It’s the beginning of January and as we start a New Year now is the perfect time to reflect on 2012. Last year saw the end of the 365 Things To Do In Orangeville and Dufferin County’s DAILY Blogs but after a full year my habit was fully developed into my regular routine except for a bit of time off.
Many of my clients fantasize about getting a little ‘me time in the country’ or a little more ‘time out of the city’ but the truth is it’s not as tough as you think, confidently believing you can make the commute for work is the first step. I recommend letting your spouse or your kids know that there is so much to living in a small town and there are lots of things to do(more than 365) I promise you won’t regret it.
Orangeville and the Headwaters region is a wonderful place and has plenty of landmarks, restaurants, parks, rivers, hiking trails and places to shop that offer visitors and residents. After the last few years, these are a few must see places in the Dufferin County according to my personal and quite biased opinion.
Here is a list of my 3…(and more in some cases) favourite things to see and do in Orangeville and Dufferin County in a few different categories.
- The first location is Mono Cliffs, which consists of some of the best hiking in Dufferin County. There are many walking trails and several areas where you can get a great view. The place is ideal for picnicking if you wish 🙂
- Learn to kayak. Island Lake is the perfect place to try out your newfound paddling skills and you can get a great view Orangeville to the west and it even has its own beach
- Drangonfly park received its name from its marshland that is inhabited and is known for its dragonflies. You can’t miss it as there is a huge Canadian Flag that marks the entrance.
- Vicki Baron Lakeside Trail. The trail is on the north shore of Island lake but still exudes a forest with open meadows all around. Walking the short hiking trail 3.2km, I enjoyed the switchbacks through the trees and thought about how lucky I am not to be living in the concrete jungle of Toronto anymore
- Kilgorie trail is in Mulmur and only 25 minutes from Orangeville. There is a bridge that the Pine river flows under, you can park off to the side and then take the 3.2km hike! On your way you will found the abandoned Mill that once provided power to Shelburne and Hornings Mills during the late 1890′s
- Looking for a awesome trail just north of Orangeville? If so, you need to check out the the Primrose section that follows the Bruce Trail. This trail is absolutely gorgeous. The trail meanders north or hwy 89 just east of hwy 10
Things For Kids To Do
- At Pottery Parties they put the Art in Party! You can join them at their new studio in downtown Orangeville on Mill street! Drop in, bring your latte, and paint ceramics with friends & family. Pick something up at their Art Boutique it very cool place to bring the kids
- On hot summer days make sure to check out the splash pad at Harvey Curry Park “Home of Every Kids Park”. It’s a place for ALL kids.
- Among my top must see things is also the Alder Street Recreation Centre, featuring two arenas, a swimming pool, a walking/running track and an expansive gymnastics facility.
- Teen Ranch every year has an Easter Egg Round up where hundreds of families searched the grounds at Teen Ranch for hidden chocolate eggs.
- The Rosemont General Store is a great place to got if your driving to the cottage or if you live nearby. The baked goods are awesome and they have so many goodies . The food is delicious and it’s fresh everyday and there are plenty of great options for everyone
- The Hockley General Store is not to be missed. The food is delicious and it’s fresh everyday and there are plenty of great options for everyone. They also make a pretty mean breakfast as well. They also have seating inside and a outside patio that makes it easy to decide if it’s a nice day..oh so much more in a general store 🙂
Arts & Crafts
- Maggiolly Art Supplies is a oasis of fun and creativity in heart of the downtown Orangeville. If your looking to get inspired their staff will help you get on your way. They have a wonderful array of art supplies and if you want to discuss your ideas with us they can help move your ideas along
- Glasscraft on Broadway is where you can actually take a class or a workshop at either their Grand Valley location or Orangeville. They also provide A vast collection of in-stock glass works
- Drangofly Arts is located in Historic Downtown Orangeville, and they have a huge selection of Canadian art and fine crafts. They support the work from local artists that include, pottery, wood, silver jewellery, glass, and folk art. Painters and photographers also display their work on the walls in an ongoing rotation, creating a new experience every time you visit Dragonfly
Things To See or Do
- The Credit Valley Explorer has 3 different 3 hour train tours you can go on, 1 – Twilight Dinner 2 – Scenic Tour and 3 – Snow Train. These tours are the most popular train tours in the area. This 3 hour wilderness excursion will transport you south to Brampton, Ontario, over towering trestles, alongside pristine rivers and through the limestone rock formations and vast mixed forests of the Hills of Headwaters.
