ON­TARIO: ONE PROV­INCE, MANY POS­SI­BIL­I­TIES

Few places in the world can of­fer visi­tors fly-in fish­ing camps, Broad­way-cal­i­bre theatre, Indige­nous experiences and a world-fa­mous wa­ter­fall— but On­tario can.

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

Larger than France and Spain to­gether, On­tario is a place where you can sip mer­lot in a vine­yard or pho­to­graph po­lar bears in the wild. Where you can kick up your cowboy boots at a coun­try mu­sic fes­ti­val or wear di­a­monds to the opera. Where you can spot Hol­ly­wood celebri­ties at a film­fest or camp alone un­der the real stars. From Canada’s big­gest and most di­verse city to the windswept shore of Hud­son Bay, On­tario of­fers visi­tors more va­ri­ety than most coun­tries do.

On­tario is home to Canada’s cap­i­tal, Ottawa, where you can thrill to the

Chang­ing of the Guard cer­e­mony on Par­lia­ment Hill (www.parl.ca), see the mag­nif­i­cent Canada Goose Arc­tic Gallery 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.see torontonow.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.on­tar­io­science cen­tre.ca), the land­mark CN Tower (www. cn­tower.ca) and an­i­mals such as pen­guins and chee­tahs 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/sleep­ing

gi­ant) 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 in Ni­a­garaon-the-Lake (www.ni­a­garaon­the­lake.com), en­joy a spa day in Cobourg (www.cobourg tourism.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.come­wan­der.ca) and the Rideau Val­ley (www.rideauher­itager­oute. ca). Pam­per your­self with a rest­ful week­end at one of On­tario’s sum­mer re­sorts (www. re­sort­so­fontario.com).

WHAT’S NEW?

En­joy spe­cial events in pro­vin­cial parks across On­tario to cel­e­brate the park sys­tem’s 125th an­niver­sary (www.on­tario parks.com).

Eu­ro­pean-based Le Boat will be of­fer­ing boat­ing va­ca­tions on the Rideau Canal in East­ern On­tario. Groups of two to ten peo­ple can rent and pi­lot the boats; no boat­ing ex­pe­ri­ence is nec­es­sary (www. leboat.ca/en).

The first phase of a $120-mil­lion ex­pan­sion and ren­o­va­tion of the 19th cen­tury Elora

Mill is sched­uled to open mid-year. Highlights in­clude a cliffside spa and a glass-en­closed restau­rant above the Grand River (www.elo­ramill.ca).

Toronto opened six new sub­way sta­tions on De­cem­ber 17, 2017 (www.ttc.ca). Ottawa plans to open the first phase of its light rail tran­sit sys­tem late this year (www.ligne con­fed­er­a­tionline.ca).

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.edge­walkc­n­tower. ca). Re­lax on the shores of Lake On­tario at Har­bourfront Cen­tre (www.har­bourfront cen­tre.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.ca). The Hill over­looks the Rideau Canal, a UNESCO World Her­itage site that draws cy­clists, boaters and skaters (www.parkscanada.gc. ca/rideau). 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.ot­tawared blacks.com), as well as the Ottawa 67’s of the On­tario Hockey League (www.ottawa 67s.com).

The ex­cel­lent at­trac­tions in the prov­ince’s smaller cities range from the

Art Gallery of Hamil­ton (www.art­galleryof hamil­ton.com), the Cana­dian Ca­noe Mu­seum in Peter­bor­ough (www.ca­noe mu­seum.ca) and the Cana­dian Bush­plane Her­itage Cen­tre in Sault Ste. Marie (www. bush­plane.com), to pub­lic mar­kets such as the Kingston Pub­lic Mar­ket (www.kingston pub­lic­mar­ket.ca), the Covent Gar­den

Mar­ket in Lon­don (www.covent­mar­ket.com) and the St. Jacobs Farm­ers’ Mar­ket in the heart of Men­non­ite coun­try (www. st­ja­cobs.com/Farm­ers-Mar­ket-Gen­er­alIn­for­ma­tion.htm).

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). 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.owl-mkc. ca/mkc/info/thecd­nca­noer­oute) 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). Zip through the trees at Sky­wood Eco Ad­ven­ture near Brockville (www.sky­woodzip.com) or Long Point Eco-Ad­ven­tures in St. Wil­liams (www. lp­fun.ca), or fly 67 m (220 ft.) above the Ni­a­gara Gorge on Wild­Play’s MistRider Zi­pline to the Falls (www.wild­play.com/ ni­a­gara-falls). 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 per­for­mances 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.what­son­tonight.ca). In Ottawa, the re­cently ren­o­vated Na­tional Arts Cen­tre of­fers dance, mu­sic by the Na­tional Arts Cen­tre Orchestra and oth­ers, and English and French theatre (www.nac-cna.ca/en). 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 the Toronto Sym­phony Orchestra (www.tso.ca) and the Cana­dian Opera Com­pany (www.coc.ca), while dance afi­ciona­dos en­joy the Na­tional Bal­let of Canada (na­tional.bal­let.ca).

