The area surrounding Orillia is made up of many townships and small hamlets, towns and villages. To the south are larger cities like Barrie, Markham and Toronto. Most of the areas around Orillia can be reached in as little as a few minutes to an hour and a half. Those areas further away (like Markham and Toronto) are not areas I'm likely going to cover here, but they are areas tourists from other countries (or provinces in Canada) may want to travel to while visiting in Orillia.

Just "outside" of Orillia are a number of Provincial Parks (Bass Lake Provincial Park, Mara Provincial Park, McRae Point, Springwater Park - further afield Craighleith, Arrowhead and Algonquin). To find a provincial park in this area, use the Ontario Provincial Parks Website. We've visited a number of these ourselves, and each year we buy a seasonal pass from Parks Ontario (I think this seasonal pass goes from April to the end of October, but there is also a full yearly pass because many parks are open in winter - not for camping, but for snowshoeing, winter hiking or cross-country skiing).

Currently this section of our site contains mostly seasonal photos of the areas falling just outside of Orillia (Gravenhurst, Bracebridge, Oro-Medonte, Ramara, Washago, Barrie, Collingwood, Wasaga Beach). As time permits, each of the areas will be expanded onto their own page, and will contain information on the places we've visited, interesting tourist places and events, and maps to help you find your way along the central and northern scenic routes.

For now, information on many of these areas can be obtained from the links in sidebar leading to the official website for each city or town listed there.

Link Menu for Area Pages on Orillia Travel:



Autumn scene over Bass Lake - just outside Orillia City limits in Oro-Medonte Twp. Autumn is one of the seasons I like best. Being a photographer, the colours of fall are definitely "eye-candy" up here.

Orillia - Over the Lake

A distant view over Bass Lake from a hill near the top of the 13th concession in Oro-Medonte township. In the foregoround, farm fields and trees, while Bass Lake is visible in the background.

Orillia - Bass Lake

Orillia Bass Lake - Bass Lake in the early evening. A cloud filled sky diffuses the last of the sun's rays as it sets. Taken at the foot of the 13th concession of Oro, just outside of Orillia, Ont. The bit of land at the end of the 13th Concession has a tiny, miniscule sandbeach and a small grassy parking area. The opening to the lake is often used by local residents to launch small boats onto Bass Lake, but those who know of this "secret place" will escape here on a hot summer weekend - when all the popular beaches are crowded with visitors, this one is usually empty. This is the place we usually go to swim because at most you'll find half a dozen people here. The lake bottom is sandy and shallow enough for little kids and dogs.

Orillia - Autumn Roads

Rural roadway in autumn with a leafy tunnel over top - near Hawkestone. Hawkestone is a small hamlet that is about halfway between Orillia and Barrie, and their "main street" consists of mostly residential homes of the older variety. There is a small "general store" for essentials, and a gas station, but that's about it. It's charm are the old homes and its small, quiet village atmosphere. The main street leads down to the lake, and there are many "backroads" to and from Orillia or Barrie that are worth exploring, just for their beauty.

Orillia - Hawkestone Shores

Hawkestone Shores - Digital painting in Corel Paint of a portion of the shoreline at the hamlet of Hawkestone, Ont. (about 10 mins. south of Orillia, halfway between Barrie and Orillia). For those who enjoy simple scenic pleasures, the lakefront at Hawkestone is sure to please.

Orillia - Stone Farmhouse

A rural farmhouse of stone that is one of my favourite houses. Though I've never been inside, the exterior and it's landscaped grounds are "picture perfect", and on any our drives out this way this home draws my attention. Just outside of Orillia, Ont.

Wasaga Beach Ontario

Wasaga Beach - One of the most popular and well-known beaches in Ontario - in September, it's all but deserted. This view shows beach umbrellas, sand and surf.  My father's family and extended family have had cottages in this area since before I was born, and Wasaga Beach was often the place we'd escape to on summer weekends when the heat of the city (Toronto) was too much to bear.

Wasaga Beach - a late summer visit to Wasaga Beach finds the often crowded beach area nearly empty. Here, a small tent (no camping allowed, but the tent was to shelter infants from the sun), lounge chair and picnic table tell the tale. There are those who prefer the beach at it's most peaceful times. In the background along the shoreline, a row of seagulls.

Wasaga Beach; a nearly empty beach stretches for miles with blue sky and water contrasting with the almost white sand

Blue sky, peaceful water and an expanse of nearly empty sand at Wasaga Beach. A scene you will seldom see during the "high summer" months. Getting a little patch of sand on the beach in June or July is not an easy task.

Wasaga Beach in early September

Although it's September here, there are still some sections of the beach (close to the "main drag" area) where people congregate in little crowds, while other sections remain almost empty.

Wasaga Beach; one of the many cottages at Wasaga Beach

Wasaga Beach, where some my father's family has owned cottages for about 70 years (not the one pictured). Here, in September the beach is less crowded and more appealing for those who would rather have a little space.

Orillia - Winter Roads 5

A rural road in winter, in the countryside around Orillia. Here, the branches form a vault-like cathedral ceiling against a white winter sky. The contrast of the dark branches against the all white background sky and snows adds a touch of starkness.

Orillia - Moody Blue

A view from Victoria Bridge over the Black River (see the Victorial Falls section for more from this area). In this area north of Orillia, there is a larger wilderness park, with small rapids running beneath the bridge, and large outcroppings of granite and bedrock. This area of the Muskokas is not an easy drive to reach, but if you love the wilderness, it's worth the time - about 40 mins. to an hour from Orillia, depending on how the roadways are after you leave the Cooper's Falls areas. The roadway into this area is sometimes under water if the marsh waters on either side of the one-track road are high. If you plan to visit here, take a long stick to test the depth of the water - most of the time it's low enough across the roadway that you can still pass. In the heat of the summer, the roadway is usually above the water line. To get there, follow Cooper's Falls Road (this will turn into Black River Road) until you can't go any further.

