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About Oro/medonte

So you have decided to move to Oro-Medone!

This vast, scenic community stretches over rolling hills from Barrie to the borders of Orillia and Springwater.

Oro-Medonte is a thriving rural community of more than 20,000 full-time residents, highlighted by a picturesque landscape of prominent rolling hills and nearly 40 kilometres of beautiful Lake Simcoe shoreline. It is conveniently close to both Orillia Soldiers Memorial Hospital and Barrie's Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre.

Oro-Medonte is a great place to get out and get active!

Read more below.

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Home to first-class downhill and Nordic skiing, golf courses for all levels of ability, vast cross-country cycling and hiking trail networks, hundreds of kilometers of smoothly paved roads ideal for cycling, and year-round fishing opportunities.

You can also enjoy a variety of cultural experiences in a truly spectacular rural setting by visiting the boutique shops located in the village of Craighurst, exploring the Township’s many historical sites, and discovering the flourishing local arts scene.

The last Canadian National train passed through in September 1996. In 1998 the railway land through the township was acquired by council for a shared-use recreational trail stretching from Barrie to Orillia, enjoyed by hikers and cyclists. Sections are used in the winter season by the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs.

Conveniently located between the cities of Barrie and Orillia, and an hour to the Greater Toronto Area, Oro-Medonte serves as the gateway connecting Northern and Southern Ontario.
The region is conveniently close to multiple highways for quick access, including Highways 400, 11 , 12, and 93. As well, The Lake Simcoe Regional Airport is located in the township offering local and international flights.

With a rich history, an abundance of outdoor recreational opportunities, and a flourishing arts & culture scene, Oro-Medonte provides a quality of life that is truly unmatched.

One of the most historic areas in Simcoe County, Oro-Medonte is made up of more than 40 smaller communities including Bass Lake, Carthew Bay, Craighurst, Crown Hill, Knox Corners, Hawkestone, Horseshoe Valley, Moonstone, Shanty Bay and Sugarbush.

Long home to First Nations communities with encampments and trails throughout the township, the Huron Village near Hawkestone was estimated to have some 200 houses in 1615.

During the War of 1812, the region became a strategic military zone. Townships were created along both sides of Penetanguishene Road, and Oro Township was created around 1820. It is thought the name "Oro" came from the Spanish word for gold.

The region also played an important part in the Underground Railroad. Shanty Bay saw many African-American refugees settling in the area in shanties, or small homes, contributing towards the name of the village. It is also home to one of Canada's oldest surviving churches, St. Thomas Anglican Church, built in the mid-1800's.

The area also played a role in Canada's black history in the early 1800's. It was the first region to grant land to black settlers on an equal basis as any other settler. The Oro Black Settlement grew to nearly 100 families. The Oro African Methodist Episcopal Church was built out of logs by the Oro black settlers and was finished in 1849. It is likely the oldest log African Church still standing in North America. In 2003, it was designated a Canadian National Historic Site, mainly due to the link the Oro settlers had to the War of 1812. The church had fallen into disrepair, but work has begun on restoring it, and it is now open for the public to visit.

Oro-Medonte received its name when the two neighbouring municipalities, Oro and Medonte, merged in 1994. Its 15 main streets were mapped under the Concession system put into place by the British colonial governent in the mid 1800's, which still exist today.

Burl's Creek Event Grounds is a huge park covering more than 560 acres. Originally established to host small agricultural fairs and the iconic Barrie Automotive Flea Market, it now allows camping and concerts. It is host to major musical events including the Boots and Hearts Music Festival, which has become Canada's largest country music fest, rivaling the CMA Music Festival. It offers an on-site farmer's market, multiple stages and performers, with more than 45,000 festival goers over the course of 4 days. Artists such as Carrie Underwood, Blake Shelton, and Toby Keith have taken to the Boost and Hearts stages over the years.

Nature lovers will enjoy camping, hiking and more at Bass Lake Provincial Park, and the Copeland Forest. The Copeland Forest encompasses 4,400 acres with many kilometres of trails used for multiple purposes. Owned by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forests, the beauty of this area can be enjoyed year round. It offers a wide variety of recreational uses including hiking, biking, equestrian, snowshoeing, x-country skiing and more.

Winter is a great time to hit the ski slopes at any of the three major ski resorts in the area. Mount St. Louis Moonstone, Horseshoe Resort, and Hardwood Ski and Bike, are all located within Oro-Medonte. Hardwood offers nationally reknowned mountain biking along its trails in the summer.

Oro-Medonte is home to several premiere golf-courses, including Heritage Hills, and Settler's Ghost, which has twice hosted the CN Canadian Women's Tour