Things to do & Places to stay in Ontario

april 17, 2018

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These Feet were Made for Walking… And Hiking!

Spring is such a great time to hike in Ontario – the air is warmer, but not TOO warm; the days are longer and the flowers are starting to show. The only downside is mosquitoes and there is bug spray for that! Ontario has miles and miles (kilometers and kilometers) of hiking trails and with the recently extended Trans Canada Trail, 150+ communities across Ontario now have access to the province’s 5000 km section. Visit https://thegreattrail.ca for an online step by step map or download Ontario’s section in a pdf Trans Canada Trail Ontario Map. The Ontario Trails site also has maps and lets you search by closest town, or activity or trail name. Below you’ll find just a small sample of some that have unique or special features that make them stand out. Of course, don’t forget to visit https://www.summerfunguide.ca/parks-trails-beaches-gardens.html for some additional trails as well as gardens, parks and beaches too!

Central/Northern:

article1_april172018.jpgBetween the Canadian Shield in Central Ontario and the vast unspoiled wilderness in Northern Ontario, it is pretty hard to find a BAD place to hike. You can practically just walk out your front door and go! There are, however, some places that have a little something extra such as Petroglyphs Provincial Park in Woodview which has Indigenous rock carvings, in addition to a visitor centre, and trails. Also, Algonquin Park is known world-wide as one of Canada’s most gorgeous places to explore by canoe or on foot. While it is a canoe tripper’s paradise, it is also great to do day hikes, as well as fish and bird-watch.

Eastern

article2_april172018.jpgBon Echo Provincial Park in Cloyne has hiking trails ranging from 1km to 17km, some of which allow you to view the 260 Indigenous pictographs on the 100metre tall Mazinaw Rock. There are also Interpretive boat tours on Mazinaw Lake and over the the Rock.  Thousand Islands National Park in Mallorytown has those picturesque granite islands & windswept pine trees that one thinks of when one hears Group of 7. It also has rare species of turtles and birdlife alongside hiking trails. It is the perfect place to spend a day hiking and picnicking by the St. Lawrence River or book a waterfront oTENTik and stay overnight.

GTA

article3_april172018.jpgConservation Halton Parks boasts 10,000 acres of natural parkland at its Conservation areas: Kelso, Crawford Lake, Mountsberg, Hilton Falls, Rattlesnake Point & Mount Nemo. Enjoy the hiking & biking trails through forests & along the Niagara Escarpment & stop to investigate the waterfalls, animals, caves & more. Evergreen Brick Works along Toronto’s Bayview extension offers nature in the middle of Toronto. This former quarry was transformed from a bunch of deteriorating heritage buildings into a global showcase for green design and urban sustainability. It has hiking trails and also free guided group walks through the largest ravine system of any major city.

Ottawa

article4_april172018.jpgPinhey’s Point Historic Site on the banks of the Ottawa River isn’t a trail, per se, but it does have 88 acres of greenspace, as well as a 200-year-old manor house and surrounding ruins. This scenic space, along with rolling green hills, combine to make it a very popular place to hike, have a picnic lunch, and hang out on the river, soaking up local history. Canada’s Capital Greenbelt  in Ottawa is the largest publicly owned greenbelt in the world with 20,000 hectares of green space. The Greenbelt’s objective is to protect natural areas like forests, wetlands, streams & sand dunes that sustain biodiversity. Hiking is one of the best ways to enjoy it, year round, and there are 150 kilometres of trails available to explore.

Niagara

article5_april172018.jpgGreater Niagara Circle Route Trails System is a series of 140km of mostly off road, paved trails for walking, cycling or rollerblading. The trail passes through urban centres, downtowns, the Niagara Escarpment, waterfronts, & rural/agricultural areas. The main trail elements of the system include the Welland Canals Parkway Trail, the Fort Erie Friendship Trail, the Niagara River Recreation Trail, The Waterfront Trail and the Trans Canada Trail. There are opportunities on some of the trails to stop in at wineries, historic sites and more!

 
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Southwestern Ontario

article6_april172018.jpgSouthwestern Ontario is huge and has loads of options for hiking all over the region. We pulled out a few just to give you a starting place. Backus Heritage Conservation Area near Port Rowan has 15 historic buildings in Backus Heritage Village, a mill pond stocked with rainbow trout, interpretive centre where you can learn about the plants, birds and animals common to the watershed.  They also have guided nature hikes and events.  The Arboretum at University of Guelph is right next to the university's main campus and has beautiful formal & natural gardens. It is open dawn until dusk and is free to the public. The Arboretum encompasses 400 acres of plant collections, gardens, walking trailsnatural woodlands, wetlands, and meadows.

Featured Events

Hot Docs Film Festival

April 26 – May 6, 2018
At venues across Toronto (GTA)

featured_events_1_april172018.jpgImmerse yourself in fascinating stories from countries around the world at North America’s largest documentary festival. Choose from hundreds of eye-opening stories about children, families, love, religion, and more. Book your tickets and enjoy.

Orillia Perch Festival

April 21 – May 12, 2018
Lakes Simcoe & Couchiching

featured_events_2_april172018.jpgOne of Canada's Largest Registered Fishing Derbies! Catch one of 60 tagged Perch worth $500 or win one of the many other cash & product prizes waiting to be awarded. Great family fun. Choose to participate in an adult or children's category. Don’t miss the special OPP Kids Day on May 6th! Live release program. Fish to win and enjoy.

Carvapalooza

April 25-29, 2018
Muirkirk (SW Ontario region)

featured_events_3_april172018.jpgMake plans to check out the 8th Bi-ennial Carvapalooza event. You’ll be amazed. Chainsaws (and their owners) create masterpieces out of wood. Artists come from Germany, Sweden, Japan, Denmark, Poland, Brazil, Dominican Republic, USA & Canada to create fine art right before your eyes! Speed carving contests & entertainment for all. Best of all, the beautiful artwork is auctioned on the last day of the festival - Sunday, April 29th.

Featured: Canadian Tire Motorsport Park - opening soon!

featured_april172018.jpgCanadian Tire Motorsport Park  in Bowmanville  (an hour east of Toronto) is Canada’s leading racing & automotive performance facility. It has pro race tracks and is host to major events include Canada’s biggest NASCAR weekend of the year & other Grand Prix Circuit events; it has a Driver Development Track (a multi-purpose testing facility), and it is also home to Mosport Kartways, a Karting facility designed to accommodate everything from a fun event to serious, high-level kart racing. Race fans, corporate events, and young people alike can all have an awesome time at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

 

ONLY IN ONTARIO

onlyinont_april172018.jpgBruce Trail Conservancy - Niagara to Tobermory
Did you know that the Bruce Trail is Canada’s oldest and longest hiking trail? An astounding 8 million Canadians live within an hour’s drive of an entry point to the trail. That leaves us with no excuse not to explore it! Whether we are in the mood for an easy 1-hour hike, a breathtaking waterfalls walk, a guided hike or a fun, family-oriented trail, the Bruce Trail app, map or site makes it easy for us to choose one and go for it. Although hiking boots are a bonus, they are not a necessity. Happy hiking.

Print Edition 2018

img2018.jpgWatch for the NEW & updated edition of Summer Fun Guide coming to ONroute centres, Longo’s stores & other locations around Ontario in time for the May long weekend. Pick up your FREE copy or email info@summerfunguide.ca to have one mailed to you.

 
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NEXT ISSUE, COMMENTS AND SUGGESTIONS
Coming In the next issue

 9 Ontario resorts with something different

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