Mark Clairmont | MuskokaTODAY.com

GRAVENHURST — While the rest of the world is tearing down statues and disowning historic figures, a group of Gravenhurst residents finds no trouble with a founding father.

Monday’s civic holiday may mark Simcoe Day in Toronto, but in this lumbering town best known for its most famous son, Dr. Norman Bethune, the band of heritage enthusiasts, led by Gord Durnan, will be celebrating A.P. Cockburn.

Cockburn, a “zealous champion of the north” — according to the Dictionary of Canadian Biography — was a pioneering businessman, local MP and MPP and steamship pioneer on the Muskoka Lakes, who landed here in 1865 when the waterfront frontier was an emerging settlement.

At 10 a.m. Aug. 3 they will be gathering at A.P. Cockburn Square — at the new Muskoka Wharf — “to salute and remember all that Cockburn meant to Gravenhurst and all of Muskoka,” says Michael Wayling, chair of the Gravenhurst Municipal Heritage Advisory Committee.

“With appropriate social distancing,” he adds.

All are welcome.

“It’s very informal,” he told MuskokaTODAY.com in an invite.

“ Citizens who support changing Monday’s name to A.P. Cockburn day and those who support an installation of a plaque or other memorial to him simply want to recognize him and his contributions to Gravenhurst specifically and to Muskoka in general.”

There is no formal agenda, but if someone wants to say a few words they will be welcomed.

“It’s a gathering of like-minded people,” Wayling says.

A.P. Cockburn, “a zealous champion of the north” is being touted as a candidate for the naming of a civic holiday in his honour. Friends of A.P. will be gathering Monday morning at the Muskoka Wharf square, which is already named in his honour, to celebrate his Muskoka legacy.

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