Midland and Penetanguishene
The sister cities of Midland and 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 and Penetanguishene for thousands of years. From the Indigenous Huron-Wendat people to today's vibrant French community, visitors will marvel at how Midland and Penetanguishene bring the past to life in the modern age.
To learn more about all there is to see and do in Midland-Penetanguishene, scroll down or visit the region's tourism website.
Where are Midland and Penetanguishene?
Midland and Penetanguishene are part of Simcoe County, on the eastern point of the Georgian Bay. 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).
Things to do in Midland and Penetanguishene
Midland and Penetanguishene are brimming with history and culture. Streets are adorned with bright-coloured murals while nature trails offer plenty of opportunities for fresh-air fun.
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. 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 and 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 and 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 km of white sand beach. 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. The park is also a protected habitat for birds and wildlife.
The Township of Tiny is home to Awenda Provincial Park on a peninsula north of Penetanguishene. The entire park is classified as a Natural Environment Park, with all land protected from future development. 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 and 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
Many tours and hire companies will rave about sea kayaking on Georgian Bay. While it is gorgeous on the open water, consider adding Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre to your kayaking dream-list.
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.
The Tay Shore Trail runs almost 18 km between Waubaushene and Midland and features a mixture of dense forest trails and sparkling views out to Georgian Bay.
Last updated: December 15, 2022