Located about 135 kilometres north of Toronto between Lake Simcoe and Lake Couchiching, Orillia is known as one of the premier destinations in Canada for outdoor recreation enthusiasts. Nicknamed the Sunshine City, Orillia prides itself on its year-round nature activities as well as its wealth of festivals and cultural and artistic attractions.
There are plenty of things to do in Orillia for lovers of the outdoors in each season. Spring and summer are the best time to enjoy water sports in the city; visitors can head out to Lake Simcoe or to Lake Couchiching to enjoy fishing, canoeing, kayaking, windsurfing, rowing, sailing, waterskiing, tubing and boating, or just to jump in for a swim.
For fishing enthusiasts, Orillia is in a prime location. Home to numerous well-known fishing tournaments, the fishing season in Orillia starts each year with the famous Perch Festival. Both of Orillia’s nearby lakes, Simcoe and Couchiching, are popular fishing spots, as is Sparrow Lake, which also provides access to Gloucester Pool off to the west. Other popular places to drop a line include Bass Lake, which is northeast of Sparrow Lake; the Narrows between Lake Simcoe and Lake Couchiching; and Lake St. John, just east of Lake Couchiching.
For those looking to enjoy the city on more stable footing, Orillia’s tourist attractions include the more than 29 kilometres of linear and looped trails that crisscross area parks and public green spaces. Furthermore, the city has committed to plowing one of its longest trails throughout the winter, a route stretching from J.B. Tudhope Memorial Park on the southern edge of Lake Couchiching to Wilson’s Point Road in the north.
For culture seekers, there are plenty of activities and places to explore in Orillia. Located downtown in the shopping and dining district, the Orillia Museum of Art and History is home to the best exhibits of art and culture in the city. Meanwhile, visitors can enjoy music and theatre tourist attractions in Orillia throughout the year. The summer brings the Spring Blues Festival in June and the Mariposa Folk Festival in July, the latter of which has historically featured great artists like Arlo Guthrie. The popular Orillia Jazz Festival is held each year in autumn, and lovers of the Beatles can check out the annual Beatles Celebration in September. Both the nonprofit Village Players of Coldwater and the Mariposa Arts Theatre Foundation stage theatrical productions throughout the year.
Golfers should be sure to bring their clubs, as the Sunshine City is home to two challenging courses: the Couchiching Golf and Country Club and the Hawk Ridge Golf and Country Club. After a Saturday morning out at the course, be sure to check out the Orillia Farmers’ Market, which has been held in town since the 1840s and is now located in the city centre parking lot.
Home to a plethora of opportunities for outdoor recreation, a variety of festivals held throughout the year, and art, music and theatre, Orillia has something to offer everyone in all seasons.