Target Sectors

Film production and craft brewing, image text say "Creativity and Innovation"

From its early beginnings of the original McCabe's Landing, the Town of Gravenhurst has been historically grounded by the tourism industry and its related seasonal cottaging life-style.  Today, it is an evolving and growing community full of business successes and an increasing population of year round residents and opportunities.

Our economic development and community goals are outlined in the Gravenhurst Community Strategic Plan 2015- 2020. These goals include attracting new business and investments to the community. 

In 2014, a Target Sector Analysis was completed to help identify key areas of focus. More recently, the Economic Development Team undertook at comprehensive Retail Mix and Gap Analysis to further identify, confirm and target investments in the retail sector which relate to each of the four target sectors:

Class doing yoga on paddle boards


 Creative Economy

Arts and Culture

  • Art Galleries, Studios and Workshop
  • Music and Event Venues
  • Film and Production
  • Creative Design (fashion, home, accessories and graphic)
  • Culinary Arts

Innovation and Research and Development

  • Aerospace and Robotics
  • Medical, Testing and Research Labs
  • Educational Institutions
  • Architecture and Engineering

The creative economy is about a paradigm shift from the industrial age to an age where creativity, knowledge, innovation and access to information drive economic development in a global marketplace. It marks a move away from jobs based on physical activity or repetitive tasks to ones that require analytical skills and judgement. It refers to those who innovate and create new ideas, new technologies and/or creative output. They are called upon to explore the possibilities; to solve problems in their day-to-day work. They are employed in science, engineering, arts, culture, entertainment and knowledge-based professions such as management, finance, law, healthcare and education. In short, it is about "people who are paid to think".

It is more about what people actually do than who employs them. The creative economy is industry-agnostic and knows no boundaries; creative occupations cut across all industry sectors as we currently label them, including agriculture and manufacturing.

People in creative occupations are typically autonomous and independent, they desire work-life balance, and enjoy recreational (particularly outdoors) activities. On their personal time they engage in active pursuits given their relatively sedentary work life. Research shows that where creative people choose to live is as important of a decision to them as their job, personal finances and choice of spouse or partner. Creative workers are highly mobile; they can freely choose where to live. People want to live in distinctive places with unique characters and identities, history, culture, picturesque landscapes and natural amenities.

Owner stands behind the counter smiling


 Entrepreneurship and Small Business

Small Scale Trade, Manufacturing and Production

  • Metal, Wood, Glass and Textile 
  • Food Production (Brewery/winery, commercial bakery, butchery)
  • Construction Trades 
  • Professional Trade (Carpenter, Stone Mason, Electrician)
  • Retail

 Professional Services and Development

  • Business Incubators
  • Mentoring and Coaching

The opportunity, capacity or even the desire to attract a major multi-national employer often is not a good fit for a smaller municipality. Small business is the economic life-line of a small community and they provide opportunities for entrepreneurial minded individuals to create opportunities that fit the profile of the community creating employment opportunities for its residents while at the same time retaining an enviable quality of place and life-style.


young female professional works on a lap top at a local cafe



What if you could work when, where and how you are most effective and efficient?

The nature of work has changed significantly in recent years. It is more common nowadays that you don't need to go to work to be at work. Many companies are saving on overhead costs by offering their employees the flexibility to work remotely. Often this means someone is working from home, at an airport, or in a coffee shop just one or two days a week.

It's not about reinventing your business - it's about accepting that the change has already happened, and understanding how our companies, cities and families can benefit from it.

There are many benefits to employers, including:

  • A more engaged and satisfied workforce - employees are 15% - 40% more productive than their in-office colleagues;
  • A flexible work model that helps to address skilled labour shortages;
  • An eco-friendly work model that reduces your business' carbon footprint, allowing for the business to become more sustainable and better reflect the values of their environmentally-conscious employees.

From the employees' perspective telecommuting is ideal because:

  • A significant number are knowledge-workers who are autonomous, creative & free-thinking individuals;
  • Many are willing to try new ways of working and doing business to increase their productivity, improve their overall health and better the community.


Young couple sits a the bar at Sawdust City talking with the waitress


 Tourism, Niche Market and Experience-based Retail

Gravenhurst is the gateway for millions of annual visitors to Muskoka, and is considered a "must experience" destination.

A rejuvenated downtown core has a number of redevelopment opportunities as does the Muskoka Wharf; offering outstanding waterfront activities, a restored fish habitat, boardwalk and hiking trails. It is also home to North America's oldest operating steamship and a museum dedicated to telling the story of our boat builders and boating heritage.

In 2018, the Town launched the Visitor Information Collection Program to better understand our visitor groups and their wants and needs which will assist in further development efforts.  View the Visitor Experience Reports.



Things to Do, See, Eat and Shop

Gravenhurst, Muskoka has six distinctive core attractors that present investment and product enhancement opportunities. These include:

  • Water-based Features and Activities
  • Outdoor Recreation
  • The "Resort" Experience
  • Small Town/Village Experience
  • Arts, Culture & Heritage Experiences
  • The "Cottage" Experience


For more information on attractions, events, and activities visit the following tourism destination websites: Town of Gravenhurst Gravenhurst Chamber of Commerce Muskoka Tourism Ontario Regional Tourism Organization 12


The Gravenhurst Advantage:

  • Internet Connectivity: Within the urban area, 100% access to high-speed connectivity. In the rural areas over 50% of properties have access to high-speed services, with more access in development. A super high-speed gigabit capacity fibre to the home (FTTH) network will be installed beginning in 2016. This will impact some 1,350 homes and businesses in the urban area.
  • Lifestyle: A quality of place and lifestyle that is second to none, a neighbourly community and wholesome, natural surroundings make Gravenhurst a rewarding place to settle down. If you are already a seasonal resident, could you work from here? Would you really miss the week-end rat race of getting here and then having to get back to the city on Monday morning?
  • Location: Ready access to regional and national markets being just 90 minutes north of the City of Toronto, with access by major four lane highways, daily rail and bus and air services at the Muskoka Airport base in Gravenhurst.
  • Help: In Gravenhurst, we can provide you, 'the entrepreneur', with the assistance you need to develop your business. Our network extends to private and public sector group's that can help in financing, development of business plans, training for you and your staff, exporting, government programs and mentoring. In fact, our network can bring value to almost every facet and activity in the operation of your business; all you have to do is ask!
  • Leverage Opportunities: Gravenhurst has many assets and established core sectors which can be capitalized and expanded through subsector and supporting service investments. 

For more information on target sectors contact our Economic Development team found below!

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