Mark Clairmont | MuskokaTODAY.com

GRAVENHURST — It’s full steam ahead for the Muskoka Steamships tomorrow as it return to cruising the Muskoka Lakes with the Wanda II first to weigh ancho after being forced by COVID-19 to remain in its home port here in July.

An on the eve of her maiden voyage, MPP Norm Miller was in town at the Muskoka Wharf Friday to announce that the Stanley Meek Steam Era Exhibit at the Muskoka Steamships & Discovery Centre will receive up to $223,899.90 in funding through Ontario’s Rural Economic Development Program (RED) program.

The funding will help expansion of the Steamships & Discovery Centre (which also opens Aug. 1), the building of the steam era exhibit and the restoration and electrification of the Wanda III, a conversion from its original steam.

The superstructure of the boathouse went up in June and July and is expected to continue in the fall.

“The Muskoka Steamships & Discovery Centre is a great asset the town of Gravenhurst and all of Muskoka. In a normal year the steamships attract tourists from around the world to our area and the addition of the Wanda III and the Stanley Meek Steam Era Exhibit will only increase the draw once people are able to travel again,” said Miller. “Congratulations to John Miller, president of the Steamships & Discovery Centre, and the board of directors on this project and I look forward to going for a cruise on the Wanda III.”

Norm Miller added: “I also want to take this opportunity to encourage all residents of Parry Sound-Muskoka to get out and enjoy the many attractions in our area, including tours on the Wenonah II, which start tomorrow.

“This is the year to be a tourist in our own backyard and in Parry Sound-Muskoka we are luck to have a beautiful backyard full of world class attractions to enjoy safely this summer.”

The funding is part of a provincial commitment of $3.3 million in cost-share funding for 58 projects through RED to help rural and Indigenous communities diversify their economies, retain skilled workers, invest in local infrastructure and create jobs.

The new boathouse for the Wanda III will house the the Stanley Meek Steam Era Exhibit. (Mark Clairmont, MuskokaTODAY.com)
The Wanda III steamship, currently under shrink-wrap in the water next to the museum is expected to return to passenger service once its steam is converted to electric.

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