Ontario off the beaten path

Feb 17th, 2007, 12:22 PM
Original Poster
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Ontario off the beaten path

We will be visiting Ontario at the end of June, and we're looking for a couple of ideas for non-touristy activities that are a bit unusual. Suggestions can be for indoor or outdoor activities. Thanks for any suggestions.
IllinoisLibrarian is offline  
Feb 17th, 2007, 02:27 PM
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Ontario's a big place.

You might consider trying to stay as close as possible to the north shores of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. Small towns, no superhighways, some good restaurants, perhaps, Pelee National Park, Nigara Falls - yes, touristy but worth a break -- and the Welland Canal, and the towns of Port Hope and Cobourg, both just east of Toronto.

BAK is offline  
Feb 17th, 2007, 07:50 PM
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what ever you do, don't go too far north - the bugs will eat you alive.
Toronto. Ottawa, Kingstom are all in Ontario with all kinds of things to do and see.
How long are you staying?
Feb 18th, 2007, 09:09 AM
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Assuming you have a car, you should consider driving up the Bruce Peninsula to Tobermory and taking the ferry over to Manitoulin Island. I would prefer Kingston and Gananoque, where you can get a cruise through the Thousand Islands, rather than Port Hope and Cobourg. In Kingston, there is Fort Henry. Try Googling Fort Henry and you will see that there are Tattoos etc. there all Summer
almcd is offline  
Feb 18th, 2007, 01:15 PM
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Taking a leisurely drive up the Bruce Peninsula and stopping at places like Lions Head and Dyer's bay (both off the beaten track)(the Wingfield Basin lighthouse (north of Dyer's Bay ) is a REALLY off the beaten track kind of place and the relatively short drive (about 20 minutes) is lovely. Stopping at the Bruce Peninsula national Park (south of Tobermory) to hike to the grotto and caves is definitely worth. From Tobermory, you can take one of the boats out to see the shipwrecks and Flowerpot island (some interesting hikes on the island). In June - bring insect repellant!
semiramis is offline  
Feb 18th, 2007, 01:18 PM
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Website for the Bruce:
semiramis is offline  
Mar 21st, 2007, 02:47 AM
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Would you fly into Toronto or Hamilton? You can always come west of Toronto there is lots to do and not over crowded with tourists as we seem to be forgotten by many. There is Hamilton, Brantford, Port Dover, Simcoe, London & Indian Reserves to mention a few.
ShadowM is offline  
Mar 21st, 2007, 11:39 AM
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For indoor activities, I'd suggest the Stratford Festival in Stratford, or the Shaw in Niagara on the Lake.....



Both the theatre and the towns are lovely in June, and either could be visited in combination with some of the natural areas already recommended.
TobieT is offline  
Mar 26th, 2007, 11:16 AM
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If you are going to the Tobermory, which I agree is a lovely place to visit, stop in at Owen Sound and Sauble Beach. We have been going to that area for many years every summer for a few days and just love it.

Owen Sound is picturesque and has a couple of interesting, but small museums. There is also a wonderful restaurant if you go to Owen Sound called Norma Jean's-small but fabulous food. You can order everything from a burger to steaks and pastas.

Sauble Beach has a 7 mile stretch of gorgeous sand and a lake that is unpolluted! There are cottages and some little motels if you want to stay overnight.

Someone posted that you should visit Port Dover. It's very convenient if you're base is in the Toronto/Hamilton area, because it's only about an hour or an hour and a half away. The beach is not anywhere as big as Sauble, but is further south, so a bit warmer than Sauble I find.
monique54 is offline  
Mar 26th, 2007, 03:20 PM
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Sauble Beach and Owen Sound are at the southern end of the Bruce Peninsula mentioned above. "The Bruce" is scenic and interesting for its flora and geology [if you are into such things....]. In late June [depending on the weather -and each year seems to be different] some of the wetlands on the Lake Huron shore are filled with wild orchids, insect eating plants and other botanical curiosities.

The area was once heavily into shipbuilding and had a couple of major ports, so has a rich maritime history.

One of Canada's icons, a painter named Tom Thomson is buried near Owen Sound and his story is portrayed in another small musuem.

There are several antique shops in the area and there seems to be a farm auction almost every weekend somewhere in the region.

The area is scenic, with beautiful limestone cliffs and astonishingly clear blue water on the Georgian Bay side and sandy beaches predominating along much of the Lake Huron shoreline.

The northern part of the peninsula has some wonderful hiking trails , and the Bruce Trail traverses the whole length of the peninsula [and beyond]. Near Tobermory are opportunities for boat trips to see shipwrecks and some excellent diving.

If you want more info please advise. I was born and raised in that area and know it fairly well.


gannetmusic is offline  
Mar 29th, 2007, 07:53 PM
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What is your definition of "touristy?". I wouldn't recommend Niagara Falls as it is really really touristy now.

Cute villages are: Kleinburg, St. Jacobs and Niagara on the Lake. All have cute shops, some with theatre, art galleries, restaurants.

We once went to Midland for something different although in June not sure because some of their activities are on the water where displays are put on in summer months. Theatre there should be booked in advance.
SeasonJoy is offline  
Apr 6th, 2007, 02:05 PM
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Hi: If your name is revealing of your home, then it looks like you'll not be figuring traveling too far north in this province. Many of the suggestions don't seem to fit your query. No way will you want to go to Niagara Falls, or Niagara on the Lake, or any of the large cities mentioned. These could hardly be considered "off the beaten path," or "non-touristy."

Ontario is absolutely huge any which way you travel there. But it is also rich in back country roads or less traveled highways, and in small provincial parks (like county or state parks in the US). I've visited several of these, even in mid-summer, and rarely have crowds been a problem.

Perhaps if you haul out a map and give us some notion about where your itinerary might take you, we could be a bit more accurate in suggestions. But whereever you go, Ontario is a fabulous region.
stringer is offline  
Jun 21st, 2007, 08:31 AM
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check out the cannabis district in Toronto, Yongsterdam. it's been featured in many alternative publications like Rochester City...
Mernahuana is offline  
Jun 21st, 2007, 09:20 AM
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A cannabis district? Now how did I miss that.

Re "don't go north, the bugs will eat you alive". Generations of city Ontarians have spent summers at cottages on the Great Lakes, Haliburton and the Muskoka areas plus many other lakes and rivers - how do those people manage to do so? - buy bug spray and go north if you want, Illinois Librarian.
SallyCanuck is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2007, 08:12 AM
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Just a note about Niagara Falls. I agree the city of Niagara Falls is too touristy, but the falls themselves are magnificent and worth a look. It is possible to see the falls and not have an overly touristy experience.
kireland is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2007, 04:16 PM
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I am a city person, so I would recommend staying in Toronto for a little bit at least, but going to some non-touristy areas.
West Queen West- the Drake Hotel, which is a hotel and restaurant and bar is great. Really good brunch, too. In that neighborhood, you can also get some goo vietnamese food, find indie-type stores for jewelry, clothes, yarn. This is the art gallery district, too.
The Gladstone Hotel is also super cool and in the same neighborhood.
katlake is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2007, 04:27 PM
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Nubjic........I live in North Bay and saw one mosquito yesterday.
goldwynn is offline  
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