A ships bow with a view of the King's Wharf Theatre in the background

Discover Winter Fun at Discovery Harbour’s Mid-Winter Social on Family Day Weekend

Penetanguishene, January 29, 2024 – Immerse yourself in the enchanting atmosphere of winter this Family Day weekend at Huronia Historical Parks’ Mid-Winter Social, a festive event set against the historic backdrop of Discovery Harbour. Running from February 17-19, this three-day celebration invites visitors to experience a variety of family-friendly activities and immersive historical encounters every day from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Mid-Winter Social at Discovery Harbour logo
historic Discovery Harbour is shown from a lake view in the wintertime

“Discovery Harbour is one of Ontario’s truly unique historical sites, and the Mid-Winter Social provides a wonderful opportunity for a one-of-a-kind cultural experience with friends and family,” said Neil Lumsden, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport. “I encourage everyone to take a trip to Penetanguishene this Family Day Weekend to enjoy all the hands-on winter fun Discovery Harbour has to offer.”

The Mid-Winter Social includes activities and events for visitors of all ages and interests!

  • Embark on a charming journey through Discovery Harbour’s wintery landscape with tractor-pulled wagon rides.
  • Engage with skilled historical interpreters in period costumes, providing an authentic glimpse into 18th century life during the winter season, while sharing fascinating stories and presentations.
  • Witness the thrill of black powder demonstrations showcasing historic muskets and firing techniques.
  • Explore the rich history of Discovery Harbour through guided tours of meticulously preserved historic buildings, including the original Officer’s Quarters.
  • Delight in the curated artisan market, featuring local craftsmen and artists, offering unique, handmade treasures.
  • Immerse yourself in the soulful tunes and melodies of talented local musicians creating a lively and festive atmosphere.
  • Satisfy your taste buds with delicious snacks served up at the Snowshoe Cafe, offering a selection of winter treats.
  • Children can enjoy interactions with some of their favourite costumed characters, adding a touch of whimsy and magic to the event, perfect for family photo memories.
  • Weather permitting, children can also experience the thrill of the snow tube run, while everyone can engage in the timeless winter activity of snowshoeing.
  • Rise to the thrilling challenge of the Bosun’s Brig Escape Room, which offers a one-hour, traditional escape room experience for groups of 4-6 people in Discovery Harbour’s historic Brig (prison building). Participants should be at least 12 years old, as there are some physical requirements. Admission for this exciting experience is $36 per person, which includes access to the Mid-Winter Social event.

Experience the perfect blend of history, entertainment, and winter joy at Mid-Winter Social this February. It is sure to be fun for the whole family. Admission is $12 per person with kids five and under admitted for free. Tickets can be purchased online or in-person upon arrival.

Two cartoon snowmen on a tobaggan, a 76th annual Winterama button design

In addition, we are pleased to share that, sponsored by the Town of Penetanguishene, Winterama button holders will receive $2 off their admission to Mid-Winter Social! Enjoy all the classic 76th annual Winterama activities throughout the town, then hop on the free shuttle to Discovery Harbour to enjoy the festivities there as well. This offer is valid all days of Mid-Winter Social, and visitors will need to show their button at Discovery Harbour Admissions to activate this special savings. More information on Winterama activities can be found on the Town of Penetanguishene website.

About Discovery Harbour

Located at 93 Jury Drive in Penetanguishene, Ontario, Discovery Harbour is a historical attraction renowned for the authentic living history experience depicting life at a 19th-century naval and military base. Each year, Discovery Harbour welcomes visitors to experience their regular season activities from the May long weekend through to Labour Day weekend, including fan-favourite events like evening Ghost Tours and Ontario’s largest pirate event, Pirates of the Bay, in August. The doors are open again in October for the award-winning Pumpkinferno.

MEDIA CONTACT

Melissa Elsdon, Coordinator of Marketing & Media Relations
Huronia Historical Parks, Discovery Harbour
(705) 427-4832
melissa.elsdon@Ontario.ca


Pumpkinferno returns for a 7th amazing year with new features and fantastic displays!

