Local Parks

Parks  ◘ Scenic Drives  ◘ Nature Areas  ◘ Island Princess  ◘ Winter Fun   

Couchiching Beach  & Veterans Parks  ◘ Kitchener Park  ◘ Tudhope Park

The main waterfront parks are covered  on the pages linked above, but there are other park areas scattered throughout Orillia, most of which are not on the waterfront. These are really more of what you'd call a "neighbourhood park"; some are quite small with nothing more than a few benches (parkettes), while others have splash pads, and/or playgrounds, walking trails or fields for sports. Several of the larger parks have planted gardens, and Couchiching Beach Park has it's own greenhouse where plants are grown for the city-owned parks.  There are usually spring flowering bulbs and several types of perennials in these parks, but every year the choice of annuals grown to fill up the beds can change.

Orillia also has a program run by the Orillia Horticultural Society called "Garden Pride" which pits business garden against business garden (differing categories throughout all entries) and homeowner against homeowner to vie for the winning spot in their category. For a number of years while we lived on Mississaga Street, I competed in this event and managed several smaller wins. Some of the local gardens and plant species can be seen here, on the Gardens & Flowers page.

Clayt French Park  (Streetview)

Clayt French Park is one of the newer parks and has a full complement of equipment. There is a water/splash pad for kids, a playground, washrooms & drinking fountain, walking trails, and enclosed (fenced with gate) area for dogs "off-leash", open fields, and grassy areas for playing.  There are also picnic tables, and eating areas located under a shelter at the edge of the washrooms There is also a basketball court, and (reportedly) a skating rink, which I haven't yet seen myself, although we use this park ourselves.

We've taken our grandkids here from just after it was finished, and although they are now getting just a tad too old for the splash pad, on a very hot day ... it's within a short walk of where they live so they will occasionally run and wet down under one of the sprays. They're all in their teens now, but none of them are very tall so they still look like some of the kids who play up here. The park is a pretty safe environment for young kids, and most children are here with parents.

Adults on their own are a little more rare here - you'll occasionally see adults with their dogs, heading for the enclosed "leash-free" area, or walking the paths as part of their walk. Directly across the road from Clayt French Park is a "continuation" of the walking trails, but this is only a dirt path through a forested nature area that leads down to the Westridge Park at the foot the trail. A lot of adults use this trail as their daily exercise.

Westridge Park (streetview)

Westridge Park is located right on Westridge Boulevard, between Bass Lake Sideroad and Monarch Drive.  There is a playground area directly at street level, but it's main draw is the forest/nature area behind the playground (there is a little parking area off of Westridge). It is very much like walking through a forest, in the middle of town. It's well shaded, and usually pretty quiet. The trail leads through this area upwards and finishes up at Atlantis Drive. Directly across the road is Clayt French Park. This trail is not good on wet days, as it's mucky and can be slippery, and that makes it a bad choice for those with kids in strollers, or those who are less than steady on their feet (not good for anyone with a walker as the ground is not smooth). I walk this path as it is good exercise but I won't go there in the rain, nor in the winter. Young families bring their little ones here to play in the playground, as do the grandparents, but because this playground area is on a busy street, it is not a good idea to leave little ones alone here. Although it's far enough back from the street itself, it is very open to the street, and it's easy for the young ones to be distracted by passing trucks, motorcycles or buses. Never let the littler ones come here on their own.

Forest Home Park (streetview)

Okay, well ... I will admit, I didn't even realize this was a "park" in Orillia's platoon. Forest Home is on the edge of Orillia, and this park is right out at the end of Memorial Avenue on your way to the highway cut off.  The park also sits on the edge of Forest Home, so ... it almost seems to be a little bit on the edge of everything. There isn't much here - some fields and a few picnic tables, a playground, but it is the home of the Orillia Ball Hockey League.

