Gravenhurst, Ont, incorporated as a town in 1887, population 11 640 (2011c), 11 046 (2006c). The Town of Gravenhurst is located at south end of Lake Muskoka, 170 km north of Toronto. The name was arbitrarily assigned by the federal government, perhaps after a place in Washington Irving's novel Bracebridge Hall. In the 19th century it was a sawmilling centre, but as logging declined tourism became the most important activity.
The Muskoka district, with its many wooded islands set among the crystal waters of a series of interconnected lakes, developed into a popular cottage and tourist resort area, earning Gravenhurst its nickname "Gateway to the MUSKOKA LAKES." The town was long a base for steamer service for the Muskoka Lks, and the paddle steamer Segwun has been restored to its original (1887) condition. The birthplace of native son Norman BETHUNE has been restored as a museum and national historic site.