Penetanguishene, ON – Amidst the historical charm and picturesque setting, Discovery Harbour’s Pumpkinferno event returns to Penetanguishene, welcoming visitors with a hauntingly good time! From October 4-29, Wednesday to Sunday, amazing hand-carved artificial pumpkin displays, scary scenes and spooky creatures await you on our 40-acre historic site. A fun evening for the entire family…explore this award-winning event on the shores of Penetanguishene Bay and see what is lurking in the night!

visitors to Discovery Harbour enjoying the sites of thousands of lit funkins on this historic site

This year’s Pumpkinferno offers two thrilling ways to participate and enjoy the festivities:

  • Wednesday nights from 7-9 p.m. – guests can embark on a drive-thru experience, meandering through a bewitching trail of illuminated pumpkins through the historic site – right from the comfort of your vehicle.
  • Thursday through Sunday evenings from 6-10 p.m. – families and friends can take a relaxed stroll through the captivating walk-through display, basking in the glow of the “fun-kins” while surrounded by the historic buildings that have stood the test of time.

Pumpkinferno 2023 will feature:

  • Thousands of hand-carved artificial pumpkins such as 40-foot dragon that illuminates the night sky.
  • New exhibits this year: ‘Who Let the Dogs Out’: life-sized versions of all your favourite dog breeds and “Great White North”: Snowflakes, Inukshuks and Polar Bears, oh my!
  • The Coffin Ride: a one-person immersive experience like no other returns!
  • NEW Mini-Escape Room: 5 minutes is all you have to escape this intricate multi-player challenge! May the odds ever be in your favour!
  • Bo’sun’s Brig: Escape Room Experience: an escape room challenge for 4-6 people. Solve puzzles and unlock clues to make your daring escape!
  • 40-by-40 foot blow-up Halloween maze for the kids.
  • Bubbling Cauldron Cafe – warm up with hot chocolate and indulge in spooky snacks! A variety of scary items will be available for purchase.
  • Warm up by the outdoor fire pits.
  • Macabre Mansion – Complimenting the resident ghosts and spirits found in original 19th-century Officers’ Quarters as experienced in the popular summer Ghost Tours is a visit to the Macabre Mansion. This self-guided tour will have you wondering “What was that?” and may have you sleeping with the lights on!
  • Grim Reaper’s Grove returns: featuring special effects and spooky animatronics. 
  • Roving entertainers will delight and inspire with fire, magic and more!
  • Scarecrow Alley: are you brave enough to take the path less travelled?

Admission is $15 per person (including tax). Children five and under are free! Non-perishable food donations are being accepted by the St. Vincent de Paul Society. Tickets are available online in advance, or at the door.

Visit our website for full details about Pumpkinferno at Discovery Harbour: https://discoveryharbour.on.ca/events/pumpkinferno/

Pumpkinferno at Historic Discovery Harbour is an unforgettable celebration that merges the magic of autumn with the allure of history, making it a must-attend event for families and history enthusiasts alike.

About Discovery Harbour

Located at 93 Jury Drive in Penetanguishene, Ontario, Discovery Harbour is a historical attraction renowned for the authentic experience of life in a 19th-century naval and military base it offers. In the month of October, the site is transformed into the award winning Pumpkinferno event. Pumpkinferno is the winner of a Festivals & Events Top 100 Event award in 2022.

MEDIA CONTACT

Melissa Elsdon, Coordinator of Marketing & Media Relations
Huronia Historical Parks, Discovery Harbour
(705)427-4832
melissa.elsdon@Ontario.ca


Discover the Secrets of History: Doors Open Ontario Event at Discovery Harbour Offers Free Admission on Sunday, August 27

Penetanguishene, ON – History enthusiasts and curious minds are invited to step back in time and unlock the secrets of the past at Discovery Harbour at the Doors Open Ontario event, offering free admission to visitors on Sunday, August 27. This immersive experience provides a rare opportunity to explore the historical treasures of Discovery Harbour for free, making it the perfect weekend activity for families, history buffs, and the community.

