Bracebridge Highland Games

storyBracebridge is a town located in the heart of Muskoka, a destination consistently lauded by National Geographic Traveler and haven-seekers alike. This unforgettable cottage country is only two hours’ drive from Toronto and an infinite time away from urban life. While it may normally be associated with kicking back by a lake’s edge or outdoor pursuits, something quite different and exciting happens there for one weekend every summer.

“This year is the ninth for the Bracebridge Highland Games and without the support of our sponsors and a dedicated board of volunteers we wouldn’t have grown to where we are now,” says the games’ founder/coordinator, Holly Goldthorp. Goldthorp and her husband, Wade, started the annual event “from the ground.”

“We are both heavy-events athletes that compete all over Ontario,” she says. “There were no festivals north of Orillia so we decided to create one to allow the community to experience the benefits of the games, as we do every weekend!”

Along with the customary events, such as pipe band performances, dancing, clan crafts for youth and strong-man events, this year’s Bracebridge Highland Games will feature demonstrations from Barrie Sword Play, as well as full-contact jousting from the Knights of Valour. While the Knights are there to entertain, spectators will witness real horseback duels!

Goldthorp warmly invites all to Bracebridge’s J.D. Lang Activity Park this August, adding that “camping is available on site, at no additional cost. We bring upwards of 5,000 people to the games which benefits the whole community.

“There is a sense of family and connection with all who come. Whether you are a Scot or not, everyone loves the sound of pipes, to watch the athletics or see the kids dance.”