The town was built around a waterfall on the Muskoka River in the centre of town, and is known for its other nearby waterfalls (Wilson's Falls, High Falls, etc). It was first incorporated in 1875. It was named after a book, Bracebridge Hall by Washington Irving, that the postmaster in charge of naming towns was reading at the time. The same novel also provided the name for nearby Gravenhurst.
The town is the seat of the district government, a centre of tourism for the Muskoka area, and home to several historical sites, such as the Inn at the Falls, Woodchester Villa, and the Silver Bridge, which joins Manitoba Street with Ecclestone Drive. The Silver Bridge was repaired in 2002. Bracebridge is also the home of the Muskoka Cottage Brewery.
As of the municipal elections in November, 2006, Don Coates is the current mayor.
Modern settlement of the town began in the 1860's, beginning at first with a few log huts. By 1870 the village had a population of about 400, growing to reach a total of about 2,000 by the turn of the 20th century. The village was incorporated in 1875 and became a town under an Act of parliament in 1889.
The town of Bracebridge built a state of the art Sportsplex in 2006 which contains a rock climbing wall, indoor track, eight-lane swimming pool and fitness studio. The Town partnered with the Muskoka Limberettes Gymnastics Club to create a gymnastics facility in the same building. The Sportsplex is part of the same complex including the Bracebridge and Muskoka Lakes Secondary School and Rene M. Caisse Memorial Theatre.
Nipissing University and Georgian College have a shared satellite campus in the town. Both Georgian College and Nipissing University have expanded their campuses (2008). Georgian has moved into the former Town swimming pool/recreation centre, the "Centennial Centre" on Wellington Street. Georgian's grand opening date was September 11, 2007. Nipissing University opened it's doors next to Georgian the following year for the 2008 semester.
Bracebridge is served by the local radio station, CFBG 99.5FM, which is a hot adult contemporary format that uses the on-air brand "Moose FM" owned by the Haliburton Broadcasting Group. Local newspapers include Bracebridge Examiner , District Weekender, Muskoka Sun and Muskoka Advance.
|District of Muskoka Municipalities|
| Town of Bracebridge | Town of Gravenhurst | Town of Huntsville|
Township of Georgian Bay | Township of Lake of Bays | Township of Muskoka Lakes