Midland, Ontario

 
 

Midland is a town located on Georgian Bay in Simcoe County, Ontario, Canada.

Situated at the southern end of Georgian Bay's 30,000 Islands, Midland is the economic centre of the region, with a 125-bed hospital and a local airport (Midland/Huronia Airport). It is the main town of the southern Georgian Bay area. In the summer months, the area's population grows to over 100,000 with seasonal visitors to more than 8,000 cottages, resort hotels, provincial and national parks in the surrounding municipalities of Penetanguishene, Tiny and Tay.

History

The town of Midland was founded when, in 1871, the Midland Railway of Canada selected the sparsely populated community of Mundy's Bay as the new terminus of the Midland railway. At that time the Midland railway ran from Port Hope to Beaverton. The town site was surveyed in 1872-3 and the line to the town was completed by 1879. Settlers, attracted by the convenience of rail service, soon began to move into the area.   The company sold off lots in town (Midland City) to help finance the settlement. The village (incorporated in 1878) thrived based on Georgian Bay shipping and the lumber and grain trade. Incorporated into a town in 1890, a number of light industrial companies have established themselves in the area and tourism in the southern Georgian Bay area also contributes to the economy.

2010 tornado

On June 23, 2010, Midland was struck by an F2 tornado, causing $15 million in damage.   The most significant damage was reported at Smith's Camp, a trailer park at the south end of the town, where several mobile homes were completely destroyed. At one point for the first time in 25 years, Emergency Management of Ontario upgraded Environment Canada's Tornado warning to an extreme severe weather warning called "Red Alert" which was issued for most of Southern Ontario's cottage country due to the approaching severe weather and the possibility of violent tornadoes, therefore asking residents in the area to seek shelter. In addition, a State of emergency was also declared in Midland. While electrical service was knocked out for a time, there were no fatalities caused by the storm. 

Local attractions

In and around the centre of Midland there are a number of murals most of which were painted by now deceased artist Fred Lenz. The largest, depicting a meeting between a local native and Jesuit Missionary Jean de Brebeuf is on the silos overlooking the main harbour. This work was completed by Lenz's sons following his death in 2001.

Notable sites in or near Midland include the Jesuit mission of Sainte-Marie among the Hurons, which is now a living museum depicting missionary life in the 17th century, and the Martyrs' Shrine, a Roman Catholic church commemorating the Canadian Martyrs, five missionaries from Sainte-Marie who were martyred during the Huron-Iroquois wars, and the Huronia museum. Pope John Paul II held a pastoral meeting at this site in September 1984.

The Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre is nearby. The marsh provides habitat for Trumpeter Swans, Black Terns and Least Bitterns. The trumpeter swan is considered a symbol of Midland and a large statue of one has been erected by the harbour.

 Sports activities

Midland is the home of The Midland Flyers Junior Ice Hockey Club of the Georgian Mid-Ontario Junior C Hockey League.

Boating, both power and sail, is very popular with a number of marinas and a sailing club based in the town. The town has easy access to the relatively sheltered waters of south eastern Georgian Bay. Among the marinas nearby are Bay Port Yachting Centre on the northwest side of the bay, and Doral Marine Resort along the southeast shore. There is also good fishing.

Midland also has an ever growing and active cycling base. The Midland Tri Club has increased the number of road riders in the area. Many of these riders also participate in the popular weekly Time Trial series and group rides that run throughout the summer months. Mountain view Ski Center has also encouraged the growth of mountain bikers, with an extensive trail system in town. The Center hosts a variety of races, including a summer long weekly series, as well as a night race, high school event, and 9 hour relay. Also, an MTB club has been borne of the Center, and is expanding its breadth into competition and other pursuits.

In the winter, snowmobiling and ice fishing are popular activities. Mountain-view Ski Center has a modest elevation but usually a large base of all-natural snowfall and 6 runs and has 25 kilometres (16 mi) of cross country ski trails.

Notable residents

  • John W. Bald, photographer
  • Born Ruffians, indie rock band
  • Sarah Burke, freestyle skier, three-time Winter X-Games gold medalist
  • George Chuvalo, heavyweight boxer
  • Buzz DesChamps, Pro NHL hockey player, current coach of minor hockey teams on Long Island,NY
  • Adam Dixon, paralympian (sledge hockey)
  • Herbert Drury, former NHL and Olympic hockey player
  • George Dudley, treasurer of the Ontario Hockey Association, and the president of the International Ice Hockey Federation
  • Glenn Howard, world champion curler
  • Russ Howard, Olympic champion curler
  • James LaBrie, vocalist for the progressive-metal band Dream Theater
  • Alex McKendry, former NHL Hockey player
  • John Muckler, NHL coach
  • David Onley, former CITY-TV reporter and current Lieutenant Governor of Ontario
  • Mike Robitaille, former NHL hockey player
  • Susan Swan, writer
  • Richard B. Wright, writer