Simcoe County: Sights and Sips Along the Creemore Loop

Sponsored by Cycle Simcoe.

Simcoe County is, for thousands of cyclists, a heaven on earth: one enchanting village after another, each accessed via wide, paved sideroads with far-reaching vistas and little traffic.

By :: Kristin Schnelten 

Riders’ paradise – Photo: courtesy Simcoe County

The Creemore Loop is one of the area’s most-heralded cycling routes. Armed with just a water bottle and cell phone, this 60-km route with varied landscapes and rolling hills is perfect for a leisurely day spent riding and exploring.

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Starting the morning in Collingwood, step into Ashanti Coffee or Espresso Post for a cup o’ Joe and a pastry before making your way out of town on Concession 10. With Blue Mountain Resort and Osler Bluff Ski Club to the right, residential areas give way to wide tracks of farmland dotted with green forests, babbling creeks and idyllic ancient fence lines.

Grab-and-go pastry before a long ride – Photo: Kristin Schnelten

The Niagara Escarpment and Pretty River Provincial Park hug the southwesterly corner of view as the route turns east before finding its main route: Concession Road 6, beginning at the Collingwood Airport. This rarely travelled road, with sturdy brick century farmhouses and the occasional modern architectural wonder, gently climbs and plateaus, then finds the wide and rushing Mad River as it descends into the village of Creemore.

En route to Creemore – Photo: courtesy Simcoe County

Creemore is quintessential Ontario, its Mill Street a 7-block slice of history and charm. The broad, treed main street is home to both the business district and a handful of painstakingly restored century homes, all set against the backdrop of the looming escarpment to the south.

Now halfway through the loop, options for a break in Creemore abound. Grab a six-pack from the Creemore Brewery or a coffee and butter tart at the Bank Café. Fuel up with fresh doughnuts or sandwich from the new Creemore Bakery and Cafe, or tuck in for a full lunch—a gourmet burger at the Quince Bistro or fine French cuisine at Chez Michel might hit the spot.

Grab a cold one or six – Photo: Kristin Schnelten

Before climbing back into the saddle, take time to explore the myriad shops and businesses tucked behind brightly painted antique storefronts. Heirloom 142 and its sister stores, Lagom 142 and Lagom 172, sell crisp and clean Scandinavian-inspired housewares; The 100 Mile Store is chock-full of local, tasty foodstuffs and quick-grab snacks; Victorian Values displays mountains of fluffy bedding; and Curiosity House Books offers an opportunity to linger.

Perfect spot to linger – Photo: Kristin Schnelten

That new paperback may tuck neatly into a jersey pocket, but a fresh duvet is a bit more unwieldy. Cyclists are commonplace in Creemore, and shop owners are happy to set aside purchases for later pickup, or even bundle up packages to ship.

Treasures ready for pick-up – Photo: Kristin Schnelten

Departing Creemore requires a short uphill through a quick but quiet forest corner, and rolling ups and downs lead to a wide, photo-worthy view that stretches miles to the east and north into the blue waters of Georgian Bay. Fairgrounds Road leads straight toward Collingwood, passing corn fields and hedgerows filled with chattering birds.

Slow-down worthy views – Photo: courtesy Simcoe County

Retracing the morning route west and back into Collingwood proper, Hurontario and Simcoe Streets welcome another après-bike rest. A pint in the evening sun may just hit the spot—and the new Black Bellows Brewing Co. patio offers both snacks and dinner to complement their wide selection of handcrafted beers.

Cycle Après – Photo: Kristin Schnelten

Maps and other information about the Creemore Loop, rated moderate to advanced, can be found here. Please call ahead to eateries for COVID-friendly reservations and policies.

Featured above:

Creemore Brewery

Bank Café

Creemore 100 Mile Store

Chez Michel

Lagom 142