Tourist Guide to Must Visit Places in Ontario

Updated on Dec 23, 2023 | Canada Visa Online

Ontario is the home to Toronto, the largest city in the country, as well as Ottawa, the nation's capital. But what makes Ontario stand out is its extensive stretches of wilderness, pristine lakes, and Niagara Falls, one of Canada's most popular natural attractions.

There are countless chances for travel, adventure, and family fun in this enormous province, which is roughly 15 times bigger than the state of Texas.

In the sweltering summer, tourists flock to Ontario to see some of the best museums and galleries in the nation, have a blast with the kids at the amusement parks, unwind at lakeside resorts, go canoeing or fishing in the lakes and rivers, camp in the parks, and see some of the most recognizable buildings in the nation, like the CN Tower.

Most people stay indoors throughout the winter to enjoy hockey games, dining, and shopping; however, some go outside to enjoy the ski slopes, ice skating rinks, snowmobiling, Broadway musicals, winter festivals, and other cultural attractions.

This province can provide whatever kind of holiday you are looking for, from little communities to large metropolis. With our list of the top tourist attractions in Ontario, you can plan your trip and choose the best locations to visit!

Visiting Canada is simpler than ever since Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has introduced the simplified and streamlined process of obtaining electronic travel authorisation or Online Canada Visa. Online Canada Visa is an travel permit or electronic travel authorization to enter and visit Canada for a period of less than 6 months for tourism or business. International tourists must have a Canada eTA to be able to enter Canada and explore this beautiful country. Foreign citizens can apply for an Online Canada Visa Application in a matter of minutes. Online Canada Visa Application process is automated, simple, and completely online.

Some Facts about Ontario

The four Great Lakes that are located in Ontario are Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, Lake Huron, and Lake Superior. It is also the home to Niagara Falls, one of the biggest waterfalls in the world, and the Niagara Escarpment, a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve.

Ukraine, France, and Spain, three of the biggest nations in Europe are all smaller than Ontario! It is the home of Toronto, Canada's largest and most vibrant city, as well as Ottawa, Canada's capital. 

Unique Places to Visit in Ontario

In Ontario, there are so many locations to see that it might be overwhelming to know where to start. Therefore, we decided to start this huge list with the most uncommon encounters and concepts. 

But don't worry, there are sites in and around Toronto and other urban centres as you travel. There must be a spot to visit close by no matter where you are in Ontario!

Niagara Falls

The most popular vacation spot in Canada is Niagara Falls, which welcomes millions of tourists each year. Even though there are three separate sets of falls, the tallest one, known as Horseshoe Falls, plunges about 57 metres, forming a massive wall of water that runs between Niagara Falls, Canada, and Niagara Falls, USA. The falls are most well-known for the amount of water that flows over them, but when you add in the enormous drop, you have a truly stunning spectacle.

The Niagara Falls falls are conveniently close to the city, making it simple to visit them. You may go along Niagara Falls' main tourist avenue, an absurd spectacle in and of itself, to the gorge's edge, where you'll get excellent views of the river and the falls along the walkway. 

Booking day tours from hotels or hostels is easy in Toronto. From Toronto, the drive takes roughly 1.5 hours by automobile.

Manitoulin Island

Island living, but in a Canadian way - The world's largest freshwater island is located in northern Ontario's Lake Huron. Manitoulin offers an excellent environment for relaxation and offers a beautiful peek into some facets of Canadian Indigenous culture because to its rustic beauty and remote atmosphere.

There are more than 100 lakes on the island itself, as well as waterfalls, footpaths, beaches, and lighthouses that are all tucked away in Manitoulin's wild landscape. The Cup and Saucer Trail is a must-see, especially in the fall when the landscape is a kaleidoscopic array of hues. Additionally, it is one of the greatest spots to watch the Northern Lights during the peak months of fall. You definitely will not want to skip this one!

CN Tower

One of Canada's most recognisable buildings, the CN Tower dominates the Toronto skyline. The 553-meter tower is illuminated at night and is visible from all parts of the city and its surroundings at any time of day or night, but for the complete experience, you will surely need to climb to the top of the tower!

About three-quarters of the way up, there is a restaurant and observation deck that can be reached via elevator. You will be stunned by the glittering view of the city and Lake Ontario. 

One may see as far as the hazy plume rising from Niagara Falls on clear days. In the evening, looking out over the glittering city lights is also a breathtaking sight.

The new Ripley's Aquarium and Rogers Centre, two of Toronto's main attractions, are located at the tower's base. The tower is situated in the centre of downtown Toronto.

Parliament Hill

The majority of tourists start their sightseeing in Ottawa at Parliament Hill. The structures are situated in a beautiful location on a hill above the Ottawa River. The Peace Tower, which towers over 90 metres high between the Senate and the House of Commons, is the most recognisable and frequently photographed structure.

