Johnston’s Cranberry Marsh was founded in 1952 by Orville Johnston, and is currently helmed by his children. During tours of the farm, patrons traverse a landscape dotted with cranberries and Muskoka Lakes Winery. At the winery, guests sample fruit-based libations during a tutored wine tasting. Wilderness trails cut through the property and are open year-round. During the winter, visitors can hike them wearing cross-country skis, snowshoes, or old-timey tennis racquets on their feet. Youngsters can also enjoy the farm—though the winery is off limits to them—by joining in on scavenger hunts or wielding nets ideal for catching critters when the weather is nice.
The Great Canadian Gift Company carries Canadian-made clothing, specialty and gourmet foods, and other gifts available for individual purchase. An array of gift baskets conveniently compiles heart-warming sentimentality or thanks for a job done medium rare in handy portable containers, such as the Icewine Winter Harvest basket loaded with Icewine chocolates, preserves, tea, and salmon ($69.99). Buyers can also build custom gift baskets by picking a container and stocking it with their own product theme. Fill a gold galvanized bin ($12.99) with a celebration of all things maple syrup, from maple barbecue sauce ($8.99) to maple crunch shortbread ($6.99). The Great Canadian Gift Company's team helps vessel captains optimize their container-to-product ratio with eco-friendly gifts such as the Urban Salvage maple serving platter ($49.99), which simultaneously expresses a sensitivity for the earth and gives wood from broken homes a second chance.
White Birch showcases locally sourced flora, bagged soils, and landscaping supplies on 50 acres in the heart of the scenic Georgian Bay cottage district. Green thumbs scour the annuals ($2.99/4" pot) and perennials ($9.99+/1 gal. pot) for colour combinations that beautify their home landscapes while expressing which Picasso period they prefer. Nutrient-rich bagged soils from Fafard invigorate earth ($3.99+), and boundary-beautifying bags of natural, red, or black mulch sculpt clear lines of lawn demarcation ($6.99). For a dash of rustic character, buyers can pick up a 4.5-foot emerald cedar tree, promising future wind protection and a yearly crop of car air fresheners ($24.99). After shopping, guests can relax with a cup of tea and contemplate using a hanging basket to decorate their porch or turn the garage into a boxing gym ($15.99).
In 1980, Paul Montgomery's ski shop—along with everything in it—burned to the ground. All of his hopes and dreams, reduced to ash. As a teenager, Paul had tuned skis in a neighbourhood ski shop. After earning a degree in computer science, he decided to forego the fast-paced lifestyle of the tech industry—with its outsized salaries and lascivious solicitations from Ms. Pac-Man—and open a 900-square-foot ski shop adjacent to a ski lodge. And that's when he lost everything. But just four days after the fire, he decided he would continue to sell skis out of his home. As it turned out, many of the ski-club members had lost their gear when the lodge burned down, and they flocked to his home in droves. In one weekend, he'd sold more skis than he had in the previous year.
In the decades that followed, Paul struggled through financial difficulties and recurring nightmares about teaching dinosaurs to ski, but continued to expand the business he had once nearly lost. Today, Skiis & Biikes boasts five locations across the country and more than 50,000 square feet of skiing, snowboarding, and cycling necessities. More than 100 dedicated staff members channel their love of outdoor recreation into the kind of dedicated salesmanship that has earned the shop its hard-won success.