Orillia Travel Guide

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Port of Orillia, Ontario

Port of Orillia, Ontario

Brian M. Smith

The City of Orillia is located on the shores of two lakes; Lake Simcoe (named after the British soldier and first lieutenant-governor of Upper Canada, JOHN GRAVES SIMCOE, (1752-1806), ) and Lake Couchiching (an Indian name which means Lake of Many Winds). From our shores we can go anywhere in the world. From Lake Couchiching we connect with the Trent-Severn Waterway, through three locks and the only marine railway in North America, which takes us to Georgian Bay on Lake Huron and if we travel the other way across Lake Simcoe we end up in Lake Ontario. From either one of the Great Lakes we connect to the St. Lawrence and the waterways of the World.

The Village of Orillia was founded in 1867 (sharing the same birthyear as Canada), it was incorporated as a town in 1875 and then became a City in 1969. Many famous people have come from Orillia, such as famed singer songwriter Gordon Lightfoot, and Sir Sam Steele of the North West Mounted Police to name just a couple.

Orillia has an impressive historical heritage. Samuel d’Champlain visited in the early 1600’s as well as LaSalle, Henry and Frobisher. At the “Narrows”, a small waterway that connects Lake Couchiching and Lake Simcoe there is evidence of ancient “fish weirs” that Huron and Iroquois people used to trap fish over 4000 years ago. There are several archaeological sites very close to us that gives us evidence that there were several trading, fishing and hunting camps that were visited for hundreds of years by the natives.

Orillia is known as the “Sunshine City” in the heart of Lake Country. We have had many firsts in North America such as: Orillia had the first municipal hydro electric transmission plant in America, Orillia printed its own money in 1936. Orillia was the very first municipality to introduce “daylight saving time” and we had the best-lighted main streets on the continent in the 1930’s. The Champlain Monument (a National Historic Site) has been called one of the finest bronze sculptures on the continent.

Orillia offers many different types of Restaurant fare  One to mention is the Ossawippi Express Dining Cars, this is on the waterfront across from the Port of Orillia and at the gateway from the waterfront to the Downtown. What aTerrific idea that has been in Business since 1972. The uniqness of this not only in it's namesake, but the fact that it is Eight Stationary railway cars, which have become a local landmark. they are open year round for lunch and dinner. a must to visit when in the Orillia area.

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