All about Huntsville: Huntsville, Ontario is a town located in the District of Muskoka. It is located 215 kilometres (134 mi) north of Toronto, Ontario and 130 kilometres (81 mi) south of North Bay, Ontario. Of the three big Muskoka towns of Gravenhurst, Bracebridge and Huntsville, it is the largest by population and land area (710.64 km2).
The combination of Huntsville’s beautiful landscapes, extensive lakes & waterfronts and proximity and gateway to the world-famous Algonquin Provincial Park has made it a major tourist destination drawing tourists from around the world. From May to October the Town receives a significant influx of visitors and as a result its economy is primarily based on tourism and recreation.
There are three large lakes within the township boundary: Mary Lake, Lake Vernon, and Fairy Lake, as well as many smaller lakes. Peninsula Lake, Skeleton Lake, and Lake of Bays lie directly outside the town. Arrowhead Provincial Park is also located within city limits, where its famous trails, ice skating trail, and river beaches are well loved.
Driving from Toronto area:
About 2 hours north of Toronto by car. Take highway 400 north to highway 11. Get off at exit 219, 221 or 223.
Driving from Ottawa area:
About 4 hours west of Ottawa. Take highway 417 north to highway 60 west, all the way to Huntsville.
You can also fly into Muskoka airport, located outside Gravenhurst. Then take highway 11 to Huntsville about 25 minutes north. Private planes fly in year round while airlines typically offer service in the summer months.
Take Viarail from Toronto to Washago, ON. Then take a taxi or uber to Huntsville, another 45 minutes.
The Northlander passenger train is expected to have service from Toronto to Huntsville within the next few years.
The original people of this land were the Anishinaabe, or in the English language, Ojibway, also known as Chippewa. Traditionally they were Algonquin speaking people with advanced social, governance, trade and family structures. Because settlement of Huntsville occurred relatively recently in human social history, there are many well documented narrative accounts of the generosity of First People toward the newcomers, helping them to learn the waterways; the flora; the fauna; and coexisting in their new and sometimes harsh environment. Especially important were deer, berries, and maple syrup to the early settlers for sustenance. These are still abundant.
FIRST EUROPEAN SETTLER
George Hunt, a European settler and a captain in the British militia, came to the area of Huntsville in May 1869, to choose his piece of the free land grant. He registered a piece of land and started developing it on what is now the northwest corner of present-day Huntsville main street. He was superintendent of the road, opened the first store and in 1870, a post office was built and the area was named Huntsville after Hunt, who became the first postmaster.
Huntsville’s economic development was stimulated by the engineering of a navigable water route north from Port Sydney to Huntsville which opened in 1877. Residents lobbied for rail service to their community, and their efforts were rewarded when a railway route from Gravenhurst was built by the Northern and Pacific Junction Railway in 1885/86, which encouraged further development and resulted in Huntsville becoming officially incorporated as a village in 1886.
- Ancestral territory of Anishinaabe
- Namesake settler Captain George Hunt arrived, 1869
- The locks on Brunel Road constructed,1877
- Rail arrived, Village of Huntsville incorporated, 1886
- Huntsville incorporated as a Town, 1901
- Huntsville town Hall built in 1926
- Huntsville incorporated into the District of Muskoka, 1971
- The Huntsville and Algonquin Park areas inspired quintessential Canadian icons of art such as Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven. Continuing to inspire today.
- Present day, major tourist destination and the largest town in Muskoka
A wonderful history of Huntsville can be viewed and learned about from Muskoka Heritage Place. A visit to their pioneer village is recommended. Additional historical resources, such as pictures, can be found at Vita Collections.
If you’re looking for a relaxing vacation rental, in a charming town, then we invite you to consider our stylish vacation house in Huntsville. Our place is located in the heart of downtown Huntsville, Ontario, and it’s the perfect place to stay as your gateway to Huntsville, Arrowhead Park, Hidden Valley, Algonquin Park or other Muskoka destinations.