Searching for something fun and memorable to do this summer? Look no further! Whether you are new to Orillia or trying to find something unique to do with friends and family, there is something happening for everyone!
I moved to Orillia about a year and a half ago and love how our small community comes alive in the summer months. I have compiled a list of activities and events that showcase Orillia’s ‘Sunshine City’ vibe and will be sure to get everyone excited for summer!
Whether you are a true outdoor enthusiast or prefer to spend time out of the heat there is an event that will give you the opportunity to try something new, meet like-minded people, and connect with your community. Also, Orillia is home to a lively culture of arts, music, and creativity. A great place to find all of the details regarding local events is through the Orillia & Lake Country Tourism - Summer Experiences Calendar. Here you will find detailed information on paddling, cycling, outdoor activities, camping, summer packages, indoor activities, events, resorts, places to dine, and SO much more! I would love to highlight some of my favourite events/activities happening in Orillia throughout July and August.
Mariposa Folk Festival: (July 7-9, 2023) Mariposa Folk Festival is an exciting, vibrant and storied musical happening! Mariposa has presented its incredible performances and programming for over 60 glorious years. Come join us! Enjoy and share in the rich tapestry of festival experiences that animate the wonderful spirit of Mariposa! The festival is a celebration of song, story, dance and craft, and so much more. Taking place in a beautiful lakeside setting, Mariposa features some of the most renowned artists on the North American and international scenes, as well as emerging artists for you to discover. It is a 3-day getaway with 100+ performances on 11 stages. For those camping at Mariposa, the fun starts the day before the festival opens and finishes the day after it closes. This year will be my first year attending the festival and I could not be more excited!
Orillia Farmer’s Market: Every Saturday from 9 am-1 pm, Downtown Orillia hosts a Summer Farmer’s Market filled with local vendors including artisans/crafters, farmers, and producers. I love going to the market and this year I will be a vendor with my own small business! The Orillia Farmer’s Market will also host three summer evening markets during downtown Orillia street closures. Shop for unique, handmade, and freshly made goodies while you enjoy open-air, extended patios and storefronts! The Night Markets will take place July 7th, July 21st, and August 18th from 6-9 pm.
Rama Powwow: (August 26th - 27th) Rama Powwow is one of the biggest and best powwows in Ontario. All are welcome! Held on Chippewas of Rama First Nation territory, at the John Snake Memorial Community Multi-Purpose Grounds. The cost is $10/day $15/weekend pass; free for kids under 12, seniors, handicapped, or veterans. No pre-registration or advance tickets are necessary - pay at the gate. First Grand Entry is Saturday, August 26 at 12PM; the evening session begins at 6:30 PM. Sunday Grand Entry August 27 at 12PM. Gates open around 10 AM
The Roller Skating Place: Orillia and District Agricultural Society’s Roller Skating Place is the only existing roller rink north of Toronto! 15,675 sq feet of roller skating floor, adult and children-sized roller skates offered.
Stephen Leacock Museum: For over fifty years the Leacock Museum has been welcoming visitors to the Old Brewery Bay on the shores of Lake Couchiching. This stately, 19-room summer home represents Stephen Leacock’s lifetime love affair with Orillia, a town he immortalized as the mythical Mariposa in his quintessential best-seller Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town. Included in the nearly 10-acre site are Leacock House, the Boathouse, and the museum archives and administration building. Don’t forget to stop by the Leacock Cafe and enjoy some amazing food and beverages, or stop through on the trails for some ice cream! The museum grounds feature gardens and trails such as the Orillia Millenium Trail or the Lightfoot Trail that travels throughout Orillia along the waterfront, through the property!
Orillia Museum of Art and History: The Orillia Museum of Art & History (OMAH) is an incorporated registered charity that acts as a hub of culture and heritage in the heart of Orillia’s Peter Street Arts District. Located in the heart of downtown Orillia, the clock tower of the Sir Samuel Memorial Building is a beacon for our historical location, but that’s just the beginning! For over twenty years, OMAH has been inspiring creativity and celebrating the history, growing as a hub for local artists and historians.
