ON­TARIO

SO NAT­U­RAL, SO SO­PHIS­TI­CATED

2017 Travel Guide to Canada - - Table Of Contents - BY LAURA BYRNE PAQUET

If you just can’t de­cide what sort of va­ca­tion des­ti­na­tion ap­peals to you most—wild or ur­ban, cul­tural or culi­nary, ac­tive or re­laxed—On­tario may be the place for you.

Canada’s sec­ond-largest prov­ince of­fers vis­i­tors a vast range of things to see and do. Train your zoom lens on po­lar bears, wal­rus and bel­uga whales on the shore of Hud­son Bay . . . or sway to a con­cert un­der the stars at a huge mu­sic fes­ti­val. Min­gle with crowds or med­i­tate be­side a silent lake. Ski, sail, cy­cle or shop. Or do it all!

On­tario is home to Canada’s cap­i­tal, Ot­tawa. Al­ways a high point on vis­i­tors’ lists, the city will be even more of a must-see in 2017 due to the many events it will host to cel­e­brate the 150th an­niver­sary of Cana­dian Con­fed­er­a­tion—ev­ery­thing from huge “ma­chines” stalk­ing the streets above ground to a mul­ti­me­dia ex­pe­ri­ence in a new un­der­ground train sta­tion (www.ot­tawa2017. ca ). You can also thrill to the Chang­ing of the Guard cer­e­mony on Par­lia­ment Hill (www.parl.gc.ca ), see di­nosaur skele­tons at the Cana­dian Mu­seum of Na­ture (www. na­ture.ca) and learn about Canada’s mil­i­tary his­tory at the Cana­dian War Mu­seum (www. war­mu­seum.ca).

Leave lots of time to ex­plore Toronto, the coun­try’s largest metropo­lis (www.see­toronto now.com). Book early to see world pre­mieres —and, per­haps, a few Hol­ly­wood stars—at the Toronto In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val (www. tiff.net). And don’t miss the Aga Khan Mu­seum of Mus­lim cul­ture (www.agakhan­mu­seum. org), the On­tario Sci­ence Cen­tre (www. on­tar­io­science­cen­tre.ca), the landmark CN Tower (www.cn­tower.ca) and Canada’s first panda cubs—born in Oc­to­ber 2015—at the Toronto Zoo (www.toron­to­zoo.com).

Ot­tawa and Toronto are just the begin­ning of what On­tario has to of­fer. You can also tour winer­ies along Lake Erie, in Prince Ed­ward County or on the Ni­a­gara Penin­sula (www.winecoun­try­on­tario.ca). If out­door ad­ven­ture is more your style, camp in breath­tak­ing Kil­lar­ney (www.on­tario parks.com/park/kil­lar­ney), Sleep­ing Gi­ant (www.on­tar­i­oparks.com/park/sleep­ing­giant ) or Al­go­nquin (www.al­go­nquin­park.on.ca ) provin­cial parks, or ca­noe along the Grand River (www.the­hearto­fontario.com ).

TAKE A SMALL-TOWN BREAK

Am­ble along lanes lined with lo­cally-owned shops. Linger over din­ner at a ta­ble over­look­ing a wa­ter­fall, lake or canal, then un­wind in a quaint B&B. On­tario’s many small towns and cities are havens of re­lax­ation.

Take in a play or build a sand­cas­tle on the beach in Grand Bend (www.grand­bend. com ). Ex­plore charm­ing shops and an his­toric mill in Elora (www.gran­dand gor­geous.com), en­joy a spa day in Cobourg (www.cobourg­tourism.ca ) or un­wind at one of Al­monte’s many fes­ti­vals (www. la­nark­coun­ty­tourism.com ). And delve into On­tario’s in­trigu­ing his­tory at sites like The Diefen­bunker: Canada’s Cold War Mu­seum in Carp (www.diefen­bunker.ca ), the Cana­dian War­plane Her­itage Mu­seum in Mount Hope (www.war­plane.com ) and the Cana­dian Trans­porta­tion Mu­seum and Her­itage Vil­lage in Kingsville (www.ctmhv.com ).

