ON­TARIO: #Best12 Ad­ven­tures

DINE and Destinations - - CONTENTS -

Check off which ones you’ve tried and let us know your picks By Adam Wax­man

Ca­noe­ing Al­go­nquin

Renowned au­thor Pierre Ber­ton once said, “A Cana­dian is some­one who knows how to have sex in a ca­noe.” A re­cent sur­vey shows close to 15 per­cent of those out­door ad­ven­tur­ists are from On­tario. Syn­ony­mous with the ca­noe, the for­est of Al­go­nquin is mag­i­cal, even spir­i­tual. It is the at­trac­tion of Tom Thom­son, graz­ing moose and the haunt­ing call of the loons. Ten per­cent of all On­tario brook trout are found within the 200 lakes and creeks me­an­der­ing around shal­low hills. Pad­dle through re­mote tran­quil­ity and re­con­nect to the rus­tic beauty and calm of na­ture at the Arowhon Pines wa­ter­front re­sort and fine din­ing lounge. www.al­go­nquin­park.on.ca

2. Men­non­ite Coun­try St. Ja­cob’s

The Men­non­ite history is in­te­gral to the de­vel­op­ment of On­tario. Ride a horse-drawn trol­ley to Old Or­der Men­non­ite Farms and a sugar bush to tap and taste maple syrup and snow tof­fee. The St. Ja­cob’s Farmer’s Mar­ket is the largest agri­cul­tural mar­ket in Canada. Bring your ap­petite. Ex­plore shops and crafts of St. Ja­cob’s, from the Quilt and Maple Syrup mu­se­ums to the lo­cal brew­ery. You’ll be blown away by the 3,000-sq.-ft. Aber­foyle Model Rail­way, an as­ton­ish­ing feat of engi­neer­ing, and the most in­tri­cate “0-scale lay­out” in North Amer­ica. Restau­rants serve lo­cal farm-fresh in­gre­di­ents. Walk or cy­cle trails into the quiet of On­tario’s past. www.st­ja­cobs.com

Ice Wine Ex­pe­ri­ence Ni­a­gara

The home of Canada’s elixir is Ni­a­gara-on-the-lake. When the win­ter tem­per­a­ture drops to -8°C the mid­night har­vest be­gins. Clus­ters of frozen jewels yield­ing one drop per grape pro­duce this rich con­cen­trated nec­tar. Visit the Ice Wine Bar at In­niskillin, Canada’s most awarded and renowned win­ery. Tour, sam­ple and com­pare Vi­dal (oaked and non-oaked), Ries­ling, Caber­net Franc and Sparkling Ice Wines in their ex­clu­sive Riedel Ice Wine Glass. The Ice Wine Fes­ti­val in Jan­uary is a bo­nanza of Ni­a­gara winer­ies and restau­rants cel­e­brat­ing the frozen fruit of their labour with recipes, pair­ings and cock­tails. www.in­niskillin.com /ni­a­gara/ Icewine-col­lec­tions

4. Ni­a­gara Falls

Known for their won­drous beauty and sheer power, the falls are a sight to be­hold any time of day, night or sea­son. Get drenched on the Horn­blower Guardian jet boat as it cruises past the Falls. De­scend to look­out posts be­hind the roar­ing wa­ter of Jour­ney Be­hind the Falls. Buckle up for Ni­a­gara He­li­copters view from above, fol­lowed by vine­yard tours and tast­ings. OMG! Now there’s even talk of a zip-line across the Falls! www.ni­a­garafall­s­tourism.com

Ap­ple Pie Trail Blue Moun­tains

A haven for hik­ing the Scenic Caves, walk­ing the tree­top canopy, zip-lin­ing from the high­est point in the es­carp­ment, cy­cling wooded trails, kayak­ing, rid­ing the ope­nair gon­dola up Blue Moun­tain, climb­ing it’s Tim­ber High Ropes Course, or ski­ing in win­ter. But the most re­ward­ing triathlon? Bathing, din­ing and ap­ple pie bak­ing! The largest con­cen­tra­tion of ap­ples in the prov­ince is here. Taste how all the lo­cal ar­ti­sans use them in their crafts from restau­rants to winer­ies. Pick your own ap­ples at T&K Ferri Or­chards, and bake your own pie at Colling­wood Cook­ing Acad­emy. Then un­wind the day in the se­cluded out­door baths of Scan­di­nave Spa. www.ap­plepi­etrail.ca

