Midland Ontario

Midland is a quaint town in Ontario that's full of Indigenous history

Midland is a charming little Ontario town perched on the shores of Georgian Bay that blends rich human history with countless outdoor adventures.

Located just under two hours from downtown Toronto in Simcoe County, Midland is a sister city with Penetanguishene, with both considered the gateway to the 30,000 Islands.

From exploring its gorgeous forested nature trails to learning about the area's Indigenous and French roots, here are some of the best things to do in Midland.

Learn about local Indigenous history

Indigenous peoples have had a significant effect in shaping the town of Midland, and you can learn all about their history at the Huronia Museum and Huron/Ouendat Village.

Here, you'll find indoor and outdoor interactive displays, including a life-size replica of a Huron/Ouendat village prior to contact with Europeans. You'll also see thousands of historical artifacts from Huron and Ojibwa First Nations history, along with art collections and native archaeology.

Visit a reconstructed settler village

Continue your tour through history by heading to Sainte-Marie Among the Hurons, which features another reconstructed village replica of the area's first European settler community (at the same location as the original settlement, no less).

Originally the site of the headquarters of the French Jesuit Mission to the Huron-Wendat people, today you'll see a longhouse, church, barracks, residences, plus a sheltered area for Indigenous visitors during the time. You'll even be able to watch live re-enactments!

Take a food tour

Thanks to endless food options to suit every palate, you won't go hungry in Midland. One of the best ways to get a little taste of everything is by booking a Midland Food Tour, offering both a guided walking food tour through downtown or a self-guided driving tour across Northern Simcoe County.

The downtown walking tour can accommodate small groups of up to 8 people, with a local food scout bringing you to six or more downtown restaurants to sample signature dishes and beverages over two-and-a-half to three hours.

The driving tour, on the other hand, provides you with an itinerary for a four- to five-hour self-guided route, also with six or more eateries providing signature dishes and drinks to try.

Wander through downtown

Downtown Midland is as colourful as it is welcoming, lined with inviting shops, cafes, galleries, and restaurants. Stroll down King Street and follow a map of historic murals depicting the town's history, including North America's largest historic outdoor mural, Huron Native and Jesuit Priest at Sainte-Marie.

After working up an appetite, stop into Grounded Coffee Co. for a caffeinated beverage and baked treat.

Cruise Georgian Bay

With the beautiful clear waters of Georgian Bay so close, make sure to hop on a tour with Georgian Spirit Cruises to see the area's breathtaking islands and landmarks.

You can opt for a basic sightseeing cruise, or choose a specialty or dining cruise that'll take you past countless sights, like Giants Tomb Island and Beausoleil Island.

Take a hike

Get some fresh air and exercise while being rewarded with picturesque scenery on the Tay Shore Trail, while extends for nearly 18 km along an abandoned CN rail corridor that runs from Midland to Waubaushene.

You'll be led past pretty rivers, ponds, wetlands, and the magnificent Georgian Bay, with plenty of spots to rest where you can read interpretive nature and historical plaques along the way.

Spot wildlife

Home to a diverse array of flora and fauna, the Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre is a haven for all sorts of critters, like turtles and rare birds. Walk along wetlands and winding boardwalks through the marsh and see just how many you can spot.

The centre also hosts educational programs, guided tours, and live bird of prey demonstrations, making it a great destination to learn more about the local habitat and the residents who call it home.

Admire a historic shrine

Stop and reflect at the historic Martyr's Shrine in Midland, which draws over 100,000 visitors from around the world each year. Perched atop a hill, this Roman Catholic church was initially constructed to honour the lives of the French Jesuit martyrs in the 1600s and is a stunning destination to visit, boasting panoramic views.

Here, you can also learn about the relationship between the French Jesuits and the area's Indigenous peoples, while gaining a better understanding of how the European settlement affected their lives in Midland.

With history at every turn, there's a wealth of things to discover in the small town of Midland. It's also the perfect day-trip destination if you want to learn more about the history of Indigenous peoples in Canada for the upcoming National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

This article has been updated and corrected from its original version. We regret the errors.

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