The process of selecting a home is fertile ground for second-guessing. Did you choose the right home, neighborhood, or city? When you choose Orillia, Ontario, you need never doubt the wisdom of your decision. This vibrant, forward-looking city embraces all the best virtues of 21st century living without turning its back on its rich history. The city and its citizens strive to promote sustainable living in the Sunshine City.
Orillia has a remarkably stable population, which means the city council can concentrate on delivering municipal services efficiently without fear of unrestrained growth. In the past decade the total population has ebbed and grown by fewer than 2,000 people. Providing high quality services to Orillians and visitors, the city has launched and finished many initiatives in recent years:
- Sports—The fall, 2010 opening of the Rotary Place Arena and West Orillia Sports Complex, a $27 million development combining indoor and outdoor recreation facilities, provides for healthy bodies and clear minds. Besides the two NHL-sized ice hockey rinks, the arena has meeting rooms, a rock climbing wall, multi-purpose rooms and other amenities
- Safety—At its essence, sustainable living means sustaining life, and Orillia takes seriously its duty to serve and protect; the $9 million Fire Station, finished in the fall of 2014, provides a 9-1-1 Communication Centre and a new Orillia Fire Headquarters.
- Sophistication—Sustaining the legacy of famed Orillia residents Gordon Lightfoot and Stephen Leacock, Orillia honors the arts with the $1.3 million renovation of the Opera House. The Opera House, an 1895 landmark, includes a 700-seat main theatre and a more intimate 100-seat studio theatre. The many music and arts festivals reawaken the senses of locals and tourists alike.
- Scholarship—No city can exist only on bread and spectacles; Orillia fuels the mind as well as the soul with its $24 million Orillia Public Library and Market Square project, opened in 2012. Library patrons are spoiled with a light-filled entrance area awash in shadows from etched glass curtain walls. The glass etching is a theme throughout the magnificent building.
Environmentally Sustainable Living
Orillia’s Public Library achieved certification for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) from the Canada Green Building Council. This reflects not just the library’s dedication to environmental awareness, but the city’s as a whole.
The City provides not only Blue Box recycling (for paper, cardboard, foam, all plastics, metal and glass), but also Green Bin recycling for compostable materials (food scraps, plant matter and dryer lint).
The city is working hard to reduce water pollution and waste, prevent idling engines that pollute the air, and add trees along city boulevards.
A Bright Future
Sustaining the careful growth and enjoyment of Orillia for current and future Orillians means taking pride in the accomplishments, but also planning for the future. Projects in the works for Orillia include:
- A recreation facility with aquatic facilities and a full gymnasium
- Shower and washroom facilities at the Port of Orillia for the benefit of port workers
- A new administrative building and garage at Orillia’s landfill
- Expanding on the success of the Mariposa Folk Festival, which won an award for Sustainable Tourism on November 10. The Festival is recognized as a leader in green events, as indicated by the Festival’s efforts to divert an astounding 88 percent of 2015 festival waste out of the Orillia landfill.
By any measure, the citizens of Orillia enjoy a rich and vibrant life. Committed to sustainable living, dedicated to improving the quality of life for all its residents, Orillia is a city as comfortable in the 21st century as it is proud of its 19th century roots.