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Saturday, June 29, 2019

Just add water for summer fun in Ontario's Lake Country


   One-Tank Trip for June 29/19

     (c) By Jim Fox

   There’s an oasis of tranquility that’s a four-season playground away from the hustle and bustle just a little more than an hour north of Toronto.
   They call it Ontario’s Lake Country, the region north of Barrie, that’s one of the province’s most picturesque spots.
   Its major metropolis is Orillia, population 33,000 not counting seasonal residents, on the shores of Lake Simcoe, Lake Couchiching and the Trent Severn Waterway.
Cisco keeps a watch as another day ends at Bass Lake. (Jim Fox photo)
    This makes for some of the best boating, paddling, swimming, fishing and water sports, along with activities such as trail riding, mountain biking, hiking, skiing and snowmobiling.
   Orillia hasn’t lost its small-town charm as the downtown streets are lined with one-of-a-kind restaurants, cafes, shops and amenities.

   Its port at Couchiching Beach Park has a swimming beach, playground, grassy areas, picnic tables, a 1901 bandstand and mini-train ride.
   Popular activities are walking the boardwalk to check out the fleet of watercraft moored there and listening to the summer band concerts.
Sunday night concerts are popular during the summer at Couchiching Beach Park. (Barbara Fox photo)
   “The region is an ideal summer getaway, with ample opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors,” said Kris Puhvel executive director of Ontario’s Lake Country.
   There are “exciting outdoor adventures such as Treetop Trekking, camping in picturesque parks or boating along scenic waterways,” he added.
    “As well, visitors will find engaging festivals, world-class music and some of Ontario’s finest resorts to pamper yourself,” he said.

   Park it here
Fishing from the dock attracts visitors to Bass Lake Provincial Park. (Jim Fox photo)
    Lake Country counts three Ontario Provincial Parks within its midst.
   Bass Lake, just west of the city, offers a small land-locked lake with paved hiking trails, camping sites, watercraft rentals and a sandy beach.
   Mara’s primary attraction is its wide sandy beach on Lake Simcoe along with a nature trail and a variety of campsites.
   McRae Point is a small peninsula on Lake Simcoe called “an ideal summer playground” with a 1.2-kilometre water’s edge trail.

    Rock on
   Helping to put the area on the map was today’s (Saturday’s) Rolling Stones concert at Burl’s Creek Event Grounds in Oro-Medonte.
   It’s followed by the Big Sky Music Festival, July 20, to sing along to Alabama, Travis Tritt, and Diamond Rio with a classic car show, camping and craft market.
   Boots and Hearts, Aug. 8-11, is a huge festival celebrating country music.
Walking the boardwalk at the Port of Orillia is a way to see lake cruisers up close. (Jim Fox photo)
    Orillia’s Mariposa Folk Festival, July 5-7, is lakeside at Tudhope Park with camping.
   The nearby Casino Rama Resort is called the “Great Indoors” with a hotel and all-suite accommodations, eight dining choices, spa, entertainment and a ‘premier gaming experience.”
   Among the stay-over adventures is the Hawkridge Stay & Play with 18 holes of golf and the Getaway for Two and Girls Getaway packages, said publicist Natasha Borutski.
   These come with use of the salt water horizon pool, eucalyptus steam room, sauna, fitness facility and summertime rooftop patio.
Casino Rama Resort has a variety of stay-over packages for summer tourists. (Barbara Fox photo)
   Back outdoors are Segway tours along the scenic Hardwood Ski and Bike trails and Treetop Trekking Barrie, climbing from tree to tree with swings and zip lines.

   More fun
   - The Ramara Classic Car Show on July 13 features 150 vehicles while the Orillia show downtown with 400 classics is Aug. 17.
   - Orillia’s Summer Block Party, July 27, showcases a “fusion of art, fun interactive activities, music, food, kid zones, sizzling sales and giveaways.”
   - Coldwater’s Steampunk Festival, Aug. 8-10, highlights diversity and family histories for inspiration.
   - Rama’s pow wow, Aug. 24-25, features “Turtle Island’s finest singers and dancers.”
   - Ahoy, there’s a Pirate Party, Aug. 31-Sept. 1, at the Port of Orillia with a treasure hunt.
   To plan a getaway: ontarioslakecountry.com; 1-866-329-5959

   -30-

   Jim Fox can be reached at onetanktrips@hotmail.com
   For more One-Tank Trips: http://1tanktrips.blogspot.ca

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