Simply over 2 and a half hours north of Toronto, the city of Parry Sound (inhabitants 6,500) is greater than a gateway to northern Ontario. It’s a beautiful place to go to, a perfect base for exploring beautiful provincial parks, and is on the coronary heart of the Georgian Bay.
Georgian Bay is a part of Lake Huron, one of many 5 Nice Lakes. However whereas Lake Huron and its counterparts usually function wild winds, excessive waves, and chilly temperatures, Georgian Bay is relatively calm, tranquil, and heat. Whereas nature lovers ought to after all take all the same old precautions whereas they’re out exploring (it is a highly effective physique of water all the identical), Georgian Bay is a superb vacation spot for swimming, kayaking, and canoeing, even for newbies. And being subsequent to a fairly spot like Parry Sound makes this out of doors getaway even higher.
I’ve come to know Parry Sound nicely. It’s been certainly one of my important tenting locations for greater than a decade. And as anybody who is aware of about my doubtful claims to tenting prowess, I’m all the time keen to flee the woods and discover something that boasts trendy facilities! Parry Sound has been my saving grace on quite a lot of tenting rainstorms and I stay up for visiting it many times. Right here’s what you possibly can anticipate to see and do by yourself journey.
1. Camp And Hike At Killbear Provincial Park
Simply north of Parry Sound, Killbear Provincial Park is an excellent vacation spot for tenting, mountain climbing, and fishing. Sure, bears have often been noticed right here (suggestions to safe your meals and clear your campsite at night time aren’t any joke) however I’ve by no means seen one. I’ve, nonetheless, noticed a bobcat! Associates have spied Blanding’s turtles, however probably the most well-known resident of the park, the endangered Massasauga rattlesnake, stays elusive to me. Guests will observe there are particular little snake tunnels beneath the roads to assist the reptiles keep away from vehicular encounters. An lively discovery program consists of concert events, displays, and guided hikes that can assist you higher respect the world’s wildlife. (I personally suggest the damsel and dragonfly stroll).
2. Chill out At Oastler Lake Provincial Park
Situated only a few minutes south of Parry Sound, Oastler Lake’s important attraction is its namesake. This light lake is ideal for fishing, swimming, and paddling. This family-friendly tenting vacation spot has playground and volleyball areas however mild sleepers ought to observe that the railroad tracks are close by. Count on to listen to some prepare whistles in the midst of the night time!
3. Embrace Journey At Massasauga Provincial Park
This provincial park hasn’t made it to my very own tenting checklist but, in contrast to the opposite two, and that’s as a result of it’s a backcountry campground. Wimpy automotive campers corresponding to myself needn’t apply! All Massasauga Provincial Park campsites are accessible solely by water and solely paddle-power is allowed. Hearty campers might be rewarded with glorious mountain climbing, fishing, birding, and possibly an opportunity to see the endangered Massasauga rattlesnake. (Hopefully at a distance!)
The truth that such a small city has three unimaginable provincial parks inside a brief drive actually highlights how that is such an excellent spot for nature lovers. Plus, there are much more parks inside a 2-hour radius. Should you like to discover the good open air, Parry Sound is the place you’ll need to set up your base.
4. Tour Georgian Bay’s 30,000 Islands
You can stay right here your entire life and by no means actually find out about a fraction of the world’s 1000’s of islands. However cruising on the Island Queen is a superb begin. You’ll get pleasure from beautiful surroundings and a fowl’s eye view of spectacular wildlife (to not point out some very fancy cottages, in addition to some lovable wee ones that seize my coronary heart). The boat was specifically designed for these waters and it will get very near the stone cliffs of the bay. Along with 2-hour cruises (within the morning) and 3-hour choices (within the afternoon), you may also do a 2.5-hour tour of Huckleberry Island which features a brief guided hike with a naturalist and a few free time for swimming in a mild, shallow seaside.
Even should you can’t put aside the time for a tour, I extremely suggest a stroll across the docks by Bay Avenue. It’s a fairly space and nice for taking photographs or getting a drink on the patio with a view.
