Your session will timeout due to inactivity, please choose to continue your session if you’d would like to continue.
From buzzing cities to vast wildernesses, Ontario has an answer for every craving. High-energy adventure and the tranquillity of nature await visitors to Canada's most populous province.
Located in the central part of the country, Ontario is home to Canada's capital, Ottawa, and its largest city, Toronto. Travellers flock to Toronto for a taste of its world-class attractions, entertainment, shopping and restaurants. The city has also become a cultural hub on the international stage, thanks in part to the influence of nearby Montreal and New York. Vibrant multicultural neighbourhoods have given Toronto a cosmopolitan edge, though not at the expense of its signature politeness.
Ottawa and Toronto are in the southeastern corner of the province, around the massive lake Ontario. The north is bear country and largely uninhabited. The rest of the province is scenic, nature-filled, and just a few hours' drive outside of Toronto. The awesome Niagara Falls and legendary Great Lakes of North America make this region a nature-lover's dream destination. Canoeing, swimming and diving are popular activities, while the province's sprawling forests make it a priority stop for hikers.
Ontario is crammed full of tourist attractions. The urban hubs of Toronto and Ottawa dominate the cultural scene, while seven national parks and 300 plus provincial parks provide scenic outdoor recreation.
Ontario's celebrated national parks are the UNESCO-listed Bruce Peninsula National Park, the Fathom Five National Marine Park, the Thousand Islands National Park, the Georgian Bay Islands National Park, the Point Pelee National Park, the Pukaskwa National Park and the St Lawrence Islands National Park. The most popular natural attractions in the province include the awe-inspiring Niagara Falls, the Thousand Islands, which stretch for miles in the St Lawrence River, and the rugged coastlines of Lake Superior.
Ontario also boasts fun theme parks, numerous world-class museums, living history attractions and as much shopping and nightlife as anybody could want in the big cities. Toronto is the main urban drawcard and its top sightseeing attractions include the lofty CN Tower, the Royal Ontario Museum, the Toronto Zoo and Paramount Canada's Wonderland.
Casa Loma is the only full-sized castle in North America. Formerly the home of Canadian financier, Sir Henry Pellatt, it is a wonderland of secret passageways, and elaborately decorated rooms.
Pallet used his immense personal fortune to build the chateau, though financial troubles meant he could not sustain it. Today, the City of Toronto owns the castle and welcomes guests in daily. All in all, visitors enjoy touring the authentically furnished rooms and splendid gardens, and appreciating stunning views of Toronto from one of the castle's towers.
Standing 1,815ft (553m) high, Toronto's CN Tower was the world's tallest building until 2007. Today, it remains a renowned architectural masterpiece, and is perhaps Canada's most celebrated icon.
One of the tower's top attractions is the award-wining 360 Restaurant. It offers guests breath-taking, revolving views of the city, and dishes created with the finest Canadian ingredients. Another drawcard is EdgeWalk. At 1168ft (356m) above ground, it is the world's highest 'hands-free' external walk and must for all thrill seekers.
The Royale Ontario Museum treats visitors to displays of art, culture and nature from around the globe and across the ages. It ranks as one of North America's premier cultural institutions, and is Canada's largest and most comprehensive museum.
Its 40 gallery and exhibition spaces house 13 million artworks, cultural objects and natural history specimens, including dinosaurs, galleries of Chinese art, a bat cave, a gem and gold room, exhibits about Ancient Egypt and Nubia, and the Samuel European Galleries. Visitors will not be disappointed.
The Toronto Zoo is one of the largest zoos in the world, with more than six miles (10km) of walking trails spread over 700 acres. Over 5000 animals representing over 450 species call it home.
Visitors will enjoy touring the zoo's seven geographic regions and encountering animals that are native to them. Favourites include hippos, lemurs, otters, gorillas, bears, Giant Pandas, snow leopards, lions, penguins and cheetahs.
All told, award-winning exhibits await the entire family, as do many seasonal activities. The zoo's interactive wildlife experience is especially popular with kids.
Parliament Hill is a place for decision-making, but also a place for people. Visitors can tour some of the buildings, watch Parliament in action, and enjoy ceremonial spectacles like the Changing of the Guard ceremony.
