Haraview Burgers

Going on 50 years ago, I first began driving highway 11 north into Ontario’s Muskoka country.  I and a group of friends were weekend campers in a park north of Severn Bridge.  Just south of our campground, a burger place had opened.  I never did stop there because it was so close to our destination and because of the sometimes difficult task of getting back onto the highway again.  Haraview Burgers it was called, and I do remember a small sign in their parking lot that said something like “Best burgers around.  Recommended by Kingsmill of the Toronto Star”.

In all of those camping trips, and the subsequent 40 years of driving past it on the way to North Bay with my wife, I noticed a few things:   It seemed to have been operational for only a short time, maybe a year or two.  After that, there was a CLOSED sign on the door.  At first I thought that they were only going to open in the summer months, but that never happened.

Curiously, the place seems to have been reasonably well maintained over the years.  The signs are still up, but I have seen no evidence of occupancy.  The single exception to this is a curl of smoke I saw coming from its chimney one winter day.  The photos I have presented here were taken about two weeks ago.  I actually stopped there to take a look around.  No one was about, and I did not knock on their door.  I have never been able to glean any information about the place, even from the great God of Google, or from social media.

It now has a fresh paint job, but still has the persona of a burger place.  I really do wonder how many people have actually pulled into that driveway in fifty years.  My imagination says that perhaps an old hermit lives there who gets amusement out of peering through his curtains at the disappointed tourists that come and go from his property.  Or, it could be a front for some kind of nefarious business, haha.

Next trip, I may just summon the nerve to investigate a little further.  I will keep you posted.

30 responses to “Haraview Burgers”

  1. I am a chef and restaurateur along with my wife, every time I pass this place I spend the next several kilometres fantasizing as if it were ours. love this spot and I too have always marvelled that while it clearly ages it does not weather, what a treat to find this blog and thread! Perhaps one day you’ll see us, in an old rusty pickup truck carrying on this legacy! One can dream:)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi everybody, I too have wondered how this place is still standing and in relatively good shape. I remember that “as recommended by the Toronto Star” sign, but it was so long ago I had begun to doubt myself, so I was glad to read some corroboration here. I looked up the Toronto Star article but it does not solve many mysteries.

    Anyhow, here is the relevant text from Kingsmill’s review of 29 August 1984:

    “Much has been made of Webber’s (sic), the burger haven for thousands of Muskoka-bound families…But on two occasions this summer, both the burgers and fries seemed predictable and bland…So I started to try out some other joints on the strip…”

    “…Exactly 6.9 km (10.5 miles) north of Webber’s on the right hand side (2.3 km or 1.5 miles north of the Muskoka Tourist Information Building) is a tiny gas and burger bar called Haraview. You really have to watch for it. Outside are two gas pumps with large signs on them: CASH ONLY. But a little sign in the window proclaims ‘homemade burgers’.”

    “Truth in advertising is alive and well in cottage country. This is the only burger worth stopping for as far as I’m concerned. Not only is the burger real, handmade and fresh, it’s beautifully spiced just the way you’d grill it at home if you had the knack of getting that charcoal taste on the outside without drying the meat on the inside. And the fries, while not as good as Burger Chalet’s, were fine but overpriced at 95 cents for a small portion.”

    Having said this, there are drawbacks to Haraview. When I say it’s tiny, I mean it. There are only about 16 seats inside, the counter where you order accommodates about three people at a time and the parking lot certainly can’t take the car Webber’s can. But I’m sold on it and will take my chances finding a parking spot.”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Saw this blog last year when I decided to look up if there was anything about Haraview Burgers on the internet. We drive past 5 or 6 times a week for years now. up until 2018 we saw the black vehicle outside occasionally in the summer season. We have not seen it the past 2 years, and not this year 2021. We have never ever seen smoke from the chimney, even when there was a vehicle on the property. Every year up to 2019 the property and building seemed to have touch ups done, nothing to obvious, but you could tell someone was doing some maintenance. In 2019 we noticed it seemed different, faded, more weeds. In 2020 we definitely saw a noticeable different, the shed door on the front was often open, paint on signs is fading, never a vehicle in the parking area. It is starting to look abandoned. Twice this year the door was wide open, and after a few weeks someone has driven by and gone in and shut it. Obviously people have a connection with this place and feel they need to do their part to take care of it. I would love to know t he history of it.


  4. With the passing of my Father in Feb, I have been travelling up north from Barrie past Haraview several times.
    But now with Covid, I am hesitant to stop as an OPP just may pull in behind me and start questioning why I am stopping at a closed burger joint.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I just stopped in there .
    Freshly painted .
    I’ve been hoping to catch someone that lives there .

    I’m glad I ain’t the only one always looking at this place

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi there Lee,

    So happy to have stumbled across your blog. I have also been looking for answers as to the origins of this place for many years now.

    I just wanted to add that I have also noticed the jaguar parked out front a few times last summer; frequently while passing by during the day for work, I saw more than once an elderly grey man helping a very elderly grey woman hobble out of the passenger side of that vehicle.

