Someone wise in my life always says he was born and raised in “God’s Country.” He boasts of this land that has beauty, freedom, wildlife, history, and a sense of community unlike anywhere else. He is referring to his hometown – the scenic and fabulous Midland Ontario Canada. This quaint town just under two hours North of Toronto is a gold mine of sites and history, shaping it into the quintessential haven in cottage country. Here are our 15 reasons you need to visit Midland on your next Ontario vacation for Canada 150.

Georgian Bay
Georgian Bay, Midland Ontario

Prelude to the List

Some quirky fun facts about Midland:

  • It is a popular destination for weekend getaways and escapes from the grind for a little fishing, wilderness, and fresh lake air.
  • It is the gateway to the 30,000 islands
  • Over 100,000 visitors flock to Midland in the summer
  • It is about 30 minutes away from Wasaga Beach, the longest fresh water beach in the world
  • The town was founded in 1871
  • There was $15 million damage in the town after the 2010 tornado
  • There are over 8000 summer cottages in Midland along the Georgian Bay shores
  • Olympic Medalists Russ and Glen Howard were born and raised in Midland
  • It is home to the best Festival for the Canadian dessert favourite: The Butter Tart!
Midland Sunset
Midland Sunset

Now for your Must-Do List!

1- Stay at a Bed and Breakfast

Midland is such a lovely town and perfect for a romantic escape. With it being the gateway to 30,000 islands and being situated right on the bay, it is an ideal setting for adding sizzle to your relationship. There are many beautiful places to stay with luxurious amenities including spas, hiking trails, gourmet cuisines, and sightseeing trips.

One of the Many Bed and Breakfasts
One of the Many Bed and Breakfasts

2 – Head to Sainte-Marie Among the Hurons

One of the most historically significant landmarks in the area, take a day trip to Sainte Marie Among the Hurons for a taste of Canadian heritage. Learn about the Jesuit settlement that arrived here right in the heart of Midland. This land has since been named a National Heritage Site and been converted into an interactive museum.

The Sainte-Marie among the Hurons site came to be in 1639 by the French Jesuits, a fortified missionary troop that began working among the Huron. It provided a safe community for the settlement from the Iroquois tribes who soon would begin a confrontation that led into war. 10 years later in 1649 Sainte-Marie Among the Hurons was burnt down in fear of an Iroquois takeover. Exciting stuff!

Sainte Marie among the hurons
Sainte Marie among the Hurons

 

Out front of Sainte-Marie Among the Hurons
Out front of Sainte-Marie Among the Hurons

3- Head to Little Lake Park & Huronia Museum

Little Lake Park is such a rich and lush area for everyone in the family. There are beautiful gardens, a beach to make sandcastles and work on your tan, a museum to learn more about the first settlers, and of course the lake to enjoy a nice refreshing swim. The park puts on many festivals throughout the summer and hosts a grand fireworks show for Victoria Day and Canada Day. This year’s spectacle will be nothing less than incredible in honour of the 150th!

Little Lake Park
Little Lake Park
credit: Midland Website

4- Eat at the Arch Restaurant

This lovely family-owned steakhouse has a wonderful menu and great ambiance! Head there with the family and enjoy a large variety of gourmet dishes, combined with an extensive wine and dessert list. Being a local favourite, do ensure you make reservations! They fill up very quickly.

5- The Castle Village

Celebrating 35 years in town, the Castle Village is the perfect place for an afternoon outing. Starting out as a nostagic gift shop for local crafts, the Castle Village has evolved into a must-see tourist attraction outside Toronto. In 1999 the Castle expanded from its gift shop offerings and opened a Medieval Armour museum complete with dungeons, weapons, and furniture.

Nowadays besides the museum and store, the castle offers playgrounds, nature trails, and hosts the ever-popular Escape Room Evenings for adults. They have three escape experiences available at easy, intermediate, and hard levels and can accommodate parties of up to six people. Do call ahead if you want to book this exciting and trendy activity!

Midland's Castle Village
Midland’s Castle Village

6-  Try Snowmobiling

Enjoy winter sports? Why not give a snowmobile a whirl? Midland has special trails only for snowmobilers and many places to rent one for a day or two. You can even ride on the frozen Georgian Bay! Just make sure you listen to the reports and have the insurance and license required to operate a snowmobile legally. Keep an eye on the weather reports and wait until it is cold before venturing out there! The last thing you need to experience is thin ice and falling through.

Snowmobiler on Georgian Bay in Midland
Snowmobiler on Georgian Bay in Midland

7- Try Ice Fishing!

