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Local cycling route becomes travelling experience (15 photos)

This 60-km loop from Orillia through Oro-Medonte and Severn and back to Orillia is a surprisingly interesting route with lots to see and do

I’ve always been a fan of comedian Rick Mercer, so when I recently saw a post alerting me to a new rant, I immediately followed the link.

It turned out to be more of a pep-talk than a rant, but it inspired me nonetheless.

In his rant, found on Explore Canada, the official Tourism Canada YouTube channel, Mercer shares his thoughts on travel in Canada, saying it’s “the nicest place on Earth,” and encourages us to travel locally.

After a short explanation about how important the tourism industry is to Canadians, Mercer exclaims that, “the time has come for us to explore our own backyard.” He concludes with a promise that “what you’ll find there is the time of your life!”

“OK Rick,” I thought. Because of the pandemic, my cycling trip was cancelled this year, so I thought I’d see if I could turn one of my local routes into the kind of travel experience I enjoy so much when travelling with my cycling friends.

I am happy to report that I did have the time of my life during a recent bike ride – a 60 km loop from my home in Orillia through the townships of Oro-Medonte and Severn, ending up back in Orillia along the waterfront trail.

Definitely worthy of a top ten cycling routes column in any tourism guide, I was surprised at what I discovered along the way. By experiencing the route from the viewpoint of a visitor, I realized just how many interesting attractions there were – from beaches and picturesque creeks to an artisan studio, farm stands and wildlife sanctuary. I have to admit that the highlight was lunch on the patio at the newly opened Quayle’s Brewery. After lunch I enjoyed more quiet country roads and wooded trails as I made my way back to Orillia.

Thank you Rick for your inspiration. Not only do I agree that Canada is one of the nicest places on Earth, but my own backyard is right up there on the scale of niceness.

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Here's a description of the route the author took. In addition, cyclesimcoe.ca has good maps that would make it easy to follow or adapt this route.

The route begins at the multi-use trail at Mississaga Street and the Hwy 12 bypass.

Cross Old Barrie Road at the end of the trail, cut through Rotary Place to Concession Line 15.

Go north on Line 15 to Bass Lake Sideroad.

Left (west) on Bass Lake Sideroad to Line 10.

Right (north) on Line 10 to Warminster Sideroad.

Right on Warminster Sideroad to Line 12.

Left (north) on Line 12 to Quayle’s Brewery

Route back to Orillia:

South on Line 12 (the way you came) to Warminster Sideroad.

Left (northeast) on Warminster Sideroad (through Warminster) to Burnside Line.

Left (north) on Burnside Line to Uhthoff Trail crossing.

Right on Uhthoff Trail; follow to Lightfoot Trail and into Couchiching Beach Park.