A long weekend in...Ontario
By Jessica Pook
One of Ontario’s wonders is the quintessential Canadian wilderness on the doorstep of its cosmopolitan cities, Toronto and Ottawa. Give clients the best of both worlds by incorporating city attractions and natural gems.
Day 1-2: Toronto city highlights
Day 1: Start your visit with a trip to the top of the iconic CN Tower for a dazzling view of Canada’s largest city before heading to an interactive attraction like the Royal Ontario Museum, Ontario Science Centre or Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada.
Catch perfect views of the skyline from a harbour cruise or ride the short ferry to car-free Toronto Islands, a chain of 15 small islands in Lake Ontario. Spend the afternoon exploring by bike.
Immerse yourself in Toronto’s multicultural mix by strolling around Greektown or Chinatown, grabbing dinner from one of the restaurants, bistros and pubs - or choose a culinary tour in Kensington Market neighbourhood.
Day 2: Shopaholics should head to the landmark Toronto Eaton Centre, and the stylish Yorkdale Shopping Centre. Couture reigns in Yorkville, while unique boutiques and galleries can be found in the Victorian-era Distillery Historic District.
Spend the evening enjoying the bright lights of ballet, opera, theatre and live music performances or get in the game at a professional sporting event. Time a visit around a year-round lineup of festivals, including the star-studded Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) or Luminato, a 10-day arts celebration, to experience the city at its best.
Day 3-4: Outdoor adventure
Day 3: Drive two and a half hours out of Toronto to discover the sparkling lakes, granite shores and charming towns of picturesque Cottage Country, Muskoka. Highlights include a cruise in a vintage steam-driven vessel, a dip or paddle into blue waters or simply relax by the lake.
The nearby world-famous Algonquin Provincial Park is a must. With hundreds of lakes, the park is ideal for beginner or expert canoeists. There’s also an abundance of hiking trails, with the chance to spot wildlife that ranges from hawks and great blue herons to moose, beaver and deer. Visit in the fall to see the forest ablaze with colour.
Thanks to limited light pollution, Alonquin Provincial Park is the perfect place for a spot of stargazing. Once the sun goes down, visitors get a clear view of the stars and planets in the Ontario sky.
Day 4: South of Algonquin, discover the sustainable experiences offered at Haliburton Forest and Wildlife Reserve, from an evening wolf howl experience to an astronomy tour to ‘bikejoring’ - the act of being pulled by a Siberian husky through the forest, whilst riding a bike!
Finish on a high by heading to OWL Rafting to try white-water rafting along the Ottawa River. The rapids are great fun for all levels of experience and make for a great family bonding exercise.
Book it with... Audley Travel
Audley Travel offers a 15-day Glorious Ontario self-drive tour priced from £2,985pp, including car hire, all accommodation and international flights. Clients will visit bustling Toronto and the beaches of Lake Huron.