1 years ago
Who can I trust to maintain my summer cottage?

 

Off the top of my head, there are two companies who can help you keep your lawn mowed, your driveway plowed and look in on things when you can't be at your cottage. I would highly recommend Doug's Lawn Care and Lynda's Dog Walking (don't let the name fool you - she offers house security checks as well).

1 years ago
Local By-laws

 

So you are renting a cottage in Wasaga Beach for a week in the summer and you have visions of relaxing by a bonfire in the backyard. For health and safety most municipalities have banned leisure fires and the burning of leaves and other materials. Exactly when are you allowed to set off fireworks? You and 50 of your closest friends are planning a graduation party. Will you get into trouble for making too much noise?

It's rare for the local by-law officers to issue tickets to first-time offenders, but it's still no fun to be chastised by uniform-wearing officials.

Here is a list of some of the most commonly referenced by-laws for tourists.

  • Fire by-law (includes back-yard leisure fires, camp cooking and fireworks)
  • Noise by-law
  • Parking by-law
  • Fishing or jumping from bridges

The by-laws can be found on the Town of Wasaga Beach website - here. 

1 years ago
Where is the Cheapest Gas?

 

Cheap gas in Wasaga BeachThe Best Gas Prices North of Toronto

Shhhh! Don't tell the people in Barrie or Toronto, but Wasaga Beach has consistently lower gas prices.

The Superstore's gas bar at 45th and Mosley Street offers one of the lowest prices you'll see in this area but if there is a line-up for the pumps, drive up Sunnidale to hwy 26. The station on that corner is often the same price. 

Today there are loads of apps available that can help you find the best gas price, but trust me - check our prices first. It will astound you.

1 years ago
Where is the best coffee?

5.0 

Coffee In Wasaga Beach

Coffee, like wine is difficult to rate. My picks will most definitely not be the same as yours but for my money, the best coffee in Wasaga Beach is found in the smaller restaurants. I'll list the places which are popular with many Canadians, followed by the places I personally visit.

Dedicated Coffee Chains:

There are several franchise coffee locations in town. I'll let you argue over whether that coffee is good or not.

  • Tim Horton's - Riverbend Plaza (Mosley and River Road West)
  • Tim Horton's - 45th Street and Mosley
  • Tim Horton's - Stonebridge Town Centre
  • Coffee Time - River Road (across from Stonebridge Town Centre)
  • Great Canadian Superstore has a reasonable facsimile of something that can be called coffee (45th and Mosley Streets)


Restaurants with good coffee:

  • Little Marina at 828 Mosley Street has good cappuccino
  • Goodie's Cafe 
  • Lux European Deli (in the Domino's plaza)
  • McDonald's - Riverview Plaza. I know you'll think I'm nuts but I like the McD's coffee better than most of the other chains. I know it's not as good as what I can make at home, but it's hot, priced well and tastes okay.
  • There are some very good private restaurants here that serve coffee, but I have not mentioned them because this list is mainly of the types of places you can stop in just for coffee, rather than a sit down meal. 


If you are one of those people who just has to have Starbucks, the closest location is in Collingwood at 65 First Street.
There is also a Starbucks in the Village at Blue and if you are on your way to Wasaga Beach, you can find one in the Georgian Mall in Barrie, ON or on Mapleview Drive in the Wal-Mart plaza and inside the Chapter's book store (these are across the street from each other). We do not have a Starbucks here in Wasaga Beach *yet*.

1 years ago
Where Are The Grocery Stores?

 

There are a few places to get groceries in Wasaga Beach.

Grocery Stores (from east to west):

  • Foodland (River Road West at Main Street)
  • Wal-Mart (Main Street at River Road West)
  • Great Canadian Superstore (Mosley and 45th Streets)


In addition, you can find food items at these locations:

  • BB Convenience at 798 Mosley Street (beside Giant Tiger)
  • The Corner Market (Riverbend Plaza)
  • Mac's Milk (Sunnidale and Mosley)
  • Shopper's Drug Mart (surprisingly has some food item including a freezer section) 45th and Mosley Streets
  • Beach Convenience at 57th Street and Mosley Street

1 years ago
Where are the ATM's?

