Goodbye Orillia, Hello Collingwood

We were up at about 7:45 today. The breakfast call came from Reception at 8:30 and Vince went down to the lobby and retrieved our breakfast tray. We finished breakfast at about 9:00 and slowly started to pack and get ready to check out of the hotel.

At 10:30 we checked out of the Stone Gate Inn and loaded up the mighty Durango for our trip to Collingwood (I’m finally getting somewhat used to driving the School Bus by now). Vince set the GPS in his iPhone for our hotel in Collingwood, and we were off!

The drive to Collingwood was a pretty one and almost went off without a hitch, but not quite – while waiting at a stop sign in the middle of nowhere between Orillia and Collingwood, the car behind us hit the back of our SUV – actually, it was more like a gentle nudge or bump. It didn’t sound or feel like anything major, so we continued on our way. When we reached our destination in Collingwood and inspected the back bumper, we discovered that the impact, unfortunately, had taken some paint off in a couple of places; no dents though, just paint scrapes. Geez, glad I loaded up on extra insurance coverage this trip…

We hit Collingwood at about Noon and were instantly impressed – what a great town! Everything is clean, nicely maintained and well laid out. Restaurants everywhere. We parked at our hotel (Days Inn & Suites by Wyndham Collingwood) and went in to see if we might check in early – they said yes, so we did just that and transferred our stuff from the Durango to our hotel room.

We were given Room #405, and what a treat! – it was the corner suite on the top floor and very large. It was well laid out, with a couch, fireplace (fake), small kitchen, microwave, fridge, King-size bed and the biggest bathtub/jacuzzi I’ve ever seen. Awesome room.

It was about 12:30 so we set out seeking lunch. Not far from our hotel on First Street we found a Boston Pizza. It didn’t hurt that the hotel gave us a 10% discount card for BP, so in we went. We received great service and HUGE portions – I ordered the Jambalaya Fettuccine, which was massive. I couldn’t eat it all so we bundled it up and took it back to the hotel with us (as it turned out, that leftover fettuccine was to last for another two meals – it was that large).

After lunch we went back to our hotel room and dropped off the Fettuccine in the room’s fridge, then set out again on foot. We walked along First Street then went into the Optimist Harbourview Park:

In this park there is an interesting building/sculpture/meditation space called The Awen Gathering Place. According to the information panel on the structure, it is…

… a space of sharing, learning, teaching, ceremony, celebration and contemplation created by the Town of Collingwood to advance truth and reconciliation. The concept is based on the teachings of the renowned educator, artist and poet Dr. Duke Redbird of the Saugeen First Nation.

The Awen Gathering Place looks like this:

From there, we followed the pathway for a loooooong walk along the shore of Georgian Bay. Walking, biking and jogging paths are extremely well developed in Collingwood; it was very easy to walk some of the Bay’s perimeter. Nice views and very relaxing:

At about 3:30 we went into the downtown and walked up Hurontario Street, which is the “main street” in Collingwood. We were quite impressed with the downtown as well; everything was fairly upscale and maintained beautifully:

We walked down one side of Hurontario Street, then up the other, and I stopped for an ice cream at the Inside Cafe (their ice cream was not that good, to be honest… oh, despair). It was about 4:45 at this point. We had walked a long way and were getting sore feet so we opted to head back to the hotel. Before going back to the hotel we stopped in the Metro food store beside the hotel and picked up several things for our dinner that night (it was great to have a kitchen in our hotel room). This Metro was huge and very well stocked.

We got back to the hotel at about 5:00 and rested for a while. At about 6:15 we reheated my Jambalaya Fettuccine from earlier in the day; I had that while Vince had a salad, a wrap and a little box of wine from Metro. I had also bought a fruit salad for dessert, plus we still had some of the goodies from our visit to the Nutty Chocolatier in Huntsville a few days ago. Actually, not a bad meal all in all.

We finished eating and cleanup at about 7:00, then just chilled for the rest of the evening in front of a roaring fire in the (fake) fireplace. We planned our Collingwood activities for the next day and I caught up on this journal.

We went off to bed at about 10:00, tired from all this unpolluted air, exercise and long distance walking! It had been a very good day today.

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