EN­JOY WA­TER­FRONT VIEWS

When On­tar­i­ans say “cot­tage coun­try,” they gen­er­ally mean any of a num­ber of ru­ral re­gions dot­ted with clear lakes per­fect for ca­noe­ing, kayak­ing, swim­ming, wa­ter­ski­ing . . . or just ad­mir­ing from the shore while en­sconced in a com­fort­able ham­mock. Bring your cam­era and binoc­u­lars, as you may well spot deer, loons or coy­otes. Pop­u­lar cot­tage ar­eas in­clude Muskoka (www.dis­cov­er­muskoka.ca ), the Kawarthas (www.thekawarthas.ca), On­tario’s

High­lands (www.on­tar­ioshigh­lands.ca) and the Rideau Val­ley (www.rideauher­itage route.ca). Pam­per your­self with a rest­ful week­end at one of On­tario’s sum­mer re­sorts (www.re­sort­so­fontario.com).

WHAT’S NEW?

The Po­lar Bear Ex­press, a train to Moosonee on the shore of James Bay, will fin­ish a ma­jor up­grade of its coaches (www.on­tar­i­onorth land.ca/en/re­fur­bish­ment/po­lar-bear-ex­press). One of Canada’s largest aerial ad­ven­ture and zip-line parks, Sky­wood Eco Ad­ven­ture, opened near Brockville in 2016 (www. sky­woodzip.com). And the new WildPlay MistRider Zi­pline lets you “fly” 67 m (220 ft.) above the Ni­a­gara Gorge for thrilling views of Ni­a­gara Falls (www.wildplay.com/ ni­a­garafalls).

Saks Fifth Av­enue opened its first two Cana­dian stores in Toronto last year, in­clud­ing a store at Sher­way Gar­dens with a Saks Food Hall by Pusateri’s (www. saks­fifthav­enue.com). Cineplex is sched­uled to open The Rec Room, a 3,716-sq.-m (40,000-sq.-ft.) ar­cade game and live en­ter­tain­ment com­plex, near Toronto’s Rogers Cen­tre and Ri­p­ley’s Aquar­ium (www.cineplex.com).

Here’s some­thing you can only do in On­tario: have din­ner below a raised 20-m (65-ft.) hy­draulic lift lock on the Tren­tSev­ern Wa­ter­way. The Un­der Wa­ter Din­ing at Lock 21 ex­pe­ri­ence will be avail­able in Peter­bor­ough this year (www.the kawarthas.ca/uwd).

Ot­tawa’s Na­tional Arts Cen­tre is sched­uled to have a glit­ter­ing new en­trance and an up­graded main theatre by Canada

Day, as part of a $225-mil­lion ren­o­va­tion (www.nac-cna.ca/en/).

CITY LIGHTS

Toronto is a mag­net for cos­mopoli­tan trav­ellers. Browse for mer­chan­dise in flag­ship in­ter­na­tional stores along Bloor

Street and lux­u­ri­ous shops in Yorkville (www.bloor-yorkville.com), or unique bou­tiques and gal­leries in the re­stored Vic­to­rian-era build­ings of the Dis­tillery District (www.thedis­tillery­dis­trict. com). Teeter 116 storeys above the city on the CN Tower’s EdgeWalk (www.edgewalk cn­tower.ca). Re­lax on the shore of Lake On­tario at Har­bourfront Cen­tre (www. har­bourfront­cen­tre.com), or on the green park­land of the is­lands across the city har­bour (www.toron­tois­land.com). Lux­u­ri­ous ho­tels, noted restau­rants, and pro­fes­sional base­ball, hockey, bas­ket­ball, foot­ball and soc­cer—Toronto has it all.

In Ot­tawa, the first stop for many is Par­lia­ment Hill, where you can en­joy ev­ery­thing from a sound-and-light show to yoga on the lawn (www.parl.gc.ca). The Hill over­looks the Rideau Canal, a UNESCO World Her­itage Site that draws cy­clists, boaters and skaters (www.parkscanada.ca/ eng/lhn-nhs/on/rideau/in­dex.aspx ). Nearby, farm­ers’ stalls, in­de­pen­dent bou­tiques and pop­u­lar night­clubs keep the By­Ward Mar­ket hum­ming from morn­ing to night (www.by­ward-mar­ket.com). TD Place at Lans­downe Park is home to the city’s Cana­dian Foot­ball League fran­chise, the Ot­tawa RED­BLACKS (www.ot­tawared­blacks. com), as well as the Ot­tawa 67’s of the On­tario Hockey League (www.ot­tawa67s. com). And Ot­tawa will be a fo­cal point of the coun­try’s 150th birth­day cel­e­bra­tions this year (www.ot­tawa2017.ca).