We invite families to try our drop-in programs, teachers to explore our educational programming, learn about Orillia and the area’s vibrant history, or enjoy an exhibition or two.
Orillia Opera House: In the very heart of Orillia sits a fairy-tale building, and inside that building, legends are born. Since 1895, the city has dreamed, laughed, wept and fought inside the Orillia Opera House. Many of the city’s defining moments have taken place under its landmark twin spires. The 700-seat auditorium was a movie house from the 20s until the late 50s. It was a favourite place on a Saturday for a kid to spend an afternoon for a quarter. Known for its fine acoustics has featured such artists as the Marx Brothers, Glenn Gould, Oscar Peterson, k.d. lang, Mickey Rooney, Dan Hill, Liona Boyd, Blue Rodeo, George Canyon, Paul Brandt, Ron James, Manteca, Lighthouse, The Stampeders and our own hometown boy, Gordon Lightfoot, which had the main auditorium named in his honour in 1997. As well as, many would-be greats such as school bands and local theatre groups. The Orillia Opera House is well known for its summer theatre programs.
Davidson Estate Alpacas: Alpaca tours and adventure walks along with quality alpaca products. Alpaca my bags!
Bombshell Blooms Sunflower Field & Flower Farm: 10 acres of flower fields! Bombshell Blooms offers a variety of activities including filling a bucket with your favourite flowers, reserving a picnic table to eat your lunch amongst the sunflowers, and taking stunning photos!
Chappell Farms: Chappell Farms offers a Summer Festival and Zoo! Come visit the animals, take a walk in the corn maze, go on a hay ride, learn about agriculture, or hang out and take photos in their sunflower patch (mid-August).
Scales Nature Park: Scales Nature Park is a hands-on, FUN, educational experience for all ages. Learn about the creatures that surround us and become educated in ways to preserve their existence. Outreach programming year-round, booking for schools, libraries, community groups, birthday parties and more (Group rates available). Scales also offers certification courses and internship opportunities, highly regarded by top universities.
Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre: Located on 3,000 acres of Provincially Significant Wetlands and woodlands in Tay, Ontario in the Heart of Georgian Bay. Discover raptors & reptiles in the interpretive display hall, explore hiking trails, experience canoeing and kayaking on a guided tour through the marsh channels, visit the observation tower, floating boardwalks, wildflower gardens, the bee house and so much more!
Make a Summer Adventure Jar
What you will need:
An empty jar
List of summer activities on a piece of paper (provided at the end of this blog post, but feel free to add your own ideas!)
Anything you would like to use to decorate the jar (stickers, paint, markers, etc.)
Step 1: Cut out the list of summer activities so that each one is on its own separate slip of paper
Step 2: Fold each individual activity and place it in the jar
Step 3: Decorate Jar (this step is optional)
Step 4: Pull out an activity every time you would like to participate in a spontaneous summer adventure!
Step 5: Go on the adventure! Take pictures and make great memories this summer!
Go to a local Farmer’s Market
Go Roller Skating
Tie-dye a T-shirt
Hike a new trail
Have a picnic at the beach
Watch a sunset on the beach
Nap in a hammock
Go for ice cream with a friend
Roast marshmallows or make s’mores
Create sidewalk chalk art
Have a water balloon fight
See a movie at the drive-in (or watch a movie outside)
Host a lawn game tournament
Take a road trip
Grow a herb garden
Go star gazing
Go antiquing or to a garage sale
Go to the thrift store and buy a new outfit you feel great in!
Host a BBQ
Try out a new summer craft
Attend an outdoor concert or live music event
Make homemade popsicles
Run through a sprinkler
Go for a bike ride
Read a book in the park
Make a summer scrapbook
Make a summer cocktail (or mocktail)
By: Brooke Hailey Andrews (Student Wellness Associate)