Main Street Shops  ◘ Westridge Shopping District  ◘ Orillia Square Mall

Tiffin's Creative Center in downtown Orillia, showing sign posts in white and turqoise and brick surroundShopping in downtown Orillia ranges from small and exclusive boutiques, to Art Galleries, shoe and clothing shops, and even a resident dollar store. The pace downtown is leisurely, with it's attention to heritage design the sidwalks are paved with stone, the lamp posts are a vintage style iron with hanging baskets, and the shops carry signs and storefronts in keeping with that old-time, down home feeling. Shop owners are usually found in their shops, working with staff and speaking with customers, and for the most part, customer service is a top priority for these smaller shops.
Because these downtown stores have contents that cater to unique niches and don't carry "everything in one place", they work hard at satisfying their least that's been my experience with most of the downtown shops I frequent. The owners spend time getting to know their customers because they depend on the repeat business, and on those customers to recommend their shops to friends and family. And this type of business works in a downtown shopping district like that found in Orillia.

Most of us shop for some of our purchases at the local "big box" stores like Walmart, Target, Canadian Tire, FutureShop, Staples, and other similar stores, but these are separated at different corners of the city, and provide basic functional items. Downtown provides a uniqueness in product and service that you aren't going to find at "big box convenience" stores.

Mississaga Street in downtown Orillia showing the Mariposa Seasons Shop, Market, Mariposa Scent shop and the Bewery Bay Eatery (restaurant).

the Mariposa Market storefront in downtown Orillia; the sign in dark green with gold lettering

The specialty shops like Mariposa with it's grouping of Mariposa
A long view of one side of Mississaga Street in downtown Orillia.
Market, The Scent Shop and the Seasons store create a presence downtown, while carrying unique gift items, or in the case of the market, providing home-baked goods (yummy), catering services, and an eat-in coffee shop. The clothing stores carry items you won't find at Walmart - brands and designer clothing, retro styles and modern chic, but these all come at a price higher than the average Walmart or Target brands.

the extreme rockstar clothing shop in downtown orillia; sign front of black with white letteringWhile you can find some stunning clothing at shops likes Just Elaine's, Kahuna Surf Shop, Bak2Basics (CC Pant) and Estello, many shoppers can't afford those prices on a regular basis. The quality of most of these clothes is excellent, and some of the styles are timeless, stretching across many years - that awesome little black dress will look as terrific 5 years from now as the day you bought it, because the design and quality ensures that it will. That's a great reason to buy the basic wardrobe pieces in specialty shops.

the plum loco clothing shop in downtown orillia with deep plum colored overhead signage
There are a couple of shops on the main street where you can by used clothing and accessories, and some are better than others. In the Heritage Place Shopping Center you'll find "Green Again". Their sales go to support Greenhaven Shelter for Women, so a lot of women will shop here. The downside to Green Again is their pricing - in some cases even more than the prices you'll find in "Goodwill" (pricey enough for many things and not located on the main shopping street) or The Salvation Army Thrift Shop (the least expensive in town - but not located on the main drag) and the quality is often in the median range, and styles can be...old and out of date. The two remaining shops are a little more fun. Plum Loco and Closet Jems.

Plum Loco is unique because it has a good mix of new products at lower prices, including many brand names, and a section that caters to vintage and retro clothing styles - all in good shape. This shop carries basic pieces like jeans and jackets, and some fun and wacky things you won't find in too many other places. The atmosphere is relaxed, and the staff is helpful and it's just a neat place to spend a little time. The shopping crowd here ranges from the younger set to the not so young, but just as hip. About the only things you won't find at Plum Loco are grandma's dresses.

Closet Jems business card, downtown clothing shop in OrilliaCloset Jems is fairly recent - and more than just a clothing shop. It's a consignment store with an eye to better brands and quality, and clothes put on display are current styles, and also carries shoes and accessories. They are hoping to build up a section of retro and vintage clothing in good quality since many people are turning towards the retro look, and some modern styles are referencing the old styles. After all, Jackie-O was one of the classiest women from the sixties to the eighties, and her clothing style was similar through all those eras. And who wouldn't want to be as classy as that?

The interior of the closet jems clothing shop.
The floor space in Closet Jems is generous and the shop is laid out to retain a spacious feeling. With it's hanging racks of clean clothes in good shape, it feels like it's going to be a success. I hope so - while Orillia does have it's fair share of second hand roses, most of them aren't that "rosy", and Closet Jems is pretty much the ONLY consignment shop around. This one has a personal touch provided by the owner (Theresa) who is friendly and will spend time answering your questions or providing help. There are clean change rooms to try on items and a general atmosphere of comfort about the shop. If any of you locals haven't been there yet, get on down and have a look. As their stock grows, this will be a good place for mom's to get their kids outfitted for school with extra pieces. Visitors coming to town should check it out too - you never know what gem you might find here with stock coming in and go out on a daily basis.

Carousel Collectibles business card, downtown antiques and collectibles shop in Orillia
Another newer shop we really like is an antique market-type store where the various sections are rented by antiques dealers. The shop is called Carousel Collectibles (do take time to visit their website) and is run by the inimitable Lorne VanSinclair and his wife Mary, and the very friendly staff and dealers who happen to be on hand at the time. There are two floors to investigate here, the larger space being on the main floor, but little rooms of adventure wait upstairs for those who can manage the staircase.

We've visited this new shop fairly frequently already, and we've made some good purchases here too.

An antiques shop in downtown orillia.I love the booth that carries period costume jewelry and vintage pieces - so far I've purchased a pair of gold and natural garnet earings ($35), a pair of gold drop earings ($10) and a wonderful pair of earrings I thought were costume jewelry (another gold drop earring) for $5 that turned out to be 14 kt. gold. I also purchased a pair of earrings for $5 that aren't gold (gold filled) with a small chain drop and ivory carved ball at the end of the chain. Except for the garnets which were studs, the others all have the heavier shepherd's hook posts that close tightly on the back, which I really like and often aren't found except on more expensive earrings, and earrings of european design. My husband has already found a couple of booths in here that sell collectible toys (cars and trucks mostly) and collectible nascar items. He can spend a fair bit of time just admiring some of these, but he also has already made purchases.

The shop carries everything from soup to nuts: china, dishes, glassware from a variety of eras, women's and mens vintage accessories, furniture, paper collectibles, art, records, books and just about anything from the past. It's really a marvelous shop to wander around in. The staff will be happy to help with anything - very approachable and friendly, and by the time you walk out of the store, you'll feel like you've known them forever. Don't pass this one up.

downtown clock and watch repair shop, Orillia - Perfect Timing
On the lower section of Mississaga Street you'll come across a shop with a great large clock hanging out front. This is "Perfect Timing" and the owners here are also some of the friendliest you'll run into in downtown Orillia. The shop is large an spacious with an elegant but relaxed feeling and in the glass display cases you'll find all manner of watches and clocks. As well as sales, they handle repairs to clocks of all kinds, even old ones, so if you've got grandma's old clock just waiting for a place to be fixed, that's the place to go.

The owners of this shop are very active in the downtown, and a very friendly and giving husband and wife team. You'll often see one of them out on the street during parades, and in colder months provide free hot chocolate to parade watchers. They have been involved in downtown festivities almost since they arrived in Orillia so if you happen to be "down that way" stop in and say hello.

The Pizza Pizza shop at the corner of Mississaga and Peter Streets in downtown Orillia during a busy sidewalk sale.


Well, as much as I hate to say it, keeping up with changes to the stores downtown is not an easy task, and not one that I plan to take on in any regular way. To find recent updates (if the page hasn't been updated) visit our Google+ Plus page.