Don’t miss the ex­cel­lent at­trac­tions in the prov­ince’s smaller cities, which range from the Art Gallery of Hamil­ton (www. art­gallery­ofhamil­ton.com), the Cana­dian Ca­noe Mu­seum in Peter­bor­ough (www. ca­noe­mu­seum.ca ) and the Cana­dian Bush­plane Her­itage Cen­tre in Sault Ste. Marie (www.bush­plane.com), to his­toric

pub­lic mar­kets such as the Kingston Pub­lic Mar­ket (www.kingston­pub­lic­mar­ket.ca) and the Covent Gar­den Mar­ket in Lon­don (www. covent­mar­ket.com).

THE GREAT OUT­DOORS

Whether you’re a na­ture novice or a seasoned out­door ad­ven­turer, On­tario has wilder­ness space for you—and many ways to help you en­joy it.

Un­spoiled land­scapes vary from the re­mote lakes and rivers of fly-in fish­ing camps (www.north­west-on­tario.com ) to the quaint cot­tage coun­try of Thou­sand Is­lands Na­tional Park (www.parkscanada.gc.ca/ thou­san­dis­lands).

The On­tario Parks’ Learn to Camp pro­gram of­fers hands-on prac­tice in pitch­ing a tent and cook­ing out­doors at sev­eral of On­tario’s provin­cial parks (www. on­tar­i­oparks.com/learn­to­camp).

Wher­ever you go, you can choose from an in­cred­i­ble range of ad­ven­tures. Train your binoc­u­lars on mi­grat­ing birds at the Pelee Is­land Bird Ob­ser­va­tory (www.pibo.ca/ en). Walk high above the for­est floor in the Ga­naraska For­est (www.tree­top­trekking. com/en/ga­naraska ) or the Hal­ibur­ton For­est (www.hal­ibur­ton­for­est.com). Hunt for rare stones in Ban­croft (www.hast­ingscounty. com/visit/rock­hound­ing ) or hike an out­stand­ing long-dis­tance trail (www. on­tar­i­o­trails.on.ca). The Cana­dian Ca­noe Route (www.thecana­di­an­ca­noer­oute.ca ) starts in Toronto and fin­ishes in Ot­tawa. Go cross-coun­try or down­hill skiing near Colling­wood, on the scenic shores of Geor­gian Bay (www.vis­it­south­ge­or­gian­bay.ca). Dive among ship­wrecks at Fathom Five Na­tional Marine Park near Tober­mory (www.parkscanada.gc.ca/fath­om­five ) or in the St. Lawrence River (www.1000is­lands. com/sunken-trea­sures-the-wrecks-of-the1000-is­lands). Try cy­cling, sail­ing, kayak­ing, rock climb­ing, spelunk­ing, snow­mo­bil­ing, dogsled­ding, ice fish­ing, snowshoeing or snow­board­ing!

HER­ITAGE AND CUL­TURE

Theatre lovers are spoiled for choice in On­tario. Toronto alone of­fers block­buster pro­duc­tions by Mirvish Pro­duc­tions (www. mirvish.com) and a wide range of plays pre­sented by other theatre com­pa­nies; check What’s On TOnight for tick­ets (www.what­son tonight.ca). Else­where, note­wor­thy theatre fes­ti­vals in­clude the Strat­ford Fes­ti­val (www.strat­ford­fes­ti­val.ca) and the Shaw Fes­ti­val (www.shawfest.com). Clas­si­cal mu­sic fans can revel in per­for­mances by Ot­tawa’s Na­tional Arts Cen­tre Or­ches­tra (www.nac-cna.ca/or­ches­tra), the Toronto Sym­phony Or­ches­tra (www.tso.ca) and the Cana­dian Opera Com­pany (www.coc.ca), while dance afi­ciona­dos have the Na­tional Bal­let of Canada (na­tional.bal­let.ca).

Fine art has many homes across the prov­ince, in­clud­ing the Art Gallery of On­tario (www.ago.net), the McMichael Cana­dian Art Col­lec­tion (www.mcmichael. com ) and the Na­tional Gallery of Canada (www.gallery.ca). Learn about On­tario’s Abo­rig­i­nal Peo­ples at Pet­ro­glyphs Provin­cial Park near Peter­bor­ough (www.on­tar­i­oparks. com/park/pet­ro­glyphs) and the Mu­seum of On­tario Ar­chae­ol­ogy in Lon­don (www. ar­chae­ol­o­gy­mu­seum.ca). Abo­rig­i­nal his­tory is also one of many top­ics cov­ered by the world-renowned Royal On­tario Mu­seum (www.rom.on.ca).

