior travel)


Create festivals to attract visitors from beyond the borders of Gravenhurst, specifically in the shoulder seasons


Leverage the existing arts, cultural, events and entertainment assets through collaboration and packaging tourism products


Recreational adventure experiences (i.e. cycling, canoeing, equestrian, snowshoeing)


Tourist destination attractions (i.e. mini-golf, trap shooting, escape room)

Gravenhurst has six distinctive core attractors that present investment and product enhancement opportunities:  The Resort Experience


Outdoor Recreation

 Small Town Experience


Water-based Features & Activities

 The Cottage Experience


Arts, Culture & Heritage Experiences

Average Visitor by Season

In addition to the Town of Gravenhurst, the Gravenhurst Chamber of Commerce has identified Tourism as a important part of their mandate. Whether it is through tourism marketing or events, they strive towards attracting more people to the doors of local businesses. Additional supports for the tourism sectors come from a strong Regional Tourism Organization (RTO 12—Explorer’s Edge) and a strong Destination Marketing Organization (Muskoka Tourism), both of which strive to create collaboration amongst tourism operators and promote Muskoka as a year round tourism destination. Memberships exist for all of these organizations giving local tourism operators a wide audience when spending marketing dollars.

“Gravenhurst is an entrepreneurial playground. We were lucky enough to host 50 shows in 2015 with 60% being sold out. Michelle and I are grateful to be able to work and live in such a wonderful community in Muskoka. Dreams do come true.” - Peter Swanek, Owner—Peter’s Players

DISCOVER CREATIVITY The creative economy is a reflection of the greater global economy shifting from the production of goods to the delivery of services, as a result of a strong knowledge based economy. Those driving the creative industries are known as the creative class, who are now choosing Gravenhurst based on quality of life and lifestyle options.

Size of Labour Force Professional, scientific and technical services Information and cultural industries Finance and insurance Arts, entertainment and recreation 0








Ontario has become known as a hub for creative class workers. As urban settings become less attractive, towns like Gravenhurst are seeing a greater section of their population made up of creative class workers. Gravenhurst has positioned itself to become an exceptional place for the creative class and their families to live, work, play and learn. Already situated in the area are many artisans including the notable art gallery Arts at the Albion, as well as the renowned Dockside Festival of the Arts. As a picturesque town with a unique culture and heritage, it makes an appealing home base for the creative class. Gravenhurst has many designated heritage structures and a variety of local music and theatre to enjoy.

“There are a lot of talented people up here, who have either organically grown up in the area or they have moved here away from the city for reasons similar to the reason I did.” - Graham Porter, CEO Thumbprint Education Systems

The Gravenhurst Advantage  Internet Connectivity - within the urban area, 100% access to high-speed connectivity  A quality of place and lifestyle that is second to none. Enjoy working from home  Muskoka is designated Arts Community and offers many recreational opportunities 

Lower cost of living and doing business

 Access to co-working spaces and business development resources Co-working


Quality of life is just one of the advantages to being located in Gravenhurst. The quick commute to Toronto allows creative class workers to visit and enjoy all the sites and events of the big city. Living in Gravenhurst and working in Toronto has become very popular. Gravenhurst has become particularly attractive to young professionals. Muskoka Young Professionals meets monthly, connecting you with like minded individuals, while Rotaract Muskoka gives young professionals the opportunity to participate in their community.


Meeting Space

DISCOVER UNIQUENESS Gravenhurst is an ideal location for specialty retail businesses. With a number of unique stores and boutique shops, there is a strong mixed market waiting for business owners who can offer one of a kind products. Whether you are selling clothing or becoming part of the Antique and Eclectic District popping up in Downtown Gravenhurst, you will find natural partnerships. Strong local shoppers paired with a large quantity of seasonal guests means Gravenhurst is an ideal location for your next retail business opportunity.

Opportunities 

Build new retail stores within existing clusters (i.e. antiques, clothing, home furnishings)


Create new retail concepts that will fill existing gaps that Gravenhurst is currently without (i.e. Shoe store, health food store)


Leverage existing perceptions of the area through ‘cottage experience’ retailing


Collaborative approaches to retail targeting specific tourist groups (i.e. Bethune Memorial House souvenirs, tourism based products) 

Develop new retail concepts that would attract locals and visitors (i.e. Eat and shop, shop and play)

Number of Specialty Retailers in Gravenhurst

Retail accounts for 21% of all businesses in Gravenhurst. We have become a destination for locals and day trippers who are looking for essentials or just an opportunity to shop. Gravenhurst’s quaint downtown has just completed a revitalization project seeing both municipal and provincial funding go towards improving its look. Downtown not for you? The Muskoka Wharf is home to more destination retail including home wares, soaps, and collectibles.

“Business during the winter months has increased dramatically over the years. So many cottages are insulated and have plumbing so they can be used year round. Downtown businesses are more adaptable and coordinated to meet the needs of off-season consumers.� - Penny Varney, Board of Directors, Arts at the Albion

DISCOVER INDUSTRY There are excellent opportunities in Gravenhurst in the light manufacturing sector. Whether you sell products in Ontario or you create a product for the international market, Gravenhurst has everything you need to be successful.