Orillia - Winter Roads 4

One of the many rural roads in the countryside around Orillia - here, a tunnel of touching branches holds a load of fresh winter snows. A few of the trees (to the right) still have some of their autumn leaves clinging to their branches...apparently loathe to be seen naked, even in winter.


An old shed in a golden field, found far along Cooper's Falls Road (north of Orillia) on the way to Victoria Falls. Along this lonley and quiet stretch of backroad are many such images to be found - old and empty buildings that make charming and picturesque scenes.


Grazing Sheep - Once not so common on area farms, sheep farming is becoming more popular here, and seeing a variety of sheep in farm fields has become an expected sight.

Orillia - Black and White

Black and White - A pair of sheep at a local farm - one with a black face and one with a white face. Just outside Orillia in a rural farming area.

Orillia - Behind The Barn

A view of the scene from behind a large local barn - fields dressed in green. This area still has a lot of farm properties that site no more than a minute or two from the edge of town, but today many of them are recreational or hobby farms, and there aren't many left producing commercial food products. Local owners who still grow produce sell it locally to groceries, or at the Orillia Farmer's Market on Saturday mornings. Orillia, Ont.

Orillia - Red-Roofed Barn (2)

Red-roof Barn - Just outside the city limits this large barn with it's red roof stands out against the white countryside in winter, while the cows leave trails through the snow. Orillia, Ont.

Orillia - Oro Farm

Oro Farm - An idyllic country scene with farm fields stretched out around the large barn with steel roofing. Similar views are common around the outskirts of Orillia.

Orillia - Rural -Dried Cornstalks

Dried cornstalks break the silence with a whispering rustle, as stretch against a sky of blue in a rural field just outside of Orillia, Ont.


A field of tall dried cornstalks in autumn with fall trees and stormy skies in the background. A perfect October scene in farm country.


An idyllic scene from the countryside around Orillia - a picture postcard farm with snow, ranch fencing and a horse. Pretty and rustic, this area has many equestrian ranches.


A common farm scene from Orillia's rural surroundings - an operating farm with work horses in fields.


A common sight in the rural surroundings of Orillia - farm sheds and outbuilding, often in disrepair. Here, the sheds create a pretty rustic scene against a backdrop of green and blue.

Orillia - An ATV Winter

Around Orillia, favoured winter sports include snowmobiles and atv rides along the snow-covered roads. In the city itself, snowmobiles are not allowed on roadways, but there are designated crossings at most roads that allow a snowmobile rider to cross the road. In the surrounding townships, the rules for snowmobiles vary, so one should check with the snowmobile clubs in those areas. In and around Orillia are snowmobile trails, but trail riders must purchase a license and this is enforced strictly. Fines are much larger than the cost of the license. Unless a farm property is marked as part of the snowmobile trails, please stay off. An open farm field is not public property.


A scene along the Green River. This was taken while we were visiting a property for sale up in this area. We've been looking for a cottage property close to home (this was perhaps a 15 min. drive from Orillia) but on a waterfront suitable for keeping our boat. The property here was lovely, and the views beautiful...and it was peaceful and quiet...until the train roared by on tracks hidden from view behind the forest at the back of the property. Until that moment, we were quite taken by the property, and just about ready to buy, even though there was no cottage.


A simple rural roadway in cottage country. There are so many similar scenes along the hidden roads that run around the areas lakes and rivers, that this could be almost anywhere. Many small roads shoot off from larger roads in our area - these little roads give cottage and home owners access to their properties that front on the lakes and rivers. Today, nearly all of these properties would cost a hefty sum, and many of these properties have passed down through families, purchased at a time when property could be had for next to nothing.

Orillia - Birch In Winter

Birch in Winter - Birch trees at the edge of the Old Barrie Road, with a groundcover of snow. This is a fairly common scene along the roadsides outside of town as birch trees are popular and found everywhere here. Orillia, Ont.

Orillia - Country Roadside Orillia

Taken along the Old Barrie Road, just outside of Orillia, Ontario. Bare branches of birch trees in winter snow (late afternoon).

Orillia - Back Roads in Autum (3)

Back Roads in Autumn - The back roads around Orillia. The autumn season is one of the best times to photograph the areas surrounding Orillia with it's colourful trees and rural beauty. I love the quiet backroads around town.

Orillia - Autumn Lake (1)

Autumn Lake - The shore line of Lake Simcoe at Carthew Bay, just outside of Orillia city limits. This spot has many seasonal homes and cottages, and a small store nearby that sees much of its business through the summer tourist and cottage season.

Orillia - Rough Seas

Rough Seas - Lake Simcoe in November near the Carthew Bay area - a breezy day ruffles the waters near the shore into white and foamy waves.

Orillia - Neverending Winter

Neverending Winter - A rural road just outside of Orillia dressed in it's winter clothes. It often feels as though winter lasts six months here, hence the title "Neverending Winter".


Stark Winter's Night -A winter's night at the edge of Lake Simcoe along Creighton Street (just outside of Orillia city limits in Ramara Twp.). Here, an old wooden boat protrudes from the deep snow, while the lake is covered with the trails of snowmobiles - in the far background are the lights of Orillia.


A rustic winter scene along "Old Barrie Road" - forested areas skirting some of the rural homes, separated from ditches and roadways by hand-built farm fencing.


Fallen trees covered with snow in a winter-dressed forest outside of Orillia. This is very early in the year, when winter's hold is loosening and spring is still considering whether to appear or not.