Route Champlain cycling is located in Simcoe County and combines several local routes along the shores of Georgian Bay. This is great for either the day or an entire weekend as there are other routes nearby.
The Tourist Board promotes this as Route Champlain as the great explorer Samuel de Champlain landed in Penetanguishene and visited 14 of the 18 Huron villages in the area.
Start in Waubaushene which is a 1 ½ hour drive north of Toronto right along Hwy 400.so it is an easy drive. The Tay Shore Trail is a rail trail which starts here and provides 16 km of cycling along paved surfaces. At the start you have some nice views of Sturgeon Bay and through the trees you can also see cottages from time to time. You might be surprised by the number of local cyclists you see along the route.
This section ends at Ste. Marie Among the Hurons, a living museum which was a French Jesuit settlement from 1639 to 1649. There is an admission to enter. However for free just before bridge can walk to grave site of the martyrs Jean de Beubeuf and Gabriel Lalemant located in a wooden chapel. There was a guide during our visit who provided a short talk on the history. As we were leaving there were 2 women in period costume collecting milkweed from along the banks of the Wye River who advised they were making rope.
Crossing the trestles of the wooden bridge we were now on the Midland Rotary Waterfront Trail, also paved and fairly flat. This section also had many very nice homes with superb views of Georgian Bay and Midland harbor.
In Midland you pass the harbor where the 30,000 island sightseeing boat cruises depart. Further along is the grain silo with a huge painting on the side. And where ships used to dock while waiting to unload their cargo you now find teenagers jumping into the water for a refreshing swim. We join them and I am told the water is 28 feet deep.
Just past the marina we join Fuller Avenue as it curves up a hill before turning left on Cambridge Street and winding through Penetanguishene until reaching Discovery harbor, a re-creation of a British naval base built around 1817. Good place for lunch as there is washrooms and ice cream.
Back along the shoreline along Discovery Harbour Trail, Beck Street and the Copeland Creek Side Trail joining the Tiny Trail. Tiny Trails are named after the township. There are 14 historic bridges on the Tiny Trail with each having a descriptive sign about the history of the bridge. But you will not be stopping as you cycle this paved roller coast of a course which if done correctly should provide enough momentum to carry to the top of the next rise.
The Champlain route continues south for a few more kilometers but we turn left on Concession 12 with a sharp ascent, right on Overhead Bridge Road, and a long descent down Golf Link Road and back to lake trail.
To check out other great cycling routes, click here. This route along the shores of Georgian Bay is about 70 km mostly on paved bike paths with some superb views.