Grab your drill, tent, woolly mittens and toque, and head to a favourite spot upon the frozen bay. Bait and equipment can be purchased in town! If you don’t wish to buy your materials, many rental companies are also local for all your ice fishing needs. It is great traditional activity to experience in the Canadian winter! Grab a group of friends, a pail of minnows, a 2-4, and a pic for hours of chilly fun!

Ice Fishing
Ice Fishing

 

Ice Fishing Equipment
Ice Fishing Equipment

8- Enjoy a Meal at the Boathouse

A classic harbour restaurant, the Boathouse has some great traditional dishes! Enjoy homemade pizza, salads, sandwiches and signature cocktails to wash them down.

The Boathouse
The Boathouse

 

The Boathouse Decor
The Boathouse Decor

9- Photograph Incredible Wildlife

Some of Canada’s most beautiful animals reside up in Midland around Georgian Bay. Bring your camera and patience to capture some incredible snapshots of these animals. See the muskrat, deer, snakes, chipmunks, groundhogs, toads, and many species of birds. Heck, our family have even seen an owl up here perched on our tree branch!

Muskrat
Muskrat

 

Crow flying freely over the bay
Crow flying freely over the bay

 

Resident Chipmunk
Resident Chipmunk

10- Enjoy the Incredible Serenity of the Area

Midland brings such a beautiful tranquil environment to you. The sound of the loons at sunrise, the waves hitting the shores, the crickets calling out to their mates, it all contributes to that escape from the city noise and dust. Enjoy a leisurely canoe ride, fish for some bass, or take a walk through the forest and look for woodpeckers feeding on bugs.

The Serenity at Sunset
The Serenity at Sunset

 

Beautiful canoe ready for a ride
Beautiful canoe ready for a ride

 

Go for a swim!
Go for a swim!

11- Check out the Martyr’s Shrine

Check out the picturesque national Martyr Shrine of the Canadian Jesuit Martyrs! This year they are celebrating their 90th anniversary here in the region as the only national shrine outside Quebec. When you go, just remember it is a fully functioning Catholic Church and dress accordingly.

The Martyr Shrine
The Martyr Shrine

12- Hop on the Miss Midland for a Scenic Tour

As this is the gateway to the 30,000 islands, why not see a handful on a scenic tour on the official Miss Midland boat? Grab a ticket and head aboard the 300-passenger cruise and enjoy some of the most beautiful areas of Georgian Bay. Pass inlets, beautiful cottages, historical landmarks, and more. Tours run multiple times daily! Check their website for times and pricing.

Little Dog Channel with Homemade Inukshucks
Little Dog Channel with Homemade Inukshuks

13 – Take Your Own Scenic Boat Ride

Why not rent a boat from a local marina, map in hand, and enjoy a scenic leisurely boat ride. See inlets as frying pan bay, Beausoleil island, Honey Harbour, and more!

Frying Pan Bay
Frying Pan Bay

 

Lovely Scenic Cottages
Lovely Scenic Cottages

14- Check out the Annual Butter Tart Festival!

It is no secret that butter tarts are a Canadian staple! And Midland turns it up a notch with an annual festival honouring the sugary treat. Since 2015 the Butter Tart Festival has attracted droves of visitors and record-breaking number of tarts. Just to give you an idea of the adoration for these sweet treats, these are the tart stats since 2013:

2013: 12,000 Sold
2014: 52,000 Sold
2015: 80,000 – Sold! Wowzers!
2016: 127,000 – EPIC!
2017 Goal: Upward 150,00- 175,000!

This year’s festival is taking place on the 10th of June! Don’t miss it! You will be sorry you did!

butter tarts
butter tarts

15-  Have a Bay-side Mimosa Brunch

Rent a villa, cottage, or waterfront apartment, grab some fresh fruit, pancake mix, pure local maple syrup, and a bottle of bubbly for a delightful brunch overlooking the waves and watching the sailboats go by! If you are really game, you can also pick your own berries or purchase fresh pints from the local farmers’ market in town. Perfect for your romantic getaway!

Pancake Breakfast by the Water
Pancake Breakfast by the Water

 

Strawberry Pancakes
Strawberry Pancakes

There is so much to this beautiful little town that brings thousands to explore and relax. Should none of these strike your fancy, why not grab a Muskoka chair, a glass of wine and just sit on a dock watching the sunset. Yep, sounds like heaven to me…

Rustic Jetty
Rustic Jetty
Super Moon over Midland Ontario
Super Moon over Midland Ontario

 

15 Reasons You Need to Visit Midland Ontario For Canada 150
15 Reasons You Need to Visit Midland Ontario For Canada 150

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