 

Bank machinesThere are more ATM's than what I've listed here, but here are some of the bank machines that I can recall off the top of my head. Many restaurants and business house private label ATM's but they tend to come and go and we would rather give you a sure thing so you don't waste your time and gas.

  • TD Canada Trust on Main Street (by Wal-Mart)
  • Royal Bank on River Road (on East side of Town)
  • ATM on Beach Drive (private label) close to Burger King
  • Scotiabank at Riverbend Plaza (Mosley & River Road West at the bridge)
  • Great Canadian SuperStore at 45th and Mosley Streets
  • TD Canada Trust across from the Superstore at 45th and Mosley Streets
  • Corner Market convenience store at Riverbend Plaza (Mosley & River Road West at the bridge)
  • Mac's Milk at Mosley Street at Sunnidale Road

1 years ago
What's The Address of Wasaga Beach?

 

What?I don't know.
This question has always confused me. It's like asking "what's the address of Toronto?"

I could be really silly and give the answer in latitude and longitude but I think the question is really "how do I get there?"

For the benefit of those who have never been here, let me explain that Wasaga Beach is not just a beach, it's an entire town. The Town has a population of approximately 18,000. We are about an hour north of Toronto. The beach is 14 kilometres long.


Setting your GPS to get here

If you are trying to set your GPS to guide you to Wasaga Beach, your best bet is to direct it to 1st street, Wasaga Beach. That will take you right to Main Street and Mosley which is at the heart of Beach Area 1. 

As a guideline, the layout of the town is as follows:

Mosley Street is the main street which runs from east to west through town. Most of the streets which run north/south along Mosley are numbered which makes it very easy to navigate. The numbers start at 1st Street at Beach 1 and go as high as 75th as you go west (towards Collingwood).

Some key areas from east to west are:

  • River Road West - Daisy Mart Bus Stop
  • Main Street - Stonebridge Plaza (aka Stonebridge Town Centre)
  • River Road East - goes to New Wasaga, Allenwood Beach,
    Tiny Beaches Road - goes to Woodland Beach, Tiny Township, Bluewater Beach, Wymbolwood Beach and ends at Balm Beach
    1st Street - Beach 1
  • 29th Street - Riverbend Plaza
  • 45th Street - Beach 6, Superstore and Canadian Tire
  • 71st Street - Hwy 26 to Stayner or Collingwood (the roundabout)

Some things are better seen than explained, so here is a link to Google Maps to show you exactly where Wasaga Beach is.

1 years ago
What time does the beach open?

 

It's always open.

The beach is a public park. It is free for you to enjoy and it never closes. You can come in the summer to enjoy the water and sand, in the spring or fall for a scenic hike or in the winter to cross country ski.

1 years ago
What is that Yucky Sludge near the Water?

5.0 

Sediment on the Beach 

It's been not-so-affectionately labelled "Beach Muck".

Beach grassBeach muck is a sediment called "Detritus"which is decaying vegetation that washes up on our shores from time to time. It is harmless if not a little off-putting as it can smell very pungent. I do want to emphasize that most of the time the shoreline is clean and clear of muck but sometimes, especially after a particularly wind-swept night, the muck will wash up on shore. It does get removed by the Parks Department but sometimes not fast enough to suit some people.

It has caused controversy within the town as some people think that any muck is a turn-off for tourists but I have my own thoughts about this. Nature is not so easily controlled. They can spend thousands of taxpayer dollars trying to remove it, sending it to landfills but it is the natural ebb and flow of the lake. And although I am no expert on these matters, I suspect that it has a purpose; perhaps a food source for some species. 

I have a difficult time understanding why anyone would desire a vacation away from the city but be so squeamish about real nature. This is no different than seaweed, or a leaves falling from a tree.

