The town of Collingwood, Ontario, was named after the British Admiral Lord Cuthbert Collingwood, who led the British Navy during the Battle of Trafalgar. Before this Canadian town became Collingwood, it had some interesting monikers, including Hen and Chickens Harbour, due to the proximity of a big island surrounded by four smaller islands in Georgian Bay. Tourists flock to Collingwood largely due to two local vacation hotspots: Blue Mountain and Wasaga Beach, areas known for skiing and summer recreation.
With 36 trails, 14 lifts and spectacular scenery, Blue Mountain attracts hordes of happy skiers every year. Also at Blue Mountain, Scenic Caves Nature Adventures offers everything from spelunking and treetop walks to zipline tours and cross-country skiing. For those more interested in sun than snow, Collingwood is summer friendly, too. Offering almost 14 kilometres of white sand, Wasaga Beach Provincial Park is very popular in the summer months. The park has a nice boardwalk and plenty of space for sand volleyball and sunbathing. For indoor activity seekers, the Collingwood Museum appeals to those who are curious about Collingwood’s long maritime history. The museum also offers learning programs for children.
Many of Collingwood’s best restaurants serve authentic Italian fare. Trattoria Azzurra, on Pine Street, creates classic Italian dishes in an artsy atmosphere. Around the corner on School House Lane, Tesoro is a quaint Italian eatery known for excellent pizzas. A few blocks to the northeast, Café Chartreuse offers fresh baked goods and French delicacies for breakfast and lunch. Parents appreciate the varied, family-friendly menu at Oliver & Bonacini in Blue Mountain. Of course, a good seafood restaurant must be part of any visit to Collingwood. Catch 22, near Wasaga Beach, is the place to find well-prepared fish caught fresh from Georgian Bay.
When visiting Collingwood, keep in mind that bars are mostly clustered around two main areas: Hurontario Street in Collingwood and the Blue Mountain Resort. Around the resort, visitors should check out laid-back Windy O’Neils Authentic Irish Pub and Copper Blues. For those who are staying in downtown Collingwood, head to the Huron Club for live music and the Beaver and Bulldog Sports Bar and Wingery to watch the game and devour some wings. A few of Collingwood’s best restaurants, such as The Tremont Café and The Hungry Sumo, are within walking distance of the bars, near the corner of 1st Street and Hurontario.
If visiting Collingwood during the winter, travellers can browse through a plethora of winter sports shops to find their favorite ski mask or other essentials. Check out Red Devil Sports, Rick’s Pro Ski Shop and Columbia Sportswear. The Red Devil Sports and Columbia stores are located in the Blue Mountain Village, where most tourists do their shopping. There are stores for kids, too, like The Happy Valley Candy Co. and Jack & Maddy Toy Store. The village’s stores also provide a large selection of souvenirs. Stop by Village Memories and Georgian Christmas, especially if collecting one-of-a-kind Christmas ornaments is high on your priority list.