International Capital of Cottage Country.
A Land of Discovery.
Muskoka was named for Chippewa chief Mesquas Ukee who negotiated the land claim for the territory with the British in the mid-1800s. The passage of the Free Grants and Homestead Act of 1868 opened the era of widespread settlement in Muskoka. Settlers received free land if they agreed to clear it, cultivate it and build homes. The soil was poorly suited to farming, however, the establishment of a steamship industry revived industry and launched tourism in the area. In the later 1860s, a variety of travellers began to explore the lakes, including artists who painted and sketched the untouched landscape. When the railroad reached Gravenhurst in 1875, the area grew rapidly, expanding the thriving lumber industry and drawing businesses such as leather tanning, furniture craftsman and hydro generating stations. Interesting fact: the Muskoka Lakes Navigation Company, from its founding in 1866 until its demise in 1958, operated the largest and finest fleet of inland lake steamships in North America.
Of Muskoka’s extensive list of excellent educational facilities, the majority are in the larger communities of Gravenhurst, Bracebridge and Huntsville.
Gravenhurst is home to three elementary schools, KP Manson Public School, Gravenhurst Public School, and Muskoka Beechgrove Public School and Gravenhurst High School. It is also home to an Alternative Education and Training Centre and a number of private educational institutions. Since 1949, Gravenhurst has been home to the Ontario Fire College which offers training based on Ontario Fire Service Standards as well as Ontario Provincial Police marine and K-9 training.
Bracebridge is served by several high-rated schools: Bracebridge Public School, Macaulay Public School, Monck Public School, Monsignor Michael O'Leary Catholic School, the Montessori School and Muskoka Falls Public School. The local high schools are Bracebridge and Muskoka Lakes with a Fraser Institute Ranking of 6.5 and Saint Dominic Catholic Secondary School. Georgian College operates a satellite campus in Bracebridge and Dewey College, an independent high school, offers international students a range of programs from high school to ESL and AP programs.
Finally is the Huntsville Public School, Pine Glen Public School, Riverside Public School, Saint Mary's Catholic School with a Fraser Institute Ranking of 5.8, Spruce Glen Public School with a rank of 6.2 and Huntsville Highschool with a rank of 7.
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