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Santa’s Village is closely intertwined with the history of Bracebridge.
In the mid-1950s the provincial government constructed Highway 11 as a high-speed route to northern Ontario. Prior to that, traffic had passed down Manitoba Street. With the new highway serving as a bypass of Bracebridge, residents and business owners were concerned.
It has been said that it was at a New Year’s Eve party where a number of families came up with the idea of the park. Bracebridge is on the 45th parallel halfway between the North Pole and the equator, it made sense to build Santa’s amusement park and second home in cottage country. The project was a community-wide effort. Shares were sold door-to-door within the town to friends, neighbours, and associates. In 1954 the community raised $120,000 for the construction of the amusement park. Santa’s Village officially opened to the public in 1955.
In 2011 the company went private and it was estimated that 20 per cent of the local families who bought into the original plans for the park still owned shares.