Located in Penetanguishene, Discovery Harbour is a renowned historical site that showcases the rich maritime heritage of the region. During the Doors Open Ontario event, guests can meander through the picturesque grounds and interact with knowledgeable interpreters, who will breathe life into the stories of the past. This unique occasion presents a chance to delve into the history of the site and gain insight into the lives of those who once walked these grounds.

“Discovery Harbour is one of Ontario’s great, family-friendly historical sites, and Doors Open Ontario provides a wonderful opportunity to visit,” said Neil Lumsden, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport. “I encourage everyone to take a trip to Penetanguishene and experience all the hands-on nautical fun this living-history attraction has to offer.”

The Original Officers’ Quarters

Guests can discover the authentic 19th-century buildings, walk in the footsteps of early settlers, and marvel at the intricate details of historical architecture. From the vibrant waterfront to the thoughtfully restored heritage buildings, Discovery Harbour offers an unforgettable journey through time.

“The Doors Open Ontario event at Discovery Harbour is an extraordinary opportunity for visitors to experience our history,” said Gary Molnar, Operations Manager at Discovery Harbour. “We are thrilled to welcome the community to explore the historic buildings, like the original Officers’ Quarters, the replica H.M.S. Tecumseth and H.M.S. Bee, as well as the scenic surroundings, all at no cost on this special day.”

Whether you’re a seasoned history enthusiast or someone with a curious spirit, this event promises to leave you with a deeper appreciation for the region’s heritage.


Admission to the Doors Open Ontario event at Discovery Harbour is free on Sunday, August 27. Guests are encouraged to arrive early to make the most of this opportunity to experience history up close and personal.

Join us as we unlock the doors to the past and share the remarkable stories of Discovery Harbour’s history.

About Discovery Harbour

Discovery Harbour is a cherished historical site that offers engaging and immersive experiences, celebrating the rich maritime heritage of the region. Through educational programming and captivating exhibits, Discovery Harbour continues to captivate visitors of all ages, fostering a love for history and culture

About Doors Open Ontario

Doors Open Ontario is a provincewide heritage tourism program that gives the public free access to explore fascinating heritage properties across Ontario. It showcases the buildings, natural spaces, infrastructure, and cultural landscapes that shape and define our communities

MEDIA CONTACT

Melissa Elsdon, Coordinator of Marketing & Media Relations
Huronia Historical Parks, Discovery Harbour
(705)427-4832
melissa.elsdon@Ontario.ca


Pirates of the Bay Returns to Discovery Harbour:

An Unforgettable Adventure on Saturday, August 5th

July 17, 2023
Penetanguishene, ON – Ahoy, mateys! Get ready to set sail on an exhilarating voyage as Discovery Harbour proudly presents the return of the fan-favourite “Pirates of the Bay” on Saturday, August 5th. This highly anticipated event promises a thrilling experience for visitors of all ages, immersing them in a world of swashbuckling adventure, and family-friendly activities.

Located on the shores of Penetanguishene Bay, Discovery Harbour is renowned for its rich history and captivating naval history. The iconic waterfront attraction is set to transform into a lively pirate haven for one day only, offering an unforgettable escapade for families and enthusiasts alike.

Young aspiring buccaneers will have the chance to partake in exciting activities throughout Discovery Harbour. Whether you’re a seasoned pirate or a first-time adventurer, this interactive experience promises endless fun and excitement.

In addition, visitors can explore the historic site, featuring an array of vendors offering pirate-themed merchandise, delicious food and beverages, and a variety of activities for the whole family.

Une interprète historique en costume de marin qui tire de l'eau de la baie avec un seau, du coté d'un navire historique

“Pirates of the Bay” at Discovery Harbour promises an unforgettable day of adventure and entertainment, providing an immersive experience that will delight attendees of all ages. The event will take place on Saturday, August 5th, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online at Pirates of the Bay – Discovery Harbour or at the Discovery Harbour ticket office.

ABOUT DISCOVERY HARBOUR

Located at 93 Jury Drive in Penetanguishene, Ontario, Discovery Harbour is a renowned historical attraction that offers visitors an authentic experience of life in a 19th-century naval and military base. With interactive exhibits, live demonstrations, and a stunning waterfront setting, Discovery Harbour provides an immersive journey back in time for all ages.

