Located just 90 minutes north of Toronto in the heart of lake country, Orillia has remained a winter hotspot for tourists for decades. If you’re headed to the Games this February 6 to 8 and looking to soak up as many of the event activities as possible, we’ve got you covered with a complete guide to experiencing the 2024 Ontario 55+ Winter Games in Orillia.
A participant-only event, the Orillia 2024 Opening Ceremonies will be held at two iconic City venues, the Orillia Opera House and St. Paul’s Centre. Each participant’s assigned venue will be relayed upon arrival at your accommodation, along with your event ticket –
an accreditation badge. Please note: select streets will be closed in downtown Orillia for the Opening Ceremonies, so taking advantage of provided Games transportation (participants only) or public transit will help you navigate the events much more easily!
The Orillia Opera House has remained a focal point for cultural life in the City of Orillia for more than 100 years, bringing big-name artists to perform in a variety of mediums, all year round. This venue’s ceremony will take place from 7 to 8:30 p.m. and will feature entertainment by Canada’s foremost Gordon Lightfoot tribute band, Classic Lightfoot Live
St. Paul’s Centre is a creative hub activity throughout the entire year. First opened in the 1870s, the historic halls are now home to the annual Roots North Music Festival, along with year-round concerts, live theatre, workshops, cultural events, and public services. The St. Paul’s Centre’s opening ceremony will take place from 7:30 to 9 p.m. and feature the enigmatic jazz troupe the Thompson Egbo-Egbo Trio.learn more
Sports and Activities
Eight different sporting events will take place over two days of the Games: alpine skiing, hockey, prediction skating, badminton, curling, volleyball, table tennis, and duplicate bridge; highlighting a variety of Orillia and Lake Country’s recreational hotspots.
Spectators are welcome to drop into any of the Games’ sporting events, no tickets required!
- Alpine Skiing will take place at the region’s outdoor playground, Horseshoe Resort. This popular skiing venue offers 29 downhill runs, outdoor skating rinks, winter trails, snowmobiling tracks, and even Ontario’s longest snow tubing hill. All areas of the resort will be open for exploration during the Games, so make sure to soak up some fun between your scheduled runs!
- Hockey events will take place at three Orillia and Lake Country venues: Brian Orser Arena and Rotary Place Arena in Orillia, and MASK Arena in Rama First Nation. Participants visiting Orillia’s venues will be within proximity to a wide range of dining and shopping locations to explore, along with winter trails featuring a variety of public art and historic plaques. In Rama First Nation, you can drop in for 24/7 entertainment on Casino Rama Resort’s gaming floor, or head up for some recovery time at the Balance of Life Spa. Rama MASK Arena will also be the sole host of this year’s Badminton events.
- Curling events will take place in both Orillia and the Village of Coldwater, at the Barnfield Point Recreation Centre and the Coldwater Curling Club. Orillia’s venue is conveniently located at one of the City’s prime waterfronts, J.B. Tudhope Memorial Park, a popular locale for ice fishing and winter trail activities. In the quaint Village of Coldwater, you can explore some remarkable history and boutique shops along the village’s scenic main street.
- Volleyball will take place at Orillia’s state-of-the-art athletic facility, the Orillia Recreation Centre. Home to two FIBA-sized gymnasiums, an impressive aquatics centre, and a well-equipped fitness centre, this facility is a sports lover’s dream. Don’t forget to check out the 235m multi-lane walking/jogging track, showcasing expansive views of the City’s downtown core.
- Duplicate Bridge, Prediction Skating, and Table Tennis events will be hosted solely within West Orillia Sports Complex and Rotary Place Arena. This popular recreation facility is located within the heart of the West Ridge shopping and dining district and is just steps away from access to the acre nature oasis, Scout Valley.
Middle Night is a beloved Winter Games event that invites participants and visitors out to enjoy entertainment and fun activities following the first day of sporting events.
This year’s Middle Night will take place throughout Downtown Orillia from 5 to 10 p.m. on February 7, where main streets will be closed to make way for pedestrian-friendly exploration. Extended hours will be in place at many of the core’s restaurants, pubs, and shops, with live music playing across a variety of venues.
But wait! The Games aren’t over when Middle Night begins. Each participant can take part in a downtown scavenger hunt bingo game. Various businesses throughout the core will provide stamps to fill your card, with unique clues to guide your way. Those who complete their bingo card will be entered into a draw to win a huge getaway prize package.
Transportation will be provided to and from Games accommodations, and each participant will be gifted $30 in Downtown Dollar gift certificates to spend on local shopping and dining.Downtown Directory
Public Art Tours
If you’re looking to soak up some of the Sunshine City’s famous cultural side, grab a photo op with one of Downtown Orillia’s Games-inspired art tours. Courtesy of Streets Alive Productions, downtown streets will be adorned with sleds depicting hand-painted winter scenes, completed by artists from across the region. While exploring the season’s pieces, you can catch sight of some of Streets Alive’s prior creations still erected around town, including the Orillia Arts District’s most recognizable piece: four towering hand painted letters that spell out GORD, a tribute to folk legend and Orillia native Gordon Lightfoot.
Orillia and Lake Country Tourism will be providing another exciting attraction to explore in celebration of the Winter Games’ arrival to the region. During the Games, six unique ice sculptures will be erected throughout Mississaga Street, featuring scenes of classic winter sports. Begin your tour at the Orillia Opera House before heading east towards Lake Couchiching to take in all sculptures within the series.
Stay a While
Extend your stay and discover all that Orillia has to offer. From culinary experiences to outdoor adventure, there’s no shortage of fun for every kind of visitor in Orillia.Visit Orillia