5. Sail Into The Sundown
If you wish to add just a little romance to your journey, take into account a sundown cruise or a sundown dinner cruise aboard the M.V. Chippewa III. This boat is far smaller than the Island Queen and has an intimate really feel, excellent for romantic evenings on the water because the solar goes down.
6. Uncover Some Hometown Hockey Satisfaction
Parry Sound is the hometown of hockey legend Bobby Orr. You possibly can find out about his outstanding profession and acquire perception into what it means for a small city to be the house of a sports activities hero on the Bobby Orr Corridor of Fame. At Orr’s request, the Corridor of Fame doesn’t simply have a good time him however all native sports activities stars and over three dozen individuals have been inducted. The Corridor of Fame is related to the Charles W. Stockey Centre for the performing arts, which hosts a sturdy calendar of particular occasions, concert events, e book readings, and movie screenings. I extremely suggest to, should you go to one, take the time to take a look at the opposite.
7. Take In The Sounds Of Parry Sound
Some of the outstanding occasions hosted on the Charles W. Stockey Centre is the Pageant Of The Sound. This 2-week annual occasion in late July celebrates classical music. The festivities entice a few of the most interesting performers and composers on the earth and, in 2018, the pageant added a people music weekend and a jazz music weekend to spherical out its choices. A spotlight of this system is the music-filled cruises aboard the Island Queen.
8. Swing By The Markets
Each Tuesday from the tip of June to the tip of August, the Parry Sound Farmers’ Market affords recent produce, home made meals, smoked fish and meat, and handicrafts. It’s joined by the Carling Market on the Carling Group Centre (simply north of Parry Sound) and the MacKellar Market to the northeast, each on Saturdays.
9. Feast On Pizza
Parry Sound is dwelling to a number of good eating places and my private favourite is one that may enchantment to foodies and hungry hikers alike. Maurizio’s Pizzeria makes delicious wood-fired pizzas. My go-to selection is the “Ship Wreck” (with pesto, feta, bacon, tomato, herbs, arugula, and balsamic glaze), whereas my husband favors the three-meat “Raptor” calzone. Guests will discover a number of veggie, vegan, and dairy-free choices, plus gluten-free cauliflower crusts.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t additionally suggest the close by Twiggs Espresso Roasters. This small northern Ontario chain affords gourmand coffees, mild breakfasts and lunches, and baked items like chocolate cheesecake.
10. Carry On The Beer
Parry Sound is within the coronary heart of tenting and cottage nation so it’s solely becoming that there’s some nice beer close by. Some breweries to take a look at embody Norse Brewery within the close by group of Nobel. It affords a darkish ale, a crimson ale, and a golden ale. The Trestle Brewing Firm is located alongside the Parry Sound waterfront in a constructing that was as soon as an outdated rail station and later a gasoline storage depot. Take a look at their cranberry-raspberry bitter and their Mexican sizzling chocolate stout, plus a small gastropub menu filled with native elements.
11. Inventory Up On Books
For a small group, Parry Sound is punching above its weight within the literary scene. It’s dwelling to 2 glorious e book shops and literary occasions are additionally held on the Charles W. Stockey Centre. Parry Sound Books focuses on new titles and has a wonderful collection of kids’s books, puzzles, and artwork provides. A hearth in 2020 pressured the shop to relocate for a yr to the proprietor’s dwelling, however they’re again in a superbly renovated house now. The aptly named Bearly Used Books is a high-quality secondhand bookstore. And, sure, you’ll see a bear on a few of their indicators and merchandise! Maintain an eye fixed out for Sophie, the bookshop’s resident canine.
Professional Tip: This Fundamental Resort Actually Delivers
Parry Sound has a good collection of brand-name inns and diverse inns, however time and time once more, I return to the city’s Consolation Inn. I do know, it’s not precisely probably the most thrilling of suggestions! However I’ve stayed right here a number of instances due to rainstorms that flooded me out of my tent — my tenting misadventures may fill a e book. Each go to included clear, snug rooms and a really pleasant, useful employees. Plus, the resort’s place subsequent to the freeway and quite a few chain outlets and eating places made for simple restocking of all our gear (and spirits). Typically requirements can range at extra modest inns, however this Consolation Inn is superb.
If you wish to discover extra of the Ontario space, take a look at these experiences: