Ontario: Travelzoo Tips
Ontario is Canada's most visited province, and we're not surprised. Home to spectacular national parks, the iconic Niagara Falls, as well as Canada's largest city (Toronto) and its capital (Ottawa), there are many popular destinations and attractions to visit.
Even beyond the more famous destinations, there is so much to see and do here. So we asked our members to share the must-see places in their own communities. Here are their tips for Ontario.
Dive into the Grotto at Bruce Peninsula National Park
"Who said you had to head south to scuba dive? With numerous shipwrecks to explore, Tobermory, Ont. is sometimes called the scuba diving capital of Canada. The Grotto, a rock cave in Georgian Bay, is an underwater National Park and can be enjoyed by snorkellers too. Even though the Grotto is usually packed with tourists, it's a must-see for first-time visitors. If you want to skip the busy Grotto, head to where the locals swim — Little Cove Beach. The water is pristine, and you'll have hundreds of metres of shoreline to space out. " — Vickie, Travelzoo Member
Head to Collingwood, Ont., for mountain biking
"If you have extra time, take the scenic route from Toronto by heading up Airport Road from Brampton. You can stop along the way at Eugenia Falls, to view a stunning 30-metre tall waterfall and views of the Niagara Escarpment. Once in the Collingwood area, spend the day exploring the hiking trails of Pretty River Provincial Park or head to Blue Mountain Resort for exhilarating mountain biking trails." - Lilia, Travelzoo Member
Road Trip Along the Niagara River
Historic Niagara-on-the-Lake has "great wineries" and the drive from Niagara Falls is "spectacular," says member Sonia. "You drive along the Niagara River with plenty of places to hike and picnic, and lots to see and do, including the cable car over the whirlpool, the floral clock and the butterfly sanctuary."
Looking for more to see and do in Niagara? We have a guide on the best things to do and see at Niagara Falls and Niagara wine country.
Visit the world’s largest freshwater archipelago at Georgian Bay Islands National Park, Ontario
“For people interested in nature and wildlife -- and in beaches -- this is the best place to go. It is a great place to visit for one to three days to see examples of southern and northern plants and wildlife. The beaches on the east side are sheltered and calm, while the west side offers moderate surf. I recommend a two-day sea kayak trip around the main island, Beausoleil.” — Brian, Travelzoo Member
Go Back in time on the Magical Lakeside Park Carousel in St. Catharines, Ontario
“This is truly a hidden gem! The Lakeside Park Carousel [built between 1898 and 1905] is an amazing antique carousel that you can ride for just 5 cents. All of the animals are hand-carved. The accompanying music takes you back to days long past and is played on an antique band organ that uses paper music rolls. My granddaughter thinks she is a princess while riding the horses that also move up and down. It’s an experience connecting our past to the present!” — Marilyn, Travelzoo Member
All the sand dunes, none of the sharks at Ontario’s Sandbanks Provincial Park
"Sandbanks Provincial Park is one of the many great travel sites in Prince Edward County, Ontario. You’ll find great beaches with hiking trails and camping grounds -- and wineries, resorts and entertainment are a short drive away. It’s like being at a freshwater ocean park with no sharks :-)!" — Greg, Travelzoo Member
Call up some history at the Bell Homestead in Brantford, Ontario
“It’s where Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone -- possibly the most important invention in history. The tour is worth the visit, but they also offer lunches and dinners at certain times.” — Christopher, Travelzoo Member
Bike the Leslie Street Spit in Toronto
"Get a great view of the city after a long hike or a bike ride. This is a conservation project in the city so it is a great place to see some of the projects at work. Great for bird watchers. In addition, there is a lighthouse by the end of the location. Best of all it is free. Although, parking spaces maybe an issue but you can get to the entrance by bus." — Jason, Travelzoo Member
Visit McCrae House in Guelph, Ont.
"This is a fascinating look at the life and times of John McCrae, the author of "In Flanders Fields." Close by you can visit the awesome edifice of the Church of Our Lady, which overlooks Guelph, then pop next door to the Civic Museum, which is the converted nunnery and offers some amazing artifacts and insight to Guelph's history. The old Albion Hotel directly across the street offers great food and drinks to sustain you after all that sightseeing." — Sandra, Travelzoo Member
Spend some time in Stratford, Ontario
"It has everything you need to find peace: a historic downtown with picturesque shops, restaurants that offer delicious local food, art festivals and of course theatre. There’s also an amazing lakeshore, as well as parks, bridges, flowers and swans. It is an authentic Canadian town full of kind, lovely people." — Dilek, Travelzoo Member
Go Boating on the Rideau Canal, Ontario
Check out the Big Nickel in Sudbury, Ontario
"The Science North science centre is the best, and there are lakes and nature to enjoy all year round." — Cathy, Travelzoo Member
Hike Beamer Memorial Conservation Area in Grimsby, Ont.
"It has beautiful hiking trails through an old Carolinian forest. Viewing platforms allow for stunning views of Lake Ontario. On a clear day you can see both Toronto and Niagara Falls in the distance. Beamer Falls itself is magnificent, especially during the spring run off. In spring, hawks and other raptors use the warm updrafts as they migrate north. An elevated raptor viewing platform is provided for those with cameras and/or binoculars to get a closer view of the spectacular birds of prey passing overhead. And the best part of all this - it's free!" — Alistair, Travelzoo Member
See the Flowers at Ottawa's Ornamental Gardens
"The Ornamental Gardens at the Central Experimental Farm should definitely be on the list when visiting Ottawa. Access to the Gardens is free from dawn to dusk, and great collections of specimens of roses, lilacs, irises and many perennials are there for everyone’s viewing pleasure."
Spend the night in Algonquin Park, Ont.
"Camping out far from city lights, the dark, starry sky is absolutely amazing. Wonder at the Milky Way and count shooting stars. If you're lucky, you might even see the Northern Lights." — Jan, Travelzoo Member
Tour Toronto's Casa Loma
"The history of how Casa Loma became an outstanding landmark and the rags-to-riches-to-rags-again story of the man behind it was captivating. A worthwhile day excursion to take it all in, including the estate, the stables and the beautiful gardens." — Dana, Travelzoo Member
Visit St. Jacobs Farmers' Market in Waterloo, Ont.
"Going to the St. Jacobs Farmers' Market on Saturday morning has become a habit for our family. Not only because of the farm-fresh produce, meat, cheese, baked goods and even fresh-cut flowers from hundreds of vendors, but also for the history, culture and heritage of the Mennonite people. Every visit is full of pleasure and sometimes surprises." — Annie, Travelzoo Member
Head South to Ontario's Pelee National Park
"The southernmost point in Canada is also home to many of Canada's migrating birds. Don't forget to stop at nearby Pelee Winery." — Hugh, Travelzoo Member