Orillia, ON to Midland, ON (with a side trip to Niagara Falls, NY)


 Orillia was a great stop as we happened to pass through on the weekend that the 42nd annual Scottish Festival was occurring. This was a chance for us to take a break for a few days from locking. Temps and humidity skyrocketed ("feels like" temps of 110F). We were happy to be at a marina, have the AC on and not be running around on the boat doing what you do when you lock. 

 The Scottish Festival began with a parade. As one can imagine there were a lot of bagpipes. 

Great farmers market in Orillia. We stocked up on a backpack’s worth of fruits and veggies. Kent mumbled and drooled over this meat table and we parted with only a turkey kielbasa link – restraint was leveraged on his behalf. 

 News to us – Gordon Lightfoot was born in Orillia. 

A big O makes us first think of Oregon but here it obviously stands for Orillia. 

Although the marina in Orillia offered a pay for 2 nights get the 3rd night for free special we were antsy and moved on for a night at anchor. We dropped the hook at a place called Deep Bay and dipped into the 74F water. It was a great spot to just enjoy the the scenery and stillness. 

Enjoying the warm water while we have it. Everything north of here will get colder and colder. 

 Sunset at Deep Bay (with a funky wispy cloud).  

The following day we pulled up anchor and tied to the floating dock at lock 44 and watched a dozen or so boats ride the Big Cute Railway. This is the only operational marine railway in North America. It is pretty spectacular to watch everything from a jet ski to a 50’ boat be lifted over the land and plopped back in the water. 

Pictures of the Big Chute working it's magic – we watched several times as it moved boats from one body of water to another:

The following day was Heartbeat's turn. It was a quick ride, less than 7 minutes and it was completely insane to be on our boat as it traveled up ~60 ft over land and dropped back into water. Kent describes it as a bit of a roller coaster.

Not every day you see this view from the bow of your boat. 

Having been fortunate to have been the first boat on the Big Chute lock meant we got to our anchor spot near Burrows Island early and had a relaxing afternoon of reading and a bit of swimming. We didn’t need to in Midland until the following day so there was no rush to move to far or to fast. We have been recently traveling through cottage country, water side homes that range from a small cabin to mansions. We took the dingy and explored a bit, discussing which cottages we could "settle for". 

The landscape sure has changed from where we started the TSW. Our view while anchored near Burrows Island. 

Cottages come in all sizes but all appear to be a great place to spend the summer. 

Video of a few miles through cottage country where homes are built just about anywhere, including on small islands. 

Next day we traveled through our final lock on the Trent Severn Waterway and tied up in Midland at Bay Port Yachting Club. We had completed 44 locks, 240 miles in 16 days and had seen countless small towns along the way. Another "chunk" of The Great Loop had been completed. 

Trenton to Port Severn. 

While in Midland we briefly explored the downtown area and gave Heartbeat some maintenance love. We had an AC guy come out to look at things as the AC was not quite keeping up in the heat we've been having. Of course the AC was working perfectly fine when he came by – ugh. We also had a mechanic do some work on the engine – the cooling system needed some love as we were having some overheating issues if we pushed the boat.  The mechanic found the issue and we should be good to go now.  We also had the after cooler serviced.  Everything else looked great  which was good news. Kent changed the engine oil and I did an exterior deep clean (the decks for at least one day looked sparkling white). If you live on a boat full time and depend on it as we do you need to take time to care for it, it is never fun work but it is important work. 

Midland is known for it’s downtown murals, in fact there are over 30 throughout the area.  

We had been struggling with how to get one of Kent’s medications as the specialty pharmacy would not delivery it to Canada. At no other time has he had issues getting his numerous medications along The Loop but this one medication is not something you can just pick up at the typical pharmacy. So we decided to rent a car form Midland, drive back into the US, have the medication delivered to a hotel and then the next day drive back into Canada.  Seeing Niagara Falls was a great bonus and worth the 3 hr drive each way. 

Mission accomplished – medication arrived on time to our Niagara Falls hotel. If we ever come back we would stay on the Canada side of the falls (hotels and options seemed better) but we needed this package shipped to the US. 

Niagara Falls observation area. 3,160 tons of water flows over Niagara Falls every second. This accounts for 75,750 gallons of water per second over the American and Bridal Veil Falls and 681,750 gallons per second over the Horseshoe Falls.

We drove from Canada to the US. Then we walked from the US to Canada. We watched fireworks. We then walked from Canada back to US. The following day we drove from the US back to Canada. It all seemed like the right thing to do. 

Video of the nightly fireworks at Niagara Falls fireworks along the US/CAN border from Rainbow Bridge. 

Thanks to the crew on INNTW (If Not Now Then When) for watching Penny dog while we drove back into the US. What dog wouldn’t enjoy all this extra attention and a sleep over with these cool kids?

We will set off for the Georgian Bay next. We attended an informative talk at Bay Port Marina about exploring the GB. In fact we even had our paper charts (yes, bought several of these archaic items) and marked them up with the preferred routes and anchorages. 

Throwing time back to paper charts for exploring the Georgian Bay. These should give us a solid overview of the area and complement our electronic charts. 

We intend to take a month exploring not only the Georgian Bay but also the North Channel. These areas should deliver some spectacular scenery, we’ve been looking forward to this “chunk” of the Loop as we think it will be similar to cruising up in NW Canada. As we locate WiFi (which will not be often) we will post pictures in an attempt to do the area justice. You can always see where we are though in the Track Us tab.