Three buildings make up Canada's parliament complex. The centre block, with its distinctive Peace Tower, houses the Senate and Commons chambers. Visitors can watch either chamber in action, take a tour of the building, and climb the Peace Tower for a view of the capital city region. The historic east block contains the restored offices of Canada's first prime minister, Sir John A Macdonald, and other early statesmen. Visitors can enjoy tours of these historic rooms. The west block contains the offices of members of parliament, and is not open to the public.
The Canadian Museum of History welcomes over 1.2 million visitors every year. Created to enhance Canada's understanding of its own past and to strengthen the country's awareness of world history, the museum is an interesting stop for anyone travelling to Ontario.
Along with its ongoing exhibitions, such as the striking Grand Hall, the museum presents many tremendous exhibitions focusing on Canadian history, world history and civilisation. Visitors arriving with kids may want to check out the Canadian Children's Museum as well. It offers a truly child-friendly experience by including games, toys, costumes and hands-on props. The museum also has a 500-seat theatre, and a 295-seat movie theatre equipped with a giant 3D screen. All told, the combination of attractions should keep the entire family happy for hours.
Locals and visitors treasure Gatineau Park. Located just 15 minutes from downtown Ottawa, it is the capital's conservation and matchless outdoor-recreation haven. Travellers can expect a fun menu of activities, regardless of which season they arrive in.
Swimming, hiking, biking, camping, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are all on offer within an area renowned for its hilly woodlands and clear lakes. Visitors typically enjoy exploring the beautiful Luskville Falls, the diversity of forests along the King Mountain Trail, and Lusk Cave: a marble cave and geological phenomenon. Gatineau Park is definitely worth a full-day trip.
Visitors can travel back to 1816 at Fort William Historical Park (formerly Old Fort William). Located at Thunder Bay, it is an authentic duplicate of the North West Company of Montreal's inland headquarters. The company was a major player in the fur-trading business.
Indeed, the North American fur trade is a part of Canada's colourful past. The fort brings this history to life through recreations of the characters, sounds, sights and smells that would have existed almost two centuries ago. The sprawling 250-acre site contains more than 57 heritage and modern buildings, which visitors are free to explore.
Visitors can also enjoy overnight experiences, education programs, artisan workshops, conferences, banquets, festivals and recreational opportunities.
Ontario's official gemstone, amethyst, is one of the many natural resources found on the north shore of Lake Superior. The violet-coloured semiprecious stones native to this area come in beautiful shades, like Precious Purple and Thunder Bay Lavender. Visitors can mine their own at the Panorama Mine, 35 miles (56km) east of Thunder Bay. The site contains the largest deposit of amethyst in Canada. The mine currently produces 40 percent useable amethyst by volume, and has a large digging area open to the public that contains 20 percent useable amethyst. All visitors need is a bucket and spade to enjoy a fun mining experience.
Sleeping Giant Provincial Park is set on a rugged peninsula near Thunder Bay. Known as the 'park of legends', it was once home to the region's natives, who fished and hunted the rolling, forested terrain for some 9000 thousand years.
Today, hikers will enjoy the park's trails, which run to the tops of granite cliffs and open onto spectacular views of Lake Superior. Winter travellers can explore these on skis or snowshoes. The park also supports an exceptional mix of plant life, with two rare orchids, the Adder's Mouth and the Striped Orchid, growing in the southern end.
In fact, 24 types of orchid grow in the park, as do ferns. Wildlife includes more than 200 species of bird, white-tailed deer, red foxes, porcupines, moose, bears, wolves and lynx.
Lake Superior is the largest of the Great Lakes of North America. Ontario shares this vast expanse of water with the American states of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. The main attractions for visitors are the rugged shoreline and beautiful wilderness landscapes, which, together, can keep lovers of nature interested for hours.
Visitors tend to feel life slowing down as they immerse themselves in all the area has to offer. Scenic tours, hiking trails and kayaking on the world's largest body of fresh water are among the most popular things to do.
The Distillery Historic District is a much-loved centre for arts, culture, food and entertainment in Toronto. Said to contain the finest collection of Victorian-era industrial architecture in North America, it is indeed a worthy national historic site.
