The area surrounding the Orillia Rama Regional Airport is one rich with history. One of the oldest human developments in Canada, the Mnjikaning Fish Weirs, which pre-date the Great Pyramids of Giza, is located at the narrows where Lake Couchiching and Lake Simcoe join. Carbon dating of wood remnants at the site go as far back as 5,000 years with the site being used to catch fish up until World War II. Thomas D. Chaplain even noted their existence while en route with the Huron to the battle with the Iroquois back in 1615.
The narrows where these fishing weirs are located in the area where Toronto got its name. Initially, the term “Taronto” referred to a channel of water between Lake Simcoe and Lake Couchiching, stylized “tkaronto” by the Mohawk mean “where the trees are standing in the water.” In time, the name passed southward and eventually applied to a new fort at the mouth of the Humber River. Fort Toronto was the first settlement in the area and lent its name to what became the city of Toronto.
The airport, along with Lake St. John Aerodrome served the aviation community in the area for over 50 years. The past half-century of this uniquely situated airport, with its 1200 feet of shoreline on 230 acres of land, has been a busy one serving as a popular stopover for fuel, airplane repairs, flight training, and aviation lovers from near and far.
When current ORRA owner Clayton Smith saw the airport on the market a few years ago, he jumped at the opportunity to own the hub he’d been using as a licenced commercial bush pilot for the last 18 years. Considering the void that the closing of Buttonville, Canada’s busiest private airport, would have on aviators, Clayton saw an opportunity in Rama and invested over $2 million in upgrading the facilities which have built over 50,000 sq. ft. of new hangar space, repaved the tarmac and runway, opened Tailwinds Bar & Grill, along with Fly’N Beaver Trading Post. Clayton’s vision of turning Orillia Rama Regional Airport into a one-stop hub for the aviation community in Ontario is now fully realized. Are you ready to fly with us?