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Midland, Ontario: The ultimate bucket list

Times are tough for travellers. But with the world preparing to reopen in 2021, we're here to keep you dreaming and planning for your next adventure - whether that's a staycation or flying off to parts unknown. Until then, we've got the latest COVID-19 travel advice and updates to keep you up to date and ready to go.

Midland, Ontario is a visitor’s dream. Not only a paradise for cottagers, this area on the southern end of the Georgian Bay boasts fantastic sights, sounds, and scenery for all who visit. With walkable historical sights, a cultural centre, great restaurants, bakeries, and harbour views, the town of Midland makes for an ideal Canadian weekend getaway during the summer or winter months. Here is our list of 20 things to do in Midland, Ontario.

Please note: Before booking any type of travel, always check the latest local guidelines and coronavirus travel restrictions throughout Canada. Some of the attractions listed below are temporarily closed due to the current restrictions, but are scheduled to reopen by June or July 2021.

Amazing things to do in Midland, Ontario

1. Check out Sainte-Marie among the Hurons

The Town of Midland is located on land that is the traditional territory of the Huron-Wendat and the historic Homelands of the Metis, and Midland is home to a large and diverse community of Indigenous peoples. It was one of the first sights the early Europeans saw when they came to what’s now known as the province of Ontario. About a fifth of the entire population of New France was based here in the 1600s and it was mostly Jesuit men. You can learn about their history with the Huron Wendat at Sainte-Marie among the Hurons.

2. Take the Midland mural tour

Check out the 34 murals located around the main street of Midland, all with historic significance to the area. Discover a reproduction of a famous Norman Rockwell painting, a mural of the Brebeuf Lighthouse, and even a depiction of the town’s first apothecary shops. Going on a self-guided walking tour of the murals is one of the top things to do in Midland.

3. Have a drink at Grounded Coffee

This café is a gem in the heart of the town. Midland is home to lots of great bakeries offering local desserts and amazing coffee, and Grounded is definitely on that list! Pop in and enjoy the delicious pastries baked daily, like the vegan cinnamon rolls or maple-filled cookies (oh, so Canadian!). Couple your treat with a bespoke and guilt-free coffee: all beans are organic and from fair trade plantations from Guatemala to Papua New Guinea.

cinnamon roll on a plate with a latte in the background
Bucket list of things to do in Midland, Ontario: Grab a coffee and pastry at Midland’s bakeries

4. Relax and unwind at Panache Spa

Want to treat yourself while in Midland? A day at Panache Spa is definitely worth checking out. Get your hair done or enjoy one of their many spa packages. The spa offers body treatments, hand and foot therapies, a variety of skincare treatments, and so much more. There’s even a medi spa on site if you’re looking for something more specific.

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5. Go to the Midland Cultural Centre

Take an art class, head to one of its exhibitions, or enjoy a night of theatre – the Midland Cultural Centre has something for everyone. The MCC also hosts a variety of concerts, live theatre, talks, comedy nights, and more. Check the website for the latest news and upcoming performances. 

6. Make waves with Georgian Spirit Cruises

Georgian Spirit Cruises will be launching at the Midland Harbour this summer. Captain Bill Thomson is hopeful that he will be able to operate 17 cruises a week, including lunch and sightseeing tours. When you join one of its tours, you also get to enjoy exceptional views of some of the most beautiful islands on Georgian Bay, one of the top 11 places to visit in Canada.

7. Stroll through Little Lake Park

Named after the man-made Little Lake at the park, this popular green space has lots to offer the entire family on a sunny day in Midland, Ontario. Check out the little beach, tennis courts, and the Huronia Village nearby.

8. Have a lakeside meal at the Boathouse

Right at the town dock is one of the best Midland restaurants –The Boathouse. Enjoy a burger (veggie option available), a salad, and a delicious summer cocktail while soaking up the lovely views of the many boats coming in and out of town. Head to this great Midland restaurant when there’s live music and you’ll be planning your next visit.

sand and grass in Wasaga Beach on a sunny day in Ontario
The ultimate Midland, Ontario bucket list

9. Explore Penetanguishene

With 400+ years of history to explore, the nearby town of Penetanguishene is known for having one of the prettiest and most protected harbours in the Georgian Bay. The Discovery Harbour is a must-see, where visitors can enjoy spotting warship replicas docked at the harbour. Another top thing to do in Penetanguishene is the Rotary Champlain Wendat Park, where kids can cool off at the splashpad and playground. If you’re looking to wander the day away, the town has cute little shops, family-owned restaurants, and cafés worth exploring.

