Highlights From The Road to 150 Ontario Episode
Ontario is one of the biggest provinces in Canada and is home to some amazing cities, attractions, and nature ranging from the massive cosmopolitan city of Toronto to the scenic landscapes of Algonquin Provincial Park. From kayaking next to loons to experiencing Canada Day on Parliament Hill, we had such an incredible time in Ontario.
We took a helicopter over Niagara Falls, interviewed refugees in downtown Toronto, experienced the world’s largest escape room just outside of Ottawa, and sampled award-winning wines near Niagara-on-the-Lake. We really packed a lot of adventures into our two short weeks and can’t wait to return one day and explore the province further.
We also learned many new things, including:
- Toronto is now known as the most multi-cultural city on Earth.
- The St.Lawrence Market in downtown Toronto is known as the best food market in the world.
- One of the main reasons Ottawa was chosen as Canada’s capital is due to its proximity to both English and French Canada.
Much of Ontario’s most famous attractions and cities are located in the Southeastern part of the province but Ontario is also home to a lot of beautiful lakes and forests, leaving tons of room for visitors to explore the vast natural landscapes spread across the province. Whether you’re looking for big vibrant cities, small lakeside towns, or beautiful natural scenery, Ontario is the place for you!
Things To Do in Ontario
We started our trip off in the nation’s capital. We made it there just in time for Canada Day, which was the biggest Canada Day celebration in Canada’s history. We also visited a variety of locations in and around Ottawa including the Byward Museum, the Canada Museum of History, and the Diefenbunker Cold War Museum before moving on to Niagara Falls to enjoy a helicopter ride, a journey behind the falls, a boat cruise, some wine-tasting, and a foodie tour around Niagara-on-the-Lake. We then moved up to Toronto where we explored the culture and history that make this city so incredible. We also visited the Hockey Hall of Fame, the Royal Ontario Museum, Casa Loma, and an incredible flight simulator in Mississauga. Afterward, we needed some nature and moved up to Algonquin Provincial Park to do some paddle boarding, kayaking, and swimming in the lake. We only experienced some of the highlights of this wonderful province and have featured them in the video above.
Below is a list of what we did, where we stayed, and the companies that helped make this journey possible. We’d also love to give a special shout out to Best Western International for helping to make this entire 150-day road trip happen.
Things to Do Around Ottawa
Ottawa is a beautiful and vibrant city, which is also home to Canada’s federal government. Here you’ll find incredible museums, the Rideau Canal, Parliament Hill, and so much more. You can also walk across the bridge and visit Quebec!
Canadian Museum of History
This massive, fascinating museum explores Canada’s 20,000 years of human history while offering some of the best views of Parliament Hill from across the river. Although it’s actually located in Gatineau, Quebec, it’s walking distance from Ottawa. I really loved the strong emphasis on Canada’s first peoples and learning about the aboriginal culture both before and after the Europeans arrived. It was also cool to learn about some of the most important moments from Canada’s last 150 years.
Diefenbunker Canada’s Cold War Museum
How often do you get to go into a massive 100,000 square foot underground bunker built for a nuclear war? Thankfully, this place was never used for its intended purpose and it’s now the perfect location for the world’s largest escape room, which we got to try out after our tour of the facility. We loved running around an actual military bunker like action heroes, solving clues with limited time. Very cool experience!
This great little museum is a great place to visit if you want to learn about Ottawa’s history as well as the Rideau Canal, a UNESCO World Heritage site that is also located right outside the front doors! There’s a lot of cool artifacts and we learned so much about Ottawa and Canada’s confederation.
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Things to Do Around Niagara Falls
As one of the world’s most popular natural attractions, Niagara Falls is a beauty to behold. There are so many ways to experience the falls and we tried every possible way there is, except go over them in a barrel, which is not recommended. However, there are lots of other things to do in the area as well, including wine-tasting and food tours in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
Helicopter rides are always awesome and you can probably imagine how cool it is to take a helicopter over one of the world’s biggest waterfalls. We got a birds-eye perspective of the falls and the huge cloud of mist rising into the air. It really looked like a hole in the Earth. This is definitely a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see a former world wonder from the sky.
Journey Behind the Falls
This may just be my favourite way to see the falls. Not only do you get to go right beside the falls but you can also take your time to enjoy the view for as long as you want. It’s really incredible to admire the falls from so close and if you’d like, you can also go down a tunnel and be just a few feet behind the falls, which is a good way to see just how powerful they really are.
Hornblower Niagara Cruises
There’s a reason why taking a cruise into the mist has long been a favourite activity for visitors to Niagara Falls. The boat gets you super close to the bottom, allowing you to get soaked from the mist and experience the force while looking up as the water flows over the edge.
White Water Walk
Some people admiring the falls forget about the raging river it creates after the water makes its plunge. This walking path gets you right next to the river, allowing you to walk next to class-6 rapids and a raging river flowing along at around 40 km/h. The water is too dangerous for boats but is perfect to admire from the sidelines.
Whirlpool Aero Car
Another popular attraction in the area is the whirlpool, which is located downstream from Niagara Falls. Here you can take an antique cable car over the whirlpool to get beautiful views of the surrounding area.
