Explore the wooded wetlands outside of Toronto in this historic town located on the shores of two lakes.
Situated between two large lakes—Lake Couchiching to the north and Lake Simcoe to the south—Orillia is at the heart of the watery landscape north of Toronto. Enjoy beaches, boat rides and engaging museums in this small waterfront town.
The two lakes bordering Orillia offer attractions and panoramic views. Mara Provincial Park on Lake Simcoe features one of the largest beaches in the area. Take the short hiking trail along the waterfront. On Lake Couchiching, you’ll find the 14.5-acre (5.9-hectare) Couchiching Beach Park. Join Orillia residents sitting on the lawn near the shoreline. During winter, visit this beach park to skate on an outdoor ice rink.
To see more of Lake Couchiching, make a reservation to board the Island Princess. This 230-passenger ship offers meals and lake tours during warmer months. Take a fall tour to see the vibrantly colored shoreline from the lake.
Spend part of your stay exploring Orillia’s several unique museums. Visit the OPP Museum in the headquarters of the Ontario Provincial Police to learn about Canadian law enforcement. Old cars and photographs are on display; you can even try on an antique police outfit. For a taste of Canadian wit, check out the Stephen Leacock Museum. Established inside the summer home of the early 20th-century Canadian humorist, Stephen Leacock, this museum features exhibits on the life and work of regional writers.
Orillia has easy access to one of Ontario’s wildest areas: the Queen Elizabeth II Wildlands Provincial Park. This 82,793-acre (33,505-hectare) wilderness park has undergone very little logging over its history, so it is one of the best places to discover what the Ontario wilderness was like before human settlement. Hike the section of the 310-mile-long (500-kilometer) Ganaraska Trail located here past a variety of the park’s lakes and the beautiful Moore Falls.
Reach Orillia by car from Toronto, which is 83 miles (133 kilometers) to the south. Once in town, rent a boat to explore the region’s many bodies of water.