His­tory buffs can choose from metic­u­lously pre­served his­toric sites and liv­ing his­tory mu­se­ums, in­clud­ing: Fort Henry (www.forthenry.com) and Up­per Canada Vil­lage (www.up­per­cana­davil­lage.com) in East­ern On­tario; Fort Ge­orge (www. parkscanada.gc.ca/fort­ge­orge) and Old Fort Erie (www.ni­a­gara­parks.com/ni­a­garafalls-at­trac­tions/old-fort-erie.html) near Ni­a­gara Falls; Fort York (www.forty­ork.ca) and Black Creek Pioneer Vil­lage (www. black­creek.ca) in Toronto; Doon Her­itage Vil­lage (www.wa­ter­loore­gion­mu­seum.com/ doon-her­itage-vil­lage.aspx) in Kitch­ener; and the Bux­ton Na­tional His­toric Site and Mu­seum in North Bux­ton, near Chatham (www.bux­ton­mu­seum.com).

MUST SEE, MUST DO

Dis­cover an un­der­wa­ter won­der­land of some 16,000 crea­tures at Ri­p­ley’s Aquar­ium of Canada in down­town Toronto (www. rip­leyaquar­i­ums.com/canada).

See one of the world’s most di­verse lilac col­lec­tions at Canada’s largest botanic gar­den, the Royal Botan­i­cal Gar­dens in Burling­ton (www.rbg.ca).

Thrill to the thun­der of North Amer­ica’s most pow­er­ful cataract, Ni­a­gara Falls, where nearby at­trac­tions range from great shop­ping and fam­ily fun to glit­ter­ing casi­nos (www.ni­a­garafall­s­tourism.com). Travel to the base of Ni­a­gara Falls on a cata­ma­ran with Horn­blower Ni­a­gara Cruises (www.ni­a­garacruises.com).

Revel in On­tario’s glo­ri­ous fall colours aboard the Agawa Canyon Tour Train, which de­parts from Sault Ste. Marie (www.agawa­canyon­tour­train.com).

QUICK FACT

THE LAST ICE AGE CARVED SOME 250,000 LAKES INTO THE ROCKY CANA­DIAN SHIELD

ACROSS ON­TARIO.

Cut­ting across South­ern On­tario from Wind­sor to the Québec bor­der, the over 1,600-km (1,000-mi.) Wa­ter­front Trail— open for cy­cling, hik­ing and other types

of non-mo­tor­ized trans­port—links 84 com­mu­ni­ties and over 400 parks and nat­u­ral ar­eas (www.wa­ter­front­trail.org).

Learn about ev­ery­thing from the earth’s crust to the far reaches of the gal­axy at Sci­ence North in Sud­bury, which fea­tures a plan­e­tar­ium, a but­ter­fly gallery and a wet­lands lab, as well as Dy­namic Earth— home of the Big Nickel (www.sci­ence north.ca).

Delve into Canada’s fur-trad­ing his­tory at Fort Wil­liam His­tor­i­cal Park, a liv­ing his­tory site in Thun­der Bay (www.fwhp.ca).

SCENIC DRIVES

The 1000 Is­lands Park­way winds along the St. Lawrence River, where you can kayak, ca­noe, scuba dive or take a boat tour (www.vis­it1000is­lands.com).

Driv­ing routes through the Ot­tawa Val­ley fo­cus on ev­ery­thing from log­ging his­tory to Group of Seven artist A.Y. Jack­son (www.ot­tawaval­ley.travel).

The Ap­ple Pie Trail winds through scenic land­scapes in the Blue Moun­tains re­gion (www.ap­plepi­etrail.ca).

The Loy­al­ist Park­way be­tween Tren­ton and Kingston traces On­tario’s late 18th cen­tury

his­tory (www.pec.on.ca/lpa).

There’s a scenic route in South­west­ern On­tario for just about ev­ery in­ter­est, from bird­ing to beaches (www.on­tar­ios­south west.com).

