Friday Historical Trip: Huntsville and Bracebridge, Ontario

Now that I’ve entered the Public History program, I’ve really been noticing how many of the buildings that we enter on a day to day basis have historical significance.  On my way up to the cottage, I paid attention to this so that I could blog about a few of the interesting sites that I found.  It turns out the ones I chose are pretty regular stops for my family and me!  Coming from a town where most historical buildings have been taken down, it was refreshing to see the preservation in the Muskoka area.

Marty’s World Famous Cafe, Bracebridge

               Okay so maybe Marty’s World Famous Cafe isn’t really what one thinks of when the word ‘historic site’ is used but because of the widespread popularity and status of Marty’s World Famous cafe (and his famous butter tarts!) I figure that it has had a large enough impact on the Muskoka region to identify it as such.  Opened in 1996 as an ice cream parlour and later transformed into a cafe, Marty’s World Famous Cafe has attracted a large audience including loads of celebrities like Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell.  Marty Curtis (the creator and owner) now has his own cook book in large circulation and has become a local celebrity of Bracebridge and the larger Muskoka area.

Marty's World Famous Cafe
Marty’s World Famous Cafe

The Mill on Main, Huntsville

               If you’re looking to relax, enjoy some vino and do a bit of people- watching, the Mill on Main in Hunstville, Ontario is just the place to do it.  The building also has historical significance of monstrous importance to the town of Huntsville.  Located in front of the property that hosted Huntsville’s Planing Mill and brought much business to the town, the Mill on Main celebrates this history in its design and interior decorating.  Boasting beautiful exposed brick, an indoor veranda open to the street and a number of fascinating artefacts from the original mill, The Mill on Main does a terrific job of blending the importance of preserving history with meeting modern needs.

Modern and historic photos of the Mill on Main
Modern and historic photos of the Mill on Main

Seven Main, Huntsville

               Further up the main street of Hunstville is a quaint little coffee shop which by the way sells some of the best coffee out there.  The coffee shop is located in Huntsville’s oldest commercial building still existing and boasts a beautiful architectural design.  The cafe was passed from the original owners who had deep roots in the Muskoka Region to the current owners who have also been in the region a very long time.  In fact the grandmother of the owner was the first cook at Deerhurst Resort, a company that has existed since 1896 and hosted the 2010 G8 Summit.

Seven Main Cafe located in Huntsville's oldest existing commercial building
Seven Main Cafe located in Huntsville’s oldest existing commercial building

Overall, my challenge to you is to open your eyes!  What historic buildings do you go in all the time without realizing it or taking note?  I know I was surprised.

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