Situated in the countryside on the eastern end of the Greater Toronto Area, Orono sits at the centre of the Municipality of Clarington and exudes rural charm with its historic main street lined with heritage buildings.
Just off the main street you’ll find more evidence of the town’s heritage, with one of the largest antique markets in Southern Ontario located in the old Armoury building. Features like the Orono Antique Market and Orono Fair – one of the oldest running fairs in Ontario – show just how the town has carved out a place as a comfortable place to live that’s just teeming with local charm.
Read on to learn more about neighbourhood landmarks, buying or selling real estate in the area, and what life is like in Orono, Ontario. You’ll find that this small Ontario town offers unique rural Ontario culture combined with convenient proximity to the GTA to create one of the best kept secrets as far as communities go in the region.
Founded in 1832, Orono’s history began when Asa and Harriet Baldwin settled there in a modest cabin built by the family.
According to local legend, Mrs. Baldwin decided to explore the countryside around the family cabin to get acquainted with the area. Finding a nearby stream, she dipped a pail to get some water and discovered two shimmering speckled trout. Returning to the cabin, she declared, “We have come to the land of milk and honey.”
Little did she know the settlement’s reputation for offering a quiet life where residents can peacefully thrive and prosper would last far into the future.
Orono went through a number of unofficial titles before the village’s residents decided on a name. Previous to that, it was known alternatively as Jericho, Bloomington, or Slab City. At some point in the 1840’s residents gathered at the local Blacksmiths to finally settle on an official name for their beloved hamlet.
A traveling Methodist preacher happened to be in attendance and commented on the striking similarity between the settlement and his hometown of Orono, Maine. As the story goes, that was enough to convince the residents that Orono would be a fitting name for their town, too. The origins of the name of the town in Maine come from Chief Joseph Orono of the Penobscot Tribe, meaning Orono’s etymology also stems from indigenous roots.
By the 1860’s, Orono had about 200 residents and featured a Post Office which bore the name “Orono.” The town was deemed large enough to be declared a Police Village and remained small but vibrant for most of the coming years.
It wasn’t until the arrival of the Canadian Northern Railway in 1911 that the village began to experience significant growth. This much-needed transportation infrastructure help connect residents to important economic routes which let them ship their goods to further locations. As a primarily agricultural community to this day, the railway provided a much need lifeline that spurred growth and development in the region.
By the time motor vehicles became prevalent, many motorists stopped in Orono on trips between Lindsay, Newcastle, and beyond before more highways were built. Around this time the population was nearly 2,000 residents.
While Orono never reached the size of nearby towns like Newcastle or Bowmanville, residents probably like to keep it that way. As the village is located in the Municipality of Clarington, itself a union of Clarke and Darlington Townships, Orono was subsumed into Clarington although it historically served as the seat of Government for Clarke Township.
Today, Orono is Claringont’s fourth largest urban community and enjoys a local reputation as a quiet rural town for Ontarians who want to live outside of the hustle and bustle of the big city without being too far away from it.
Homes in Orono range from historical to modern, but most fall into the category of single-family detached properties. As a town with a long and storied history, Orono’s real estate often reflects its charming origins. Historic homes in the city centre range from Victorian and Edwardian style houses to simple bungalows.
Towards the peripheries and between some of the historic homes in the downtown area one can find modern houses. To the north especially, prospective homebuyers will be excited to learn that modern subdivision style real estate is available for sale.
Depending on how you look at it, one of Orono’s most highly sought-after features is the classic “main street” feel of the town. Instead of the typically big box stores and shopping plazas, Orono has stayed true to its roots.
Small businesses and restaurants & cafes line the main street, and although it doesn’t take long to take it all in it would take a lifetime to soak in all the small-town charm this town exudes along Main Street as part of the community.
The Orono Community Centre and Orono Park offer outdoor and indoor recreation, sports, and events & programs year-round. Nature enthusiasts will be thrilled to learn about the Orono Crown Land which can be traversed via trails to enjoy some natural beauty.
So appealing is Orono’s local ambiance that is has attracted attention from the film industry, with several high-profile films and television shows being filmed here.
The hub of activity for the Clarington Municipality, annual events include the Orono Antique Street Festival which decks the town’s streets with stalls that any antique hunter is sure to appreciate.
Another big annual event is the Orono Fair, hosted by the Orono Agricultural Society. Lasting 4 days the fair brings in 1,000’s of tourists who come to appreciate equestrian activities, agricultural events, art, live entertainment, and more.
In the heart of Orono residents and tourists alike can enjoy the Sydney B. Rutherford Woods Walk Park, one of the many greenspaces in and around the town.
If you’re ready to learn more about Orono, get in touch with one of our seasoned representatives. We can help ease the transition between your current home and buying a new home in Orono, ensuring that you sell your current home at the highest possible price.
Send us a message to get started, or call (416) 917-5466 to speak with someone about your real estate goals today.