The district had its beginnings 1832 and eventually became the largest distillery in the British Empire. It assumed its current role as an arts and culture centre during the 1990s, doubling as one of Canada's most popular film locations. As of 2003, it has been a pedestrian-only village dedicated to the arts. Anyone visiting Toronto should explore the district's many art galleries, artisan boutiques, specialty retail stores and restaurants. Also, festivals and special events often take place.
The Museum of Contemporary Art, Toronto Canada (MOCA) looks to exhibit, research, collect and promote innovative art by Canadian and international artists whose works tackle the most relevant issues of our times. Formerly the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, the institution has been praised for its incisive, artist-centric approach to programming, and its friendly visitor experience.
MOCA is very much a hub for creative exchange, and is definitely worth a visit.
Housed in an award-winning piece of architecture, the Gardiner Museum of Ceramics showcases a craft that has existed for centuries. With earthenware of all different shapes and sizes from the ancient Americas, China, Japan, the Italian Renaissance and more, a tour through the museum will shape visitors' understanding of the ceramic process, and its place in world history. The museum hosts drop-in classes on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, and is home to 'Toronto's Best Gift Shop', Vogue.
Kensington Market embodies Toronto's multicultural society. Since the 1960s, immigrants from Eastern Europe to China and the Caribbean have injected their customs into the market, creating an area that is a model of open-mindedness. Today, this national historic site remains one of Toronto's oldest, most diverse and liveliest neighbourhoods. Essentially, it's an eclectic mix of cafes, restaurants, vintage stores, bars and speciality food shops where nobody's really foreign. Visitors enjoy getting lost here for hours.
The Harbourfront Centre remains at the heart what's current and creative in Toronto. The innovative not-for-profit cultural organisation has been around for more than 40 years, and specialises in creating events and activities that wake up and entertain a diverse public. Locals gather at the centre's distinctive waterfront venues for some weekend gallery hopping, shopping, biking and concerts. Visitors enjoy strolling along the promenade, indulging in theatrical performances and browsing craft boutiques. Or, they head to Queen's Quay Centre for some superb shopping. Year-round features at this urban playground include film, dance, theatre, music, children's and marine events.
Avid hockey fans should visit Toronto's Hockey Hall of Fame. Within this shrine to Canada's national sport, visitors can learn about the history of the game through memorabilia from every era, hockey artefacts from around the world, themed exhibits, multimedia stations and images of great moments in hockey history. Iconic players' goalie gear, skates and sticks are also on display. Visitors usually relish having hands-on access to the Stanley Cup, and trying out state-of-the-art games that challenge shooting and goalkeeping skills.
Boasting more than 200 attractions, Splash Works and a huge variety of roller coasters, Paramount Canada's Wonderland is deservedly the country's favourite theme park. Its menu of rides includes carousels, train rides and the Time Warp - Canada's only flying roller coaster.
The park also has lots of shopping and dining options. All told, this attraction has a variety of rides and amusements to suit all age groups, and is a must for the entire family.
Along with being Toronto's largest public park, High Park is also one of the city's most important natural areas. Visitors will encounter woodland, wetlands, a beautiful lakefront, prairie habitats and a preserved slice of the black-oak savannah ecosystem that once covered most of southern Ontario. It all makes for an idyllic setting in which to enjoy the park's playgrounds, zoo, dog park, hiking trails, greenhouses, picnic areas, eateries and sporting facilities. Parking is convenient and public-transport access is easy. All said, High Park makes for a complete day out.
Ontario's climate is continental, meaning the province experiences hot, humid summers and very cold winters with heavy snowfall. Spring and autumn tend to be milder. Due to the Great Lakes, the province experiences far less variation in its temperatures year round, and more precipitation than would be expected for such a central region.
Cities located farther away from the lakes in the south of the province are much hotter, and temperatures can reach around 80°F (27°C), with possible heat waves. In winter, areas north of the Great Lakes tend to be much colder, with more severe winters caused by arctic air currents. Temperatures can range between 36°F (0°C) and 14°F (-10°C).
