We’re all looking for the perfect getaway.
You know, Muskoka feel meets St. Lawrence market amenities. The away without the homesickness.
Well, this summer, we’ve found it.
Located in Simcoe County between Lake Couchiching and Lake Simcoe, Orillia offers a photo-worthy waterfront with an extensive boardwalk, biking and walking trails, a sprawling grassy park with two beaches, and beautiful gardens.
Basically, you’ll spend your day on the water (inhaling much cleaner air than you’re used to) enjoying the laissez faire attitude of cottage country. All while never being more than a quick drive from the 416.
A walk down Mississauga Street – the main focus leading up to the town’s waterfront – will offer a small town feel with urban touches, thanks to the assortment of quaint cafes and restaurants, refined watering holes and coffee shops, boutique stores, and arts and culture institutions.
The main strip is rich with history, and many of the original buildings still stand in all their storied glory, with early 20th century architecture reflected in everything from the beautiful Opera House and the Museum of Art and History, to some of the storefronts.
Mariposa Market is any easy go-to. The historic, old-fashioned-style market is packed with everything from baked goods and sandwiches to gifts and friendly conversation. The restaurant scene is legit, too. Forget small town diners, Orillia is home to a variety of restaurants, including fine dining spots that could rival your favourite Toronto go-to (yes, we’re serious).
Rustica Pizza Vino, for instance, serves up quality Italian fare, including a selection of fine cured meats and cheeses, Neapolitan-style pizza and homemade cannelloni. Meanwhile, just down the street, Brewery Bay offers what they call “fun dining,” serving refined and creative comfort dishes within its exposed brick walls. Shine Café and Bar even dishes up all things vegan so everyone has a chance to nosh no matter what their dietary restrictions.
And let’s not forget that the legendary Webers hamburger joint is just 1 km north of Orillia, helping both your hangover cause and your feed-me-quickly cause. Speaking of hangovers, the doors to a new brewery – the Orillia Brewing Company – will soon open in Orillia.
With the famous Burl’s Creek Event Grounds nearby you might even be able to catch one of its summer festivals while you’re in town. Wayhome, Boots & Hearts, or The Big Feastival, anyone?
One thing’s for sure, Orillia is definitely punching above its weight.
It’s a city on the cusp of exciting changes as a $50 million recreation centre is under construction, as well as $17 million investments in waterfront improvements and Matchedash Lofts.
This historic loft project mirrors that of a downtown Toronto building. So much so that after you visit, you can’t help but wonder if this place is starting to look a lot like home.
See you at the beach, Toronto.