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Winter Wonderlands: Outdoor Holiday Road Trips

As the clock ticks down on 2020 (mercifully) we can turn our attention to the holiday experiences in and around Barrie.

Unfortunately, that whole pandemic thing is making things trickier for getting out and celebrating.

Luckily, there are a number of drive thru and outdoor experiences to ring in the season, happening within driving distance of Barrie.

Winter Wonderlands: Outdoor Holiday Road Trips

The Bluffs Winter Wonderland Drive-Thru Experience 

The Scarborough bluffs are a great destination regardless of the season. But this holiday the iconic natural attraction will include an entire kilometre of over than 50,000 wintry lights.

The trip includes Reindeer Way, an Enchanted Forest, and Santa’s House. Here the kids can stop for some pics and have a socially distanced meet-and-greet with the red hatted man himself.

Entries are pre-booked and timed so that participants can enjoy what feels like a private, fully contact-free show while also maintaining plenty of physical distancing.

The entire experience is complemented by a customized radio station dedicated to cheery holiday tunes (expect Mariah Carey) to keep everyone in the spirit. There are over 100 decorated Christmas trees, a light tunnel, and a vast array of illuminated Yuletide fixtures.

Tickets are $25 per car for the event. It’s running on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings after dark. It kicks off on Nov. 27.

Blue Mountain Enchanted Village

Blue Mountain turns decidedly red and green this holiday. The entire Village will be decked out in garlands and bows, ideal for a family trip full of festive sights and sounds.

Aside from the festive décor, there will be fire pits to warm by, holiday music and carolers and horse drawn carriage with Santa every Saturday. At night, you can take the one kilometer pedestrian pathways through the Village and around the Mill Pond to discover interactive Christmas light displays.

There’s also music at the Wish Bubble, Dream Tree and Singing Forest, and plenty of spots to stop for hot chocolate and treats. Running Nov. 14 to Jan. 3.

Holiday Nights of Lights


Happening in Vaughan, Holiday Night of Lights is an immersive, drive-thru experience featuring more than 1 million LED lights animated and synchronized to your favourite Holiday tunes.

This was also the location of a cool Halloween themed light show last month. Perfect for the entire family, it’s a car trip through over 2 km of dazzling light display and scenes. The entire experience is synchronized to 30 minutes of your favourite festive tunes.

Tickets are $25 per car for 1-2 persons; $40 per car for 3-5 persons; $65 per car for 6-8 persons.

What did you think of Winter Wonderlands: Outdoor Holiday Road Trips? We want to hear from you! Send us an email of connect on our FB page!

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Road Trippin’ – Halloween Edition

If hitting the open road is your jam for Halloween, there are plenty of potentially petrifying destinations you could head to…if you dare.

Simcoe county has no shortage of locations to add some scare to your weekend. Read on for a trio of terrifying trips!

Road Trippin’ – Halloween Edition

Bala Bay Inn

If you’re heading to Muskoka for Halloweekend, consider stopping by the Bala Bay Inn. The lodging is allegedly home to all manner of mysterious activity. Spirits and Specters are said to haunt the corridors, including the noted writer and musician, E.B. Sutton. Witnesses have reported flying objects, TVs turning on on their own, whispering voices, footsteps at night, and door handles rattling. Probably not the best place to stay if you are easily frightened…or if you watched the Shining recently.

Germania Schoolhouse

Another Muskoka locale, the tiny town of Germania was all a bustle in the 1870s, but it was abandoned, leaving a creepy ghost town in its place. You can still find a few of the the old structures from the pioneer era, including the schoolhouse. This town and the schoolhouse had a dark reputation, and was the site of many tragedies, including infanticide. Visitors who have braved the trip to this ghost town have been witness to eerie whispers and strange experiences. Although nothing close to a paranormal encounter has ever been reported, just walking through the remnants of this town can be a harrowing hike.  

Canoe Lake

If you went to school in Canada, you’ve heard of the Group of Seven. Back at the turn of the 20th Century, the Canadian painters were the canuck art scene equivalent of the Beatles. Although Tom Thomson wasn’t an official member, his work is regularly presented with the group’s at exhibits and museums. In 1917, Thomson journeyed to Canoe Lake on a art inspiration trip, but he drowned, very mysteriously, while on a canoe ride. The cause of death was never determined, and to this day there is a belief that it was in fact a murder. Visitors to the lake over the years have reported strange sightings and sounds, while some people claim they’ve actually seen his ghost at the lake.

What did you think of Road Trippin’ – Halloween Edition? Did we miss any scary spots? Let us know in the comments!

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Road Trippin’ Part 15

Road Trippin' Part 15

TRIPS BY CAR FROM BARRIE

Barrie’s central location makes us a prime hub to launch car voyages through the warm weather months. Every week through the end of October, we’ll bring a new Ontario destination you can reach in a day by car. And if you’ve got suggestions, we want to hear them!

Road Trippin’ Part 15

  Merrickville

Located about four hours east of Toronto, Merrickville is a village along the Rideau Canal. The Rideau Canal is a chain of beautiful lakes, rivers and canals winding 202 km from Ottawa all the way to the head of Lake Ontario in Kingston. Merrickville in fact predates the Canal. When the Canal was completed in 1832, the town became a larger, industrious villa settled by Irish, Scottish and French builders of the Canal.

Take a morning walk at the Rideau Woodland Ramble. Declared one of Canada’s top garden destinations, the Ramble is home to Japanese maples and a variety of wildlife and pure woodland.

