Orillia is a city in Ontario, Canada that sits between Lake Simcoe and Lake Couchiching. Known as the “Sunshine City,” it boasts a large waterfront that is the site of several festivals and draws many visitors. While the city is significantly smaller than better-known cities like Montreal, Toronto, or Vancouver, it still offers an enjoyable variety of summer events.
Orillia’s Canada Day celebrations are considered the largest in central Ontario. They take place at the Couchiching Beach Park. Some celebrations start on June 30 including a Children’s Fun Zone, beer garden, and park dance. Canada Day proper, however, is on July 1, and the celebrations begin with a pancake breakfast held at the Pavilion in Terry Fox Circle from 8 to 11 a.m. There will also be parades, a silent auction, live music, and a fireworks display. At the Children’s Village, younger visitors can enjoy face painting, a reptile show, live music, and crafts. For more information, visit the website http://orilliacanadaday.ca/ or call (705) 259-1948.
Mariposa Folk Festival
Mariposa Folk Festival, which was first held in 1961, is Canada’s oldest folk festival still in existence. It will be held on July 6 – 8 at Tudhope Park. Nearly 60 artists and groups will be performing over the weekend, including Valdy, The Heavyweights Brass Band, and Buffy Sainte-Marie. Defying Gravity will perform a tribute to Jesse Winchester, who passed away in 2014. The Artisans’ Village will be home to 50 crafters, artisans, jewelers, and painters. There will also be workshops for young singers and songwriters. To learn more, visit the website http://www.mariposafolk.com/ or call (705) 326-3655.
The 41st Annual Scottish Festival is another popular summer event and will be held on July 20-22. It will start with a Scottish Ceilidh or gathering at 7 pm on Friday. There will be lots of music and dancing throughout the Festival, including drum and fife competitions. A parade will take place at noon on Saturday. A Children’s Village will provide entertainment for wee lads and lasses. For more information, visit the website http://www.scottishfestival.ca/ or call (705) 325-8442.
The Waterfront Festival will be held August 10 – 12 at the port. The boat show will include all types of watercraft ranging from kayaks to yachts. Other vendors will sell water sports gear, boating equipment, and summer clothing. Visitors may also enjoy water ski shows, dog agility contests, and art exhibits. The entertaining Cardboard Boat Race will be held on Sunday. For more information, visit the website https://www.orillia.com/index.php?id=33 or call (705) 326-4424.
Starry Night Studio & Gallery Tour
The 14th Annual Starry Night Studio & Gallery Tour takes place on August 25, 7 – 11 p.m. It is a self-guided walking tour of the art galleries and studios downtown, where visitors may meet and talk with local artists. Local restaurants and shops will also participate. To learn more, visit the website http://orilliastarrynight.weebly.com/ or call (705) 325-7205.
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