Located within the sophisticated setting of the Metropolitan Hotel, Lai Wah Heen is renowned for turning the finest local produce into authentic dishes from different regions of China. The large menu offers some of the best dim sum in the city, as well as other intriguing options. Service is attentive and the food is elegantly served. The restaurant opens daily for lunch and dinner.
Senses Cafe is the perfect place to launch a bright day in Toronto. Fresh-brewed artisanal coffee, decadent treats, seasonal fruit and guilt-free comfort food are all on offer to feed the body and nourish the soul. Patrons enjoy themselves before emerging into a city full of possibilities.
For those wishing to sleep in, the cafe does made-to-order brunch favourites on weekends, and a selection of chef-curated lunches on weekdays.
Named after Toronto's latitude, North 44 has been one of the city's most genteel eating places for many years and is an experience in pampering. The artistic interior bathes diners in a warm glow, the food is superb and the service flawless. The seasonal menu is influenced by Mediterranean, American and Asian flavours and might include pepper and sesame crusted tuna, lamb shank or stuffed quail, as well as a few exciting pastas and pizzas. Desserts such as the lemon meringue mille-feuille are the best in town. Reservations essential. Closed Sunday. Dinner only.
For foodies visiting Toronto, 360 Restaurant is a definite bucket-list item. Located in one of the world's tallest free-standing structures, the CN Tower, it offers patrons breath-taking, revolving views of the city, and dishes created with the finest Canadian produce. Daily lunch service runs from 11am-3.15pm. Dinner is from 3.30pm-10.15pm. Visitors should also note that the summer menu starts in May, while the winter menu begins in November.
Established over 30 years ago, Bangkok Garden is noted for introducing Thai cuisine and culture to Toronto. The Thai Consulate has since awarded the restaurant the Thai Select Premium designation, recognising the authenticity of its food and the tremendous quality of its service. Bangkok Garden is open Monday to Friday for lunch and dinner, while Saturdays and Sundays are dinner only.
Widely considered one of the country's best restaurants, Canoe is renowned for crafting dishes that reflect Canada's diverse landscape and heritage. House chefs use only the finest produce from around the country, sourced through their close relationships with domestic farmers and suppliers. Canoe is open for lunch and dinner from Monday to Friday, while Saturdays and Sundays are for private events.
Straddling the Canadian-United States border between Ontario and New York, the awesome Niagara Falls attracts millions of tourists every year. The visit makes for a spectacular day trip from Toronto.
Indeed, there is plenty of action on the Niagara peninsula. Apart from appreciating one of the tallest waterfalls in the world (perhaps from a spray-filled boat tour), visitors can enjoy wine-tasting, skydiving, and spectacular helicopter rides above the thundering falls.
The Toronto Islands are only a short ferry ride from the mainland, and provide a peaceful green refuge from the hubbub of the city. Whether alone or with company, visitors can enjoy a world of tree-filled picnic spots, car-free streets, quaint old cottages and beachfront attractions.
Three major islands - Centre, Ward's and Algonquin - make up Toronto Island. Paths, bridges and boardwalks connect all of them. Also, short walks or bike rides separate visitors from four sandy beaches named Centre Island Beach, Gibraltar Point Beach, Hanlan's Point Beach and Ward's Island Beach.
Centre Island is normally a hit with kids, who relish its huge picnic areas, bike paths and maze. It even has an amusement park, a petting zoo and picturesque swan boats for younger children.
Jungle Cat World Wildlife Park is one of Ontario's most popular tourist attractions. Just 45 minutes east of Toronto, the park is home to a diverse collection of mammals, such as wolves, skunks, lemurs and chimpanzees. That said, its collection of big cats makes the park truly special.
When it opened in 1985, the park's purpose was primarily recreational. These days, it has taken on a more pronounced environmental-education role. The park's chief enterprises include housing rare and endangered cats, and running a variety of fun, kid-friendly programs. The goal is to educate visitors about the dire need to protect snow leopards, Siberian tigers, and the other magnificent animals on display.
Visitors should strive to catch the park's Feeding Tour, which occurs at 1.30pm daily.
Your session will timeout due to inactivity, please choose to continue your session if you’d would like to continue.
Your session has timed out due to inactivity.