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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.  

Exploring Laurier House National Historic Site

Take a step back in time to visit the former resident of two of Canada’s most important Prime Ministers.  This Second Empire mansion in downtown Ottawa was the heart of Canada’s political life where both Sir Wilfred Laurier and Rt. Hon. William Lyon Mackenzie King were able to call home.  The Laurier House National Historic Site is a Parks Canada site and a must visit while in Ottawa.

Here is my experience visiting the Laurier House!

History of the Laurier House

The Laurier House is the former residence for both Sir Wilfrid Laurier and Rt. Hon. William Lyon Mackenzie King.  The house was built in 1878, but has gone through several alterations throughout its years.  The home was the personal residence of Sir Wildrid Laurier from 1897 to 1919 and then was given to Mackenzie King to serve as his home during his time as the leader of the Liberal Party from 1923-1950.  Upon Kings death he granted the house to the country and their people

 


Getting There

Laurier House is located at 335 Laurier Avenue East, Ottawa. There are several different options on how to get here.

On Foot: Located just over 2 kilometres from Parliament Hill on a nice day this site is easily walkable.  Taking just over 20 minutes from Parliament to Laurier House it is a nice peaceful walk that will take you past the Shaw Centre, along the Rideau Canal, through the University of Ottawa Campus and finally arriving to the house.

By Car: From highway 417, take exit 118 for Nicholas Street/Lees Ave (if you are coming from the eastbound direction of the Queensway, you must turn left onto Lees Ave).  Turn turn onto Mann Ave, then left onto Chapel Street. Laurier House is on the corner of Laurier Avenue East and Chapel Street.  Note: There is no on site parking, but there is street parking nearby.  

By Bus: There is a bus that takes you from the War Memorial, leaving at the corner of Wellington and Elgin Street in downtown Ottawa, and is about a ten minute drive to Laurier House.  Take the number 5 bus for an easy and hassle free commute to the national historic site.

 


Admission & Hours of Operation

For the 2017 year Laurier House National Historic Site is free to all visitors to celebrate Canada 150th birthday.

The hours of operation are as followed:

May 1-June 30 – Open Thursday to Monday (closed Tuesday & Wednesday) 10:00am – 5:00pm

July 1 – September 4 – Open daily, including holidays – 10:00am – 5:00pm

September 5 – October 9 (Thanksgiving) Open Thursday to Monday (closed Tuesday & Wednesday) 10:00am – 5:00pm


What To Do

Self-Guided Tour: The visitors centre provides you with a self guided tour book that explains the layout of the house with floor plans, the history of each of the Prime Ministers when the lived in the house and much more.  Additional to the guide books the house is full of Parks Canada Guides that are more than happy to share their additional knowledge of each of rooms and the history behind the house.

Take a Guided Tour: If you are interested in taking a guided tour they are offered for $7.30 by the Parks Canada Guides. They will take you through the collection of antiques and paintings that were owned by each of the Prime Ministers during their time living on Laurier Avenue as well as the lives and accomplishments of both Sir Wilfred Laurier and William Lyon Mackenzie King. Tip: If you visit on a week day during off-peak times (morning, after lunch) you will likely find yourself in the house with very few other visitors and the Parks Canada staff will be happy to give you a mini-tour of each floor without having to pay for a guided tour.  

Have Afternoon Tea on the Veranda: Every Saturday throughout the summer (July & August) light tea and pastries are served on the veranda.  There are two time slots for your historic tea at the Prime Ministers house which are 11:00am an 2:00pm.  Reservations are required at least 24 hours in advance through Cordn Bleu by calling (613) 236-2499 or emailing contact@signaturesrestaurant.com.  If you are in town on a Saturday make sure to stop by and stake a step back in time and sit where both Laurier and Mackenzie King would have and enjoy some tea and pastries!


Must Visit Rooms & Exhibits in the Laurier House

Second World War Homefront – Canada’s Kitchen: This brand new exhibit that opened May 1, 2017 allows you to explore what a kitchen would have looked like in Canada during the Second World War.  The kitchen was normally the largest room in the house as so many activities took place in this space.  In the kitchen you will find both original and replica books for rationing, price inflation, coupons and much more.  Make sure to open the fridge, oven, cupboards to explore what is behind each door and decide if you would have wanted to dine in the 1940’s.

The Elevator: Did you know there is an elevator in the Laurier House? If you did not make sure to ask one of the Parks Canada staff to show you! The door to the elevator blends so well into the wooden walls you would never notice to look for it unless you knew it was there.  Unfortunately, you cannot ride in the elevator as it has been getting stuck since the time Laurier lived in the house, but its cool enough to be able to go in and take a look at!