An 89 km off-road route between Barrie and the Martyrs’ Shrine
The National Shrine of the Canadian Martyrs located in Tay Township, right on the Georgian Bay Snow Riders Trail, is the destination for the Pilgrim Route in Ontario, Canada. The Pilgrim Route follows existing railtrails, and is 97% off-road.
A pilgrimage along the trails network in Simcoe County is therefore ideally suited for quiet reflection, meditation, prayer and enjoyment of our beautiful countryside.
The Pilgrim Route enables anyone to undertake the route any day of the year, alone or with friends or family, as a parish, or as a tourist to explore this part of Canada, in an off-road setting. Some pilgrims may want to follow the Pilgrim Route for religious reasons, others may just want to set themselves a personal challenge, meet other people, or visit the area.
As a first phase in the development of the Pilgrim Route in Simcoe County, the Easterly route between Barrie and Midland via Orillia and Coldwater is open as of June 21, 2014.
The Pilgrim Route
Anyone following the Pilgrim Route will enjoy the scenic views along Lake Simcoe, Lake Couchiching, and Georgian Bay. The route takes pilgrims and tourists alike through wetlands, farmland, green pastures and dense forests. Along the way, various creeks and rivers will be crossed, and quaint villages and towns offer restaurants, shops and accommodations.
The route is suitable for walking or biking, although the last few kilometres may be challenging for a recreational cyclist.
Starting from Heritage Park in downtown Barrie, on Kempenfelt Bay, the Pilgrim Route follows the North Shore Trail, along the waterfront in an easterly direction.
At Penetanguishene Road, the route makes a short detour onto the shoulder of Shanty Bay Road, but then continues along the Lake Country Oro-Medonte Railtrail.
When reaching Orillia, continue along the trail to Front Street, turn left on Front Street, and right onto Elgin St, which will put you onto the Millenium Trail. Turn left and follow the Millenium Trail in a northerly direction.
At Wilson Point Road, the Millenium Trail connects to the Uhthoff Trail. Follow it to Coldwater, where you turn left on Gray Street, cross the Coldwater River, and continue along Sturgeon Bay Road to the trail head on the north side of the road.
The Uhthoff Trail connects with the Tay Shore Trail in Waubaushene. Follow it to Duffy’s Lane (Shell Station). Turn left, cross highway 12 and continue onto Rosemount Road to St. Ignace, a satellite pilgrimage site. After your visit to St. Ignace, return along Rosemount Road to the Georgian Bay Snowriders Trail. There is a beautiful waterfall if you were to turn right (east) onto this trail, however, if your destination is the Martyrs’ Shrine, you have to turn left (west), and will pass a significant wetland.
Continue along the Georgian Bay Snowriders Trail, which passes very close to St. Louis (another pilgrimage site located on the NE corner of Granny White Side Road and Reeves Road). until it reaches highway 12 again. Cross carefully, and turn left at the Tay Shore Trail. At the split in the Tay Shore Trail, stay to your left, until you see the Martyrs’ Shrine on your right and Sainte Marie Among the Hurons on your left. Just before the wooden bridge over the Wye River, descend to a smaller trail adjacent to the palisade of Sainte Marie Among the Hurons, and continue through a small tunnel, and then under the hwy 12 bridge, to enter the grounds of the Martyrs’ Shrine.
The Lalonde Hostel, a 32 bed dormitory, is available on Shrine property. For reservations please contact 855-526-3788.
For accommodations along the way (hotels, motels, bed & breakfasts, camping), check http://experience.simcoe.ca/accommodations.
For more information, contact:
P.O. Box 7 • Midland, Ontario L4R 4K6, Canada
Tel: (705) 526-3788
Toll Free: 1-855-526-3788
Fax: (705) 526-1546