Are you familiar with Wasaga Beach? If you live anywhere near Toronto, Canada, I’m willing to bet you are. In the summer months, it’s the go-to destination for teenagers and 20-somethings looking to party.

It’s also the home to retirees, as is popular ski-town Collingwood, which is about a 15-minute drive from Wasaga. And that combination might make it a prime opportunity for Canada’s next big casino destination.

The Ontario Lottery Corporation has decided to put a casino either in Collingwood or Wasaga, but a new plan by a developer could see Wasaga as the choice that makes the most sense.

John Simmonds, a businessman who has experiences developing golf courses among other things, has presented a concept to bring a 300-slot casino property to Wasaga. Also slated to go on the property is a 300-room hotel, an indoor waterpark, and fractional ownership units.

Originally with his sights set on Collingwood, Simmonds has shifted his focus to Wasaga because of a drawn out and frustrating political process.

Personally, as someone who used to frequent Toronto to visit family in the summers, I really don’t see the need for a casino in either community. Casino Rama is about an hour’s drive – not very far by any stretch of the imagination. Collingwood already has that ski-town vibe going for it. I’m not sure a casino really fits in with the lifestyle.

And Wasaga, while popular among the retired set, seems like an odd location for a casino. But I could be wrong.

Before Fallsview Casino opened in Niagara Falls, I thought that Niagara was a poor choice for a casino, given its relative tackiness (I’m looking at you Clifton Hill, not to mention all those UFO hotels on Lundy’s Lane). But Fallsview revitalized an otherwise run-of-the-mill corner of Niagara into an upscale gambler’s paradise.

If a casino does go in, I think it needs to launch with more than just slots. Table games might be added later, but for me, that’s not good enough. There are enough slots racinos in Ontario. A full-fledged casino is the only way to go in my opinion.

Otherwise, Wasaga will remain a weekender’s paradise instead of a 365-day resort attraction that the casino developers are hoping for.


Simon is an overactive gambler and the Staff Writer here at Silver Oak. He loves casino bonuses, online slots, and using the em dash too often. Currently, he rests his typing hands in Vancouver, Canada.