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Ultimate Guide to Visiting Midland, Ontario

The town of Midland is set on the shores of Georgian Bay with its harbour built for small cruise ships, grain ships and recreational boats of all sizes. The town is filled with hundreds of years of history.

One of our favourite spots to spend a weekend in any season, exploring the beautiful town and surrounding areas on Georgian Bay.  Being the gateway to the 30,000 islands on Georgian Bay, home to many great places to eat and things to do Midland is a must visit place.

Here is our guide to visiting Midland, Ontario! 

History of Midland

The history of Midland plays a large part on the town’s existence today.  The area was home to the Huron Wendat nations for hundreds of years prior to first contact with the Europeans.  In the mid-1600’s the Jesuits arrived and set up Ontario’s first European Community, Sainte-Marie Among the Hurons, which would be the headquarters for the French Jesuit Mission to the Huron Wendat people.  Over the next two hundred years the Europeans began to settle the area and what is now known as Midland began to flourish.

The First Nations roots of Midland and the surrounding area are still celebrated to this day with murals throughout the city, statues, museums celebrating their heritage as well as shops run by families of the original First Nations settlers.


Top Things To Do In Midland

North Americas Largest Outdoor Historical Mural – A must see in the Midland Harbour is North Americas largest outdoor historical mural displaying Sainte-Marie Among the Huron as it would have looked in the mid-1600’s.  You can easily view this mural from the town docks.  There are also plenty of other small murals on the buildings along the main streets of Midland depicting the history of this town.

Miss Midland – Ever cruised Georgian Bay and experienced the 30,000 Islands? If not make sure to book a tour on the Miss Midland!  Enjoy this two and a half hour sightseeing cruise that will take you through the dramatic rocks of the Canadian Shield, alongside the windswept pines that Georgian Bay is known for and see all the hot spots in the area.  For tour information on the Miss Midland 30000 island cruise click here.

Sainte-Marie Among The Hurons – Visit the first European Community established in Ontario – Sainte-Marie among the Hurons is a re-creation of its original site that tells the story of the Wendat and French interactions and life during the 1600’s.  Visitors get the unique opportunity to see what the earliest Canadian pioneer life would have looked like through self-guided visits, special events and group tours.  For more information on visiting Sainte-Marie click here.

Martyr’s Shrine – The Martyr’s Shrine is the National Shrine to the Canadian Martyrs.  The shine is a memorial to honour the the 8 Jesuit Saints who lived, worked and died in Midland over 350 years ago.  The Shrine offers tours, church services and engaging activities for all ages.


Top Places To Eat in Midland

The Boathouse Eatery – The Boathouse Eatery is a Midland favourite for both locals and boaters alike.  Located right on the shores of Georgian Bay you can access the restaurant by car or boat.  Here you can have a light snack, drinks, or a full lunch or dinner.  Regardless of what you order the view cannot be beat and the food is equally as good!  Make sure to ask for a seat on the patio to watch the boats drive by or even watch the sunset into the horizon.

Dillon’s Wood Fired Pizza – Dillon’s Wood Fired Pizza is one of the newest restaurants to Midland but it is taking the town by storm.  This cozy restaurant offers hand made, wood oven fired pizza that will leave you wanting more.  The owner – Dillon – is almost always around to greet everyone with his warm smile and make great recommendations.  Located right on the main street of Midland (King Street) and steps to the docks on Georgian Bay.

Mom’s Restaurant – Mom’s Restaurant is a staple in Midland that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday.  They are best known for their incredible breakfast menu and a great place to take the family and enjoy great food and company.  Located a 5 minute drive from the downtown.

Uncle Roy’s Restaurant – Uncle Roy’s offers an American breakfast menu and then changes to Chinese food for lunch and dinner.  If you are looking for great eat in or take out Chinese, Uncle Roy’s is a great option during your visit to Midland.    Located on King Street in Midland and is within easy walking distance to Georgian Bay.


