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About The City of Orillia

Orillia History

Once upon a time there was a small city about 1 ½ hours north of Toronto. It was a city many referred to as The Sunshine City, found in between Lake Simcoe and Lake Couchiching.

Thousands of years ago Iroquois and Huron native Indians settled in this area. Evidence suggests native Indians lived on this great land by Fishing, hunting and trading.

Today, the Sunshine City has a lot to offer tourists looking for cultural attractions, festivals and plenty of waterfront fun. Orillia is located about 12 kms from Casino Rama which is the area’s biggest employer.

It is not clear how the city was named Orillia. Many believe it was named after the Spanish term “Orilla” which means the shoreline of a river or lake. The Spanish word is spelled a little differently “Orilla” (missing the second i). Other Spanish named regions in the area include Mono (monkey), Mariposa (butterfly) and Oro (gold). This is more evidence supporting the theory of how Orillia’s name came to be. In the historical archives you’ll find the city misspelled “Aurelia”. This spelling is in a few historical documents but was never formally recognized.

Why is Orillia Called “The Sunshine City”

Orillia is also known as “The Sunshine City”. You may be curious to know how this name came to be. It derives from Orillia’s national historic site the Stephen Leacock Museum. Stephen Leacock was a well known humorist writer. One of his most popular books was Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town. This was the basis of Orillia’s nick name “The Sunshine City” which is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2012.

About Orillia’s Waterfront

The waterfront in Orillia is a major attraction to boaters and tourists. The most frequented areas include Port of Orillia, Couchiching Beach Park and Centennial Park. Boaters consider these areas a great entrance into Ontario’s Lake Country. Lake country includes other natural sites like Algonquin Park, Muskoka, The Big Chute, Collingwood and many other picturesque regions. On Orillia’s boardwalk you’ll find playgrounds, beaches, theater, kid’s train rides and ferry rides on Lake Couchiching.

Events and Festivals

One of the most popular festivals is the Annual Perch Festival. Fish are caught, tagged and released. When an angler catches a tagged fish, prize money is awarded. Many people also gather for a delicious Perch pan fry. You may also enjoy other popular festivals like Beatles Festival, Leacock Festival, Jazz Festival, Blues Festival and Scottish Festival.

Explore the Orillia area and become a part of the friendly community. It is perfect destination for you all year around.

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