But regardless of whether there is a layer of guck at the edge of the shore or not, the water IS clean. In fact, Wasaga Beach enjoys "Blue Flag" designation. Blue Flag is a program which monitors water quality and awards only those beaches who meet with a set of strict criteria. 

1 years ago
What are those helicopters?

5.0 

Helicopters

In recent years we have seen more eco-travel businesses springing up, especially out of the ritzy Blue Mountain area. You can now rent hummers, atv's and yes - helicopters to take in the incredible scenery of this area.

Helicopters are not always good news. If you see one scanning the Bay, it generally means that they are looking for someone who has gone missing. It seems to happen several times during the summer season. 

On the lighter side, if you hear an engine overhead, it may also be one of the vintage airplanes coming from the Collingwood airport or Edenvale (hwy 26). There is a classic airplane foundation based out of Collingwood who will now and then schedule some flights in the area. They are always a joy to see. Click here for their website.

There is a military base just south of Wasaga Beach. Sometimes you will see military helicopters, jets and other military planes flying over Wasaga Beach. Generally speaking though - the skies above Wasaga Beach are usually pretty quiet.

1 years ago
Is the lake water safe?

 

How do I find out if the water is safe for swimming?

As long as I have lived here (20+ years), the beach at Wasaga Beach has never been shut down for poor water quality. That doesn't mean you shouldn't be vigilant and do your own research before visiting. As Wasaga Beach Provincial Park is a Blue Flag beach, our water quality is strictly monitored. Water quality varies at each beach area which means beach area one may be very different than beach area five. It never hurts to check the Blue Flag website before your visit.

Here are the direct links for various beach areas on the Blue Flag Beach website. 

 

If any links are broken, please contact me to let me know. 

1 years ago
Taxi's in Wasaga Beach

 
  • Teddy Bear's - 705-444-4444
  • Wasaga Taxi - 705-429-5611

1 years ago
Parking at the beach

3.0 

Where to Park

ParkingThere are 3 types of parking lots in Wasaga Beach: Provincial, Municipal and Private. It's good to know which is which as they can be priced quite differently.

My best advice is to grab a Municipal spot as they tend to be the least expensive, and there is no danger that you will be towed so long as your receipt is clearly displayed in your car window. On long weekends, these spots can be taken up quickly so arrive early enough to get a decent spot. It you haven't been to Wasaga Beach in a few years, you might believe that parking will be difficult - as it once was, but spaces have been increased to address any past problems. The only real issue is what you will pay.

I do not have much info on private lots due the their varied nature. You may see businesses which allow visitors to park on busy days for just $5. Some businesses include parking for paying customers. Do be aware that some of these businesses are serious about the "pay" part. They may tow you if you do not comply which would be an expensive and inconvenient day. Do not assume that if you do not see a sign, it's okay to park. Parking overnight anywhere without permission can get you in trouble.

Most accommodations have enough parking for their own visitors but occasionally you need more spots than they can provide. Most of these lots do not allow for overnight stays. However, I have found most businesses to be quite accommodating. If you ask nicely and offer to pay for the privilege, many will help you out.


Provincial Park Seasonal Passes:

The Parking Pass procedure changed somewhat. There is no online purchase area that I am aware of, but you can buy Day or Seasonal Passes directly at the park gate houses.

The Prices are as follows: *updated yearly

Seasonal pass: - $95.25 + HST ($107.63)

Day passes regular:

  • $20 weekend
  • $16 Weekday

Day passes seniors:

  • $13 weekday
  • $16 weekend

Disabled parking:

  • $8 weekday
  • $10 weekend


Municipal Parking Lots

  • $2 per hour (HST included)
  • $10 for the day (HST included)
  • Residential: $ 33.90


Municipal Parking Lot Locations:

  • Spruce Street Lot at 17 Spruce Street
  • First Street Parking Lot at 80 Mosley Street
  • Fourth Street Lot at 154 Mosley Street
  • Municipal Office Lot at 30 Lewis Street
  • Nancy Lot at 137 Mosley Street
  • Third Street Lot at 123 Beach Drive
  • Playland Lot at 40 Mosley Street
  • Main Street Parking Lot at 130 Main Street
  • Mall Lot at 3 Main Street
  • Dunkerron Avenue Lot at 16 Dunkerron Avenue
  • 24th Street Lot at 31 - 24th Street* (valid only for Residential Parking Permit holders) * NEW LOT since 2013*


If you have any questions that are not answered here, these are your contacts:
The Provincial Park contact number is 705-429-2516
Town of Wasaga Beach By-Law Department at 705-429-2511

1 years ago
Which accommodations accept large groups?

