Your Complete Guide to Visiting Ontario

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Ontario is as diverse as it is liveable. Spanning over 415,000 square miles and home to more than a third of the country’s population, this Canadian province is home to world-class icons such as the cities of Toronto and Ottawa and natural legends such as the Great Lakes, Niagara Falls and over 300 provincial parks. It’s big and popular and yet these vast tracts of land feel like they’re yours to discover.

As Canada’s second largest province, stretching from the vast Hudson Bay in the north to the US border in the south, there is plenty to do. Toronto and Ottawa are the main transportation hubs, although other airports in the region are connected by transfers from these two international gateways. The open roads also make it prime territory for road trips, so whichever way you head here, the wide open spaces invite you to venture further afield and discover the vast array of experiences. And with just five hours time difference with the UK, it’s easy and accessible even if the scenery makes you feel a million miles away. Visitors to the area can be sure that they will find something to please them, arouse their curiosity and inspire them to discover more.

North West

The Northwest is where you’ll find the most rugged terrain and wildest scenery

(Destination Ontario)

The northwestern stretches of this province are where you’ll experience Ontario’s wildest. This vast wilderness of vast expanses and extreme temperatures is where ancient pine forests and pristine lakes are the playground for those looking to hike, camp or paddle through iconic landscapes. Boreal forests and strips of tundra dominate the landscape, and traveling by car or canoe takes you into the rugged wilderness of this deep space.

Northeast

This beautiful and atmospheric corner of Canada is an adventurous traveler’s paradise. Freshwater rivers and lakes are everywhere, with rustic lodges and camps ensuring keen anglers are well catered for. In Algoma, ancient forests make for spectacular hiking trails and canoe routes, while in Sudbury you can pair high-speed biking through snow-covered winter forests with an urban adventure among the city’s many attractions. .

For a stress-free island experience enriched with millennia-old Indigenous history, head to Manitoulin Island, the largest freshwater island in the world. Cultural events and festivals take place throughout the year, and the island’s diverse topography makes it a scenic adventure playground. Hike through hardwood forest on the Cup and Saucer Trail for excellent views of the island, Lake Huron, and the small lakes of Manitoulin. Or for a different perspective, spend an afternoon riding and wagoning at one of the island’s many ranches.

Greater Toronto Area

The iconic skyline and inspiring cultural scene are just two factors that contribute to Toronto’s excellent global reputation

(Destination Toronto)

Big cities, big impact. This section of Ontario is the most populated and for good reason, and is called the “Golden Horseshoe”. You’ll fall in love with Toronto, the big city with world status, in an instant. From the towering CN Tower that dots the skyline to eclectic neighborhoods, this city on the shores of Lake Ontario is a music and culture capital with plenty to sing along to. Outside of town, history abounds with intriguing places such as Simcoe County where you’ll find the site of the first non-native settlement and Wasaga Beach, the longest freshwater beach in the world.

East

Kingston City Hall sits at the heart of this culturally fascinating destination

(Getty Images)

It’s here in Eastern Ontario that you’ll find quiet but mighty Ottawa, and other interesting attractions such as trendy and historic Kingston. Elsewhere, Prince Edward County attracts quieter adventurers looking to indulge in the wine and culinary offerings, while Kawartha Lakes is the place to go to hop between the 14 lakes that give it its name. Kawartha means living water and happy lands in the local native language, which is rightly evocative and perfectly accurate.

South West

From London, Canada, to beautiful beach towns, to Canada’s dairy capital, the urban and rural hotspots of this region all have their place. Surrounded by water, from Lake Huron to the Detroit River, it is a place dominated by its waterways. The Great Lakes Waterfront Trail is a great way to soak up the best of this destination.

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