South Georgian Bay, where the living is easy
By Cece M. Scott cecescott.com
The south Georgian Bay area includes Collingwood, Stayner and Wasaga Beach, as well as some of the most popular destinations and four-season activities in Ontario. Less than two hours from Toronto, you can experience music festivals, farmers’ markets, beer tastings, hiking, golfing, swimming, skiing – and even Elvis sightings.
The Blue Mountain and Collingwood areas are popular with hikers, mountain bikers, SUP (stand up paddle) boarders and golf lovers. The semiprivate, Cranberry Golf Resort (now known as Living Stone Golf Resort), is the first golf course appointed to the Audubon Society certified course list. It also won the Environmental Stewardship Award. The resort includes an outdoor swimming pool, a hotel, condominium suites, restaurants and shopping.
Golfers can also head to Wasaga Beach to tee off at the The Links at Georgian Sands, followed by a stroll (and maybe a swim) along Wasaga’s 14-kilometre white sand beach.
Wasaga Beach, has long been touted as one of Ontario’s premier tourist destinations, and is the world’s longest freshwater beach. It really is a beach-inspired town with picture worthy views of Georgian Bay, sparkling clean water, and people of all ages enjoying this water-side town in their swim wear and flip flops.
Close by, is the legendary Nottawasaga River, which is great for fishing, and has sparked the odd tale about the one that got away.
From Farm To Table
Downtown Collingwood’s Farmers’ Market opens on Saturday, May 18th. Thornbury’s market opens on Sunday, May 19th; Meaford’s market on Friday, June 7th; and the new Lowell’s market is to open on Wednesday, June 5th. Get your fill of fresh vegetables, homemade crafts, freshly popped kettle corn, handcrafted signs, unique jewelry and sumptuous baked goods.
Stanyner’s ‘Music Market & Park It’ begins on the 6th of June, and is a weekly celebration of food, live music, local vendors, artists and entertainment for the kids. Classic trucks and cars are also on display.
Something For Everyone
A favourite pastime for many, is people watching. Sit yourself down in one of the colourful Muskoka chairs, hand painted by local artists, that are positioned along Collingwood’s downtown streets, and are part of the town’s Art on the Street installation (May 18th to October 2nd).
If you are an outdoor enthusiast, try hiking, biking or cross-country skiing the 35-kilometre Georgian Trail, which offers magnificent views of Georgian Bay and Blue Mountain as it winds its way through Collingwood, and the neighbouring towns of Thornbury and Meaford.
The Blue Mountains, known as such, because of the ever-present eucalyptus trees whose leaves expel a fine mist of natural oils that oft-times appear as a blue mist on the horizon, is a favourite for downhill skiers. More than 40 trails are available over 364 skiable acres. Après skiing, spend time at Blue Mountain Village (Ontario’s largest mountain village resort) known for its eclectic shopping and dining options.
The menu at Twist Martini Restaurant and Lounge is influenced by classic French cuisine – showcasing the freshest of ingredients, as well as an extensive martini and wine list.
The mediterranean-inspired Tholos Restaurant, is owned by Crete native, Tholos. Here, you’ll enjoy an authentic, interactive experience that includes Greek dancing, as well as the Greek tradition of plate smashing.
There are some great shops in the village, including GO FISH GO, which showcases quirky, one-of-a-kind items – from home decor to Read Canoe clothing. At Brights Gallery, you can peruse original works of art by Canadian artists in a relaxed setting.
Rejuvenate your weary bones at the Scandinave Spa at Blue. Soak in the relaxing baths, while taking in the panoramic views of the escarpment – the perfect prescription for spiritual and physical wellness.
Dates To Remember
Stayner will be rocking during their three-day Roxodus Music Festival from July 11th to 13th. Featured talent includes, Aerosmith, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Peter Frampton, Cheap Trick, Blondie, Billy Idol, I Mother Earth, Alice Cooper and Honeymoon Suite.
The Collingwood Elvis Festival is celebrating its 25th Anniversary from July 26th to the 28th.