This itinerary leads from just beyond the northern fringes of the Greater Toronto area to Sudbury, a city that acts as a key gateway to Northern Ontario. Along the way 370km route Hwy-400 passes through pristine “Cottage Country” and beside the wonderful clear blue waters of Georgian Bay.
Only an hour’s drive from Toronto, but with much lower real estate prices, Barrie is becoming home to more and more commuters. The city offers a four-season outdoor lifestyle to its growing population of roughly 160,000. There are five beaches in the city and over 300 hectares of parks. Hundreds of kilometers of hiking and mountain biking trails become cross-country skiing and snowmobile trails in winter. Georgian Downs presents year-round slots and live harness racing three nights a week during the summer months.
Named after Arctic explorer Sir William Parry, picturesque Parry Sound (133km north of Barrie) is the largest community on the shores of Georgian Bay, whose clear, blue waters make it one of only 13 UNESCO sites in Canada. The town is a key jumping-off point for over 30,000 islands which have drawn cottagers, fishermen, naturalists, campers, artists and tourists for over a century. Other big attractions are the numerous provincial parks nearby, among them the wild beauty of Killarney and French River, a favourite with canoeists and kayakers.
Sudbury (173km north of Parry Sound) is the biggest city for around 300km in any direction and a favorite jumping-off spot for vacation resorts offering fantastic fishing and hunting in Northern Ontario. Once known for its lunar-like landscape and its giant nickel and copper mining companies, Sudbury is now becoming known for its skills at re-greening and landscape rehabilitation. Mining is still key to this 160,000-strong bilingual city, but the economy is now much more diversified and it now boasts the interactive attractions of Science North and Dynamic Earth (where you go underground).