Midland & Penetanguishene
The sister cities of Midland & Penetanguishene form the gateway to the glorious Southern Georgian Bay region, an adventure paradise with clear waters and lush forests connected by an abundance of nature trails.
It is also as rich in human history as it is in natural beauty. People have been attracted to Midland & Penetanguishene for thousands of years. From the Indigenous Huron-Wendat people to today's vibrant French community, visitors will marvel at how Midland & Penetanguishene bring the past to life in the modern age. Come and discover more than one city can handle.
To learn more about all there is to see and do in Midland-Penetanguishene, scroll down or visit the region's tourism website.
Where is Midland & Penetanguishene?
Midland and Penetanguishene are part of Simcoe County, on the eastern point of the Georgian Bay. Greyhound buses will bring you from Toronto to nearby Barrie, and the local LINX bus will connect you with Midland-Penetanguishene.
If you prefer to drive, Midland and Penetanguishene are less than two hours north of Toronto on Highway 400. While most of the drive is easygoing along the highway, the last stretch breaks away from Highway 400 and follows the historic Penetanguishene Road (now Highway 93).
It is purely atmospheric when you drive through sections almost surrounded by thick coniferous forests with sideroads branching off to cottages on the lakes.
Things to Do in Midland & Penetanguishene
Midland and Penetanguishene are brimming with history and culture. Creativity fills the streets with bright-coloured murals while nature trails offer plenty of opportunities for fresh-air fun. No matter the time of year, there is always something special about visiting Midland and Penetanguishene.
Start your visit in the heart of it all: Downtown Midland. It's a great place to find inspiration for your travel with ideas literally painted on the town with the famous Midland Murals. These vibrant depictions of the area's history are a huge drawing card. It's worthwhile doing a self-guided tour through the central part of Midland and following the creative storytelling as it unfolds. Plan for a couple of hours of leisurely strolling. Popular attractions include the Brébeuf Island Lighthouse, Sainte-Marie among the Hurons, Wye Marsh and the Martyr’s Shrine.
Midland’s Indigenous history is shared at the Huronia Museum and Huron/Ouendat Village. At the museum, detailed examples of history are displayed with a replica ‘pre-contact’ village along with thousands of historical artifacts. Though it may be small, this museum is packed with local history.
The other half of the partnership is Penetanguishene, a neat central hub to venture forth and explore. You may soon hear the siren’s call, urging you to visit Penetanguishene’s Discovery Harbour and its magnificent bay. Discovery Harbour features beautifully reconstructed buildings from historic Penetanguishene and two replica sailing ships from the War of 1812 period; the HMS Schooner Bee (as depicted in the Midland Murals) and the HMS Tecumseth.
Penetanguishene has a few more treats to ‘discover’ while you're there. Amongst the town's historic buildings, the King’s Wharf Theatre continues to wow both theatre-goers and history buffs. It's located at the end of a beautiful boardwalk looking out over the thousands of islands peppered across Georgian Bay. Join a cruise or, for the more experienced, grab a paddle and enjoy some sea kayaking around the bay. The bay is bubbling with a variety: open water, sheltered bays and coastal wetlands.
Midland & Penetanguishene's Neighbouring Towns
The cities of Midland and Penetanguishene are only the beginning of a much bigger, brighter, and adventurous region — be it across the Bay and amongst 30,000 Islands or through the forests and along old hiking trails. As part of Simcoe County, Midland & Penetanguishene neighbour other popular towns for the visitor set like Wasaga Beach, Tay, and Tiny.
Every year, visitors flock here to walk along the 14 kilometres of white sand beach. During the day, eight beaches form the Wasaga Beach Provincial Park, open to the public and combine for a range of outdoor activities including hiking, cycling, and cross-country skiing. At night, the Provincial Park becomes a protected habitat for birds and wildlife.
The Township of Tiny is home to Awenda Provincial Park. It's located on a peninsula north of Penetanguishene. The entire park is classified as a Natural Environment Park, with all land protected from future development. This supports the incredibly diverse range of birds in the area, bringing even more birdwatchers and tourists to the area. The Wendat Trail is best for birdwatching, with a boardwalk that brings visitors directly over the wetlands.
Famous for its historic sites in honour of the French Jesuits who came to the region over 350 years ago. The Martyrs Shrine has extensive grounds to explore, including the famous Shrine Church and the delicately landscaped acres designed to encourage prayer and tranquility. Across the road is Sainte-Marie among the Hurons, a recreated 17th Century French Jesuit mission. Both of these sites feature in the Midland Murals, notably for their insight into the relationship between the French Jesuit Mission and the Huron-Wendat nations.
Things to Know About Visiting Midland & Penetanguishene
Make the most of your trip to Midland and Penetanguishene with these insider tips.
Where to get a great cup of coffee
Grounded Coffee Co. is a local favourite and well-placed amongst the murals. It’s the best place to refuel while discovering the fantastic Midland Murals. The coffee and butter tarts are divine, as is the view across the bay.
Where to go kayaking
When to visit
Honestly, Midland-Penetanguishene is beautiful any time of the year. However, if you are looking for a special moment, you cannot miss the annual Butter Tart Festival that normally takes place every June.