Small towns are the heartbeat of our community here in Orillia & Lake Country and we certainly have some gems. Whether you’re traversing the rolling hills of Oro-Medonte for some cozy hidden gems, or looking for to explore the historic and colourful streets of downtown Orillia, these 5 locations will have you feeling like you just walked onto the set of a Hallmark film.
Village of Coldwater
No matter how you arrive – by paddle, bike, snowmobile, or car, the Village of Coldwater is ready to welcome you, With its lively downtown, full of great lunch and dinner stops, as well as quaint boutique shopping, farmers market, and amenities. Fuel up at with a specialty coffee at Em’s Café or enjoy a meal by the Coldwater River at Riverside Hideaway. The Village’s personality is on full display during popular events including the Witches Walk in mid-October and the Coldwater Fall Fair on the last weekend of September. There’s always something happening in Coldwater!
On the Eastern side of Severn, Washago is accessible off Highway 11, by train at the Washago Train Station, or by paddle along the Green River. Grab a bite at Kim’s Kitchen, on the main street of Washago or trek just a few minutes from the downtown to enjoy a meal at Lock 42 Grill, located by Lock 42 of the Trent-Severn Waterway. Walk this tiny hamlet’s downtown to discover creative public art displays from the Washago Art Club, stock up for your trip at with delicious baked goods at Canoe Fresh Food Market and Bakery, and in the summer enjoy pop up farm stands and Washago’s Farmers Market. Come check out this water lovers’ paradise!
Craighurst is on the rise as a jewel of ski country, just a few minutes from Horseshoe Valley Resort, in Oro-Medonte. Pick up a gift for yourself or a loved one at Dwellings Home & Gift, indulge with something sweet from Chelsea Chocolates, or pop into The Whistle Stop Pet Shop to pick out a special treat for your furry friend. Stop in for a breakfast or lunch at Loobies, or enjoy the pub atmosphere at HQ Restaurant and Tap House. Be sure to take time to take a stroll and look for the Art Trees of Oro-Medonte, seven hand painted metal outdoor sculptures which embody the history and natural beauty of Oro-Medonte.
Located in the heart of the 33,000 populated Sunshine City, downtown Orillia is unique in its ability to maintain a perfectly cozy small town vibe. Antique lighting, decor, architecture, and over a century of stories are maintained and celebrated throughout the streets. Take a free historic tour with the Tripvia Tours app and learn about some of the city’s most famous builds, or shop and dine your way through the eclectic small business scene. While visiting, don’t forget to explore the quaint Arts District, where over a dozen galleries, studios, public art, and creative spaces are on display, including the historic Orillia Opera House and Orillia Museum of Art & History.
Rama First Nation
Finally, don’t miss Rama First Nation, on the eastern shore of Lake Couchiching. Home of Casino Rama Resort and entertainment centre, with several restaurants, gaming and shopping options; as well as the vibrant community and beautiful landscapes. Ojibway Bay Marina welcomes boaters traveling from Lake Couchiching and the Trent-Severn with easy access to Rama’s amenities. Stop in at Rama Country Market, where you can pick up all manner of souvenirs and everyday essentials or check out Rama Moccasin and Smoke, where you can find gorgeous First Nations jewellery and moccasins, of all styles and sizes. Discover Rama’s great outdoors at Black River Wilderness Park, camping with your own equipment, or glamp in a yurt or cabin located all along the shores of the Black River.
No matter which small town you decide to visit in Orillia Lake Country, you know you are in for a friendly welcome and a wonderful experience. Enjoy!
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