- The Cheltenham Badlands and it’s crazy arid terrain with clay-rich soil that has been extensively eroded by wind and water. Canyons, ravines, gullies, hoodoos and other such geological forms are common in badlands. Known to be a wonder of the world
- Cataract Waterfalls is a 50 foot waterfall is surrounded by ruins from its days as the power source for industry. You’ll find wonderful open space to run and play plus great areas to sit and view the falls. The Cataract falls is one of the more impressive waterfalls of the Niagara Escarpment. It is roughly about 10 minutes south of Orangeville and 5 from Alton
- Orangeville’s Art Walk of Tree Sculptures. The goal of the program is to sustain the life of trees that have reached the end of their life expectancy in a way that allows them to continue adding character to our community. The sculptures are about art and heart and community.
Theater and Galleries
- Another place that is a must see is the Alton Mill, which has some really interesting galleries and many exhibit halls.
- The Orangeville Opera House is another great place to see. It has great acoustics and has been lovely restored. The theatre has room for 274 people and has very impressive performances
Places to eat while on the run
- Orangeville is now famous for its authentic Philly Cheesesteak, so a trip to Orangeville will not be complete without a visit to the Philadelphia Kitchen. Come hungry your going to need the space..LOL
- RustiK Local Bistro has now became known as a restaurant with great food and service and they used an abundance of real wholesome fresh food on their menu. One thing to keep in mind is their Rustik burger is gourmet (not your run down beef patty out of the box).
- Mochaberry Coffee and Company is an awesome place to get a coffee, have lunch and for those that have not been here, the atmosphere is very warm, inviting and comfortable. You’ll find small tables for close, intimate meetings. Free WIFI, Mochaberry Bean Bar.
Shopping & Gift Ideas
- If you want to buy some gifts, you can go to the GRANNY Taught Us How, or Acheson’s Gifts & Decorative Accents which is 2 great places to visit for their shopping and home decor selections. They both have such a large selection everything and are always a huge hit for visitors.
- Blamo Designs is a small store but they provide their customers with over 300 custom T’s from uplifting, funny or perhaps humorous tee shirts that will make all of them have a good laugh for the remainder of the day. Any time a person views a fresh t shirt design and style, one thing inside their mental faculties tells these they have to read it
- Booklore is a very cool independent bookstore in Orangeville. You can find anything from pictures, books, personal service, special orders, fine children’s books a varied selection NAXOS CDs, unique greeting cards, the works.
- Off Broadway Clothing Boutique located on Mill Street is so calling all lady shoppers, fashionistias, people with style seeking style this is your next place to check out and see for yourself
Gifts and Bath
- Noinkees. Her business is a small family run store that offers functional & unique high quality durable clothing as well as bath and body wash, soaps, accessories and gifts for women and everything you can think of that related to a day at the spa
- Pear Home. It’s a really cool place that carries home decor and decorative accents at reasonable prices. Pear Home has been here in Orangeville for the last 6 years. They sell unique gifts and home decor products. They even sell jewelery and things that you might not find anywhere else
- Just Be Customized So what is Just be…customized anyways. Well your can formulate Natural and Organic Customized Skin Care Creams with special serums for Body Creams, Perfumes, Make up, with workshops for women to come in and formulate their own DNA products. Even if your a guy they can accommodate you
Festivals & Events
- Check out the awesome Orangeville Jazz and Blue Festival in June. For anyone who loves jazz, this festival is something you absolutely must be there to experience
- Tap a sugar maple at the Maple Sugar Festival. Each spring, when the sap starts flowing, sugar tapping is a big attraction. Turn the maple sap into maple sugar and enjoy
- Be dazzled by Christmas lights. Christmas in the park is full of thousands of Lights and is available to the public throughout December each year, lighting up the town
- In Grand Valley that host the Grand Valley Lions Duck Race. Yellow rubber duckies will hurtle three-eighths of a mile along the Grand River. Now that’s something you don’t see in GTA…Ha, ha
- The Orangeville Rotary Ribfest is perfect for meat eaters. It features five international ribbers competing for prizes and your taste buds and there will be other food and beverage vendors selling the perfect complement to tasty ribs, pulled pork etc. Furthermore, there will be a variety of vendors selling crafts and other products.