10. Tee off at the Brooklea Golf Club

Enjoy a round of golf or two at the Midland’s Brooklea Golf Club. Hungry after the game? Its restaurant offers wonderful meals during regular times and has curbside options during lockdown.

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11. Join a Midland food tour

Midland Food Tours is an up-and-coming and locally owned food tour company providing guided walking tours, including self-guided driving tours in Midland and surrounding area of the Georgian Bay. Guests can learn about the cuisine, culture, and history of the region while exploring the area. During the 2.5-hour walking tour in downtown Midland, you’ll sample a variety of food and drinks at local spots, and get some insight on the stories behind some of the town’s street art.

12. Stay at one of Midland’s bed and breakfasts

Midland, Ontario is home to some of the most charming B&B’s around! Enjoy home cooking and fabulous amenities right on the Georgian Bay.

Search for bed and breakfasts in Midland, Ontario

13. Go snowmobiling in Midland

Heading to Midland during the winter months? Renting a snowmobile and checking out the incredible marked trails should be on your list of things to do in Midland. The more daring ones may want to give the bay a try! Just ensure you check the conditions prior to your ride to avoid thin ice.

kayak in the water by the rocky shores of Georgian Bay, Ontario, around late afternoon
Rent a kayak on your trip to Midland, Ontario and explore parts of the Georgian Bay

14. Try ice fishing

Ever wondered about the little huts on the lake in winter? These are for ice fishing excursions, which is a popular activity for locals in Midland. Grab a hut and all your ice fishing equipment and try catching your dinner!

15. Go wildlife watching

Midland is home to some of Ontario’s incredible animals. Keep an eye out for muskrats, beavers, deer, groundhogs, and even brown bears.

16. Go to Ontario’s Best Butter Tart Festival

Held annually, Midland Ontario’s Best Butter Tart Festival began in 2013 and grows in popularity each year. This year, the Midland Butter Tart Festival has rebranded as the #ButterTartBikeRoute and organizers are encouraging people to jump on their bikes and cycle through the 55km Butter Tart trail. The trail will take festival goers to 15 participating businesses, where you can buy sweet treats from Midland bakeries and more so you can get your butter tart fix while enjoying the beautiful outdoors this summer. The festival celebrating this iconic Canadian dessert will run on the weekend of June 12 and 13, 2021.

17. Check out the Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre

Take a walk on the boardwalk through the marsh at the Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre, Midland’s beloved nature reserve. Spot trumpeter swans, turtles, frogs, snakes, and many more wild animals in this protected area. Look out for the namesake Midland-painted turtle!

Midland-painted turtle in Wye Marsh
The ultimate Midland, Ontario bucket list

18. Take a trip to Wasaga Beach

Head to the longest freshwater beach in the world, right in our own Canadian backyard! About 45 minutes from Midland, Ontario, this beach is the perfect place to relax and catch some rays. Grab a paddleboard, kayak, or just sunbathe on the soft sand. Check out our guide for what hotels and inns to stay at in Wasaga Beach, winter or summer.

19. Indulge with homemade fudge and other treats at the Elegant Gourmet

After hiking one of Midland’s beautiful trails, why not stop into Elegant Gourmet Chocolate and Coffee Shop for a treat? Enjoy its variety of homemade fudge, truffles, tarts, and more. You’ll definitely want to keep an eye out for the amazing Midland bakeries if you have a sweet tooth.

20. Hike the Tay Shore Trail

The Tay Shore Trail is one of the top-rated trails in the Midland, Ontario area. Located near Victoria Harbour, nature seekers can enjoy this beautiful space of 18.5 km of paved trail. Check out the swans, the squirrels, chipmunks, and much more wildlife. Hike, bike, or just take a leisurely walk.

This is just a fraction of the wonderful things this town has to offer. The sunsets prove to be spectacular over one of the most beautiful bodies of water in the world. When you’re ready, grab your bags, put gas in the car and high tail it up to Midland, Ontario for a wonderful holiday unlike any other when the time is right. Save these road trip games to keep everyone entertained!

Midland, Ontario FAQs

What is Midland, Ontario known for?

Midland is the main town of the southern Georgian Bay area of Simcoe County, and is well-known for the Midland Butter Tart Festival and the Midland murals which depict the town’s long history.

How far is Midland, Ontario from Toronto?

Midland is about 128 km north of the city of Toronto. It takes about two hours to drive from Toronto to Midland, Ontario.

What restaurants are in Midland?

There are many restaurants to enjoy in Midland, Ontario. The Explorers Cafe and The Boathouse Eatery are two popular options.

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