With a number of international shipping services based in the area, Gravenhurst based light manufacturers are able to ship their products globally at a lower cost. In addition to affordable shipping, there is a demand locally for many products in the home building and construction cluster. Light manufacturers of household and recreational products will have the opportunity to sell directly to customers from across the globe without leaving Gravenhurst. Nearby educational institutions are providing training for those that are interested in getting involved in the manufacturing field. Many local firms employ co-op students, interns, and graduates from these locations. Muskoka has also seen an increase of other graduates moving to the area.




Electrical and Computer Engineering


Graduate, Doctorate and Post Grad Certificates available


Electrical Engineering


Gold and Silver Smithing


Mechanical Engineering


Welding Techniques


Training and Skills upgrading available

Number of Light Manufacturers in Gravenhurst

8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0

Whether it’s food and beverage production or metal manufacturing, there are a number of areas for your business to specialize in. The Highway 11 corridor area provides quick and easy access to major transportation routes including Highway 400 and Highway 12. Our airport industrial area boasts many light manufacturers with close proximity to air, rail, and truck service. The Gravenhurst Industrial Park has newly approved commercial and industrial space. The Industrial Park is home to a full range of manufacturing, wholesale trade, transportation, and warehousing businesses.

“Craft brewing is an interesting mix of retail, merchandising and industrial production all under one roof. We could have set up in some industrial park but the high traffic and high visibility of Downtown Gravenhurst brings a lot of walk up traffic… When we started we had a five-year plan. Now we’ve learned that we should’ve only gone with a two year plan, because we’ve already passed our projections for Year Five! - Sam Corbeil, Co-founder and Brewmaster—Sawdust City Brewing Co.

KEY CONTACTS Gravenhurst Fire Department

Union Gas

190 Harvie St. Unit 2 Gravenhurst, ON P1P 1S9 Phone: (705) 687-3414 Email:

P.O. Box 2001 Chatham, ON N7M 5M1 Phone: 1-888-774-3111

Muskoka Tourism Veridian Connections Inc.

RR #2, 1342 Highway 11 N. Kilworthy, ON P0E 1G0 Phone: (705) 689-0660 Email:

55 Taunton Road East Ajax, ON P1P 1N5 Phone: (705) 687-2321

Gravenhurst BIA

Bracebridge Hospital

Gravenhurst, ON P1P 1N5 Phone: (705) 644-9392 Email:

75 Ann St. Bracebridge, ON P1L 2E4 Phone: (705) 687-5023

Service Ontario

District Health Unit

685-2 Muskoka Rd. N. Gravenhurst, ON P1P 1N5 Phone: (705) 687-6365

2-5 Pineridge Gate Gravenhurst, ON P1P 1Z3 Phone: (705) 687-5023

District of Muskoka 70 Pine Street Bracebridge, ON P1P 1N5 Phone: (705) 645-2231 Email:

Ontario Provincial Police 190 Harvie St. Unit 2 Gravenhurst, ON P1P 1S9 Phone: (705) 687-5023

Town of Gravenhurst 3-5 Pineridge Gate Gravenhurst, ON P1P 1Z3 Phone: (705) 687-3412 Email:

Chamber of Commerce 275 Muskoka Rd. S. Gravenhurst, ON P1P 1J1 Phone: (705) 687-4432 Email:

Hydro One P.O. Box 5700 Markham, ON L3R 1C8 Phone: 1-888-664-9376

Muskoka Builders’ Association 15 Monica Lane, Unit 7 Bracebridge, ON P1L 1P8 Phone: (705) 645-3008 Email:


Muskoka Small Business Centre 158 Manitoba St. Bracebridge, ON P1L 2E2 Phone: (705) 646-9021 Email:

Youth Programing  Business Plan Writing  Business Workshops  New Business Assistance 

Muskoka Futures

Services Provided

345 Ecclestone Dr. Bracebridge, ON P1L 1R1 Phone: 1-800-414-6570 Email:

Business Loans  Business Mentorship  Business Workshops  Membership Perks

Muskoka Community Network

Services Provided

87 Forbes Hill Dr. Suite 2 Huntsville, ON P1H 0B6 Phone: (705) 646-9044 Email:

Business Loans  Business Mentorship  Business Workshops  Membership Perks



Services Provided

Gravenhurst Chamber of Commerce 275 Muskoka Rd. S Gravenhurst, ON P1P 1J1 Phone: (705) 687-4432 Email:

Business Networking  Business Marketing  Tourism Marketing  Membership Perks


Services Provided

Town of Gravenhurst 3-5 Pineridge Gate Gravenhurst, ON P1P 1Z3 Phone: (705) 687-3412 Email:

Provincial and Federal Agencies for Business Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Growth 1-800-268-7095 - Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs 1-888-466-2372 - Ministry of Innovation, Science and Economic Development


Planning and Building Permits  Business Programing  Site Selection  Market Data Requests

Town of Gravenhurst 3-5 Pineridge Gate Gravenhurst, ON P1P 1Z3

Gravenhurst Community Profile 2017  
Gravenhurst Community Profile 2017