I love to travel and have been lucky enough to see lots of Ontario during camping or Corvette trips. Here are some of my favourite places.
Lake Superior Provincial Park
If you’ve read any of my previous blog posts, you may have noticed that Superior always seems to make an appearance. Each time I drive from Sault Ste Marie up to Lake Superior Park (part of the Lake Superior circle tour), I’m completely overwhelmed by the incredible views. Superior never loses its magic.
Many places claim to be the prettiest town or village in Canada. Niagara-on-the-Lake deserves this title more than most. It’s one of the oldest settlements in Canada with the architecture to match, not to mention stunning floral displays and an eclectic mix of stores. Winston Churchill called the Niagara Parkway, which runs from NOTL to Lake Erie alongside the Niagara river, the prettiest Sunday drive and he wasn’t wrong. Venture beyond the historic old town and you’ll find vineyards, orchards, and rolling hills.
I have so many good memories of cottage vacations near Parry Sound. I go back there at least once every summer to stroll along the waterfront trail and enjoyed another stay on Georgian Bay last summer.
Hills of Headwaters
“Hills of Headwaters” is a tourism designation for the communities of Erin, Mono, Dufferin County, Caledon and Shelburne, about an hour north of Toronto. I’ve driven through there many times as a scenic detour from the 400. There are lots of beautiful country properties to gawp at as you pass (many Torontonians have second homes there), fields of grazing horses, beautiful rolling hills, and rivers. I enjoyed a hiking trip to Mono Cliffs Provincial Park and hope to spend more time exploring this area.
Canada’s capital often gets overlooked, but I love the European feel of this clean and green city, home to the Rideau Canal and Canada’s Parliament buildings. I’ve stayed several times at the Marriott Courtyard, which is right downtown with underground parking, and a good base from which to explore the city. There’s a great salsa club close by and so many galleries and museums that I’ve yet to explore.
All my Lake Superior camping trips involve regular trips into Wawa. It’s always a little sad each time we visit as it seems that yet another storefront is boarded up. I have so much affection for this place – for the Canadian Tire where we stock up on the supplies we’ve inevitably forgotten, for the Bargain Shop where I buy fluffy socks and cheap DVDs, and for the surprisingly good restaurants where we treat ourselves to breakfast. With its beautiful lake downtown, quiet sandy beach, waterfalls, and stunning views, I’m sure it’s due a renaissance.
With its twisty roads promising a lake view around every corner, Muskoka is a fantastic destination for road trips. It’s especially beautiful in the fall and a little quieter without the summer crowds. It’s also the cottage destination in Ontario, popular with celebrities, and it was once described in the New York Times as the “Malibu of the North.” Lake Muskoka has a series of cottages known as Millionaires Row; this is the place where the boat houses look bigger than your house. Those of us not in the celebrity club can take a cruise around the Lake on the Lady Muskoka.
Killarney Provincial Park and Killarney village
Killarney Park is one of Ontario’s busiest and most popular provincial parks. If you visit, you’ll quickly understand why. It’s known for “La cloche,” mountains with their distinctive white quartzite ridges, its beautiful lakes and pink granite. There are no electrical camping sites at Killarney, and with several designated quiet areas, it really attracts people who love the beauty and peace of the area such as artists, hikers and canoeists. If you’re feeling energetic, you can tackle “The Crack” (I’ve done this a few times) or set out on the famous “La Cloche Silhouette” trail – typically a ten-day hike (done this…never!). Chikanishing and Granite Ridge are two of my favourite trails for a day visit. Killarney village close by is a picturesque stop for fish and chips on the waterfront or exploring the Lighthouse trail.
North bay has a beautiful waterfront and is one of my favourite places to visit in the summer. The sandy beaches and shallow water are perfect for young children, or if (like me) you prefer your water temperature on the warmer side. I swam there once and it was like stepping into a warm bath! You can cruise Lake Nipissing on the Chief Commanda II, or lunch on the old Chief, now a fish and chip restaurant. It’s also fun to stop off at the always busy Duchesnay Falls trail on the edge of town.
People here talk about “island time,” and there’s definitely a change of pace when you cross the swing bring into Little Current. Manitoulin is the largest freshwater island in the world. There are no large highways or railways and very little traffic generally, so a visit is always a really relaxing experience, even if you’re just there for the day. You’re spoilt for choice for scenic lookouts, beautiful beaches, and quaint towns and villages. One of my favourite stops is the village of Kagawong known for the Bridal Veil Falls and chocolate…
So far I’ve only seen a tiny fraction of Canada and I’m impatient to see more! In my next post I’ll be looking at where I want to travel next.