Discover Orillia, Ontario: A Blend of History and Tourism

Orillia, Ontario, is a city nestled in the heart of Simcoe County, approximately 30 km north-east of Barrie. Known as the "Sunshine City," Orillia is a vibrant single-tier municipality that is part of the Huronia region of Central Ontario. With a population of 33,411 in 2021, Orillia is a city that offers a rich history and a thriving tourism industry.

The Rich History of Orillia, Ontario

The history of Orillia, Ontario, dates back several thousand years. Archaeologists have discovered evidence of fishing activities by the Huron and Iroquois peoples in the area over 4,000 years ago. The city was incorporated as a village in 1867, and it has grown significantly since then.

The human history of the area extends back several thousand years. The "Narrows," a small waterway that connects Lake Couchiching and Lake Simcoe, has marine archaeological evidence of ancient fishing weirs used by Huron and Iroquois people over 4,000 years ago. The famed French explorer Samuel de Champlain visited the area in the summer of 1615, and a monument to him can be found in Couchiching Beach Park, a National Historic Site of Canada.

Orillia was designated a city in 1969. It was the first municipality in North America to introduce daylight saving time and had the first municipal hydroelectric transmission plant in North America.

The Etymology of Orillia, Ontario

The name "Orillia" was first recorded in 1820 when it was given in York, Upper Canada by then Lieutenant-Governor Sir Peregrine Maitland. The most common explanation for the name is that it originates from the Spanish word "orilla," which means the shore of a lake or river.

Demographics of Orillia, Ontario

In the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, Orillia had a population of 33,411 living in 14,422 of its 15,428 total private dwellings. The median household income in 2015 for Orillia was $55,802, which is below the Ontario provincial average of $74,287.

Grape Island, Orillia, Ontario

Grape Island is a lake island located off Victoria Point in the north end of Lake Simcoe. Today, the island is occupied by about 40 private homes or cottages and residences are part of the Grape Island Property Owners Association (c. 1952).

Recreation and Culture in Orillia, Ontario

Orillia is known as the "Sunshine City" and is home to a variety of art galleries, fine dining, and shops. The city's waterfront has an extensive lakeshore boardwalk, a large park with two beaches, several playgrounds, an outdoor theatre, a touring ferry, and a children's train. The city also hosts an annual Perch Fishing Festival, Leacock Festival, Blues Festival, Scottish Festival, and Beatles Festival.

Transit in Orillia, Ontario

Orillia Transit provides service on five routes throughout the city. In August 2019, Simcoe County LINX began a bus route that connects Orillia with Barrie on weekdays.

Environmental Issues in Orillia, Ontario

In 2012, Orillia won the highest municipal honour for its waste diversion efforts. The city had a waste diversion rate of 61% in 2011.

Ontario Provincial Police Headquarters in Orillia, Ontario

The provincial government relocated the headquarters of the Ontario Provincial Police to Orillia as part of an initiative to decentralise its services. The headquarters, known as the Lincoln M. Alexander Building, is located on Memorial Avenue near the Huronia Regional Centre.