Orillia is Big on Small-town Charm
There are few small cities, like Orillia, whose downtown core offers so many big opportunities.
Known by its moniker the Sunshine City, given to it by author Stephen Leacock who based his popular book Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town on Orillia where he lived and penned it, the city feels more like a charming small town.
Whether it’s swimming in the pristine waters at Couchiching Beach Park, just steps from the main street (or skating in winter months), catching world-class theatre at the iconic Orillia Opera House, enjoying the many creations throughout the popular Arts’ District and at the Orillia Museum of Art and History, or simply reveling in the historic atmosphere, Orillia is a destination that captivates just about every interest in every season.
Visitors arrive in Orillia by a number of different ways, including motorized vehicles, bicycles, snowmobiles and even float planes, but one of the more popular ways to visit is by watercraft on Lake Couchiching. Each summer, thousands of boaters enjoy state-of-the-art Port of Orillia facilities on their travels through the Trent-Severn Waterway. With 220 transient boat slips offering 50- and 30-amp service there’s good reason boaters are sure to add a stay in Orillia to their itinerary between the second weekend of May and Thanksgiving weekend in October.
Another attraction is the short walk to Orillia’s charming downtown streetscape on Mississaga Street, highlighted by more than 150 shops and 30-plus restaurants. It’s the perfect place to find specialty items and gifts, and then relax with friends and family over spectacular meals. From pizza and burgers to epicurean delights, you’ll find popular and unique types of food at all price points. Got a sweet tooth? There are a number of different bakeries that pride themselves on making handcrafted treats you won’t find anywhere else, including dairy- and gluten-free options.
Want to spend some time seeking out historical points of interest? Orillia has a fascinating history that you may not read about in history book but you can hear about with a free audio walking tour. You can access it by clicking the link or through the app store with Tripvia.
Are arts and culture on your must-do list? Peter Street South, between Mississaga Street East and Colborne Street East borders the popular Arts District and offers a plethora of unique art created by local artists, as well as the notable Orillia Museum of Art and History.
The historic Orillia Opera House, located centrally on Mississaga Street, right beside the public library, attracts top-rated plays and entertainment all year long, making it a must-stop for fans of theatre throughout Ontario.
While it’s true Orillia has everything needed for a few days of relaxation and fun for all ages, it’s the warm atmosphere and friendly restaurateurs and shop owners that really make the difference. Nowhere will you find more smiles and offers to help than in the businesses that make up Orillia’s historic downtown core. Start planning your visit and see for yourself!
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