Head closer into Merrickville and you’ll come face to face with history. Home to over 100 historic and heritage properties, it’s also the lcoation for three locks on the Rideau Canal, and to the Blockhouse, a huge structure built in 1832 to guard against potential American invasion. It’s now a museum open during the summer.

Known around the region for its unique boutiques, the stores are filled with one-of-a-kind items from local artists and artisans. Glass blowers, painters, potters, and other creative spirits make for inventive trinkets to take home. One of the most visited is Mrs. McGarrigle’s Fine Food Shop, full of nooks and crannies for just about anyone in your family.

When it comes to meal time, a must visit is the Yellow Canoe Cafe. It’s a quaint 20-seat spot with a fresh menu and homemade treats. Foodies who prefer something quicker have plenty of options.

What did you think of Road Trippin’ Part 15? We want to hear about your road trip destinations! Let us know in the comments or on FB! And if you are a Barrie based business looking to expand your digital footprint, we want to hear from you too!

Road Trippin’ – Part 14

Road Trippin' - Part 14

TRIPS BY CAR FROM BARRIE

Barrie’s central location makes us a prime hub to launch car voyages through the warm weather months. Every week through the end of October, we’ll bring a new Ontario destination you can reach in a day by car. And if you’ve got suggestions, we want to hear them!

Road Trippin’ – Part 14

 Sault St. Marie

Known better as the Soo, Sault St. Marie is a stay a while, enjoy the sights and flavours type of town. It’s chock full of history, art, and natural beauty.

The city is a quaint and walkable locale. You can enjoy the charms of a boardwalk jaunt along St. Mary’s river, adorned with a plethora of open space art installations and plaques illustrating the city’s history. You’ll find a pavilion dedicated to Roberta Bondar on your stroll.

Among the must-dos in the Soo is the Agawa Canyon Tour Train. The trip heads north, deep into Canadian Shield country and inland to the Agawa Canyon Wilderness Park. The highlight of the train trek is the 130-foot-high Montreal River trestle. When the train reaches the park, you can get out to explore the lookout, with trails leading to picturesque nearby waterfalls.

If you dare to swim post Labour day, there are plenty of diving options. Old Woman Bay and Katherine Cove both feature picturesque cliffs, sandy beaches and crystal clear water.

When the hunger hits, head north of the city to get an authentic taste of the region with a historic slant. The Voyageurs’ Lodge and Cookhouse is an essential stop for everything from gas and gifts to lunch. This unique stopover on Highway 17 celebrates the Voyageurs, Canada’s frontiersmen, while the diner features northern Ontario hospitality and huge portions. The rustic decor of the roadhouse adds to the northern experience.

Whitefish Island

If you are keen on some more nature, check out Whitefish Island. It’s located just below the International Bridge stretching across the St. Marys rapids.

It is a 2000 year old historical site, first used as an Indigenous settlement. In 1997, Whitefish was returned to the Batchawana Band, who maintain the island today.

As you explore the island, you’ll find well kept trails as well as Indigenous artifacts and structures, like wigwams and tepees. It’s a must for animal observers, as the island is rich with migratory birds, water foul, reptiles, eagles, and osprey.

What did you think of Road Trippin’ – Part 14? We want to hear about your road trip destinations! Let us know in the comments or on FB! And if you are a Barrie based business looking to expand your digital footprint, we want to hear from you too!

Road Trippin’ – Part 13

Road Trippin' - Part 13

DAY TRIPS BY CAR FROM BARRIE

Barrie’s central location makes us a prime hub to launch car voyages through the warm weather months.  Every Thursday through the end of October, we’ll bring a new Ontario destination you can reach in a reasonable travel time. And if you’ve got some suggestions, we want to hear them!

Road Trippin’ – Part 13

The Port Burwell Submarine

It looks like a huge beached whale. You can’t miss it if you are taking a scenic drive along the Lake Erie coast.

The 90-metre hulk is the HMCS Ojibwa. The black steeled ship is a retired submarine, hauled there from Halifax several years ago. It’s now the jewel in a local marine museum’s crown. And you can take a tour of it every weekend.

Ojibwa was an Oberon class vessel, used for intelligence-gathering missions. Beginning in the 1970s, Ojibwa began underwater surveillance patrols in the western Atlantic, tracking Soviet sub and surface fleet vessels. She was eventually brought to Port Burwell through the efforts of several local museum enthusiasts in 2012.

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Torpedo sink emeny warship!

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The submarine is just one of several local points of interest.

Road Trippin Part 13 – More to Do in the Port

Port Burwell is known as the jewel of Lake Erie’s north shore, with it’s Blue Flag certification for water quality and environmental protection.

In addition to the clean, sandy beach, you’ll find hiking trails, camping and a historic lighthouse. A great destination for families, you can enjoy beach volleyball courts and plenty of spots for a picnic amidst the swimming. If you are keen to spend a night or two, there are more than 200 campsites in the nearby provincial park.

Motorcyclists will find their fill with the CRUISE THE COAST ROUTE, a 263-km cruise along the scenic north shore of Lake Erie.

Birders will have plenty to see as well. Port Burwell is one of the best locations in Ontario’s Southwest to see migrating hawks, vultures and eagles as well as monarch butterflies and dragonflies.

What did you think of Road Trippin’ – Part 13? We want to hear about your road trip destinations! Let us know in the comments or on FB! And if you are a Barrie based business looking to expand your digital footprint, we want to hear from you too!

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