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Things to do in Ontario

Things to do in  Ontario

Welcome to Ontario

The province of Ontario lies in southeastern Canada, between the open plains of Manitoba to the east and the soaring peaks of Quebec to the west. Canada's most populated province, Ontario is home to the vibrant cities of Ottawa and Toronto. Visitors can explore points of interest easily on a hop-on hop-off bus tour, such as the Canadian Museum of History, Notre Dame Basilica, Parliament Hill, and the Royal Ontario Museum. And, in true Canadian style, the open wilderness is never far away. Take a private or small-group tour—summer or winter—to discover pristine forests, shimmering lakes, and deep valleys. Many travelers come to admire the cascading waters of Niagara Falls (by sea or air), but Ontario also plays host to a number of natural attractions worth your attention. Delve into Algonquin Park (home to native bears, beavers, eagles, and moose) on a 3-day canoe tour. For something even more adventurous, take to the Ottawa River on a white-water rafting adventure. Fly over Thousand Islands on a helicopter tour for a bird's-eye view of Boldt Castle and the St. Lawrence River; or casually stroll among the vineyards at Niagara-on-the-Lake, where pinot noir and merlot grapes thrive. In the winter months, enjoy high-octane thrills on the snow and ice in Ontario's Georgian Bay.

Top 15 attractions in Ontario

CN Tower

For many visitors to Toronto, this needle-like telecommunications tower—often seen from the airplane window—is their first glimpse of the city. When it was erected in 1976, the CN Tower was the world’s tallest freestanding structure. Though it no longer holds that title, it is still the tallest tower in Canada, and the spectacular views from its observation decks are second to none.More

Skylon Tower

Perched on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls, the lofty Skylon Tower is famous for its bird’s-eye views. Boasting a panoramic observation platform, ambient dining, movies, shopping, and activities for the whole family, this 775-foot (236-meter) tower offers an entire day’s worth of entertainment.More

Niagara Falls, Ontario

The powerful border-straddling Niagara Falls is actually composed of the American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and Horseshoe Falls (also known as Canadian Falls). Combined, these cascades have the highest flow rate of any waterfall in the world—more than a million bathtubs of water plummet over the edge every second. While they’re wildly impressive from the US, here’s how to explore the Canadian side.More

Journey Behind the Falls

Niagara Falls is an incredible sight from land and by boat, but at Journey Behind the Falls visitors who wish to truly experience its massive power can get up close and personal—and wet. Standing on an observation deck behind the falls, where more than one million bathtubs of water thunder over the edge every second, is a truly unforgettable experience of Niagara.More

Rideau Canal

Built between 1826 and 1832 to offer secure passage for British ships from Montreal, the Rideau Canal—a UNESCO World Heritage Site—is an engineering masterpiece. It extends for 126 miles (202 kilometers) between Ottawa and Kingston. Ottawa’s most visited stretch lures boaters, cyclists, and strollers in summer, and ice skaters in winter.More

Ottawa Parliament Hill

A concentrated cluster of grand government buildings overlooking the Ottawa River, Parliament Hill is the centerpiece of Downtown Ottawa. At the heart of the complex is Centre Block, a neo-Gothic riot of greening copper turrets, stone-carved gargoyles, and pointed arches built around a soaring central campanile (bell tower) known as the Peace Tower. Parliament Hill is not just a pretty sight; it’s also home to Canada’s most important democratic institutions, including the Library of Parliament and the chambers of the House of Commons and the Senate.More

Bridal Veil Falls

The smallest of the three waterfalls that comprise world-famous Niagara Falls, Bridal Veil Falls is anything but small. Located on the US side of the falls, the 56-foot-wide (17-meter-wide) waterfall thunders over a 78-foot (24-meter) drop. Its frothy white cascade is reminiscent of a bride’s veil, hence the falls’ name.More

Hockey Hall of Fame

A sacred site for Canadians—for whom ice hockey is a national obsession—the Hockey Hall of Fame holds a treasure trove of memorabilia, including the original Stanley Cup. Housed inside a grand 19th-century Bank of Montreal building, it also features interactive games including a virtual shoot-out where visitors can test their skills.More

Cave of the Winds

At the Cave of the Winds observation decks, thrill-seeking visitors can get within 20 feet (6 meters) of the thundering Niagara Falls for an experience that feels like the inside of a tropical storm with torrents of water cascading down and winds up to 68 mph (109 kph). Safe to say, you’ll probably get wet.More

Table Rock Welcome Centre

Your visit to the natural wonder that is Niagara Falls begins at the Table Rock Welcome Centre. Here you’ll learn how to make the most of your time at the falls, plus you can buy tickets for some area attractions if you didn’t book a tour in advance. The complex has viewing platforms, restaurants, shops, and attractions.More

Rogers Centre

Located in downtown Toronto at the base of the CN Tower, the Rogers Centre is a sports and entertainment complex that is home to the Toronto Blue Jays baseball team. The Rogers Centre is a great place to catch a Major League Baseball (MLB) game or other event held under its fully retractable roof—the first of its kind in the world.More

