Those who travel through Orillia & Lake Country know that the journey really can be just as enjoyable as the destination with a plethora of quaint villages throughout. These tiny communities are big on unique offerings that keep people coming back. From west to east, these areas shouldn’t be missed.
Just a quick jaunt off Highway 400, on Horseshoe Valley Road, this friendly hamlet offers decadent Belgian chocolate and truffles, unique pet items, and a myriad of exclusively designed clothing, jewelry and flower arrangements. Outdoor artisan markets draw people into the area and they are not disappointed. Getting together for a delicious meal with friends is always a good idea with a choice of several different restaurants in Craighurst, where there are often theme nights and live music.
It is said that the historic village of Coldwater is the second oldest community in Ontario, with its first settlers landing in the mid-1700s. While the area celebrates its history with the Coldwater Canadiana Museum and the Coldwater Heritage Grist Mill, it also draws people in with its friendly vibe and robust streetscape. Distinctive shopping opportunities and renowned annual events such as the Witches Walk and Steampunk Festival welcome thousands of visitors who enjoy delicious food, from fine dining to ice cream.
Washago is a must visit for lunch, shopping, or a day at the beach. Settled on Lake Couchiching, the hamlet offers superb swimming at its waterfront park, just steps from its shopping district where extraordinary community gardens, maintained by volunteers, impress visitors. Stop in at Canoe Fresh Food Market to pick up the fixings for a picnic in the park or enjoy exceptional food at Lock 42 Grill. For a change of pace, launch your kayak or canoe in the Green River and revel in hours of paddling.
The heart of Ramara Township beats in Brechin, with its brightly coloured bicycles embellished with cascading flowers along its main street. The welcoming atmosphere threads through each business and at its annual Scarecrow Festival, a popular event at the ball park that attracts thousands on the Saturday before Thanksgiving weekend each year.
Just a quick turn toward Lagoon City and a number of beaches and lakefront restaurants await, from fine Italian dining to roadhouse, with live entertainment on the weekends.
Originally published in 2019, this article may contain information that is out of date.
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