About the Region
Canada will surprise you.
Not to brag (that’s not in our DNA), but it’s no wonder that Canada was voted the #1 destination to visit by Lonely Planet in 2017. The world’s second largest country has much to offer visitors looking for a vacation spot: stunning landscapes, vast expanses, sparkling fresh water lakes and rivers, unique adventures and quintessential wilderness experiences you won’t find anywhere else in the world (moose photography canoe safari, anyone?).
Even the most worldly of travellers will discover something new.
Did you know, for instance, that you don’t have to trek to the top of the ‘Great White North’ to encounter Canada in all its natural splendor? Fact is, you only have to travel two hours outside of Toronto to find yourself steeped in the pristine scenery our country is known for. (If Toronto is ‘Canada’s downtown‘, then think of Algonquin Park-Muskoka as that city’s wilderness burb…we’re just north of urban.) And once you arrive, be prepared for some serious Canuck fun.
Take an adrenaline-filled ATV tour into the woods and onto the rocks of the Canadian shield to feel the rush that comes from exploring terrain not accessible by foot. Take a guided tour by paddle or kayak over stunning lakes and rivers for some of the best fresh water paddling in the world.
Hike or bike on connected trails and routes that lead you to places you’ll never forget. Strike your tent or park your RV in one of hundreds of public and private campgrounds, including a dozen provincial and national parks (and don’t forget to give ‘glamping’ a go!)
Bring your camera for wonderful wildlife viewing and practice your technique for a guided wolf howl. Take a cruise on one of many historic boats and enjoy a leisurely tour by waterway. Tour by motorcycle on meandering roads through granite outcrops and sweet twisties ’round lakes.
And whet your whistle at one of our many exceptional craft breweries and a special winery that produces award-winning vintages from a cranberry bog (hip waders provided – head on in).
Or just relax lakeside and do nothing (which is actually our speciality).
Known as “Ontario’s cottage country,” the region has been welcoming travellers for over a hundred years to charming resorts, B&Bs and hotels that dot our beautiful waterways. From Algonquin Park in the east (Canada’s oldest provincial park) to Georgian Bay in the west (a UNESCO-designated Biosphere Reserve), visitors who stay in these parts relish especially their days in, on and beside the lakes.
It’s not all about roughing it, either. We’re recognized for vacations that offer a ‘pampered wilderness’ experience, where you can dip yourself in and out of the wild, and then retreat to fine accommodations afterwards. But from enjoying dock cocktails to floating on a paddle board, from swimming to water-skiing, it’s our refreshing lakes that will revitalise you most.
WHERE TO GO:
Canada’s oldest provincial park is one of the most popular tourism destinations in the country. Celebrating it’s 125th anniversary this year, the place that inspired our nation’s most famous painters remains a serene and unrivalled spot for visitors wanting a pure dose of Nature. Don’t miss the Visitor Info Centre displays, the Algonquin Art Centre and the logging museum. There are plenty of accommodations within the park and on the periphery, and of course you’ll find the best camping in Canada.
Named ‘#1 Best Summer Trip in the World’ by National Geographic Traveller, Muskoka is just as delightful in the other seasons too. A popular destination for international visitors since the steamships opened up the lakes in the late 1800s, the heart of cottage country has been Ontario’s premier vacation destination ever since. A place where history and modernity combine to create a satisfying getaway for every travelling style. Be sure to visit the Grace & Speed Exhibit at the Muskoka Discovery Centre – the only in-water antique and wooden boat museum of its kind in North America.
Home of hockey legend Bobby Orr (#4!), this charming coastal town on the North American Great Lakes system is also called the ‘Jewel of the 30,000 Islands.’ Explore windswept shores aboard cruise boats in the area, and excursions into Killbear and Massassauga Provincial Parks. Take a guided kayak tour for some of the best freshwater kayaking in the land. Parry Sound also sits in the centre of the UNESCO-designated Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve, a stretch of coast over 200 km in length that is home to unique wildlife species.
Home to stunning Lake Bernard (the largest lake in the world without an island), the Almaguin Highlands of Ontario are also known for the ‘Screaming Heads’ outdoor art installation – a not-to-be missed destination for those seeking something you’ll never see anywhere else (seriously…). Located on the west side of Algonquin Park, outdoor adventure fans will find multiple entrances into Canada’s iconic park, and plenty of outfitters to get you there.
Off the grid and that’s how they like it. Head to this area for a true break from the rat race, and enjoy stops at Restoule Provincial Park, Grundy Lake Provincial Park, and along the mighty Pickerel River. Home to the largest white-tailed deer herds in Ontario, you can head out on the Loring Deer Yard Trails to see if the deer want to say hello.
Ontario’s cottage country is just a two-hour drive from Canada’s biggest city, and an additional hour or so from the world-famous Niagara Falls.
For directions to Algonquin Park, click here.
For directions to the Almaguin Highlands, click here.
For directions to Loring-Restoule, click here.
For directions to Muskoka, click here
For directions to Parry Sound & Area, click here
Directions From Major Ontario Cities:
For directions from Toronto, click here.
For directions from Ottawa, click here.
For directions from Niagara Falls, click here.
For directions from Sudbury, click here.
For directions from North Bay, click here.
Click here for some helpful information on border crossing into Canada. Fly into and drive from Pearson International Airport in Toronto, or Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (named one of North America’s top regional airports).
CONNECT WITH CANADA
Want help planning your visit to the great Canadian wilderness north of Toronto? We are the regional tourism agency (known as Explorers’ Edge) and we’re here to help:
Call our toll free number at 1-833-239-0341 during office hours (9am to 5pm EST)
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Messenger us on Facebook.com/explorersedge during business hours
ABOUT EXPLORERS’ EDGE
We are a regional tourism organization funded by the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture & Sport. It’s our job to tell the world about the great Canadian wilderness just north of Toronto – we hope you’ll come for a visit soon.