If you don’t know a whole lot about Minden, it’s probably because this tight-knit, hard working community doesn’t feel the need to brag too much - after all, the incredible spirit and unique moments around every corner speak for themselves. For long-time residents, the town’s attractions are self-evident, and many of its loyal seasonal visitors have been quietly coming back summer after summer for decades to relive old memories and seek out new adventures.

With vast swaths of nature and a relatively small population, there are many places to hide in Minden if one does not wish to be seen. Rent a quaint cottage by the water and walk a local trail, drive to Panorama Park Lookout for a mid-day picnic, or take a dip in the clear, warm water at 12-Mile Beach during sunset.

With Minden being recently recognized as one of the friendliest towns in the province, others are taking note of the attractions here. You can catch up with an old friend over a drink at the historic Dominion Hotel or savour an award-winning craft beer and some homemade sausages at Boshkung Social in summer.

Summers in Minden

Speaking of summer, there is nothing quite like celebrating the summer in Minden.

In summer, you can float down the Gull River on an inner tube with your shades on and watch the world go by. Drop by the famous Kawartha Dairy and hear kids squeal over a mind-boggling array of flavours while you make a mental note of the next kind you’ll have to try.

You won't be able to miss the ice cream-cone shaped Minden River Cone, open seasonally and serving delicious soft-serve ice cream. Their pirate ship play structure is a big hit with the little ones.

The Haliburton County Fair has been held every June at the Minden Fairgrounds for over 150 years, and this year even boasts its first ever Comic Con. And on Friday evenings in the summer you can find people dancing in the streets for Music by the Gull – free rock, country and folk music concerts framed by the stunning backdrop of the Gull River.

In the summer months, wandering the Minden Farmers’ Market in the Municipal Parking Lot on a Saturday will give you an example of just where the town’s friendly title came from, with smiles at every booth. You can get a sense of the community’s closeness by how slowly everyone meanders, frequently stopping for catch ups with one another. It’s the perfect place to break up the day with an authentic curry, Montreal style bagel or a rich espresso. You can also pick up some handcrafted jewelry, candles or scarves at the Artisan’s Market for prices you would never find in the city.

From there, it’s just a couple of minutes to the Cultural Centre where you can check out the latest visual arts exhibition and stroll through picturesque Heritage Village.

Over the last three years since I’ve moved back to the Highlands, I have been become increasingly aware that Minden’s buzz is building, dynamics are changing, and the community’s laid-back vibe may not be here forever. More and more people are discovering this hidden gem, which is great news!

For now, I’m happy that I can usually still find a seat at some of my favourite restaurants and cafes, or drive just a couple of minutes off the beaten path to find my own private nature wonderland. The feeling is a mixture of both familiarity and discovery – gladly received by anyone with a wandering heart.

Spend a day (or longer) at Minden and see for yourself the attraction of friendly folks, good food, and fun times.


Amanda Duncombe-Lee

Amanda is a lover of nature, photography, writing and data in every form. Her career background is in the non-profit sector and she worked and lived in Toronto, Edinburgh and Vancouver before moving back to the Highlands where she grew up. She currently resides in Haliburton with her husband and two adventurous young sons.