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Port of Orillia kicks off busy summer season (3 photos)

'It’s not just bringing your boat and tying it up; there is something to do here for the whole family,' says Orillia's harbour master

The flags at the Port of Orillia were raised this afternoon under a beautiful blue and sunny sky, ushering in another season of boating and summer activities. 

“What better spot in all of Orillia and Lake Country to celebrate the pivot of great weather?” said Allan Lafontaine, executive director of the Orillia District Chamber of Commerce and harbour master for the port. “Get out to the waterfront, see what our ... assets are in Orillia, and celebrate that.”

Local dignitaries were on hand to help raise the Canadian flag, the Ontario flag, and the City of Orillia flag. Picnic Snack Bar was also at the event, providing beverages and snacks for chamber members who gathered for the celebration.

The event is what officially kicks off the summer season, says Lafontaine.

“Our beautiful Port of Orillia is such an energy point. It’s where visitors and citizens come down to enjoy walking around and seeing the boats in the water," he said.

There is a high demand from boaters who plan on anchoring their boats at the port this summer Lafontaine says.

“People are going to get out this summer,” he said. “People might not explore too far with the price of fuel, but the Port of Orillia is always one of those great destinations with our downtown, a grocery store, pharmacies, and an LCBO right there.”

This year, the Port of Orillia is hosting the popular Christmas in June event, a Spring Boat Show, Halloween in July, Waterfront Festivals, and the Port of Orillia Pirate Party.

The special events “really generate a lot of interest,” he said.

“It’s not just bringing your boat and tying it up; there is something to do here for the whole family."

This is the first year for boating without COVID-19 restrictions and related delays to the season. Lafontaine says boaters who have stayed away for the last couple of years will have some surprises when they arrive at the port.

“We’ve got the Matchedash Lofts that have popped up,” he said. “There are some great new businesses that have popped up downtown as well.”

The return of the See You on the Patio program is also a big driver for boaters this season.

“Orillia is moving in a great direction,” he said. “Orillia has really changed, and if you haven’t been back in five years, you are going to be pleasantly surprised.”