Located along the Trent-Severn Waterway at the intersection of Buckhorn Lake and Lower Buckhorn Lake, the Town of Buckhorn is a hidden gem in the heart of Peterborough & The Kawarthas. Rich in heritage and culture, Buckhorn offers a wonderful all-season lifestyle for both residents and visitors.
On the southern tip of the Canadian Shield, the area was already home to Indigenous peoples when Irish immigrant John Hall settled there in 1830. Hall constructed a dam and mill on what is now the Buckhorn Locks, and the settlement became known as Hall’s Rapids. It was later renamed for Buckhorn Lake, which supposedly acquired the name from its antler-like shape.
A 30-minute drive from Peterborough and two to three hours from Toronto and Ottawa, Buckhorn is a great destination — whether for a day trip or an overnight stay — for your next Canadian winter getaway.
What To Do
See 15,000 square feet of Canadian art at Gallery on the Lake
The Gallery on the Lake is one of Canada’s largest privately owned retail art galleries, featuring 15,000 square feet of original fine art, sculpture, glassware, pottery, and jewellery.
At its beautiful lakeside setting, the gallery offers one of the most extensive collections of artwork by some of Canada’s leading and emerging artists.
Open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays during the winter, The Gallery on the Lake is located on 65 Gallery on the Lake Road, about three kilometres northeast on Buckhorn and walking distance from Westwind Inn.
VIDEO: Gallery on The Lake
Browse thousands of pieces of native art and crafts at Whetung Ojibwa Centre
Operated by the Whetung family of Curve Lake First Nation, Whetung Ojibwa Centre offers a spectacular collection of Indigenous crafts as well as fine art, jewellery, moccasins, totem poles, leather work, sculptures, and more from artisans from Curve Lake First Nation and from across Canada.
The 10,000-square-foot building is filled from floor to ceiling with carvings, masks, pottery, paintings, bead work, quill work, and other decorative items of every description. Beyond the central gift shop area is a gallery featuring framed fine art and sculpture, original paintings, posters, limited editions, and cards.
Open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Whetung Ojibwa Centre is located at 875 County Road 22 on Curve Lake First Nation, about 14 kilometres south of Buckhorn. Admission and parking are free, and the centre is wheelchair accessible.
Taste made-in-the-Kawarthas wines at Kawartha Country Wines
The first winery in the Kawarthas, Kawartha Country Wines is a small premium family-owned winery located around five kilometres north of Buckhorn.
Owner and vintner John Rufa comes from a long tradition of family wine-making and processes local fruits and berries with the highest standards to produce award-winning wines.
Kawartha Country Wines offers a large selection of fruit wines in different styles, dessert wines, and traditional red and white wines and ciders.
There’s a complimentary wine sampling bar, and tours are available on request. And make sure to check out the giant inuksuk while you’re there.
Located at 2452 County Road 36, Kawartha Country Wines is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call 705-657-9916 or visit www.kawarthacountrywines.ca. You can also follow them on Facebook.
Try ice fishing
Whether you’re an avid angler or want to try ice fishing for the first time while in Buckhorn, check out Buckhorn Lake and Lower Buckhorn Lake, as well as nearby Pigeon and Chemong Lakes
When ice fishing, safety should always be the top priority. Dress for the weather (in layers) and check ice thickness and conditions frequently. Fish with a buddy, let someone know where you are and when you plan to return, and bring a charged cell phone with you.
When it comes to your catch, make sure to check the rules and regulations of the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources & Forestry.
VIDEO: Ice Fishing in Peterborough & the Kawarthas
And don’t forget to have your fishing licence with you (unless you’re a veteran or an active Canadian Armed Forces member, in which case you just need your military ID or service card).
If you’ve never tried ice fishing before, you can fish licence-free across Ontario during the annual Family Fishing Weekend, which takes place on the Family Day long weekend (Februrary 16th to 18th).
Try backcountry snowshoeing and winter camping at Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park
Located just north of Buckhorn, Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park is the largest park in southern Ontario after Algonquin Provincial Park.
