I was born and raised in Ontario. I’ve spent most of my life here, apart from a few stints living elsewhere, and my travels throughout the years. I love Canada and I am fairly certain this is where I want to settle down (whenever that day comes…) But Ontario does tend to get a bad rap for not being the most exciting spot in the country. Not everyone sees it this way, but if you’ve explored more of the country or the big wide world, you know that there are some pretty incredible places out there.
While I think everyone should travel and explore the world beyond their hometown, I think it’s also important to appreciate your own backyard. There are some beautiful places in Ontario, and I’m trying to find adventure here at home until I’m able to set off on another adventure abroad. So here are some of my favourite places in Ontario…
- Ottawa – Our capital city has a special place in my heart. I was born there, and moved back for my University years. Not only is the city full of heritage and Canadian pride, it has so much to offer. It is a very outdoorsy city, with access to parks and paths galore. In the summer you can run along the canal or do yoga on the lawn at Parliament hill before grabbing a drink on one the many rooftop patios across the city. And in the winter (after bundling up to face the -30 degree temperatures) you can skate the Rideau Canal or the dozens of ice rinks around town, go tobogganing, or visit the ice sculptures at one of the many Festivals.
- Prince Edward County – Also known as The County (it’s a thing), this region in Southern Ontario is just a few hours East of Toronto or West of Ottawa. My parents actually bought their retirement home out this way last year, so I’ve gotten to spend a lot of time exploring and falling in love with the area. I am also working part-time for The June Motel in Picton (shout-out!) which is becoming one of the most sought after accommodations in the County. Famous for Sandbanks Provincial Park and beaches, as well as its booming wine region, this little piece of paradise is the perfect spot for a weekend getaway from the city. The area is an up and coming tourist hot spot in the summers, but quiets right down in the winter season. The region has over 40 wineries and now has a growing number of breweries, cideries and spirits. There is also an incredible culinary scene, boasting local ingredients and farm-to-table restaurants.
- Northern Ontario – I haven’t spent loads of time up there (and yes I realize Norther Ontario is a broad concept), but there are some gorgeous spots across the Northern span of the province. Last fall I went camping in Bruce Peninsula National Park, where the waters are the blues of the Mediterranean. There are some great hiking trails to explore, and plenty of scuba diving and snorkeling around the waters near Tobermory. Next on my list, camping in Algonquin Provincial Park this fall.
- Toronto – I would be remiss if I didn’t mention “the Six” on this list. For tourists and locals alike, Toronto is a must-see destination. Top attractions of course include the CN Tower, dozens of museums and galleries, parks, and trendy neighbourhoods to wander. There are also sporting events, concerts, plays and other things going on daily. The every growing number of restaurants and bars also offers culinary options from the multitude of diverse cultures that make up the city.