On Sunday, we took the 400 to Barrie, 90 kilometers North of Toronto, for no other good reason than to see what the city looked like. As we got further and further from the Greater Toronto Area, the scenery began to change—less outlets, more farms. By the time we arrived in Barrie, we were in a different world.
The skyline was picturesque, set against Lake Simcoe. However, the city felt much smaller and quieter than we had expected, especially around the city center. We ended up grabbing breakfast at one of the many malls in the suburb where apparently the entire population of Barrie was shopping before Labour Day.
We then headed West, to the Southern Georgian Bay, and entered the Township of Tiny. It turned out to be bigger and busier than its name suggested, mostly because it’s popular with cottagers.
Balm Beach, the first beach we stopped at, seemed to be stuck somewhere in the 1980s with a few old-fashioned beach toys stores along the sand. Feng and I bought an ice-cream and a drink and the total came to $1.75—not quite Toronto prices! On the beach, people played volley-ball or were reading and not a single person had a cell phone in hand. Canadian take the outdoors seriously and most cars in the parking lot either had a canoe strapped to the roof or a boat in tow.
You can see the complete set of Ontario travels on Flickr.