Things to do & Places to stay in Ontario

MARCH 8, 2018

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What are YOU going to do this weekend?

Don’t let cold stop you from enjoying Ontario’s museums & galleries!

Family Day weekend is a great little break in Ontario’s long winter. The long weekend gives us a chance to relax, have a mini getaway or a staycation. The hard part about the timing is that it is often cold and snowy in mid February so we don’t want to spend the whole break outdoors. That’s ok though, because Ontario has loads of great museums and galleries to explore!


article1_feb162018.jpgMany of the GTA museums and galleries are well-known (AGO, ROM, Bata Shoe Museum, Science Centre etc) and they are well-known for a reason – they’re all outstanding. But there are some other places to visit that may be a little less well-known that you should put on your list. How about Peel Art Gallery), located in the historic Peel County Courthouse and Jail built in 1867? Or Hockey Hall of Fame to see the world’s greatest collection of hockey artifacts. Or the Robert McLaughlin Gallery, which houses a collection of >4,500 works, plus 5 galleries of changing contemporary and historical exhibitions.


article2_feb162018.jpgBecause of the area’s rich history, Eastern Ontario has a lot of museums to offer. If you are into military history, consider the National Air Force Museum of Canada, & the Military Communications and Electronics Museum and then visit to Fort Wellington or Fort Henry to see some of the military tools in action: explore an 1812-era gunboat wreck, participate in a military drill, and watch a cannon firing. Looking for something else? Try the Kingston Penitentiary Tour and go behind the walls of Canada’s oldest & most notorious maximum security prison, a historical building & a national historic site, which predates confederation.


article3_feb162018.jpgThis is a big region with a lot of things to explore. For example, learn about Billy Bishop, the hero of the Great War at Owen Sound’s museum in his name. Waterloo Region Museum is the largest community museum in the province, showcasing 12,000 years of Waterloo Region’s story. The attached Doon Heritage Village doesn’t open til May, but is also worth a visit.


article4_feb162018.jpgOttawa is the home of most of Canada’s National Museums and they are worth a visit for sure! Canada Museum of History, especially with the new Canadian History Hall, is outstanding, as is the National Gallery of Canada. But don’t miss the Royal Canadian Mint with its collectible coins & Olympic medals, or Bytown Museum, housed in Ottawa’s oldest stone building, or Watson’s Mill, along the Rideau River (you can buy freshly stone-ground flour).


article5_feb162018.jpgYou can’t visit the area without a visit to Fort George Historical site, the oldest military building in Ontario. You can even fire a musket here! But it is also cool to see The St Catharines Museum and Welland Canals Centre. It is really amazing to watch ships work their way through the canal and don’t miss the museum’s Underground Railroad exhibit. And the Niagara Railway Museum, housed in the former Canadian National Fort Erie diesel shop, preserves and promotes Niagara’s railway heritage with trains, tools, signs and more.



article6_feb162018.jpgCentral and Northern Ontario have a lot of unspoiled wilderness but there are definitely some museums worth visiting too. How about the Canadian Canoe Museum, which has the world’s largest collection of canoes (Peterborough). Or Thunder Bay Art Gallery, which is the only public gallery between Sault St Marie and Winnipeg, and has excellent exhibitions, both contemporary and Indigenous. Or Fort St. Joseph National Historic Site, a symbol of the commercial and military alliance between the British and the First Nations peoples from the American Revolutionary War to the War of 1812.

Featured Events

Kirkland Lake Winter Carnival

Feb 15-March 4, 2018
Kirkland Lake, Northern Ontario region

featuredevent1_feb162018.jpgKirkland Lake is the place to be during 18 days of fun events celebrating all there is to do in Winter! Check out the ultra cool snow sculptures in this image. Watch live concerts & fireworks, enjoy free sleigh rides, take a helicopter ride, watch a snow drag race or participate in a fishing derby. More events & activities online.

Family Day Weekend At Blue Mountain

February 17-19, 2018
Blue Mountain Village

featuredevent2_feb162018.jpgHead up to Blue Mountain with the family for some fun in the snow! They’ve organized it all for you – there’s nothing to do but choose your activity and enjoy.  Activities & entertainment include a family scavenger hunt, dancing, fireworks show, horse & wagon rides in the Village, musical concerts and more!

Toronto Winter Brewfest

March 2-3, 2018
Exhibition Place, Toronto

featuredevent3_feb162018.jpgIf you’re already a lover of craft beer, this is for you! If you’re not – well, this is the time to try it out. You’ll be able to sample more than 150 beers carefully crafted by brewers from across Ontario and Quebec. Bonus – try some delicious gourmet food from Toronto's best food trucks.

Featured Family Day Activity: bata shoe museum

rev_featured_feb162018.jpgChill at Bata Shoe Museum on Family Day Monday and experience a magical winter wonderland! Kids can enjoy winter-themed arts and crafts, play a game of I Spy in the galleries and try on some funky footwear.  Perfect for kids ages 3-12. Sponsored by Bruce Etherington and Associates. Monday, February 19 | Drop-in until 4pm | Included with museum admission.



onlyinont_feb162018.jpgMcMichael Canadian Art Collection
Did you know that McMichael is the only public fine art gallery in Canada that focuses on Canadian art and the Indigenous art of our country? Situated on 100 acres along the Humber River in a beautiful natural setting, it is home to over 6,400  iconic Canadian works of art by the Group of Seven and Tom Thomson, Indigenous and Inuit artists, and contemporary artists. Definitely worth a visit!

Print Edition

img19.jpgWe've started working on the 2019 edition of Summer Fun Guide but if you are looking for a 2018 edition, email to have one mailed to you. View a digital version of the print edition online here:

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Discover Eastern Ontario

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