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Ontario, Canada

Great Destination:

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Total Stars:

Personality Types that Like it Best

Did You Know…?

  • Ontario has about 250 ghost towns, way more than any other province or U.S. state.
  • At the time of the War of 1812, more than half Ontario’s residents were American transplants.
  • The province counts about 250,000 lakes, one-third of the world’s fresh water.
  • The Dionne sisters, born on an Ontario farm, were identical quintuplets.
  • Ontario’s southernmost point lines up with Rome; the northernmost roughly with Edinburgh.

Made for nature lovers

Most visitors to Ontario generally visit its principal city Toronto or they head for recreation areas located beyond the cities and towns. Ontario is host to the national capital, Ottawa, as well, but Toronto is larger and seen as the livelier place for nighttime entertainment or other diversions.

As for appealing natural sites, Ontario has those in abundance. Its border touches four Great Lakes; its northernmost boundary reaches Hudson Bay, and in between, Ontario counts thousands upon thousands of lakes, mile after mile of rivers plus forests covering nearly two-thirds of the province. Choices are nearly limitless.

Vacation destinations in Canada impress Americans as having a clean, attractive appearance and providing a feeling that they’ll be safe wherever they wander. Ontario is no exception. Americans also appreciate that English is the language. Besides, about 40% of North America’s population is within a day’s drive of southern Ontario.

Toronto, Canada’s largest city, is a center for commerce and culture, as well as the provincial capital. While Toronto reflects its British heritage, it also comes close to having the greatest ethnic diversity of any city in North America.

Visitors say Toronto has the excitement of a large, multicultural city, the charm and hospitality of English tradition and the architectural diversity and immaculate appearance that rival any city on the continent. American visitors are especially entertained by Toronto’s underground city, an entire network of stores, restaurants, offices and other businesses. It’s possible to avoid bad weather for days!

Next door to Toronto, Niagara Falls, long regarded as a honeymoon destination, remains a popular place for all vacationers.

As a large province, Ontario allows active travelers many opportunities for recreation, especially on its lakes and rivers. Those who seek solitude enjoy the tranquility of Ontario’s unspoiled wilderness areas where wide open spaces and natural beauty refresh and renew tired urban souls.

Although all personality types give Ontario a thumbs up, its visitor count largely consists of those in the middle of the personality scale. These tourists may spend a day or two In Toronto or Niagara Falls, then head to a national park or conservation area for outdoor pursuits.

Things to do for Venturers

  • Take the daylong Agawa Canyon Train Tour from Sault Ste. Marie for a look at some spectacular wilderness scenery. You travel 114 miles out before turning back. At mile 102, you begin the descent 500 feet to the floor of the Agawa Canyon.
  • If you understand this one, you may want to attend: the October Rock Paper Scissors International World Championships in Toronto. The event is called “a decision-making game of wits, speed, dexterity and strategy between players who are unable to reach a decision using other means.”
  • Go camping and hiking in the Lake Superior Provincial Park.
  • Fish in Ontario and, with enough luck and skill, you may qualify for an Ontario Angler Award.
  • Visit a ghost town. In Ontario, there are about 250 partially or totally abandoned towns, for good reason in many cases: You cannot get to them. However, a few are candidates for tourism: Balaclava, Ballycroy, Creighton, Depot Harbour and Millbridge Station, for example.
  • This is really quirky, but here goes: There is a sanctioned nude beach on Hanlan’s Point, an island in Lake Ontario near Toronto’s harbor. So, you can shed all and sit on this beach, but it is illegal to enter the water without wearing a swimsuit, and you wouldn’t want to anyway. Believe it or not, here is the spot in Ontario that is too polluted for swimming.

Things to do for Centrics

  • Ride the rails, and make a day trip of it. Take the Polar Bear Express from Cochrane, a mining and lumbering center, to Moosonee, where the Hudson Bay Company established a trading post in the 17th century.
  • Go hiking and canoeing in Algonquin Provincial Park. It is a wildlife sanctuary at the headwaters of five major rivers. Near the highway, the park is well developed, but in the interior, no motor vehicles are allowed.
  • Use the marked 217-mile Lake Ontario Waterfront Trail for any of a number of favorite pastimes: walking, jogging, cycling, in-line skating. It extends from Stoney Creek to Brockville through 31 cities, towns and villages (including Toronto) and leads to 170 marinas and yacht clubs and 37 major waterfront festivals.
  • Go to the theater in Toronto, which is one of the world’s top cities for thespians. Or, attend the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Stratford.
  • Attend a demonstration class or book a weekend gourmet class at Canada’s only Cordon Bleu cooking school, in Ottawa. Dine in its five-diamond restaurant, Signatures.
  • Harbourfront on Lake Ontario near downtown Toronto is a complex of cultural and crafts centers, restaurants and shops that is a mecca for sightseers and shoppers. You’ll get a good feel for Toronto’s role as a major port.

Things to do for Authentics

  • Rent a cottage on or near a lake, giving yourself constant access for a few days to boating, swimming and waterskiing.
  • You might as well go shopping, too. Toronto claims the world’s largest underground shopping complex. The 6.8-mile PATH underground walkway in downtown links 48 office towers, six hotels and 1,100 shops and restaurants.
  • Fish for bass where President Franklin Roosevelt fished, at the North Channel of Lake Huron.
  • In September, watch Chinook salmon in Mississauga’s Erindale Park as the fish swim up the Credit River from Lake Ontario toward their spawning grounds. And, for that matter, you also can fish for these salmon, in Lake Ontario off the Toronto islands.
  • Go to London, a lovely city situated on a fork of the Thames River (yes, you’re still in Canada). Residents are particularly proud of their parks and gardens, and if you’re traveling with children, Storybook Gardens is a small theme park just for them. Visit some of London’s museums, take a cruise on the river and see a theatrical production at the Grand Theatre.
  • Visit a few wineries (yes, in Ontario, which is at the same latitude as European wine regions). Sample ice wine. Dine at one of the winery’s on-site restaurants. For a different take on this, go to the Muskoka Lakes Winery, located in a cranberry marsh; it makes cranberry wine.

Additional Resources

For more information, consult the Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation at www.ontariotravel.net