 

large group search toolYou can use the search tool in the accommodation directory to find lodging that accepts large groups.

Just set the red slider to the number of people in your group and the search will return only those hotels, motels and cottages which can accommodate the amount of people you intend to bring. You can also further define accommodation types by using the checkboxes (eg. "cottages", "motels" or "hotels") to return results that are exactly what you require. 

1 years ago
Are BBQ's Allowed On The Beach

 

Yes - but with limitations.

BBQ on beachSummer Visitors
While there is no law preventing bbq's on the beach, there are laws which are in place for the safety and comfort of other visitors.
During the summer months the increased volume of people using the beach makes it difficult to have a bbq safely. The beach is patrolled very efficiently by the MNR (Ministry of Natural Resources) officers so it is not a good idea to light up your propane or charcoal bbq on the beach. However, many people do bring bbq's and they tend to use them in the grassy area right beside the beach.
For those of you who have never been to Wasaga Beach, the grassy areas are quite literally next to the sand, so you will not be inconvenienced. Bring your bbq and enjoy a nice picnic where it is safe to do so but use common sense to make sure your smoke, embers, fire or hot bbq will not put any other visitors in harm's way. Find a spot for your bbq where people cannot bump it or trip over it and you should not be asked to move it.

Off-Season Visitors
Common sense should always prevail when you are about to light a bbq. During the off-season, there are less people on the beach and you might be able to find an area right on the beach where a bbq would be fine.

High winds are common in the fall. Do be aware that it is unlawful to cook on the beach if there are high winds, if it is raining or if you are too close to combustibles. Your embers and smoke should not endanger or bother anyone else. Have fun!
BBQ - Grills in Picnic Areas for Public Use

Some visitors might remember that there were bbq grills in some picnic areas which were intended for public use. These have been removed due to "abuse". I don't dare want to think about what sort of abuse these grills endured but suffice to say you were always better off bringing your own.

1 years ago
Are tents allowed on the beach?

5.0 

Overnight camping is not allowed.

You are allowed to use a tent to block out the sun and many people do set up small tents for that purpose but setting up a tent to avoid too much sun, or to catch a daytime nap is very different than overnight camping. 

There are several campgrounds in the area which allow tents. Check the Tourist Directory >Campgrounds page from the top menu to search for a campground. You can narrow down campgrounds that are tent friendly by adjusting the search filter.

1 years ago
Can I Get To Wasaga Beach By Bus?

 

Yes!

Click Here for the Greyhound Bus Schedules and Prices.

Buses arrive and leave from Wasaga Beach every day (holidays excepted).

The best place to catch the bus is Daisy Mart (formerly Gatherall's General Store) on the East side of the Beach which is walking distance from Beach 1 on Main Street.  Their phone # is: 705-429-4575.

To avoid any confusion, be aware that the Wasaga West stop seems to have been eliminated. It was listed on the Greyhound site in 2011 but the drivers did not stop to load or unload passengers at that time. The site now lists Stayner as a stop which isn't much help to those who wish to get on or off the bus in Wasaga's west end.

Contact Greyhound: Fare and schedule information - 1-800-661-TRIP (8747)

1 years ago
Can I have my wedding on the beach?

 

Yes!

If you would like to have a wedding ceremony on the beach, it is important that you plan early.