- The Annual Orangeville Founder’s Fair on Broadway happens every July. Kids and adults will have a chance to try out everything from plate spinning to juggling, aerials to Chinese yo-yo. You’ll come away with thousands of great gift ideas,becasue this weekend is all about fabulous shopping and family fun!
- The Orangeville Fall Fair is a time to enjoy some midway rides,watch the demolition derby and Mini Mash, check out the Elvis Tribute Show, test your luck at shooting an over-sized basketball through an undersized hoop to win a larger than life stuffed animal. Time to eat more calories than any one human should eat in a day
- It’s almost as if Shelburne has its own version of a weeklong Mardi Gras, out here on the landlocked Roof of Ontario, for Fiddleville.Without taking away from the international popularity of the 61-year-old multi-class contest itself, and despite the carzy costs of gas these days, motor homes and camping trailers of all sizes have been pouring into Fiddle Park.
- The Grand Valley Tornado might have ripped out the mighty maples tree from the ground and devastated the town but in the Valley the heart and soul live. Grand Valley hosts their Annual Chase the Tornado 10k Run.
Running Free Orangeville Puts on the Chase The Coyote Trail Race in Late September. There are 3 races to choose from. The Sprint is approx 5.7 km route and is an introduction to trail running. Mostly flat, pretty and not too challenging. The Challenge is approx 14.4km route is as difficult and as much fun as we could make it. If you survive ‘cardiac hill’ at km 2, and ‘64 steps to ruin’ at km 8, and the ‘roots of all evil’ at km 10, then the rest is an easy rolling romp towards the finish line. The third is the Long Course (CTC) that is approximately 22 kilometre route that combines every trail system in the park. You will run both Challenge & Easy course and then some…
The Compass Church hosts a 5K race called 5k4FOOD that takes runners down Credit Valley Conservation’s beautiful and flat Lakeside Trail and Mono’s Baker Trail. The Race is held in June. All proceeds go to the Orangeville and Shelburne food banks.
Run Dufferin hosts an annual Island Lake Classic 5K run/walk starts and ends in picturesque Island Lake Conservation Area. Groomed trails, boardwalk, and rural roads guarantee an enjoyable event. The park setting, a free children’s fun-run, and post race BBQ mean that you can make this a day out for the entire family. The inaugural they also have the 10K Lakeside Loop. Work creating a trail which circumnavigates the Lake was completed on July 18th 2015. The 10K run follows the 5k route for the first 1.2 kilometres before proceeding around the lake on bridges, boardwalks, and groomed trails. Beautiful vistas of the Lake. Two water stations on the route.
- The Caledon Pit Run/Walk will take place within the scenic 2nd Concession of our Caledon Pit. This is a unique opportunity for visitors to experience a 5K or 1K cross-country run/walk through an active licensed site. During the event we will again be featuring an open house with guided bus tours, supervised kids’ activities, a sponsor expo, Earth Rangers and the very popular rock truck ride.
Independent Grocery Store
- Harmony Whole Foods Market is a 100% Canadian company that passionately supports and promotes natural products, supplements and whole foods, sustainable production, organic growers and local growers and our surrounding community
- Looking for an old style Grocery Store who will provide fresh local food? Looking for something that the typical grocery store doesn’t carry? Want a local neighbourhood corner store who’s been serving the Dufferin County community for the last 11 years? If so, you should check out Shelburne Fresh Variety.
- Soaring Heart Wellness who opened a few year back has awesome organic Chocalate & Banana frozen yogurt, apples and banana’s local honey, local produce, local eggs, milk, local pies, local….. You get the point.
- Euphoria Cafe & Smoothies is very healthy option. They have locally sourced fruit smoothies and great selection of food for vegans and vegetarians. They have salads, sandwiches, wraps and more. If you haven’t stopped in I’d recommend you do
- Booster Juice is a smoothie bar with over 50 different types (I think). They are health-conscious smoothies composed of a pure juice, fruit sorbet or vanilla frozen yogurt, frozen fruit, fresh yogurt and ice and are sooooooo good.
