12 Bucket List Ontario Experiences


1. Edge Walk, CN Tower
Take the elevator to the highest point in Toronto, step out onto the roof and stroll around along 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 passes to Look Out, Glass Floor, Skypod and other attractions. Some couples even choose this as their wedding locale. Just don’t drop the ring. edgewalkcntower.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 Museum and Maple Syrup Museum 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. stjacobs.com

Gopher Dunes3. 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. gopherdunes.com

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 a zip-line across the Falls: Wildplay’s Mistrider Zipline to the Falls. niagarafallstourism.com

Apple Pie Trail5. Apple Pie Trail, Blue Mountains
A haven for hiking the Scenic Cave, walking the treetop canopy, zip-lining from the highest point in the escarpment, cycling wooded trails, kayaking, riding the open air gondola up Blue Mountain, climbing its 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 and taste ambrosial cider at T&K Ferri Orchards, and bring your whole family to the Farmer’s Pantry to visit the petting zoo, farmer’s market, hedge maze, Orchard mini-putt, and to taste a variety of apple products. Sample the most delicious range of hard ciders at Thornbury Village Cider House, and then unwind the day in the secluded outdoor baths of Scandinave Spa. applepietrail.ca

6. Stratford Festival
The greatest selection of plays and musicals in Canada, attracting internationally acclaimed stars and enthusiasts alike. The Festival also offers theatre tours, garden tours and tours of the third largest costume and props warehouse in the world where we 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. visitstratford.ca

Ice Wine Grapes7. Ice Wine Experience, Niagara
The home of Canada’s elixir is Niagara-on-the-Lake. When the winter temperature drops to -8°C the mid- night 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. inniskillin.com/Niagara/Icewine-Collections

8. 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 Cloche-Silhouette Trail. ontarioparks.com/park/killarney

Shipwreck of the schooner Sweepstakes located in Big Tub Harbor, Tobermory, Ontario, Canada. The Sweepstakes can be viewed from Blue Heron Company cruise boats.9. Diving, Tobermory
The Shipwreck Diving Capital of Canada in Fathom Five Marine Park is home to a submerged graveyard of 20 shipwrecks. We feel like submarine Goonies weaving in and out of 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 Flower Pot Island. tobermory.com/do-see/dive-snorkeling.html

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10. Ottawa River Rafting
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. owl-mkc.ca; 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. ottawatourism.ca/ottawa-insider/ winterlude

Algonquin Park12. 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 allure and calm of nature at the Arowhon Pines waterfront resort and fine dining lounge–the best way to experience the beauty of Ontario. algonquinpark.on.ca

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