The 375-square-kilometre area of the park offers lots of opportunities for the avid snowshoer to experience untouched wilderness and nature.
VIDEO: Winter Camping at Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park
If you’re feeling really adventurous, you can even try winter camping (you must obtain a permit online at reservations.ontarioparks.com or by calling 1-888-668-7275).
Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park is accessible via Highway 36, Highway 507, and Highway 28. For more information, visit ontarioparks.com/park/kawarthahighlands.
Where To Stay
Located three kilometres northeast of Buckhorn on the shores of Lower Buckhorn Lake, Westwind Inn is an ideal destination if you’re looking for a romantic getaway, some winter fun, or maybe a bit of both.
You can head out for some cross-country skiing and snowshoeing through the wilderness (you can borrow gear at no extra charge if you don’t have your own). You can skate on the lake under the stars, or try your hand at ice fishing.
If you prefer your winter fun motorized, there’s easy access to the Ontario Federation Of Snowmobile Clubs trail and the Buckhorn District Snowmobile Club is only a kilometre away.
After a day enjoying the outdoors, you can relax by the fire in your own private room and maybe try the outdoor hot tub.
Popular with couples, Westwind Inn offers 35 cozy guest rooms with cedar-lined walls, antique furnishings, fireplaces, and more. There are also four larger suites in the chalet, located on the lakefront away from the main lodge, with many amenities including large four-poster beds, an air jet tub, a mini-fridge, and more. Pets are allowed in some rooms.
Your stay at Westwind Inn includes dinner and breakfast. For reservations, call 1-800-387-8100 or 705-657-8095 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’re looking for a winter getaway featuring your own private cottage, you’ll want to head to Beachwood Resort.
Originally built in 1926 as a summer fishing lodge, Beachwood Resort has been welcoming guests for more than 90 years.
Located on Lower Buckhorn Lake’s Deer Bay, the resort offers a lakefront cottage getaway with all the amenities of home.
Along with quaint lodge rooms, Beachwood Resort has fully winterized condos and cottages on 1,400 feet of shoreline surrounded by 330 acres of wilderness and wildlife.
The three- and four-bedroom cottages provide beautiful views of the lake and come with fully equipped kitchens, fireplaces, and more. Pets are welcome in some of the units.
For reservations, call 1-888-313-1118 or 705-657-3481.
VIDEO: Beachwood Resort Winter Tour
Catalina Bay Resort
Located on the shores of Big Bald Lake around four kilometres north of Buckhorn, Catalina Bay Resort is another great option for a winter cottage getaway.
The resort offers two and three bedroom cottages that come with fully equipped kitchens, fireplaces, and more. For winter activities, the resort has 15 kilometres of groomed cross-country ski trails, a large toboggan hill, an outdoor skating rink on the lake, and ice fishing.
For reservations, call 705-657-1655 or email email@example.com.
Where To Eat
Lock Stop Cafe
Opened in 2018 by local entrepreneur Kelli Coon, Lock Stop Cafe in Buckhorn has quickly become a popular destination for locals and visitors alike.
The café and restaurant features coffee from locally roasted beans, loose leaf and bag tea, artisan sandwiches and paninis fresh to order on home-baked bread, soups, and sweets like croissants, petit fours, eclairs, and butter tarts.
The restaurant also contains a marketplace showcasing products from local artisans and others.
Open during the winter from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday to Sunday, Lock Stop Cafe is located at 1919 Lakehurst Road in Buckhorn.
Opened in 2013 by Endrit Karaj, Pizza Alloro is another popular stop in Buckhorn for locals and visitors.
The restaurant offers freshly made pizzas and calzones, along with salads, wings, appetizers, and pasta. Vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options are also available.
Pizza Alloro is highly rated on TripAdvisor, and people have been known to drive long distances to enjoy a slice or two. The Chicken Caesar pizza — covered in Caesar dressing and topped with mozzarella cheese, spinach, chicken, bacon strips, and grated parmesan — is a favourite of many.
Open from 11 am to 8 p.m. Sunday to Wednesday and from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday to Saturday, Pizza Alloro is located at 5 Main Street in Buckhorn.