How to Spend a Day in Collingwood

Last weekend, M and I (and Zoey!) went for a day trip along with my mom. We were originally going to go to Tobermory, then to Algonquin, but plans fell through and we didn't feel like driving that far... so my Mom made an executive decision that we'd spend the day somewhere closer instead.

Blue Mountain is more of a winter destination (at least in my mind). As a skier, I spent nearly every winter on these hills, since it's only a 45 minute drive away from where my parents live in Barrie.

But since Intrawest took over and built "The Village", Blue has attracted some summer crowds. The last time I visited during the summer was 6 or 7 years ago. It was busy, but not an anthill. I have fond memories of letting our family dog run loose all over the hill, and eating dinner at the Firehall Pizza restaurant. 

This time around... it was like Blue Mountain had all of a sudden become Disney World (and I swear I haven't seen it on any BlogTo articles, which would at least explain its sudden surge into popularity). 

What had once been a quaint and cute ski town had turned into tourist central. 

I get the hypocrisy. I myself, am a tourist. But there's a part of me that remembers, and misses, what summers in Collingwood were like. And I think there's a part of me too that considers myself a local, and it breaks my heart when I see small shops and stores being driven out by corporations (our favourite mermaid-branded coffee chain!) and luxury brands. 

One of the reasons that Blue Mountain has become such a destination (at least in my opinion) is the truckload of activities they've created - a mini golf couse! zip lining! mountain coaster! helicopter tours! segway tours! You know a place isn't off the beaten path anymore when they start hosting segway tours, haha. 

Okay, enough of the hate. Blue Mountain is busy, the activities are a bit of an overkill, but the view from the top is killer, and if you hike along the top of the mountain, there are barely any other people there. 

Which meant we could let Zoey off her leash and let her have some fun. 

This seems like a weird thing to say, but to escape the tourists, we went... downtown. Yup. Downtown Collingwood with cute cafes and food places was a nice change from the crowds in the Village. 

M and I got an iced espresso from The Lethal Buzz Cafe, I highly recommend them, they were so sweet and kind, letting us order even though they were closing down for the day :) 

There are so many little nooks and crannies like the one above. Stunning design stores, and vintage stores, tea stores - an interesting assortment of places to wander in and out of. 

When I was young, my mom and dad and I always went to East Side Mario's for dinner, so Mom and I thought it would be fun to do that again. Shocker - East Side's closed down! There's a Pie Restaurant in it's place now, so the 3 of us just decided to go for it - and it was really good!

I know I can't expect things to always stay the same. Change is inevitable, and it's good for Collingwood's economy to rake in the dough from tourism. Restaurants close down, other restaurants open up. Mom-and-pop coffee shops are bought and rebranded and reopened as a franchise. That's life. But in my memories, Blue Mountain will always be a place where I ran through waist high grass soaking in summer away from the bustling city.