When most people think about planning a trip to Canada, they immediately envisage checking out Vancouver, Whistler, the Rocky Mountains, and some of the islands off the coast, for a start.
However, no matter your age or interests, it’s always worthwhile adding the province of Ontario to your itinerary. Read on for some top activities you should do while in this part of the country.
See Niagara Falls
For starters, one of the most famous attractions in Ontario you don’t want to miss is Niagara Falls (it sits on the border of the state of New York, in the U.S.A., too). This wonder is made up of three distinct waterfalls, the Horseshoe Falls, American Falls, and Bridal Veil Falls. While these water features aren’t the ones with the most height in the world, they’re iconic because of the huge amount of water they gush each minute. It’s estimated that around six million cubic feet of water drop over the crestline of the falls each minute at peak times.
If you’re looking at visiting Niagara Falls for more than a day trip – remember, there is much more than just the Falls themselves to see in this area – it pays to look into comprehensive Niagara Falls’ deals which include not just accommodation, but also things like tours, transportation, and meals.
When in Niagara, there are many great ways to see the impressive power of the falls. For example, you can start by watching them from the windows in your hotel room if you book accommodation in a premium spot; then you can hop on a Maid of the Mist boat tour which will take you incredibly close to the water, close enough that you can feel the spray on your face.
The Journey Behind the Falls experience is also recommended, as it allows you to see the waterfalls from behind and below, by descending over 100 feet and exploring 130-year-old tunnels which were built through bedrock. It’s also fun to get a different view again from the Niagara SkyWheel, a Ferris wheel located in the suburb of Clifton Hill. Try to time your ride for sunset or later, so then you can take in the Niagara Falls Illumination and Fireworks show at the same time – you’ll get to see the waters of the natural phenomenon turn into all the colors of the rainbow.
Try Icewines and Other Local Drops
Besides the Falls, Ontario is also quite famous for its local wines. Within the province, there are three primary grape-growing regions where the combination of the soil and the climate create unique growing conditions. These wine “appellations” are Lake Erie North Shore, Prince Edward County, and Niagara Peninsula.
If you want to combine some wine-tasting with a trip to Niagara Falls, you will find more than 25 open-to-the-public vineyards handily located within an approximately 20-minute drive from the center of town. Many have not just on-site tasting facilities for visitors, but also restaurants or cafes, and/or tours so travelers can get a sense of how the grapes are harvested and wines created.
The pretty Ontario suburb of Niagara-on-the-Lake is a particularly good place to explore, as it has numerous wineries and is a very picturesque spot. Put a visit to Inniskillin Winery on your itinerary, as this popular vineyard is known for its “Icewine”, a special type of dessert wine produced using grapes which are left to freeze on the vine. Because the water in the grapes freezes during the winter months but the sugars don’t, this creates a more concentrated, sweet grape which is perfect for dessert varieties.
Attend a Festival
Lastly, keep in mind that Ontario is an amazing province when it comes to fun festivals, of all types, to attend. For example, if you’re a mad movie buff, try and time your visit to coincide with the Toronto International Film Festival. It is one of the world’s biggest publicly-attended film festivals, and it presents the best of each year’s international and Canadian cinema to moviegoers.
During the festival not only do you have the chance to bump into some of the most famous celebrities and filmmakers who attend to promote their work, but you can also attend screenings, lectures, workshops, discussions and more.
If music is more your jam, you’ll be in heaven too. The TD Toronto Jazz Festival has been running for more than three decades and brings over 1,500 musicians together for hundreds of performances. Many of the biggest names in jazz music have played at the festival since its inception, including Miles Davis and Diana Krall, and it has, therefore, become known as one of the premier jazz festivals in North America.