The area around Strat­ford is home to culi­nary trails de­voted to choco­late, maple, and ba­con and ale (www.vis­it­strat­ford.ca/ savour-strat­ford).

En­joy rugged, dra­matic vis­tas and su­perb camp­ing along Lake Su­pe­rior’s north shore (www.su­pe­ri­or­coun­try.ca).

FAM­ILY FUN

Amuse­ments abound at Wild Water­works (www.wild-water­works.com), Play­dium (www.play­dium.com) and Canada’s Won­der­land (www.canadas­won­der­land. com). Santa’s Vil­lage ap­peals to both tod­dlers and teens (www.san­tasvil­lage.ca). Lit­tle ones might also en­joy Sto­ry­book Gar­dens (www.sto­ry­book.lon­don.ca). Plane buffs should see the Canada Avi­a­tion and Space Mu­seum (www.cas­mu­seum.techno­science.ca). Fi­nally, sites for an­i­mal lovers in­clude the Cam­bridge But­ter­fly Con­ser­va­tory (www.cam­bridge­but­ter­fly. com) and African Lion Sa­fari (www. li­on­sa­fari.com). For more in­spi­ra­tion: www.on­tar­i­o­travel.net.

TORONTO SKY­LINE • SHUTTERSTOCK/JAVEN

13,983,000

Toronto; Na­tional Cap­i­tal: Ot­tawa

www.on­tar­i­o­travel.net

Toronto Pear­son In­ter­na­tional Air­port, 27 km (16 mi.) from down­town

Billy Bishop Toronto City Air­port, 3 km (2 mi.) from down­town

Ot­tawa MacDon­ald-Cartier In­ter­na­tional Air­port, 10 km (6 mi.) from down­town

ON­TARIO PARKS

SPE­CIAL EVENTS JAN­UARY

• WIN­TER SLEDDOG WORLD

CHAM­PI­ONSHIP, HAL­IBUR­TON FE­BRU­ARY

• VOYAGEUR WIN­TER CAR­NI­VAL,

THUN­DER BAY

• WIN­TER­LUDE, OT­TAWA

MAY

• CANA­DIAN TULIP FES­TI­VAL, OT­TAWA JUNE

• LUMINATO, TORONTO

JUNE – JULY

• TD OT­TAWA JAZZ FES­TI­VAL

JULY

• HONDA INDY, TORONTO

• RBC ROYAL BANK BLUES­FEST, OT­TAWA JULY – AU­GUST

• TORONTO CARIBBEAN CAR­NI­VAL AU­GUST

• FER­GUS SCOT­TISH FES­TI­VAL AND

HIGH­LAND GAMES

• SIEGE AT FORT ERIE

SEPTEM­BER

• FES­TI­VAL OF SMALL HALLS, EAST­ERN ON • NUIT BLANCHE, TORONTO

• TORONTO IN­TER­NA­TIONAL FILM FES­TI­VAL • WEST­ERN FAIR, LON­DON

OC­TO­BER

• AL­GOMA FALL FES­TI­VAL, SAULT STE. MARIE • IN­TER­NA­TIONAL FES­TI­VAL OF AU­THORS,

TORONTO

• KITCH­ENER-WATER­LOO OK­TO­BER­FEST • PUMPKINFERNO, MORRISBURG AND

SUD­BURY

NOVEM­BER

• GREY CUP, OT­TAWA

• ROYAL AGRI­CUL­TURAL WIN­TER FAIR,

TORONTO

NOVEM­BER – DE­CEM­BER

• FIRST LIGHT AT SAINTE-MARIE AMONG

THE HURONS, MID­LAND

• RIVER LIGHTS WIN­TER FES­TI­VAL,

AMHERSTBURG

NOVEM­BER – JAN­UARY

• WIN­TER FES­TI­VAL OF LIGHTS,

NI­A­GARA FALLS

www.fes­ti­val­sande­ventson­tario.ca

PRIME MIN­IS­TER TRUDEAU, GAY PRIDE PA­RADE, TORONTO • SHUTTERSTOCK/STUDIOLASKA

ABO­RIG­I­NAL EX­PE­RI­ENCES, THUN­DER BAY • ON TOURISM/JOEY PANETTA

ST. JA­COBS • SHUTTERSTOCK/JHVEPHOTO

OT­TAWA, ON • SHUTTERSTOCK/MICHEL LOISELLE

PUKASKWA NA­TIONAL PARK • PARKS CANADA

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