PHOTO CAPTIONS

  • Pirates of the Bay is set to be a swashbucklin’ good time for pirates of all ages on Saturday, August 5th!
  • Costumed interpreters dressed as sailors and pirates add to the piratical good times at Discovery Harbour on August the 5th!

MEDIA CONTACT

Melissa Elsdon, Coordinator of Marketing & Media Relations
Huronia Historical Parks, Discovery Harbour
(705)427-4832
melissa.elsdon@Ontario.ca


Ghostly & Challenging Encounters Await:

Discovery Harbour Invites Visitors to Experience Haunting Ghost Tours and Thrilling Escape Rooms this Summer

Penetanguishene, ON – Discovery Harbour, historical attraction renowned for its immersive experiences, is thrilled to announce the launch of the 2023 Summer Season of Ghost Tours and Escape Room events, set to run every Saturday evening from July 1 to September 2. Visitors are invited to join in the spooky excitement as they join guided, lantern-lit tours of the historic site and buildings nestled on the shores of Georgian Bay.

Discovery Harbour has long been hailed as a treasure trove of historical intrigue, and again this summer, opens its doors to the mysterious and the unknown. Ghost Tours will take brave souls on a captivating journey through the haunting past of the site, providing a thrilling blend of history and the supernatural. Led by experienced guides, attendees will delve into the secrets of the 19th-century naval and military base, encountering restless spirits and hearing chilling tales of paranormal activity along the way. From the eerie stories shared inside the stone walls of the officers’ quarters to the darkened rooms in Captain Keating’s House, each step brings participants closer to the heart of the supernatural realm.

But the thrills don’t stop there. For those seeking an adrenaline-fueled challenge, Discovery Harbour invites visitors to challenge themselves in the Bo’sun’s Brig: Escape Room, designed to test problem-solving skills and nerves of steel. Participants will be transported to the 19th century where your costumed jail guard will start you on your journey of unraveling mysteries, finding hidden clues, and working together with your team of 4-6 players to beat the clock. This Escape Room offers an unparalleled adventure that combines the allure of history with the excitement of interactive puzzles.

“We are delighted to offer visitors a unique opportunity to explore the darker side of Discovery Harbour through our Ghost Tours and Escape Rooms. These new experiences are perfect for those seeking a spine-tingling adventure and a chance to immerse themselves in the rich history of the site. We have carefully crafted these offerings to provide an unforgettable evening that combines mystery, entertainment and a touch of the supernatural.”Gary Molnar, Operations Manager for Discovery Harbour.

Ghost Tours and Escape Rooms at Discovery Harbour will be available every Saturday evening from July 1 to September 2 and offer various tour times. Tickets for each event can be purchased in advance on the Discovery Harbour website or at the ticket booth on-site. Due to the popularity of these experiences, early booking is highly recommended.

A costumed guide stands at the door to the brig, while game players stand inside the building, excited to start their escape room experience!

Discover the secrets that lie within the shadows of Discovery Harbour this summer. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to embark on a ghostly adventure or test your wits in the immersive Escape Room. Dare to join us for an evening you won’t soon forget.

 For more information, please visit discoveryharbour.on.ca or contact Discovery Harbour ticket booth staff at (705) 549-8064.


ABOUT DISCOVERY HARBOUR

Located at 93 Jury Drive in Penetanguishene, Ontario, Discovery Harbour is a renowned historical attraction that offers visitors an authentic experience of life in a 19th-century naval and military base. With interactive exhibits, live demonstrations, and a stunning waterfront setting, Discovery Harbour provides an immersive journey back in time for all ages.

PHOTO CAPTIONS

  • Keating House aglow with soft candle light during Saturday evening Ghost Tours
  • The Bosun’s Brig jail guard adds historic flair to your Escape Room experience. Groups of 4-6 people can complete the challenge on Saturday evenings.

MEDIA CONTACT

Melissa Elsdon, Coordinator of Marketing and Media Relations, Discovery Harbour
 Melissa.Elsdon@Ontario.ca
 705.427.4832