Treats and Bakeries
- Candy, who doesn’t love candy! The Crazy Candy Shoppe often has a good mix of local and imported candies as well as bulk items, novelties, and the olde nostalgic treat that looks so tempting that you throw caution to the wind and decide
- Last year I experienced my first boxes of Wicked Shortbread Cookies! Sorry but there’s no willpower when it comes to these AMAZING cookies! Hands down this is the only and I mean only place I will buy Shortbread cookies
- Twilight Chocolate Cupcake lip licking fudge and Raspberry filled Chocolate Raspberry cupcakes. These are just a few of the flavors you will find at Orangeville’s The Quest for Cakes Bakery
- The thing about Jelly’s is that once you walk in the door your sense of smell is bombarded with the most fabulous aroma… The smell of fresh baked goodies welcomes you in… Ahhh, this is Jelly’s Bakery.
- What an amazing Bakery….. Well it’s more than just that, Ray’s is a 3rd Generation Bistro Bakery! They offer sit down lunch and dinner, or if you’re in a hurry we offer take as well! Their regular Lunch menu has a wide selection of sandwiches, pasta of the day, rosemary burgers, chicken parmesan, caesar salad and daily soup. All of which is locally sourced
Fine Dinning Restaurants
- Mrs. Mitchell’s restaurant has been serving some amazing dinners and creating a ton of memories for the visiting folks who love to gather in a wonderful environment. I have friends that have enjoyed a great meal at Mrs. Mitchel’s. They tell me that they had a very difficult time deciding what to order because it all looked so good
- Cabin is cool and modern but rustic in nature and it’s very comfortable from a décor point of view. So if your looking for local food then this will be the place to come. The culinary experience is a farm-to-table philosophy — the menu will be dictated by what is grown in the property’s two-acre fruit and vegetable garden, seasonal preserves, as well as fare from local farmers and suppliers.
Casual Dinning Restaurants
- The Bluebird Cafe is fantastic and the atmosphere is wonderful. This is one of the best restaurants I have ever been too, the food is amazing, I love the staff, it has a great atmosphere, and very reasonable pricing
- The Black Wolf Smoke House is one of the newest in a line of restaurants that has opened this year. The new Smoke House comes with it’s own in-house smoker,that sets it’s self apart from all the other dining locations in Orangeville.
- Every item on the The Globe’s menu is awesome in my opinion and my wife will agree, as she and her friends frequent it a few times a year. There is no way for me to pick a favourite but I will say the raspberry pie is outstanding!
- Ruby Pier Steak and Oyster Pub, offers fresh oysters and hand-cut steak, among some of the olde time favourites, will cook fresh food right before your every eyes in their new open concept kitchen, it’s a very cool place to go
- Fionn MacCool’s is an Irish pub and it serves some great food and some awesome beer too. They have live music on Thursday nights starting at 8:30 and their staff are very friendly
- Have dinner at the Newest Pub in Town. For the ultimate in Orangeville pub dining experiences, you need to head to Mill Creek Pub in downtown and enjoy an great lunch/dinner and the 19 beers they have on tap 🙂
- Holbrooks Grill & Sports Lounge – Restaurant & Sports Bar is a place where you can catch a game (or scarf down some amazing food)? This awesome sports bar, the creation of a dream team of local restaurateurs, is a complete slam-dunk. In addition to a strong lineup of craft beer, you’ll find some of the best food around town, but their burgers might just take the MVP title along with the 50+ TV’s found though-out the bar.
- Boston Pizza offers a casual dining setting with over 100 menu items including gourmet pizzas made with their signature hand pressed dough and a Bar section where you can watch the game and hang with the guys..LOL
- Looking for a place that has Stone Baked Pizza then you might want to check out the Italian restaurant Casa Del Gelato They have a the best thin crust pizza and Gelato in Orangeville
- A freshly made organic pizza outside using produce from their garden at Hockley Valley. That’s what your going to get if you come to Hockley Vally Resort and check out the Pizza in the Garden. It’s very cool indeed.
I could also call this article “Orangeville for newbies” as it talks about some of the most memorable things to check out on your first visit to Orangeville. Orangeville and Dufferin County has a lot to offer and that was my list. Agree or Disagree this is my “must-see” list. Not it time to roll…