You can call the Wasaga Beach Provincial Park at 705-429-2516 to speak to someone about your wedding at the beach. Remember that a wedding is treated the same as any other event that may wish to make use of the public beach. There will be some sort of fee and the staff at the Parks Department can give you the most recent info.

Receptions at the beach are not permitted. However, there are several venues and caterers in the Town of Wasaga Beach which could comfortably accommodate large groups.

 

 

1 years ago
How much does the beach cost?

 

Nothing.

The beach is free for everyone and it's open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. 
If you come by car, you will have to consider the cost of parking. 

1 years ago
Why do I have to bring my own bed sheets to a rented cottage?

 

Local cottage rentals will ask you to bring your own linens. This is a practice that is as old as time here in Wasaga Beach. It seems counter-intuitive to ask guests to bring linens for beds that are "double" when all you have in your own home are queen sized beds. So why do they do it?  

I'm not here to make excuses for this practice. I think it's high time rentals in Wasaga Beach bit the bullet and recognized that the rental cost should include any linen service they might have to hire, but I do understand why the practice is still popular. 

Rentals in Wasaga Beach tend to be very small Mom & Pop type operations with just a few units each. You won't be renting from real estate millionaires or from corporate lodging providers with an office and bank account in the Cayman Islands. The cottage owner, more often than not, lives off site. They don't have washing machines on the premise and linen services tend to be costly. Budget concious guests can be picky and they want the best price they can get even if it barely covers the cost of doing business. All of these things contribute to this bring-your-own-linen habit.  There is no daily or even weekly maid service in cottage rentals like one could expect of a hotel or motel. You are essentially renting someone's summer house. 

My best advice is to bring flat sheets from home rather than trying to make do with fitted sheets that might be the wrong size. Don't assume that there will be blankets and pillows as it can vary from rental to rental. Ask questions before giving your deposit. 

Many cottage owners will also ask you to leave the place as you found it. That means, cleaning your own unit and taking out the trash. Failure to comply will result in the loss of your damage deposit.

Know the rules before you confirm your booking. There is no recourse should you be unhappy with your transaction.

1 years ago
Are non-refundable deposits at cottage rentals normal?

 

The Non-Refundable Booking Deposit System

This seems to come as a surprise to many visitors and it is the source of our angriest letters. Yes, many cottages and motels/hotels will ask for a non-refundable deposit. Once you book your vacation, there is no cancelling without penalty.

It's shocking how many Aunts/Grandmothers/Uncles/Brothers etc., suddenly fall ill every time it rains in Wasaga Beach. You cannot weave a tale to generate sympathy into getting your deposit back. These accommodation owners have heard every imaginable excuse.

Wasaga Beach is a weather dependent town. Business is bad when it rains. Plain and simple. So if you are opposed to the idea of somebody keeping your deposit and you think that if it rains, you may cancel your vacation, don't book ahead. Instead, drive up here and see if you can find a vacancy. It may prove a challenge to find a vacancy on a long weekend but most other weeks there are vacancies to be found.

Remember especially when you are booking a cottage that you are reserving an entire building for your own personal use. It's no different than booking a hall for a wedding only to be left standing alone at the altar. The banquet hall will still expect to be paid. The cottage owner has to have some protection against you changing your mind on a whim. In the time you took to decide to cancel your vacation, he/she turned down 50 other interested renters who had no intention of cancelling. Be fair with the accommodation providers and they should be fair with you. 

If you have lost a booking deposit and you don't believe it was justified, call the Chamber of Commerce at 705-429-2247 if they are a member. Also call the Town of Wasaga Beach by-law department at 705-429-3844. Don't be quiet if you think you have been mistreated.

1 years ago
What is typical for damage deposits?

 

Damage depositThere are two types of deposits a cottage owner might request of you. The non-refundable booking deposit and the damage deposit. The damage deposit is the one that has caused some of the most distressing emails to me. I do not condone any situation that rips off tourists and if the situation is serious enough, I will remove offenders from this website. Do speak up if you have been treated unfairly.

Protect Your Damage Deposit

Residential rentals are not supposed to ask for damage deposits. If you are renting month to month - only first and last month's rent is required. Tourist rentals fall under different rules. 

