Preparations are in place for the return of a decades-old boat show to the heart of cottage country.
After being docked for the past two years due to concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, the 41st Annual Boat Show returns to Muskoka Wharf in Gravenhurst. Over 100 ships will be on display, some dating back over a century.
“Some of our boats were built here in the Muskokas, particularly here in Gravenhurst, and some are from all over North America and a few from around the world,” said Mike Gridley, the show’s president.
Most of the boats are classics, crafted with a mahogany finish, while traditional fiberglass boats will also be on display.
“Of course, it’s all about the boats,” says Gridely. “So a great activity on the water with the boats, all the art and beauty, but a real treat this year at lunchtime is Extreme WaterSki is going to have a half hour water ski show which will present J-craft ski boats, both new and collectible vintage ones.”
After being canceled due to COVID-19 in recent years, with the group having to turn to limited virtual offerings, organizers are expecting strong attendance for this year’s event. Gridley says it’s open to everyone, even those who may not have a nautical license.
“It’s almost like art forms; the beautiful wooden boats, the quality of construction, the history that comes from the area,” says Gridley. “[You can] find out their stories, talk to the owners and all that and maybe you’ll get hooked on the activity itself.”
The event dates back to the early 1980s, when it was originally held along the Toronto waterfront. It moved north a few years later and has stood in Gravenhurst for nearly 30 years.
In addition to the nautical offerings, there will also be a flea market and many local artisans and vendors, providing an opportunity to support many different local businesses.