Orillia, Ontario

“I don’t know whether you know Mariposa. If not, it is of no consequence, for if you know Canada at all, you are probably well acquainted with a dozen towns just like it.” Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town (1912) is a well-known portrait of small- town Ontario, reputedly drawn from the author, Stephen Leacock’s experiences in Orillia. That’s actually how the municipality, which sits on the shores of Lake Simcoe and Lake Couchiching in Simcoe County, came to earn the moniker “Sunshine City” and why several local businesses (plus one widely celebrated folk festival) have embraced the “Mariposa” name. Respectfully, Sunshine paints small towns with a broad brush, and Orillia – a city as old as Canada itself – is memorably different. There is nowhere else “just like it.” Located just 90 minutes north of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), Orillia became a commercial centre and summer resort in the mid-19th century. Today, the city’s character is captured in many of those century-old buildings – red brick trimmed with limestone quarried from the old Longford sawmill. Orillia’s heritage theme plays into its overall mood; the lumber, mercantile, and carriage industries have all left their indelible mark. “We have a beautiful atmosphere in the City of Orillia,” AT A GLANCE ORILLIA, ONTARIO WHAT: “The Sunshine City”; population 31,000 WHERE: Simcoe County, Ontario WEBSITE: www.orillia.ca Future-proofing the ‘Sunshine City’ O Ontario