Franklin Carmichael Park (streetview)

Located on Park Street between Calverley and York Streets, and adjacent to Ecole Samuel de Champlain this park is in a very residential neighbourhood. The park has a lot of open space, and a good parking area (not all the parks have good parking areas), as well as a playground for kids, a ball diamond, and paved walking trails.

Homewood Park (streetview)

This park is located on Homewood Drive, but can be accessed on foot from Woodside Drive, and there is a foot-path access from Allen Street. This is the entrance I've generally used because Allan Street was a short distance from where I lived on Mississaga Street. When we lived downtown, this park was part of my daily walk route. It has several sports facilities, including the trail - a basketball court (useable for other hard-ground sports), disc golf, an outdoor rink, playground, washrooms and picnic tables. The park is surrounded by residential homes, but buffered by many trees.

McKinnell Square

This park is primarily used for baseball, and has two diamonds - one with lighting, and one without and through ball season, is always in use. There are meeting rooms in the small building located on the grounds, as well as washrooms and picnic benches. The parking area is located off Dunedin, but the "lot" really has limited space, however, there is parking on the side streets adjacent to the park grounds. The park itself is pretty open all along the edge of Memorial Avenue, and because it's pie-shaped with outer edge being the largest, you can walk into the park almost anywhere. It's directly across the road from the Dairy Queen, and about a block from Orillia Soldier's Memorial Hospital, so one edge of the park is located in a semi-residential neighbourhood, while the outer edge is located in a more commercial district.

Morningstar Park (streetview)

Located at the corner of Highway 12 and Mississaga Street, this park is on the edge of a residential area consisting of multiple townhome units and housing, and has hard-surfaced sports areas (basketball, and tennis courts), and a playground.

Victoria Park (streetview)

This is another of the local parks that I've spent a fair bit of time in over the over years, and it is one of the oldest park areas (except the waterfronts) having been here since the 1870s (the city acquired it in 1872). It's located very close to downtown and bordered by Coldwater Street, Nottawasaga Street and Patrick Street on 3 sides (the 4th side butts up against residential units), and is "a stone's throw" from the Orillia Public Library on foot. It has a small splash pad for kids (this used to be a concrete wading pool when my kids were growing up, but since the city no longer wanted to provide a life-guard all the time, the wading pool had to be fenced and closed when there was no lifeguard on site). In a way, it's a shame because the wading pool was a lot more fun for kids, but not all parents would come to the park with their kids, and even a very shallow wading pool can be dangerous for kids if there is no lifeguard. The splash pads don't require life-guards to be present, and so are available all the time.

There is a fairly new playground which is well maintained, lots of grass to play on, and a very nice hill that smaller kids use for tobogganing. Be cautious though because on a slick or icy day in the winter, the sleds can run off the edge of the park into the road. One should be with their kids. Nottawasaga is not the busiest street, and many who travel this side street regularly do watch carefully kids because everyone knows this park is here but unless the city fences that bottom end, it's a bad accident waiting to happen. The slope is not long, but the grade is enough on a slippery hill to send one of those flying saucers or plastic "magic carpets" slipping off the edge of the park.

This park also houses what used to be one of the most used fountains in town. What used to come out of this fountain was springwater, and it had a tap where you could take your water bottles and fill up for free (big ones). It's been closed for quite a while now, and it's doubtful it will ever be open again (another good thing lost to progress, and health regulations).  It was the best water in town.

Since there is no dedicated parking for Victoria Park, it's use is sort of limited for visitors to town.

There are many other parks in the City of Orillia, most in residential neighbourhoods, and many of them are still in the process of being upgraded, but upgrading green spaces is an expensive proposition that can't be accomplished all at once. The city's master plan has proposals for future upgrades as budgets allow, and currently, most of these parks probably aren't places that visitors would be too likely to use, although those considering moving to Orillia (or moving nearby) might be interested in what parks exist in certain neighbourhoods. This I'm sure is something the real estate agent you work with can provide for you (park information), but here is a listing of possible future plans for these parks (this is a pdf from the city of Orillia).