If a rental business is asking for a very large damage deposit - walk away. A typical damage deposit is $50 per person, or an amount for the entire room (e.g. $200). These figures are meant as guidelines and may not reflect what all renters charge but overly large damage deposits should signal you to go elsewhere. Shop around if you are unsure. 

It is in your best interest to pay your damage deposit by credit card. If there is any dispute between you and a rental provider, your bank or credit card company can help to make a final decision. It's best in any dispute to have an unbiased 3rd party to turn to. 

When you arrive at your cottage, it doesn't hurt to take out your phone and shoot some video of any irregularities that may exist. Count the pots & pans and dishes. Make notes. You don't want to be accused of taking something that wasn't there at all when you arrived. 

Damage deposits are meant to reimburse a rental owner for damages only. They are not entitled to the whole deposit - only the portion which is appropriate to fix any issues. Damage deposits are not to be taken for any other reason. Do not sign any rental contract that lists reasons other than damage for the loss of your deposit. 

Every year businesses suffer damages by renters. Most damages are accidental but sadly some are quite deliberate. If you had your damage deposit taken from you and you don't believe it was justified, call the Chamber of Commerce at 705-429-2247 if they are a member. Also call the Town of Wasaga Beach by-law department at 705-429-3844. 

1 years ago
Is the town water safe to drink?

 

YES! The Town water is very safe.
But.... if you are renting a cottage, ask the owner if he is on a well or town water.

Although most of Wasaga Beach has converted to Town water (and it is the law to do so), there may be a few who are on septic and well systems.
Wells can be full of all sorts of nasty things or they can be pristine and lovely to drink depending on location. Before I switched to Town water, my well tasted better and came up clean in purity tests but someone just down the street might have water that smelled and tasted of sulphur or other taste tainting elements.

Don't assume it's town water - ask. And, if you have no way of knowing for sure, a quick smell test might reveal some answers. A typical well in this area might have that sulphur (rotten egg) smell. It's usually harmless but not exactly nice for drinking or bathing. A musty smell is common also. A check of the colour might reveal a yellow or red tinge indicating various minerals. Wells throughout Wasaga Beach and area are different from one another even if they are located side by side. Don't assume that if the neighbour's well has been tested, yours will be safe.

As a long time traveller I would like to offer one more small piece of advice. Vacationers will often suffer from tummy distress and blame the water but often it's simply a drastic change of diet. We all tend to eat differently on vacation than we do at home. It's always a good idea to bring some Imodium to settle that rotten stomach but without being a wet blanket, common sense eating and drinking will help you avoid trouble. Some people are more sensitive to small changes in water, even clean town water might upset your stomach if you aren't used to it.  There are several drug stores should you find yourself feeling uncomfortable.

1 years ago
Where is the nearest hospital?

 

Collingwood HospitalCollingwood General and Marine Hospital

459 Hume Street
Collingwood, ON L9Y 1W9
(705) 445-2550
Website: www.cgmh.on.ca


Doctor's Offices

There are doctor's offices in Wasaga Beach but they do not accept walk-in patients. If you are a resident looking for a new doctor, this website lists doctors who may be accepting new patients. There is no information about how current this list is.  http://www.ontariodoctordirectory.ca/Wasaga%20Beach

Useful Websites

Royal Victoria Hospital in Barrie

Website: http://www.rvh.on.ca 
201 Georgian Dr,
Barrie, ON L4M 6M2
705-728-9802

1 years ago
Can I reserve picnic tables at the beach?

 

One of the most common question I hear is how do you get a picnic table? Is it a first come - first serve basis or you have to rent one?

Picnic tables are first come, first serve. It's best to get here early if you want to stake out your spot. With the exception of the summer long weekends, it's easy to get a nice spot if you come early.

As a guide - typically, the beach is lightly used until the sun is hot enough for swimming and sun bathing. And there are no rules about bringing portable tables if your vehicle can carry them.