Mo­tocross Go­pher Dunes

Known as the tough­est track in North Amer­ica at the pro-level, Go­pher Dunes in Nor­folk County also of­fers a 27 km marked trail sys­tem wind­ing through 100 acres of woods de­signed for all lev­els of riders. ATV and UTV rid­ing are also avail­able. All the train­ing and rentals are pro­vided. Fam­i­lies, cou­ples, friends and even chil­dren are whizzing around on their bikes through the clean air of the woods, over berms, around trees and splash­ing through pud­dles. It’s so easy and to­tally in­vig­o­rat­ing. www.go­pher­dunes.com

Div­ing Tober­mory

The Ship­wreck Div­ing Cap­i­tal of Canada in Fathom Five Na­tional Marine Park is home to a sub­merged grave­yard of 20 ship­wrecks. We feel like sub­ma­rine Goonies weav­ing in and out of an­cient ves­sels and caves. In­struc­tion, equip­ment and cour­ses for scuba and snor­kel­ing are avail­able at Diver’s Den. Don’t miss hik­ing along the Bruce Trail, climb­ing down the rock chim­ney to the Grotto or cruis­ing out to the caves and sea-stacks of Flow­er­pot Is­land. tober­mory.com/do-see/dive-snor­kel­ing.html

8. The­atre Strat­ford

The great­est se­lec­tion of plays and mu­si­cals in Canada, at­tract­ing in­ter­na­tion­ally ac­claimed stars and en­thu­si­asts alike, are at the Strat­ford Shake­speare Fes­ti­val. The Fes­ti­val also of­fers the­atre tours, gar­den tours and a tour of the third-largest cos­tume and props ware­house in the world where you can try on cos­tumes from past sea­sons. All the world is in­deed a stage, as more than 100 events fea­tur­ing more than 350 di­verse artists, lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional, per­form in­side, out­side, in his­toric churches and on the Avon River for the Sum­mer Mu­sic Fes­ti­val. If you love to sing, why not join the Sym­po­sium Choir for the week­end? Art in the Park is an unas­sum­ing ex­hi­bi­tion of lo­cal artists that en­rich and colour­ize a leisurely walk along the river and its iconic swans. www.vis­it­strat­ford.ca

Edge Walk CN Tower

Take the el­e­va­tor to the high­est point in Toronto, step out onto the roof and stroll around the edge. Just above 360 Restau­rant and the high­est wine cel­lar in the world, strap into a har­ness for the best view of Toronto. Tick­ets in­clude ac­cess to Look­out, Glass Floor, Sky­pod and other at­trac­tions. Some cou­ples even choose this as their wed­ding lo­cale. Just don’t drop the ring! www.edge­walkc­n­tower.ca

10. River Raft­ing Ot­tawa River

Hear the dis­tant rush of falls get­ing closer and closer un­til voom! Pad­dling as hard as you can you’re sucked down into the vor­tex of swelling rapids that flood and buckle the boat with ex­hil­a­rat­ing me­tre-high waves. Owl Raft­ing leads ex­cur­sions down the leg­endary 12 km ‘Rocher Fondu’ rapids of the Ot­tawa River. Ot­tawa City Raft­ing of­fers raft­ing and body surf­ing within the city lim­its. www.owlmkc.ca; www.ot­tawac­i­tyraft­ing.com

11. Win­ter­lude Ot­tawa

If you can’t beat the cold, cel­e­brate it! Rent skates and glide along the Rideau Canal, the world’s largest skat­ing rink. Heated cab­ins are sta­tioned along the way. Curl up with hot chocolate and Beaver Tails. For three weeks in Fe­bru­ary, Ot­tawa is glim­mer­ing with ice sculp­tures, snow slides and free win­ter ac­tiv­i­ties. The Snowflake King­dom in Gatineau’s Jac­ques Cartier Park is the world’s big­gest snow play­ground. www. ot­tawa­tourism.ca/ ot­tawa-in­sider/ win­ter­lude

12. Hik­ing Kil­lar­ney

The dra­matic coast­line of Ge­or­gian Bay un­folds its pink gran­ite slabs that fan out along the shore. The wooded in­te­rior re­veals crags of white quartzite that glow through the trees. Ca­noeists nav­i­gate pris­tine rivers and lakes. Hik­ing trails up to the moun­tains are spec­tac­u­larly di­verse. Stay in com­fort at the Kil­lar­ney Moun­tain Lodge for day-hikes or to be­gin back­pack­ing the 78km La Cloch Sil­hou­ette Trail. www.on­tar­i­oparks.com/ park /kil­lar­ney

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