Mark Clairmont | MuskokaTODAY.com

GRAVENHURST — With Bala’s Cranberry Festival — which would have been this weekend — cancelled and Muskoka’s Festival of Colour falling by the wayside faster than the leaves, tourism is on the wane.

The flood of Thanksgiving day-trekkers is trickling to a halt across Central Ontario — no thanks to COVID.

With a great year for maples, oaks and more, photographers had a field day north of the Severn River deep into Algonquin Park and west to Georgian Bay.

Bethune House in Gravenhurst brought hundreds — if not thousands of Chinese descent — as usual.

And the eagle-eyed could spot a moose on the loose across the street.

Artist Ann Shantz set up a small souvenir tent in her driveway on John Street selling Bethune gift bags, t-shirts and other gifts like post cards, pins and fridge magnets.

You really couldn’t miss her — not with a 10-foot-tall towering bull moose in front of her house.

And one with a pair of bright orange pumpkins perched in its outstretched antlers.

This complementary attraction is no Bullwinkle.

“Maple the Moose” is the metal sculpture of gifted Gravenhurst welder Hillary Clark-Cole, who is married to Shantz’s cousin Alex Tilley.

It’s been grazing in Gravenhurst for a year or two on Shantz’s front lawn at the back of most picture-taking tourists.

But turn around and admire the majestic beauty of nature welded to same ground that across the street is worshipped in a neighbouring front yard and next door National Historic welcome centre.

Maple the Moose is attracting a lot of attention on the front lawn of artist Ann Shantz’s home in Gravenhurst.
Ann Shantz’s pop-up tent can’t be missed with a 10-foot-tall metal moose beside her.
It’s a cool moose on the loose and you can have it on a t-shirt.
Wants a souvenir of Gravenhurst doctor Norman Bethune, there’s a few to choose from.
Playing in the leaves is part of having fun at the Bethune National Historic Site.
After a visit to the museum many families take a walk down the the Muskoka Wharf.

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