It’s a favoured attraction of visitors and locals alike, and now Muskoka Heritage Place has the goods to prove it.
The heritage site, which includes a museum, pioneer village, and the Portage Flyer train, learned this week that it has won the 2020 Ontario’s Choice Award for Top Small Museum/Art Gallery/Historic Site from Attractions Ontario. Awards are based on public votes in eight different categories which occurred through the summer months.
“It feels awesome,” says Muskoka Heritage Place manager Ron Gostlin. “We just really care about making the visitor experience everything it can be. And that’s great especially this year when we’ve had to do things a little bit differently [due to COVID-19]. We’ve made up for it where we could. To be recognized for it this year of all years is even better.”
Some hands-on interactive activities have had to be removed this year, while others—like candle-making—have become more independent activities for visitors. Riders on the Portage Flyer are spaced three benches apart and staff added an extra run to help ensure that everyone who wanted to ride the train has been able to.
Muskoka Heritage Place added a visitor ambassador this year who greets people at the door, a COVID necessity that may continue beyond the pandemic. “It was a great addition and something we look forward to keeping,” says Gostlin. “It’s a really good information point for people…and to also give them the rules for the site.”
The village, museum, and train at Muskoka Heritage Place will be open daily until October 10. The attraction will shut down completely for a week and then the museum only will reopen Monday to Friday from 10-4 through the winter, provided provincial guidelines continue to allow it. Learn more at muskokaheritageplace.ca or follow them on Facebook @muskokaheritageplace for updates.
The other winners in the fifth annual Ontario’s Choice Awards were:
Top Family Entertainment Centre: Great Wolf Lodge
Top Outdoor Attraction: Treetop Trekking (which also has a site in Huntsville)
Top Performing Arts: Stratford Festival
Top Indoor Attraction: Science North
Top Touring Experience: Mariposa Cruises
Top Museum/Art Gallery/Historic Site: Casa Loma
Top Festival and Event: Carrousel of Nations
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