Niagara Culinary Tours
If you’re looking to sample wines and food, head to Niagara-on-the-Lake, a beautiful little town right on the edge of Lake Ontario and the U.S. Border. If you’re looking to sample a variety of foods while learning about the history, take a food tour with Niagara Culinary Tours. We walked all over town with our guide, Chris, learning about the area’s history while trying a variety of food, including Thai soup, beer and cheese pairings, and some of the town’s famous desserts. It was awesome!
Château des Charmes Winery
As one of Canada’s most famous wine regions, Niagara-on-the-Lake is a great place to visit wineries and try samples of award-winning wines. We visited Chateau des Charmes and took their Four @ Four experience, which included a tasting of multiple wines with selected cheese, chocolate, shortbread, and prosciutto. We also got to try their incredible ice wine, which was absolutely delicious.
Doc Magilligan’s Irish Restaurant & Pub
One of the things I love about Canada is the array of foods from around the world. Oddly enough, I never think of eating at an Irish Pub, despite my Irish heritage. Luckily, Doc Magilligan’s was located right inside our Best Western hotel and is known as the best Irish Pub in Niagara Falls. I really loved the Fisherman’s Pie, which consisted of seafood in a creamy dill sauce. This is a really good spot for hearty food and cold pints of beer. Now I live Irish food!
Things to Do Around Toronto
Canada’s biggest city is home to a vast amount of incredible museums, attractions, restaurants, and more. There’s also a beautiful harbor, Toronto Island, and a multi-cultural scene unlike anywhere else in the country. We had only four days in the city and made sure to pack in as many things as we could.
The CN Tower dominates the Toronto skyline and is a great place to get a view of the entire city as well as Lake Ontario and Toronto Island. It might not be the tallest building in the world anymore but it’s still an architectural marvel and a great place to go for sunset.
Royal Ontario Museum
This is the biggest museum in Canada and one of the biggest in North America. Home to more than six million items and forty galleries, you could explore this place for days. We happened to be there a special exhibit called Out of the Depths, the Blue Whale Story. This was incredibly interesting and beautiful and gave us insight into the world’s biggest mammal. We saw the real skeleton and a real heart, which is almost as a big as a smart car! If you’re interested in nature or history or art or almost anything else, this is the place to go.
Tea N Bannock Aboriginal Restaurant
We had never been to an indigenous restaurant before and we’re so excited to try one out in Toronto. We had delicious bannock, bison burgers, and Arctic Char. The food was delicious and we loved the spruce-infused water. Bison burgers on a bannock bun are incredible!
Tasty Tours (The Food Tour With a Sweet Twist)
If you’re looking to try some interesting food while getting a taste of the culture, this is a great tour to take. I loved meeting the shop owners and learning their story. In fact, that’s what makes this tour special. I loved learning about how the businesses got started and we actually ended up interviewing a lot of the people we met through this tour. Highly recommended!
Bruce Bell Historical Walking Tour
I really think historical walking tours are the best thing to do when you first arrive in a new city. They really help bring the city to life and that’s just what happened when we took a tour with Bruce Bell, a man well known for his incredible St. Lawrence Market tours. This is where Toronto got its start and it was so interesting to learn about the market and the surrounding area. Highly recommended!
uFly Flight Simulator
I’ve been wanting to try a flight simulator for quite some time and finally got the chance in Mississauga! Home to the only North America’s only 180-degree full HD screen to the fully motorized throttle quadrant of the 777-200LR in the country, this is one of the best public flight simulators in the world. This is a really cool way to experience life as a pilot without actually leaving the ground. It’s incredibly realistic and you get a real pilot next to you to help you “fly” and answer any questions you might have.
Steam Whistle Brewery
As one of the most photographed places in Toronto, the Steam Whistle brewery is a really cool place to visit in downtown Toronto. Take a tour, sample the beer, and learn about the history behind this really cool Canadian-owned beer company. In fact, they’re so cool that they even hosted our Road to 150 Toronto meetup! Thanks, Steam Whistle!
Things to Do Around Algonquin Provincial Park
Algonquin Provincial Park is a beautiful slice of nature just a couple of hours North of Toronto. It’s a great place to go canoeing or kayaking, fishing, camping, or hiking. One day, we hope to go back in the fall when the fall colours are in full force.
Arowhon Pines in Algonquin
If you’re looking for the perfect blend of nature and luxury near Toronto, look no further than Arowhon Pines. With gourmet food served three times daily in a rustic lodge overlooking a beautiful lake, Arowhon is a great place to relax if you’re looking for peace and tranquility mixed with incredible service and delicious food. We spent our days canoeing next to loons, paddle boarding around the lake, and jumping off the dock and into the water before watching the sunset and sitting next to the fire inside our lodge.
Thank you to Tourism Ontario for sponsoring two nights of accommodation during our time in Toronto. For information on things to do around Ontario, visit www.ontariotravel.net. Their hashtag is #DiscoverON
Thank you to Toronto Tourism for providing us with a pass that got us into many of the cities attractions. For more information on things to do in Toronto, visit www.seetorontonow.com.
As you can see in the video, we had a great time in Ontario. There are so many things to do in this massive province, including big city entertainment and boundless nature. From massive waterfalls and beautiful lakes to vibrant cities and a multi-cultural society, Ontario is a really cool province to explore. Packing all of Canada into just 150 days was no easy task and our visit to Ontario wasn’t nearly long enough to do everything we’d like to do. We hope this list gives you a starting point for planning your visit to the province and we can’t wait to return one day and explore the area much deeper.
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