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Venture Through These Mid-Ontario Cities
Make the most of your next visit to Ontario with a driving tour near Simcoe Lake. From Midland to Newmarket, enjoy the sights, sounds, and thrilling adventures of Ontario.
The first city you'll want to explore on this Ontario drive is Midland. Situated along the waters of the Georgian Bay, Midland is a warm and welcoming city, home of the Georgian Bay Islands National Park.
Of the many attractions you'll want to visit in Midland, the Huronia Museum is one of the can't-miss destinations. Be sure to check out the "pre-contact" replica of the Huron/Ouendat Village, along with exhibit galleries featuring thousands of artifacts.
Sainte-Marie among the Hurons is a living history museum which will yield some of the most rewarding experiences for you and the family. Learn all about the interactions of the French and local Wendat natives, who have a history dating back to 1648.
Preserving 63 small islands just north of Midland, the Georgian Bay Islands National Park will yield a full day of outdoor fun. Check out the Georgian Bay Littoral Biosphere Reserve, or board a ferry to Beausoleil Island, the largest of the 63.
From Midland, make your way southeast long Highway 12 into Orillia – it's less than a 50-kilometre drive. You'll find a pleasant selection of things to see and do, including a wide range of snowmobiling trails for winter visitors.
You can plan a summer visit to Orillia for excellent live music and entertainment. Each July, usually the first weekend, the Mariposa Folk Festival thrills and treats locals and visitors alike. The three-day folk music festival takes place at Tudhope Park whose backdrop is Lake Simcoe.
Don't miss your chance to visit the Orillia Museum of Art & History. The OMAH is open year round, and features an eclectic array of exhibits. Make your way to the Peter Street Arts District, and learn a little about Orillia's past and culture.
When you plan this drive tour for winter, be sure to seek out the Orillia District Snowmobiling Club. They host an array of training sessions for those who are unfamiliar with snowmobiling, and have available all of the needed permits for a snowmobiling adventure. Look for 204 Trail on the west side of Lake Simcoe, or the 207 Club Trail, just to the east of the lake.
Only 36 kilometres to the southwest along Highway 11 from Orillia is Barrie. Another pleasant city along Lake Simcoe, Barrie yields full days of adventure.
Located in downtown Barrie, just north of Heritage Park, the MacLaren Art Centre is a can't-miss. Explore the cultural heartbeat of Barrie across a range of exhibits, displays, and even family-oriented art classes.
Only a few minutes southwest from the MAC, the Spirit Catcher is a 21-metre high art installation near the lake. Created by sculptor Ron Baird, the Spirit Catcher is a premier piece of art, but also a navigational landmark for Lake Simcoe boaters.
Another option for a winter-themed drive tour of Lake Simcoe is a visit to Snow Valley. West of downtown, Snow Valley Ski Resort features 20 runs, nine lifts, a half-pipe, and terrain park. Many Snow Valley visitors enjoy snowshoeing, while kids love the snow tubing.
The final stop on this Lake Simcoe Circle tour is Newmarket. You'll find it directly south of Barrie along Highway 400. Newmarket is a charming city, with an impressive selection of parks, attractions, and so much to see and do.
The Elman W. Campbell Museum is one of the premier attractions in Newmarket. Open Tuesday through Saturday, the Elman W. Campbell Museum yields insights from the very first settlements in Newmarket, to some of the most recent history.
Enjoy a pleasant afternoon stroll through Market Square, Newmarket's historic downtown area along Main Street. You can see Newmarket's Old Town Hall, along with the Riverwalk Commons, an ideal destination for a picnic.
Only two blocks over, heading south, from Market Square, you'll find Fairy Lake and the Wesley Brooks Conservation Area. A focal point for community events, Fairy Lake yields a wealth of bird watching areas, cycling paths, and excellent hiking.