Confession: growing up north of Toronto has made me an addict for all things outdoors, and summertime in rural Ontario can’t be beat. It is full of wonderful experiences and incredible sights. As a communicator, I was thrilled to join the County of Simcoe, not only for the incredible experiences at work, but also for the work-life balance and the ability to enjoy paradise in my backyard every day. I asked my colleague, Brendan from Tourism Simcoe County, to share a bit about why IABC attendees would want to escape the city for a day trip north of the city. This is what he wrote:
How does a boat cruise around Georgian Bay sound? Or an activity-packed lakeside resort stay? Whether you are solo, venturing out with friends, packing up the entire fam, or escaping with your special someone, there are so many outdoor activities, national historical sites and unique, Ontario grown agri-culinary experiences to explore in Simcoe County.
The following are three reasons you should escape the city and experience rural Canada during your visit.
Georgian Bay, located just over one hour north of Toronto, is home to the world’s longest freshwater beach – Wasaga Beach! The white sandy beach stretches more than 14 kilometers (8.7 miles) on the south end of Georgian Bay and welcomes more than 2 million visitors every summer to enjoy the beach, swim in warm, clean waters and soak in the panoramic mountain views across the Bay. Georgian Bay is the largest freshwater archipelago in the world (approximately 15,000 square kilometers or 5,800 square miles), and is known for its 30,000 islands.
National Heritage Sites
Ontario’s first European Community, Sainte-Marie among the Hurons was the headquarters for the French Jesuit Mission to the Huron-Wendat people. In 1639, the Jesuits, along with French lay workers, began construction of a fenced community that included barracks, a church, workshops, residences, and a sheltered area for Indigenous visitors. This community was abandoned and burned down in 1649.
After extensive archaeological and historical research, Sainte-Marie among the Hurons is now recreated on its original site, where the mission’s compelling story is brought to life with costumed historical interpreters and activities. Learn about the earliest Canadian pioneer life through self-guided visits, group tours, interactive education programs, and special events.
Made in Simcoe County
Simcoe County has over 1400 registered farms, producing everything from hops for our local breweries, to maple syrup, tapped from our nation’s symbol, the maple tree. Take a trip out of the city and tour one of our ‘on the farm’ experiences. Taste truly authentic Canadian foods, while soaking in the rural Ontario culture. And, don’t forget to pick up a bottle of freshly brewed maple syrup for your trip home!
If you would like to visit the area while you’re in town, you’re best to rent a car and head north on Highway 400. If city driving isn’t your thing, hop on the GO Train to Barrie’s Allandale Station and enjoy the small city’s picturesque waterfront area with beaches, parks, dining, and small-town shopping.
To learn more about Simcoe County, visit experience.simcoe.ca. And if you take a trip up here while you’re in the area, don’t forget to pack your camera!