The Centennial Flame may be seen in front of the Parliamentary structures. Visitors who are fortunate enough to be in Ottawa on July 1 can take part in some of the biggest Canada Day events in the nation while also witnessing the Changing of the Guard on the lawn in front of the Houses of Parliament during the summer.

Free daily guided tours of the Parliament Buildings, which include the East Block, the Senate, and the House of Commons, are offered. Tickets are still available the same day, however, it's highly recommended that you reserve them online much in advance.

Provincial and National Parks in Ontario

The beautiful provincial and national parks in Ontario provide access to some of the country's most breathtaking landscapes. The nicest lakes in Ontario may be found in these parks, where you can fish, swim, and enjoy boating. Ontario's stunning beaches are other well-liked places in the parks if lying in the sand is more your style.

Algonquin Provincial Park is one of the most visited parks and recreational attractions in Southern Ontario, about two hours from Toronto. It features an extensive system of hiking paths and wonderful camping near lakes. Another lovely location for hiking, kayaking, and camping that is further away is Killarney Provincial Park.

Georgian Bay and Lake Huron's bordering Bruce Peninsula National Park each provide their unique attractions. Nearby but offshore, boaters and divers can discover excitement at Fathom Five National Marine Park and Georgian Bay Islands National Park.

Some of the parks contain historical sites as well. Just a short drive northeast of Peterborough, the Petroglyphs Provincial Park's petroglyphs provide an accessible and up-close view of an exceptional collection of 500 - 1,000-year-old Aboriginal rock sculptures. The pictographs that border the rock walls along the shoreline of Lake Superior at Lake Superior Provincial Park are somewhat more challenging to access but equally spectacular.

Quetico Provincial Park in Northwestern Ontario offers invitingly pure lakes and woodlands for those seeking a really secluded experience. Backcountry canoe expeditions and fishing excursions are popular here.

Royal Ontario Museum (ROM)

One of the top museums in the province, the Royal Ontario Museum is located in the heart of Toronto and houses a variety of collections, including those related to science, natural history, and international cultural exhibitions.

This museum, also known as the ROM, had an expansion in 2007 that resulted in the installation of the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal, a contemporary and distinctive wing. The structure currently has a remarkable aspect thanks to the fusion of old and new architecture.

From the Royal Ontario Museum, one can easily walk to the fascinating Gardiner Museum and the posh shops on Bloor Avenue.

Canada's Wonderland

The enormous theme park Canada's Wonderland, which is open in the summer, is located about 30 kilometres northwest of Toronto's downtown. An annual trip to Canada's Wonderland is one of the most popular summer activities for locals with children. However, being Canada's top theme park, this attraction brings in visitors from across the nation.

Among the attractions are thrill rides and roller coasters for kids of all ages, a water park, a dinosaur park, and live performances. From Toronto, a day's journey to Wonderland can be found easily.

National Gallery of Canada

Some of the most significant collections in the nation are housed in the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa. It has a particularly impressive collection of works by Canadian painters, including several well-known figures including Emily Carr and the Group of Seven. Important works by well-known foreign painters are also shown in the gallery.

The National Gallery is housed in a Moshe Safdie masterpiece of ultra-modern architecture.

Following your visit to this fascinating museum, move over to the Canadian Museum of History or stroll over to the lovely ByWard Market for a bite to eat to complete your museum tour.

Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) 

The most well-known event on the Ontario calendar is the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), which draws some of the top cinematic stars in North America. With about 500,000 attendees each year, this 10-day festival, which takes place in Toronto in the first week of September, is one of the most popular film events worldwide.

The city is bustling with bustle as visitors and residents go there to watch movies or catch a peek at their favourite actors.

Art Gallery of Ontario

One of Canada's most esteemed art museums, the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), is located in the heart of Toronto. It features an especially excellent collection of Canadian paintings with an emphasis on Toronto- and Ontario-based painters. 

It also houses the largest exhibition of African and Oceanic art in Canada. European masterworks in painting and sculpture, as well as modern and contemporary collections from North America and Europe, are further highlights. Temporary exhibitions are held all year round; for the most recent information, visit the AGO website.

Thousand Islands

The Thousand Islands is a picturesque section of the St. Lawrence River that spans an 80-kilometre length. The US-Canada border really runs between the islands, which are situated on a granite shelf that stretches from the Canadian Shield to the Adirondack Mountains in the US. 

It is one of the oldest and most well-known vacation spots in Ontario, and it is well-liked by cottagers, boaters, and people wishing to escape the sweltering summer cities of Southern Ontario.

A sunset dinner cruise through the labyrinth of islands known as the Thousand Islands is one of the most well-liked activities in this region. The principal resort town in the region and the main entryway to the Thousand Islands is Gananoque.

