Head to Huntsville this spring for fantastic events, outdoor adventure, off-peak rates and more availability!
Heralding the first signs of spring, in March hundreds of maple trees throughout Muskoka start to sprout sap buckets and the sugar shacks light their fires. That means it’s soon time for Huntsville’s 2nd Annual Muskoka Maple Festival, which takes place on Saturday, April 29, 2017.
Packed with folks shaking off winter and smiling because warmer weather is returning, the festival features a ton of activities downtown, including an all-day pancake breakfast, maple treats and gifts, demonstrations with local syrup producers, street performers, live music and more. Take the time to visit a sugar shack in person to see firsthand the transformation of sap into your favourite sticky treat. Sugarbush Hill Maple Farm, Sweetwater Maple Syrup Supplies & Sugarbush, Maple Bluff Farm, Mark’s Muskoka Maple and Deerhurst Resort’s Sweet Muskoka all offer tour and tasting experiences. (You can visit these incredible producers and more on the Muskoka Maple Trail March 13 – April 29.)
Spring also marks the beginning of the season for Huntsville’s Festival of the Arts. The Algonquin Theatre presents Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory playing March 31 to April 9. The whole family will laugh and sing along with Roald Dahl’s classic tale of adventure. (Watch for more incredible performances throughout spring and summer, including Nuit Blanche North in July.)
Also at the Algonquin Theatre – the annual showing of the Reel Paddling Film Festival, a collection of 21 of the world’s most inspiring paddling films covering whitewater, sea kayaking, canoeing, SUP and even kayak fishing action. Sponsored by Algonquin Outfitters.
One of the area’s most beloved spring events is the classic outdoor Easter egg hunt. Happening April 16, The Muskoka Heritage Place and The Nutty Chocolatier Annual Community Easter Egg Hunt groups kids into age categories and lets them loose on the historic site to search for eggs. The hour long free event starts at noon. May 20 is Muskoka Heritage Place’s official opening day. Visit the Muskoka Museum, Pioneer Village and experience a ride on The Portage Flyer Train, an original steam locomotive that was part of the world’s smallest commercial railroad operating in Dwight from 1905-1959.
Huntsville is surrounded by stunning water bodies and plays host to the renowned River X series of endurance paddling events. The Big East River X runs May 27 and features two distances, a 9 km family/recreation paddle and the 40 km marathon main event. New to the river X family of events, the 24 Hours of River X pits solo, tandem and relay teams against each other and the clock as they complete as many laps of a 12 km course as possible on June 17-18. (Photo by Zeltkans Photography)
The area’s lakes also play a role in another of the season’s most popular endurance events, the 12th annual Spin The Lakes Cycle Tour on May 27. Experience beautiful Lake of Bays from the saddle of a bike. With routes ranging from the 20 km out and back fun ride to the return of the original 172 km original long course route, the hilly terrain and big lake views make this event one of the most popular on the spring cycling calendar.
Is running more your thing? Huntsville is the site of Band on the Run, the annual celebration of running and music. Happening June 10, the running takes place in the morning, with half-marathon, 10 km and 5 km distances as well as the kid’s run, with live music from local bands along the route. The afternoon features a live concert in Huntsville’s waterfront River Mill Park, with opening acts and 2017 headline band Hey Rosetta, which non-runners can also attend.
The Victoria Day weekend kicks off the summer season, and a visit to the 2nd annual Muskoka 24 Craft Beer Festival is the perfect way to celebrate. Last year over 2000 people descended on River Mill Park for the festival, which highlighted craft beer brewers, including local favourites Muskoka Brewery, Lake of Bays Brewing Company, Sawdust City Brewing Co. and Highlander Brew Co. Also featuring live music and local food vendors, Muskoka 24 is one of spring’s biggest parties.
Spring is also a great time to watch for iconic Canadian moose along the Highway 60 corridor in beautiful Algonquin Park (particularly in May and June), and to witness Ontario’s provincial flower, the trillium, carpeting woodland areas that are turning to lush green again. A great time for a hike in the region, including at Arrowhead Provincial Park, Algonquin Park, Limberlost Forest & Wildlife Reserve, and the trails at Echo Valley Nature & Bike Trails in Lake of Bays.