Rosseau is a lovely small community at the north end of Lake Rosseau, located about halfway between Parry Sound and Huntsville. It features a small local park, beach, marina, historic general store, farmers market, cafes, restaurants, antique and artisanal stores. Most lake travellers are familiar with the famous century- old lighthouse that still shines on the water near the village.
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Rosseau is located at the northern point of Lake Rosseau. While the majority of the lake itself is classified as part of the Muskoka Lakes district, the village itself is located in the township of Seguin, and the District of Parry Sound.
Rosseau is located approximately 2.5 hours north of Toronto, accessible via Hwy 400 N and 141 E. It is located about halfway between Parry Sound and Huntsville, each approximately a half hour away. Other nearby towns include Windemere and Bracebridge.
The village is one of the ends of the Rosseau- Nipissing Road, which stretches all the way up to Lake Nipissing, near North Bay. An Ontario Historical Plaque has been erected by the government to commemorate the road’s role in the province’s heritage.
Rosseau is home to Rosseau Lake College, one of Canada’s leading independent schools. It offers co-ed day and boarding school options for grades 6-12.
Rosseau Real Estate
Real estate in Rosseau offers all the tranquility, beauty and relaxation one expects in cottage country. As the northern point of Lake Rosseau, the area offers a slightly more relaxed experience on one of Muskoka’s most popular lakes. You will find a great variety of luxury lake homes, resort properties, modest family cottages and pristine lots to build your own Muskoka lake paradise.
Luxurious lakefront properties are often upwards of 3000 square feet, with large numbers of guest beds and baths. These multi-million dollar homes will feature exceptional craftsmanship, coupled with premiere features like professional grade appliances, vaulted ceilings with floor-to ceiling automatic windows designed for optimal lake views and light management, and spectacular stone fireplaces. Many properties will also feature boathouses with not only boat housing, but additional entertaining space and docks as well.
Even more modest waterfront properties will offer beautifully maintained cottages, or prime lots with renovation or redevelopment potential. Lake Rosseau properties often feature fantastic privacy, due to the heavy forest and rocky shorelines. The area’s location on the nort h shore of the lake means most locations offer spectacular views of the lake’s rich sunsets.
Resort condo opportunities offer luxurious turn-key studios within stunning resort complexes featuring amenities like outdoor pools, spas, beach, restaurants, fitness center and other activities. Experience all the relaxation and splendor of a Muskoka vacation, without the hassle of home maintenance.
The beauty of Rosseau-area living is while the northern part of the lake is quieter, you are never far from amenities in the charming village, or within a half hour of larger centers like Parry Sound or Huntsville.
Rosseau Amenities & Attractions
While Rosseau is small, this quaint village offers key amenities to residents and visitors to the north end of Lake Rosseau. As one of the “big three” lakes in the Muskoka Lakes region (Lakes Rosseau, Muskoka and Joseph), the area offers a quintessential cottage country experience.
Area residents and visitors can enjoy a variety of classic Muskoka activities, including kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding, boating, waterskiing and wakeboarding. Discover local fishing spots, or local walking and hiking trails. Or spend your days relaxing on sun-drenched docks, and marvelling at spectacular sunsets and wondrous starry night skies. Or venture into the village to pick up supplies, and enjoy the history and relaxed ambience.
The Rosseau General Store is both a community cornerstone, and historical landmark. The store has been in operation since the late 19th century, and the building is wonderfully preserved. Travel back to a simpler time at one of Ontario’s original general stores, where you will find everything from local dairy, produce and a butcher shop, to hardware, souvenirs and locally made products. There’s even a hand-scooped ice cream counter for the family.
The village features a number of other small businesses, including several small antique stores, crafting shops, and art galleries. The Craft Room Rosseau is a local favorite, featuring craft supplies, gifts and other locally made items. There is also a local bakery, LCBO liquor store, cannabis store, even a small local winery.
The village features several eateries, including Crossroads, which specializes in upscale dishes made using local products and suppliers, and Cottage Law Canteen, a cafe restaurant with excellent espresso and offering a brunch-style menu.
The Rosseau Waterfront Park is a popular spot for visitors, with a boat ramp and dock, supervised beach, gazebo and picnic tables, playground and washroom facilities. The adjacent Muskoka Lakes Marina is a full-service marina with fuel, boat maintenance, repairs, boat storage, new and used boat sales, and board shop.
The Rosseau Farmer’s Market attracts thousands of visitors to the village weekly. Established in 1999, this market operates every Friday on the lakefront near Waterfront Park, and features over 80 local vendors, and new guest vendors weekly. Find everything from local produce and baked goods, to metal work and knitting. There is also a rotating schedule of live entertainment, and there are even antique boat cruises available from the park dock during the market. While the market operates until the end of August, it also hosts a popular Thanksgiving Market in the community hall on Thanksgiving weekend in October.
The village also hosts other events throughout the year, including the Rosseau Regata, Rosseau Classic Cruise Car & Boat Show, Rosseau Fall Fair, and local movie nights at the Rosseau Memorial Hall.
Other local landmarks include the century-old Rosseau lighthouse, located on the water near the village, and Rosseau Falls, where the Rosseau River descends through 2 waterfalls into the lake.
The Aspen Valley Animal Sanctuary is a beloved local non-profit charitable organization, with a 460-acre facility and natural habitat specializing in the rescue and rehabilitation of injured and orphaned native wildlife. There are all-ages guided educational walking tours of the sanctuary and permanent resident animals by donation (minimum $20).
Lake Rosseau and Rosseau History
The Muskoka Lakes are three interconnected lakes- Rosseau, Joseph and Muskoka. While Lake Muskoka was named for Mesqua Ukee, an Ojibwa chief whose name means “not easily turned back in the day of battle”, Lakes Joseph and Rosseau were named for Joseph Rosseau, a local trader.
The terrain surrounding the lakes was not well suited for agriculture, and the area did not see significant development until it was opened to logging in the 1860s. Steamships were limited to Lake Muskoka until the opening of locks and canals at Port Carling and Port Sandfield in 1871, which allowed access to both Lakes Joseph and Rosseau.
Tourists flocked to the area, as resort areas were developed along the shores of the lakes, including Royal Muskoka, Windemere House, and Rosseau House. Area access also opened further when railways were established between Toronto and Gravenhurst in 1875, on the southern shore of Lake Muskoka.
Rosseau House, also known as the Pratt Hotel, was one of the first wilderness resort hotels in Canada, established in 1870. Despite its remoteness (at that point over 60 miles from the nearest railway), it was very popular, with over 50 rooms, stables, ballroom, telegraph office, and steamboat wharf. When it burned down in 1883, it was unfortunately not rebuilt; however, development continued in the area.
The historical Rosseau Lighthouse was erected at Ditchburn’s Shoal in 1890, to help vessels avoid the rocky shorelines in the area.
The village of Rosseau was officially incorporated in 1926. As the resource sector ran its course, the Muskoka region’s main economic focus shifted to tourism. It has thrived as an iconic Canadian vacation destination ever since.
Rosseau remained an incorporated village until 1998, when it was then amalgamated into the newly-created Seguin Township.