St. Lawrence Market

A foodie paradise, the long-running St. Lawrence Market occupies the historic South Market House building, which previously served as Toronto’s city hall and jail. Since 1803, residents and visitors have come here to meet, eat, and shop for food items ranging from Prince Edward Island oysters to peameal bacon to Montreal-style bagels.More

Toronto Kensington Market

Eclectic, diverse, and graffiti-slathered, Toronto's Kensington Market neighborhood is one of the city’s most distinctive enclaves. The district is packed with produce vendors, food sellers, vintage clothes shops, bric-a-brac boutiques, buskers, cafés, and restaurants, and attracts a steady stream of bohemian types.More

Floral Clock

While Niagara Falls is justifiably famous for the force of nature that is the falls themselves, the Floral Clock is one of several other impressive attractions in the area. Comprising thousands of colorful plants and flowers, the clock blooms from spring to fall. It’s a fun photo opportunity, especially for nature lovers and avid gardeners.More

Ottawa Locks

The eight Ottawa Locks regulate the flow of the city’s signature Rideau Canal as it flows south from the Ottawa River. The hand-cranked locks provide a gradient of 24 meters (79 feet) on the canal, which runs for more than 124 miles (200 kilometers) from Ottawa to Kingston, a stunning example of 19th-century ingenuity and engineering.More
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Top activities in Ontario

Niagara Falls Canadian Side Tour and Maid of the Mist Boat Ride Option
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Niagara Falls CANADA Helicopter Tour

Niagara Falls CANADA Helicopter Tour

7-Minute Helicopter Tour over Toronto
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7-Minute Helicopter Tour over Toronto

Niagara Falls CANADA, Open-Top (Wet) Jet Boat Tour
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Toronto Tall Ship Boat Cruise

Toronto Tall Ship Boat Cruise

Half Day Wine & Cheese Tour - Niagara On The Lake Wine Tour
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All about Ontario

When to visit

There’s never a bad time to visit vast and varied Ontario, thanks to its dynamic urban hubs of Toronto and Ottawa, as well as its Great Lakes coastlines and dramatic landscapes. Summer is the time to celebrate Canada Day (on July 1) in the capital, attend festivals including the Toronto International Film Festival and Toronto Pride, as well as enjoy beach and boating excursions. In winter, prepare for twinkling Christmas markets, ice rinks, and winter sports opportunities.

Getting around

Toronto and Ottawa are Toronto’s two major urban hubs, and the province has four main airports: Toronto Pearson International Airport, London International Airport, Ottawa International Airport, and Thunder Bay International Airport. The region’s cities have many public transportation options, and mainline trains and buses also traverse the province. Multi-day tour itineraries make it easy to discover the region’s cities, blockbuster attractions such as Niagara Falls, and scenic national and provincial parks.

Traveler tips

Visiting Ontario in winter? You may get lucky and enjoy a northern lights show. While Canada’s more northerly regions are often associated with the aurora borealis, you can still see it in Ontario, particularly on clear winter evenings. Popular viewing spots include Manitoulin Island in Lake Huron, Lake Superior Provincial Park, Pukaskwa National Park, and other dark-sky spots outside of the cities.

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People Also Ask

What is Ontario, Canada, known for?

Ontario is the province that’s home to Toronto, Canada’s largest city, as well as Ottawa, its capital. Other well-known attractions in Ontario include the mighty Niagara Falls, the wine-producing Niagara region, and its many lakes large and small, including the Great Lakes of Ontario, Erie, Huron, and Superior.

How many days do you need to see Ontario?

Most travelers to Ontario focus on the areas around Toronto and/or Ottawa, which warrant around three days each to visit the main cultural and natural highlights. However, Ontario is an enormous province and you would need weeks to travel across it and see all its attractions.

What is the most visited place in Ontario?

Niagara Falls, which sits on the border with the US, is Ontario’s most visited place. Other popular destinations in Ontario are Toronto, Ottawa, Algonquin Provincial Park, the 1000 Islands region in the St. Lawrence River, and Niagara-on-the-Lake, a historic and wine-making town near Niagara Falls.

What should I not miss in Ontario?

When visiting Ontario, you should not miss Niagara Falls, an impressive natural landmark not far from Toronto. The nearby Niagara-on-the-Lake is another not-to-be-missed destination, especially for travelers who love history and wine. Don’t skip the Algonquin Provincial Park, either, for a glimpse of natural Ontario at its finest.

What is the prettiest part of Ontario?

Many people consider the natural areas and provincial parks to be the prettiest parts of Ontario. Algonquin Provincial Park contains pretty rivers and lakes, as well as wildlife. Niagara Falls is another pretty natural spot (beyond the built-up town), as is the 1000 Islands region of the St. Lawrence River.

Are Toronto and Ontario the same place?

No, Toronto and Ontario are not the same place, although they overlap. Toronto is a city on the shores of Lake Ontario, within Ontario province.


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