Fine art has many homes across the prov­ince, in­clud­ing the Art Gallery of On­tario (www.ago.ca), the McMichael Cana­dian Art Col­lec­tion (www.mcmichael. com) and the Na­tional Gallery of Canada (www.gallery.ca). Learn about Indige­nous Peo­ples of On­tario at Pet­ro­glyphs Pro­vin­cial Park near Peter­bor­ough (www.on­tar­i­oparks.com/park/pet­ro­glyphs) and the Mu­seum of On­tario Ar­chae­ol­ogy in Lon­don (www. ar­chae­ol­o­gy­mu­seum.ca). Indige­nous 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/visit/her­itage/ old-fort-erie) near Ni­a­gara Falls; Fort York (www.forty­ork.ca) and Black Creek Pi­o­neer Vil­lage (www.black­creek.ca) in Toronto; Do on Her­itage V ill age(www. water­loo re­gion mu­seum.ca/en/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).

Make maple syrup at one of the only places in the world where you can do so from spring through fall: The Deakins Bed & Break­fast in Kil­laloe (www.deak­in­bandb.com).

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).

Have a drink at the 2016 Cana­dian Moonshine Dis­tillery of the Year: Mur­phy’s Law in Elmira (www.mur­phys­law­moon­shine.com).

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).

Have din­ner be­low a raised 20-m (65-ft.) hy­draulic lift lock on the Trent-Sev­ern Water­way in Peter­bor­ough (www.the kawarthas.ca/dine-un­der-water-world­shigh­est-hy­draulic-lift-lock).

Revel in On­tario’s glo­ri­ous fall colours aboard the Agawa Canyon Tour Train, which de­parts from Sault Ste. Marie (www. agawa­train.com). Fur­ther north, board the Po­lar Bear Ex­press, a re­cently re­fur­bished train that takes you from Cochrane to Moosonee on the shores of James Bay (www.on­tar­i­onorth­land.ca/en/home).

Howl with wolves at the Hal­ibur­ton For­est Wolf Cen­tre, home to one of the world’s largest wolf en­clo­sures of its kind (www.hal­ibur­ton­for­est.com/ things-to-do/wolf-cen­tre).

Cut­ting across South­ern On­tario from Wind­sor to the Québec bor­der and stretch­ing over 2,100 km (1,305 mi.), the Wa­ter­front Trail—open for cy­cling, hik­ing and other types of non-mo­tor­ized trans­port—links 114 com­mu­ni­ties and hun­dreds of 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— re­cently ex­panded to in­clude an out­door science park and play­ground, com­plete with min­ing equip­ment (www.science north.ca).

Quick Fact

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

SHIELD ACROSS ON­TARIO.

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/com­mu­ni­ties/1000is­lands-park­way-on).

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

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

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 a range of in­ter­ests, from bird­ing to beaches (www.on­tar­ios­south­west.com).

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

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.story book.lon­don.ca). Plane buffs should see the Canada Avi­a­tion and Space Mu­seum (www. in­ge­ni­um­canada.org/avi­a­tion/in­dex.php). Gamers flock to The Rec Room, a large ar­cade and en­ter­tain­ment com­plex near Toronto’s Rogers Cen­tre (www.there­c­room.com) and to CtrlV,a vir­tual-re­al­ity ar­cade chain with mul­ti­ple lo­ca­tions in South­ern On­tario, in­clud­ing a flag­ship ar­cade in Water­loo (www.ctrlv.ca). Bud­ding me­chan­ics can tour a Toy­ota Mo­tor Man­u­fac­tur­ing Canada plant in Cam­bridge (www.tmmc.ca/en/plants/plant-tours). 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.

14,193,400Toronto; Na­tional Cap­i­tal: Ottawawww.on­tar­i­o­travel.netToronto Pear­son In­ter­na­tional Air­port, 27 km (16 mi.) from down­townBilly Bishop Toronto City Air­port, 3 km (2 mi.) from down­townOttawa Macdon­ald-Cartier In­ter­na­tional Air­port,10 km (6 mi.) from down­town

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