Midland is the perfect place to visit for a weekend getaway with is shallow waters perfect for splashing around, a boaters paradise and hundreds of years of history will make you want to return.  

Why You Need to Visit Georgian Bay

Ontario encompasses over one-fifth of the worlds fresh water with its 250,000 lakes.  These waterways play a key part in the history and development of the province through the means of transportation for early explorers, a source of food and influencing where towns would be built. Next to the five great lakes, Georgian Bay is the largest body of water in Ontario and is often considered the sixth great lake.

One of our favourite places to explore, photograph and enjoy is beautiful Georgian Bay.  With its 30,000 islands and 2,000 kilometers of shoreline, this large bay has many popular areas and hidden gems.  Georgian Bay has everything from beautiful white sand beaches, hiking trails, island camping, boating, picturesque lighthouses and so much more.

Less than a two hour drive from Toronto, Georgian Bay lets you see another side of Ontario.  Here you will leave the hustle and bustle of the city behind and enter a place of wind-swept pines, waves crashing up onto the Canadian Shield, small and large cottages dotting the lake and the 30,000 islands.

Here’s what you’ll experience while visiting Georgian Bay! 

The Cities Surrounding The Bay

Many areas of Georgian Bay along the shoreline can be accessed from the road.  This includes Collingwood, Midland, Parry Sound, French River, Killarney and Tobermory to name a few. Tobermory and Collingwood have a steady stream of tourism to the areas with their great attractions such as the Bruce Peninsula National Park and Blue Mountain.  Other towns such as Midland and Petetanguishene are less frequently visited by tourists, but have a lot to offer.

To drive around all of Georgian Bay it is 1285km drive including a ferry crossing at the northern end that connects you between Manitoulin Island and Tobermory.  This drive can be done in as little as 2-3 days or leisurely take up to 15 days to enjoy and immerse yourself in this beautiful area.  To drive to some of the destination cities or do the entire loop either way you will not be disappointed in what you see as with each new bend in the road there is a different view of the Bay and beautiful Ontario.


 

Boating on Georgian Bay

Although there are many great destinations that you can access around the perimeter shoreline of Georgian Bay, some of the best destinations are on the many islands throughout the bay. Most of these islands are accessible by boat in the summer and many can even be accessed by snowmobile throughout the winter months.

Our two most visited islands for both the summer and winter months are Giants Tomb and Beckwith, each of which are a short trip from Midland / Honey Harbour by boat or snowmobile. Both islands offer great day trip destinations in the summer and winter months and allow you to explore the perimeter on the water / ice or head into the island and explore the islands on foot.

Giants Tomb takes the shape of a sleeping giant and native legend has it that the giant God Kitchikewana laid to eternal rest here after creating Georgian Bay. The island is a great destination for day trips, great swimming and camping on the beach.  During the winter months when the bay freezes over, a series of natural ice caves can be found on the West side and is popular amongst snowmobilers. The actual size of the ice caves can vary each year as they are caused by the waves freezing as they crash into the island.

Located just beyond Giants Tomb, Beckwith is a boater’s paradise.  Thanks to it’s sandy bottom, this island has crystal clear water and long beaches. There is no development on the island except for a simple outhouse to serve boaters, campers and picnickers. The island provides you with everything you need to spend the day or night in complete tranquility.  This is a popular destination for us on weekends to relax on the beach and swim in the warm waters of Georgian Bay.  One of our favourite moments is when the boat pulls up to the island and the bay transforms into clear turquoise waters – This is one of the few places you will find clear water like this on Georgian Bay.


One of the best things about Georgian Bay is that it is ever changing with beautiful landscapes and new adventures around each corner. From day trips to week long adventures, Georgian Bay has something to offer everyone. If you get the change stay out late, watch the sunset and wait for the stars to come out as it is a sight you will not soon forget.

Georgian Bay is beautiful in every season so if you are looking for a weekend adventure anytime throughout the year take a drive to one of the many beautiful towns along the bay.

Hopefully we will see you on Georgian Bay!