Go Fishing In Northern Ontario

The best fishing experience in Canada will be provided in Northern Ontario. People from all over North America come here to try their luck catching some of the most sought-after fish, including walleye, pickerel, bass, northern pike, and muskies. And if you know where to look, you don't need to be all that lucky.

In Ontario, fishing lodges range from five-star hotels to simple cottages, but the majority provide all you need to have a successful trip, including boats, guides, meals, and lodgings. The best fishing is frequently found on inaccessible northern lakes that can only be reached by tiny float planes. Resorts either offer boat pickup or fly-in packages in some circumstances. There are a lot of excellent drive-to resorts available as well.

Before applying for the Canada Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) you must make sure to have a valid passport from a visa-exempt country, an email address that is valid and working and credit/debit card for online payment.. Learn more at Canada Visa Eligibility and Requirements.

Canadian National Historic Site of the Trent-Severn Waterway

Canadian National Historic Site of the Trent-Severn Waterway

The historic Trent-Severn Canal is a network of waterways that connects Lake Ontario with Georgian Bay on Lake Huron. It was constructed in the late 1800s and early 1900s. In the eastern part of Ontario, the canal snakes its way through a number of rivers and lakes, including the Trent River and Lake Simcoe. 

More than 40 locks, including the world's highest hoist, built-in 1905 at Peterborough and reaching a height of 20 metres, are used to accommodate the varying heights.

The Trent-Severn Waterway is now officially known as the Trent-Severn Waterway National Historic Site of Canada and is a component of Parks Canada. In the past, the canal was mostly utilised for transporting grain and lumber. Tourism and recreational boaters make up the majority of its users. There are camping sites and picnic spaces near a few of the locks.

A Kawartha Voyageur Cruise is a fantastic way to explore the Trent-Severn Waterway. These multiday excursions let you explore the sites and locks at your own speed while lounging on the sundeck or making a number of port stops.

Niagara Escarpment

Niagara Escarpment

We had to include one item to cover everything else gorgeous about the region, even if several of the previously mentioned sites to visit in Ontario are located along the escarpment. The Niagara Escarpment contains some of the oldest trees on the continent and is home to a large portion of Ontario's stunning fall foliage.

Along the escarpment, you may find Niagara-on-the-Lake and the magnificent wine country that exists in Ontario. The numerous stunning waterfalls and cliffs in the region are also a result of the escarpment. 

One of the most well-known and stunning hiking routes in Canada is the Bruce Trail, which follows the escarpment all the way to Tobermory.

Muskoka and Cottage Country

Muskoka and Cottage Country

The Cottage Country, or Muskoka, region is one of Ontario's most well-known summer vacation hotspots. This region, which is north of Toronto, is built around Lake Muskoka and a number of other well-known lakes nearby.

Despite the fact that Ontario is home to numerous stunning landscapes, this location is especially well-known due to its close proximity to Toronto - just two to three hours away. Luxury vacation homes and cottages owned by Toronto residents line the lakes. The roadways leading to Cottage Country are congested on weekends as people travel there to escape the heat of the city and unwind by the lakes.

There are numerous tourists that rent cottages or stay at opulent resorts in this enjoyable location. Although there are several tiny towns in Cottage Country, Gravenhurst, which is situated on the beaches of Lake Muskoka, is the main settlement. From here, guests can board antique steamships for a quick trip and lake tour.

Fort William Historical Park 

The inland headquarters used by the Northwest Company of the Canadian fur trade from 1803 to 1821 is recreated at Fort William Historical Park. The Fort, which spans 250 acres and is located on the banks of the Kaministiquia River in south Thunder Bay, has 57 structures.

Fur traders, voyageurs, and members of the First Nations would congregate at the Fort every summer for the annual "rendezvous," which witnessed the exchange of tonnes of furs from western trading stations with goods from Montreal over the course of one season using birch bark canoes. The Nor'Westers were able to become the dominant force in the fur trade thanks to this technique.

The Fort provides an intriguing glimpse at life in the fur trade, focusing on topics like furs and food as well as muskets and medicine. It also highlights a cultural mosaic that includes Scottish fur traders, French Canadian voyageurs, farmers and artists, as well as aboriginal and Métis people.

However, the fur trade is not the only theme of the park. The David Thompson Astronomical Observatory is situated on the same grounds (DTAO). One of the largest public telescopes in Canada is housed at the observatory.

Vancouver is one of the few places on Earth where you can ski, surf, travel back in time more than 5,000 years, see a pod of orcas play, or take a stroll through the best urban park in the world all in the same day. Vancouver, British Columbia, is indisputably West Coast, nestled between wide lowlands, a lush temperate rain forest, and an uncompromising mountain range. Learn more at Tourist Guide to Must Visit Places in Vancouver.

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