Besides the area’s own natural splendor and breathtaking scenery, the Muskoka Lakes is full of famous people. On any given day in the summer there are movie stars visiting from California out enjoying the cool clean water, or on the local golf links, and visible strolling around in the small towns. Each town is a hot spot for celebrity sightings.
Every time we drive into Bracebridge we play a game – we go ‘people watching’ for screen actors, rock and roll musicians, web moguls and other famous Captains of Industry. We’re cool about it though, cause we’re celebrities too.
cause we know
Hollywood has been enamored with the region since the early 1950s, when the true legends of the Silver Screen took steamship cruises and stayed at the world famous Bigwin Island Hotel, which was built back in 1920.
It was here and other points of interest that high society traveled from all over North America to spend their summers. Clark Gable and Carole Lombard stayed here and perhaps they danced to the Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey band. Duke Ellington and Frank Sinatra entertained there too. Ernest Hemingway also found refuge on Bigwin.
Famous American philanthropists and industrial barons like Andrew Mellon and John D. Rockefeller and Canadian Prime Minister, John Diefenbaker all maintained and enjoyed their lakefront properties in the 1960s. Previous to that, it was the Bronfmans, the Labatts and the Eatons that reigned over the lakes in their Ditchburns and Minett-Shields.
Muskoka Lakes are Canada’s Beverly Hills
In the 1980s the area enjoyed another reassurance of cool and more huge ‘cottages’ were built and bought by stars. Most famously is of course Kurt Russell, and Goldie Hawn, but also Marty Short and even such unlikely cottagers as Steven Spielberg, Kenny G and Cindy Crawford.
We know Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes were around last summer because she was spotted in Bala right before the Toronto International Film Festival.
Famous Rock and Roll Musicians Love Muskoka.
Keith Richards loves ‘Bala’s vibe’, and he fancies the abundance of fresh water, rugged terrain, and a unique privacy that doesn’t veer into isolation. Its really quite comfortable up here because Canadians are mostly too polite to stare. I’m sure it’s all the other American tourists that Eddie Van Halen fears when he strolls the streets of Port Carling or has dinner at Red Leaves.
Traveling by boat up to the north end of Lake Joseph will be a memorable trip. There’s an area up there now that people refer to as Billionaires Row which stands in contrast to Lake Muskoka’s Millionaires Row near Beaumaris.
Celebrities from that region of Muskoka come into town quite frequently, and fearlessly, and can often be found shopping in the finest shops and dining in the quaint cafes in the area. Charming places like Don’s Bakery in Bala, or inside Marty’s World Famous Coffee House in Bracebridge is where you might easily find yourself rubbing shoulders with Steve Nash of the Phoenix Suns, or the PGA’s Mike Weir whose home course is the Taboo Resort near Gravenhurst. Kevin O’Leary has a cottage on Lake Joseph where he spends summer weekends with his family.
Remember Clark Gable…
Some of my favourite Clark Gable quotes, that may indeed have been inspired by his time in the Muskoka region include,
“Hell, if I’d jumped on all the dames I’m supposed to have jumped on, I’d have had no time to go fishing” -Clark Gable
“The only reason they come to see me is that I know that life is great / and they know I know it.” -Clark Gable