A young guest in the window of a historical building

Plan your historic adventure

Yearning for a getaway that takes you back in time while creating lasting memories with your family? Look no further! Just 1.5 hours north of Toronto lies a historical haven waiting to transport you to bygone eras.

Discover Naval and Military living history at Discovery Harbour in Penetanguishene, where the 19th century comes to life. Or step back into the 17th century at Sainte-Marie among the Hurons in Midland, where you’ll learn about a vital story of cultural contact, determination and survival.

Discovery Harbour entrance

Discovery Harbour

93 Jury Drive, Penetanguishene ON

Open daily until Sept. 1

The roots of Discovery Harbour date back to 1793, when Sir John Graves Simcoe scouted Penetanguishene Bay as a strategic site for a naval base. The steep-sided, deep water bay would be an ideal spot to protect and maintain ships. The bay could also serve as a vital transport link from York (Toronto) to the northwest.

The War of 1812 between Britain and the United States sparked the construction of an active naval dockyard at Penetanguishene. By 1817, the British Navy, anxious to patrol and protect the Upper Great Lakes against a future attack, began building the Naval Establishment.

An aerial view of Sainte-Marie among the Hurons

Sainte-Marie among the Hurons

16164 Highway 12, Midland ON

Open daily until Oct. 14

Ontario’s first European Community, Sainte-Marie among the Hurons was the headquarters for the French Jesuit Mission to the Huron-Wendat people. In 1639, the Jesuits, along with French lay workers, began constructing a fenced community that included barracks, a church, workshops, residences, and a sheltered area for Indigenous visitors. This community was abandoned and burned down in 1649.

After extensive archaeological and historical research, Sainte-Marie among the Hurons is now recreated on its original site, where the mission’s compelling story is brought to life with costumed historical interpreters and activities.

Barrels by a sunny window

Ready for some time travel?

What is living history? It means you can walk right into a bygone era, so you can see, hear, touch, smell and even taste the past. Hear the clanging in the blacksmith shop, taste warm bannock on your tongue, have a seat on a lumpy rope bed – it all contributes to an unforgettable time travelling experience.

What’s included with admission at Discovery Harbour

  • explore over 40 acres of the reconstructed naval and military establishment
  • watch daily black powder musket firing demonstrations at the soldiers’ encampment
  • connect with friendly and knowledgeable costumed historical interpreters
  • learn more about the H.M.S. Tecumseth and H.M.S. Bee
  • visit the the H.M.S. Tecumseth Centre and view the original hull of the ship with the same name
  • learn the story of Discovery Harbour with a free audio tour, accessible through the Huronia Historical Parks app
  • sing along with the sea shanties and our crew of historical interpreters
  • experience our award-winning interactive indoor museum
  • shop for gifts and souvenirs in our retail store, Barracks Boutique
  • receive 50% off your regular admission to Sainte-Marie among the Hurons during the regular season

*Guided tours available for an additional $5 per person from June 29 to August 23

Un interprète historique autochtone enseigne à une famille comment jouer à la crosse

What’s included with admission at Sainte-Marie

  • access the fully reconstructed mission community of Sainte-Marie
  • watch an introductory video on the story of the historic mission headquarters
  • connect with friendly and knowledgeable costumed historical interpreters
  • visit the Church of Saint-Joseph, where the graves of Canadian Martyrs Father Jean de Brébeuf and Gabriel Lalemant are located
  • learn the story of Sainte-Marie with a free audio tour, accessible through the Huronia Historical Parks app
  • meet our friendly farm animals in the stables
  • view some of North America’s oldest stone masonry
  • experience our award-winning interactive indoor museum
  • shop for gifts and souvenirs in our retail store, Flint & Timber Co.
  • free same-day admission to the Martyrs Shrine (proof of purchase required)

*Guided tours available for an additional $5 per person from June 29 to August 23

Barrels by a sunny window

Since you are here…

Both Discovery Harbour and Sainte-Marie among the Hurons offer a huge range of fun adventures for almost everyone this summer! We’ve listed a few here that we think you should check out while you are visiting.

National Indigenous Peoples Day

National Indigenous Peoples’ Day is a national celebration of the heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding achievements of First Nations, Inuit and Métis throughout Canada. Huronia Historical Parks is proud to be a part of highlighting the achievements of Indigenous peoples through our education-focused celebration each year.

Bo’sun’s Brig: Escape Room

Your group of 4-6 players has 60 minutes to escape the brig! This experience is enhanced by your ‘jail guard’ who will share historical information about Discovery Harbour and may even offer hints if you ask. This experience runs 7 days per week until September 1.

Shadows & Stone

Explore historic Sainte-Marie…at night! What does a 17th century Jesuit mission look like at night? Find out! Join a small group of intrepid visitors on a guided evening tour of Sainte-Marie among the Hurons. Grab your lantern and discover the shadows of the past during this immersive and intimate experience. Then cozy up in the longhouse over historic teas and listen to First Nations stories.

A ghostly figure reading in the window at Discovery harbour

Ghost Tours

Join us on Saturday evenings this summer for a lantern-lit guided tour revealing the supernatural side of Discovery Harbour! Missing artifacts that mysteriously reappear, chess pieces that move, and the image of a small child in a window… These are just some of the unusual happenings that occur at our historic site.

Pirates by the Bay

Saturday, August 3, 2024, Discovery Harbour is transformed into a pirates’ paradise with plenty of kid-friendly activities and pirate-themed crafts.

Lantern lit and sitting in the snow

Need more info?

Please contact us if you have any questions: