Welcome to Orillia
Like most small provincial Canadian cities and towns Orillia won’t strike you with an inexpressible architectural glamour of charming European cities. You wouldn’t fly over the ocean just to sightsee it. However, if you happened to be in the area, open your heart and use your best judgment and you’ll be rewarded to discover Orillia's spectacular historic and natural beauty. Knowing the history behind sometimes uninspired at first sight buildings or places will help you appreciate efforts those generations of people starting with First Nations and till our days put into their beloved land.
The City of Orillia is located on the shores of two connected lakes: Lake Simcoe and Lake Couchiching.
Much like Barrie, which is located 30 km south, the city attracts tourists and boaters because of its waterfront park and its position as a gateway to Lake Country, cottage country in Muskoka, Algonquin Provincial Park, and other natural attractions.
Orillia has an impressive historical heritage. The human history of the region extends back several thousand years. Over 4,000 years ago Huron and Iroquois people used a small waterway that connects Lake Couchiching and Lake Simcoe to trap fish. There are several archaeological sites in the surrounding area that provide evidence of trading, fishing, and hunting camps that were visited for hundreds of years by Amerindians.
The famed French explorer Samuel de Champlain first visited the area that would later become Orillia in the early 1600’s as well as LaSalle, Henry and Frobisher.
The Village of Orillia was founded in 1867 (sharing the same birthyear as Canada). It became a town in 1875, and was designated a city in 1969.
Orillia had the first municipal hydro electric transmission plant in North America; printed its own money in 1936; was the very first municipality in North America to introduce “daylight saving time” and had the best-lighted main streets on the continent in the 1930’s.
Economic activity in Orillia is a mix of manufacturing, government services and tourism. The largest employer in the area is Casino Rama, located in the nearby Mnjikaning First Nation. Large public-sector employers include the headquarters for the Ontario Provincial Police, which is located in Orillia.