The Many Stages of Our Lives

Gravenhurst Opera House & Arts Centre: A Muskoka Tradition for 100 Years

The Many Stages of Our Lives
by Joe Paul Stratford



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The Many Stages of Our Lives is a treasure-trove of community life, displaying year-by-year the very wide range of activities unfolding in the Opera House. Whether one's interest is Muskoka history or the broader pattern of Canadian community life through the entire twentieth century, this book reveals the astonishing significance and far-reaching impact of the Gravenhurst Opera House.

Among the countless activities and events have been minstrel shows, baby contests, suffragette meetings, summer stock plays by Actors' Colony Theatre, street fairs, Chautauqua performances, remembrance services, local drama productions, cooking forums, talent shows, army recruitment drives, judicial proceedings, Muskoka Colour Cavalcade shows, and presentations of the Muskoka Festival. In time, even an opera was performed at the Opera House.

Numerous well-known personalities made appearances, in a variety of roles and for many different purposes, at the Gravenhurst Opera House over the decades, including John Holden, Robert Christie, Howard Cable, Murray and Donald Davis, Araby Lockhart, Don Harron, Robertson Davies, Honor Blackman, Donald Sutherland, Wm. B. Davis, Gordon Sloan, Pierre Trudeau, Dave Broadfoot, Gordon Lightfoot, Michael Burgess, Helen Shaver, and Graham Greene.

Author Information

Joe Stratford, author of this rich and engaging saga of all the wide-ranging activity centred on the Gravenhurst Opera House during its first century, had himself lived in Muskoka for 50 years when he wrote The Many Stages of Our Lives in 2001. Residing in Gravenhurst, Stratford grew intrigued by Canadian history and architecture, both of which he weaves together in his passionate and artistic record of this celebrated Muskoka building.


Publisher: Gravenhurst Opera House, 2001

Category: Cultural Life / History

ISBN: 978-0-9688421-0-2

Price: $39.95 CDN

Format: hardcover, 143 pages, 10.25 x 10.25 in

Features: Colour photos throughout. B&W photos and line drawings, reproduction of playbills and newspaper accounts.