Bracebridge 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.