Sunshine City: The Best Things to Do in Orillia
29 Dec 2023
Orillia is a charming and vibrant gem in Ontario, known for its picturesque landscapes and a multitude of exciting activities that cater to a wide range of interests. From its stunning waterfront to its rich cultural heritage and thriving arts scene, this quaint city promises a delightful blend of outdoor adventures, historical exploration, and artistic indulgence. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a history buff, an arts and culture aficionado, or someone simply seeking a relaxing escape, Orillia offers a diverse array of experiences that make it a must-visit destination. In this guide, we’ll explore the best things to do in Orillia, ensuring you make the most of your visit to this captivating lakeside destination.
Mariposa Folk Festival
The Mariposa Folk Festival is a celebration of music, art, and community. Established in 1961, it has earned a reputation as one of the premier folk festivals in North America. Held annually at Tudhope Park in Orillia, this festival features a diverse lineup of talented musicians and performers. Whether you’re a fan of folk, country, blues, or indie music, the Mariposa Folk Festival offers an unforgettable musical experience that will have you tapping your feet and swaying to the rhythms.
Stephen Leacock Museum
For those interested in literary history, the Leacock Museum is a must-visit destination. The museum is located at Old Brewery Bay on the shores of Lake Couchiching and is the former summer residence of the renowned Canadian humorist, Stephen Leacock. Explore the beautifully preserved Leacock house, the gardens, and the Boathouse, which serves as a tribute to his work. The museum hosts various events and activities throughout the year, making it a delightful stop for history enthusiasts and fans of Canadian literature.
Casino Rama Resort
If you’re feeling lucky or looking for some entertainment, the Casino Rama Resort is the perfect place to spend an evening. This world-class casino offers a wide range of gaming options, from slot machines to table games like blackjack and poker. Besides gambling, the resort hosts live entertainment events, featuring renowned artists and performers, ensuring you have an exciting and entertaining night out.
Orillia’s prime location on the shores of Lake Simcoe makes it a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. The lake offers a variety of water-based activities, including boating, fishing, and swimming. With numerous parks and beaches surrounding the lake, you can spend a leisurely day enjoying the sun and the sparkling waters. If you’re an angler, Lake Simcoe is famous for its ice fishing during the winter months, attracting fishing enthusiasts from all over.
Orillia Opera House
The Orillia Opera House is a cultural hub for the town, hosting a wide range of events and performances throughout the year. Whether you’re interested in theater productions, musical concerts, or art exhibitions, this historic venue has something for everyone. The opera house is renowned for its acoustics and the quality of its performances, making it a delightful spot to immerse yourself in the arts.
Couchiching Beach Park
Couchiching Beach Park is one of Orillia’s most popular recreational areas. This sprawling park on the shores of Lake Couchiching offers a wide array of activities, from picnicking and swimming to walking and biking. The park’s charming gazebo and beautiful views of the lake make it an ideal location for relaxation and family outings. The park also hosts numerous events and festivals throughout the year, making it a vibrant and enjoyable community gathering place.
Hiking and Biking Trails
Orillia is surrounded by natural beauty, and one of the best ways to immerse yourself in this scenic environment is by exploring the town’s numerous hiking and biking trails. The Bass Lake Provincial Park Trail and Scout Valley Loop Trail are just a couple of examples. These trails offer opportunities for birdwatching, wildlife observation, and breathtaking views of the local flora and fauna. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a casual stroller, these trails provide an opportunity to reconnect with nature.
Art and Culture
Orillia is a town that celebrates the arts. The Orillia Museum of Art and History is an excellent place to explore the town’s cultural heritage and contemporary art scene. The museum regularly features exhibitions by local and national artists, showcasing a diverse range of artistic styles and mediums. Additionally, the annual Orillia Jazz Festival and the Streets Alive! public art program add to the town’s vibrant cultural tapestry, providing residents and visitors with unique cultural experiences.
Orillia doesn’t hibernate during the winter months; instead, it transforms into a winter wonderland. Activities like snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, and ice skating are popular here. The region’s abundant snowfall also makes it a great destination for snowshoeing and snowboarding. The city hosts winter carnivals and festivals that capture the spirit of the season, making it an ideal time for a cozy winter getaway.
Orillia’s culinary scene offers a delightful mix of flavours. You can explore an array of restaurants, cafes, and bakeries that serve a variety of dishes, from Canadian classics to international cuisines. Don’t forget to sample local specialties, such as pickerel, a delicious freshwater fish, or butter tarts, a sweet treat that’s a local favourite.
Orillia is a hidden gem that offers a diverse range of experiences for visitors. From its rich cultural heritage and artistic offerings to the natural beauty that surrounds it, this town has something for everyone. Whether you’re interested in food, music, history, outdoor activities, or simply relaxing by the lake, Orillia is a destination that will leave you with lasting memories and a desire to return for more.