Gravenhurst is a town in the Muskoka Region of Ontario, Canada. It is located approximately 15 kilometres south of Bracebridge, Ontario. The mayor is Paisley Donaldson. The Town of Gravenhurst includes a large area of the District of Muskoka, known to Ontarians as "cottage country." The town centre borders on two lakes: Lake Muskoka, which is the largest lake in the Region, and Gull Lake, a smaller cottage-bordered lake. Another lake, Kahshe Lake, is situated ten kilometres south of the town.
Gravenhurst was originally named McCabes Bay and later as Sawdust City. Gravenhurst was named after a village in England which is mentioned in Washington Irving's Bracebridge Hall.
Nearby Muldrew Lake was named after the lake's second cottager, Dr. William Hawthorne Muldrew. He was the principal of the first Gravenhurst high school in 1894. In 1901 he published a book called Sylvan Ontario, A Guide to Our Native Trees and Shrubs. It was the first book published on this subject in Ontario, and the drawings were his own. All the different types of trees and shrubs of Muskoka could be seen at the school, as he transplanted many of the specimens from Muldrew Lake.
From 1940 to 1943 Gravenhurst was site of "Little Norway," an important training camp for what is today the Royal Norwegian Air Force during World War II. From 1940 to 1946 Gravenhurst was the site of Camp XX, the Gravenhurst Internment Camp, for Nazi Prisoners of War, known locally as "the Muskoka officers club". Before the war it was the Calydor Sanitarium. After the war it was turned into a TB sanitarium, again, and later became a kosher resort called The Gateway.
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