Business Spotlight: SS Bigwin

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SS Bigwin 

Often referred to as the ‘Ambassador of the Lake’, the SS Bigwin began ferrying summer tourists to the luxurious Bigwin Inn back in the heyday of the famous resorts of the early twentieth century. Over time, this jewel of the lakes lost its lustre, lying partially submerged and neglected at Bigwin Island. In 2002, a group of dedicated volunteers, incorporated as the Lake of Bays Marine Museum and Navigation Society, breathed new life into the majestic old vessel. Completely restored with painstaking attention to historical details, the SS Bigwin now offers private and public cruises, partnering with local businesses for special events such as beer-tasting cruises with the Lake of Bays Brewing Company, cruise-and-dine outings at the Port Cunnington Lodge, and sunset cruises featuring cocktail hour through the Portevino Wine Bar.

“We are a non-profit organization,” said Matt Gaasenbeek, Chairman of the Society, “so community fundraisers, private donations, and grants from various levels of government help to keep us afloat.” Beyond the valuable cultural impact of the SS Bigwin and Marine Museum at the Dorset dock, the venture contributes to the vitality of eco-tourism. The renovations replaced the original steam power with an electrical propulsion system, and the project was recently honoured with a Green Tourism award. The SS Bigwin is a wonderful example of Muskoka’s commitment to its heritage, giving our present-day visitors a living reminder of the glory of times gone by.

For well over a century, Muskoka has acted as a magnet, pulling people to its core and embracing them with warm hospitality. The strength of the tourism sector is a pillar of support to the overall economy, building viable markets and showcasing the region’s rewarding investment opportunities.

November 2017


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