    I’ve since then always assumed the land was purchased originally by the couple – perhaps with great dreams of success – built upon, failed, and shuttered.

    I’d like to think the couple still lovingly owns the property, and are spending their golden years tending to the area to keep it from turning into a roadside eyesore.

    It’s definitely a very noticeable building/property along that stretch of hiway, and I’m sure they know it. Probably of the old mentality of keeping up appearances on family property, especially one passed by so many daily coming in and out of Muskoka during the summer months.

    Just speculation of course, but the few times I’ve seen the couple there together, they still seem very much in love with eachother, and clearly with the property itself.
    Again very glad to have found this blog, seems to be the only online source with relevant information regarding this location. Eager to read more contributions in the future.

    Thanks again, and good luck Lee!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’ve made some keen observations (or speculations) here. At the time I wrote the story, I had not seen any evidence of the place being occupied, other than the occasional waft of smoke from the chimney. It’s a fair distance for me to get up there, and I wouldn’t want to find no one at home again. I will be passing by before the end of this month, and I hope to have good luck. Thanks for your interest.


      • Best of luck with your upcoming visit, Lee. I’m sure many of us are already looking forward to your observations.

        Just wanted to reiterate that the last time I saw a vehicle parked on that property was around autumn of last year. I currently run a dedicated route up and down that stretch of hiway twice daily, and have been doing so for a couple of months now. Sadly not once since then have I seen any sort of “action” at this spot.

        I am very intrigued by the amount of sightings here of wafty smoke from the chimney.. Helps solidify my speculation of a loving couple still very much in love with each other, and with their hopes and dreams, past or present. I wonder what kind of conversations take place around that fire after a year(s(??)) of being away from the property and it’s contents.. Still furnished I wonder? Setup the same as the day it was closed for business? Perhaps converted into a quaint hiway cottage, with no trace of a restaurant inside?

        I have not yet had the opportunity to stop here and take a closer peek. I guess I’ve always been kind of nervous to do so, assuming there’s a chance somebody could possibly still be “living” here..

        Lee I was also intrigued by your mention of first hearing about this place, when it was built 50 years ago down the road from your summer campsite.. Would you be willing to share any other details of that particular site? Perhaps any other memories of businesses / dwellings along that particular stretch of hiway?

        No matter how boring this kind of info may seem to you, I’d gladly read every word you might be willing to share about such things.. Apologies if this isn’t the right forum for these discussions.

        I find myself ever more curious about Haraview, and other places like it along that stretch, as lately I find myself spending far too many hours driving back and forth on this stretch. Stories to go with the scenery might help pass the time along 🙂

        Again, thanks for the post here and potential near-future updates. For the record, I do live within a few minutes of this area and am able to visit at pretty much any time. If there’s ever anything you’re curious about that I can save you a trip aaaaalllll the way up to Muskoka to see on your own, please do let me know. Otherwise, have a fantastic visit once you’re back, and best of luck in your travels.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Colin, thanks so much for what you have written here! Your imaginings and speculations about the burger place go quite a bit further than I have been able to come up with so far. I plan to get up there soon and, if there is no one at home, I will have a prepared letter to leave by their door. I hope they will communicate with me, and perhaps read what I have written so far. As for other stories of the area, including my campsite of long ago, look for a story coming soon, say by the first of the week. It will be searchable using the word Haraview Burgers. Thanks for the inspiration you have given.


  7. Hi Lee, I’m almost sure this is the burger place I ate at in 1975 . I was on holiday with my mom visiting her cousin , we are from Scotland and on way to their cottage we stopped here to eat, never ate a burger before, they were great. I now live in Canada, 12yrs and I’m a truck driver and have passed this place many times and always look as I pass. Very strange how it is still in good condition.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I saw a late 90″s jaguar xj6 parked there twice this past summer.once there was a older man outside and smoke coming from the chimmeny

    Liked by 1 person

    • I too have seen the Jaguar there. It was there maybe 3 or 4 times last summer (2018), with the last time being in the fall and the curtains of the second floor were open and smoke from the chimney. It’s been a mystery my entire life (literally 30 years) and I keep looking to the internet for answers. I was glad to stumble upon this blog.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I have been wondering the same thing for the past 50 years every time we drive up to the cottage. I think it’s a person that dreamed many years ago that he would have a successful burger place, but it never happened. He is still holding on to that dream!

    Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Lee, I’m almost sure this is the burger place I went to in 1975 while on holiday with my mum. We were over from Scotland visiting her cousin, they had a cottage on the lake and stopped to eat here. The best food I ever ate , never had a burger before! I now live in Canada, 12yrs now and I’m a truck driver regularly drive hwy 11 and always look at the place when i drive past. Very strange its closed and in good condition

        Liked by 1 person

  10. I’ve been wondering about this place too. Decades of maintenance and not a single burger sold! Any update on this or I may as well investigate this on my own!

    Liked by 1 person

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