Having moved to Collingwood at the start of the pandemic last year, I wasn’t entirely sure how to keep busy in the summer months—after all, the town is best known for its proximity to the Blue Mountain ski resort. But I soon learned that Collingwood is a true four-season playground with plenty of activities to offer throughout the year. Here are seven summer activities you should definitely try if you visit Collingwood this season.
1. Take a stroll through Harbourview Park
Harbourview Park and the adjacent arboretum provide a peaceful, pristine environment perfect for enjoying Collingwood’s natural beauty. With waterfront access, the park offers lovely views of the harbour. You’ll find pathways to explore, benches to unwind on, and even a sports field if you’re looking to toss a Frisbee. You can also visit the Awen’ Gathering Place, a sculptural pavilion that honours the town’s Indigenous presence. On the west end of the park is an accessible boardwalk that winds through trees and wetlands. Make sure you’ve got your camera ready—local wildlife like swans, beavers, and turtles call these wetlands home.
2. Buy some fresh vegetables, meats, or baked goods at the Collingwood Downtown Farmers’ Market
If you happen to be in town on a Saturday, a visit to the Collingwood Downtown Farmers’ Market is a must. Located on the corner of Second and Pine Streets, the market offers a wonderful selection of local produce, meats, baked goods, various honeys, and ciders. Stalls are safely positioned and directional arrows placed along the ground to adhere to current social distancing rules. The market is open every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. until October 9.
3. Get some shopping done on Hurontario Street
Downtown Collingwood has a charming collection of shops and boutiques. Many of these shops are located in historic buildings, some of which were built at the end of the 19th century. Haven Home & Gift offers a variety of local and Canadian-made decorative products for the home. The Maker’s Outpost sells Canadian-made jewelry, clothing, and DIY supplies. At Mad Dog’s Coffee & Vinyl Café, you can enjoy a cup of Joe while looking through the shop’s new and used LP collection. And if all this browsing gets you hot and sweaty, cool down with a refreshing, nutritious smoothie at Press Juice Co.
4. Cannonball into the water at Millennium Overlook Park
Located at the northernmost point of the Collingwood Harbour, Millennium Overlook Park is the perfect place to have a picnic, watch the boats go by, or even cannonball into Georgian Bay. Next to the park is Collingwood’s most recognizable symbol: the Collingwood Grain Terminals. Constructed in 1929 to store and load grain, these terminals have been unused since 1993—but they remain a defining feature of the town.
5. Go for a bike ride, run, or walk on the Georgian Trail
With an extensive network encompassing over 60 km of recreational trails, Collingwood is a great summertime playground for cyclists, hikers, and joggers. The Georgian Trail, a 34-km trail beginning in Harbourview Park and ending near Meaford Harbour, follows the old Northern Railway line. After more than 100 years of service, the line was abandoned by the Canadian National Railways in 1984 and in 1989 was opened as a trail. The straight, flat trail is excellently maintained and provides lovely views of Georgian Bay and the Blue Mountains. On the Collingwood section of the trail, you can also find an exciting detour: the George Christie Nature Trails. Located about four kilometres from Harbourview Park, this collection of rugged trails offers a beautiful wilderness jaunt through dense forest.
6. Eat a delicious meal at one of Collingwood’s many restaurants
You won’t have a hard time finding a good place to eat in Collingwood. The town has several restaurants to please all palates, from vegetarians to meat eaters and everything in between. Paisano Vegano has delicious, organic, and—yup, you guessed it—vegan pizza (see the image above) on Fridays and Saturdays; their ‘Classico’ pizza with sourdough crust, marinara sauce, and cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil tastes just like Italy. Fish & Sips in downtown Collingwood serves up authentic fish and chips, perfect for a summer lunch. And The Huron Club has a juicy selection of burgers and boasts a collection of more than 20 Ontario craft beers and ciders.
7. Catch the sunset at Sunset Point
There’s no better way to end the day than with a glorious sunset. And there’s no better place in Collingwood to enjoy one than at the aptly named Sunset Point. This popular waterfront park has inviting patches of grass ideal for picnicking and a shallow beach perfect for a refreshing dip with the kids (but the beach is rocky so bring appropriate footwear—your feet will thank you). Come sundown, locals and visitors alike gather throughout the park to watch the sun melt into Georgian Bay. If your sore legs need a break from all the walking, don’t worry—the park has numerous benches facing the water so you can relax and still enjoy the view. The Collingwood Grain Terminals together with the Blue Mountains provide the perfect silhouette, making Sunset Point an iconic place to end your day in Collingwood.