Travel: Visit Ontario - The Beauty Within
By Sandra Fletcher
Canada is known around the world for great natural beauty: from the Rocky Mountains in Alberta to the grasslands of Saskatchewan and the Pacific shoreline of British Columbia to the cliffsides of Newfoundland. Sometimes in the big cities in Ontario we forget that our own province has a wealth of natural beauty to discover. We’ve compiled a list of some gorgeous locations for you to consider.
Pelee Island is located in the south of Lake Erie and it is the southern-most point in all of Canada. When you reach the island by ferry, there is so much to do and see! Walk from the Bird Observatory or through the Nature Preserve. Take a winery tour or visit the Kite Museum.
Pelee Island is a great day trip. If you want to stay longer book a bed and breakfast, campsite or cottage and experience a wonderful vacation in a beautiful, relaxing setting (www.pelee.org).
The Elora Gorge
The Elora Gorge is located north of Guelph with the Grand River running through. It’s the perfect getaway for a daytime hike on the trails (they have safety barriers for the faint of heart). The gorge is part of a conservation area and has camping sites available throughout. If you’re up for adventure, they even have white water rafting tours down the gorge all summer! In the fall, the colours of the trees are breathtaking. (www.elora.info / www.grandriver.ca)
Tobermory is located at the very top of the Bruce Peninsula on the shore of Lake Huron and Georgian Bay. One of the most unique things to do in this area is to explore, by scuba diving, over 20 ship wrecks in the bay or the many underwater geological formations. Tobermory is one of the best sites for freshwater diving in all of Canada. While you’re there you can take a hike on the Bruce Trail or take a bike tour along the coastline of Georgian Bay. (www.tobermory.org)
The Bay of Quinte
Ever thought of taking a day to just sit quietly, contemplate life and enjoy fishing in the beauty of a lake? Well, the Bay of Quinte, located near Trenton and Belleville, is a great place to start. Whether you would like to fish from the shore or take out a boat, the area offers fishing all months of the year! That’s right! You can even ice fish on the Bay of Quinte! The area also offers challenging hiking trails, cycling and even golf (for those who like their sports a bit easier.)
Algonquin Park is located about three hours northeast of the GTA and is a wonderful place to visit year round. It is a provincial park and as such, permits are required for all visits to the park. There is camping, fishing, hiking and wilderness to explore – whether for a short day trip or an overnight camping adventure. But be careful – the park warns – it’s black bear territory and you are only a visitor! (www.algonquinpark.on.ca)
Named the “Prettiest Town in Canada”, Goderich offers up not only a well taken care of city, historically significant buildings and houses, but also great natural beauty. It is situated on the shore of Lake Huron where there is a sandy public beach and you can swim in the lake. Down deep beneath the lake there are salt mines and ships come and go in the harbour all day. Stay for the sunset over the lake – it’s beautiful! (www.goderich.ca)
Drive to the North West of Sudbury and up a long winding highway you will find the small city of Elliot Lake. A former mining town, it is now one of the province’s major retirement communities. The town itself is surrounded by over 4,000 small, clear lakes, hills and mountains. You can swim in, fish in or boat on the lakes. There are over 300 km of groomed trails for hiking in and around Elliot Lake. Because Elliot Lake is in the heart of the Canadian Shield, it offers a unique terrain. (www.cityofelliotlake.com)
There are two very different types of trips you can make to Niagara Falls. The first is the wild and crazy Niagara with its tourist grabbing wax museums, casinos, souvenir shops, waterparks and fancy hotels. The second is the quieter version of the visit, exploring the beauty and magnificence of the falls themselves. From Canada you can see the full Horseshoe falls, the Bridal Veil falls and the rough waters of the Niagara River below. To see the water up close, take a ride on the Maid of the Mist, a boat that ventures close to the bottom of the falls. You can also explore Niagara’s beauty from caves beneath the falls on both the US and Canadian sides. It may just be water but it’s a journey, well worth taking. (www.niagarafallstourism.com)
The Toronto Zoo
The Toronto Zoo is the only zoo which arranges its exhibits, both indoors and outside, by continent. Located in Ontario's Rouge Valley (the main entrance is located in Scarborough), the zoo and its more than 5,000 animals inhabit 710 acres of land. Committed to biodiversity, the zoo grows thousands of varieties of plants from around the globe. Many initiatives to support biodiversity are ongoing at the zoo, one of the most recent is the idea to use “green” fuel from the tonnes of animal waste produced each day. Visit the zoo and relax on a trip around the world. (www.torontozoo.com)