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Things to Do in Ontario

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Ottawa Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica
1 Tour and Activity

Ottawa’s Roman Catholic Notre Dame Basilica is the largest and oldest church in the city, dating back to 1839.

The building has a somewhat austere exterior, but the interior is rich in color and detail. Built in Gothic style, the building is topped with a pair of slender spires and features large stained-glass windows. Inside, the long central nave is lined with pointed Gothic arches topped with terraced galleries. The nave runs to the semi-circular sanctuary with its blue painted ceiling, ribbed vaults and carved altars. Pop in to admire the sculptures and painted detail, or take a guided tour. Church services are held in both French and English.

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Ontario Science Centre

The Ontario Science Centre is home to interactive experiences with science and technology to educate and inspire visitors to create a better future for our planet.

Built into the slope of the Don Valley --and a great way to commute if you like to bike--the Science Centre contains a variety of inspiring space. The West Family Innovation Centre has 50 open ended experiences to discover new trends and innovations in science and technology. The Living Earth exhibit is one of the most exciting exhibits because you can experience a life-like rainforest and other natural wonders like a simulated tornado. The Science Arcade is a fan favorite with a complete hands-on science experience that includes the famous electricity demo. If you don’t want to walk around, you can watch an inspiring or educational film in Ontario’s only IMAX Dome theatre. There are also a number of new exhibits such as The Human Edge.

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Canadian Museum of History
6 Tours and Activities

The grand-sounding Canadian Museum of Civilization takes an up-close look at Canada’s history and culture with an entertaining and educational array of exhibits.

There’s a topic to intrigue every interest. Special exhibitions examine everything from the role of the horse in civilization to the history of Canada’s fur trade.

The museum’s permanent displays explore Canada’s natural world, social history and First Peoples, drawing on the collection’s 3.75 million artifacts.

The Children’s Museum is specially designed to spark the imaginations of little ones, and the on-site IMAX cinema entertains all ages with big-screen movies.

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Niagara-on-the-Lake
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6 Tours and Activities

Often touted as one of Ontario’s most beautiful towns, Niagara-on-the-Lake is a great destination for anyone wanting a slow-paced, scenic and agriculturally-rich Canadian experience. Wine touring is a popular activity, as Niagara-on-the-Lake is home to over 25 wineries, most of which are open for tours and tastings. Visit everything from small boutique wineries to large estates, with each facility having its own distinct personality -- although all benefit from the area’s proximity to Lake Ontario and the Niagara River.

There are also a number of performance spaces, great for getting to know local culture, including the Shaw Festival Theatre, Court House Theatre and Royal George Theatre. There are also a number of art galleries, like the Angie Strauss Gallery, which showcases beautiful impressionist paintings, and the Romance Collection Gallery, where you can see works by local artists Trisha Romance and Tanya Jean Peterson.

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More Things to Do in Ontario

Jackson-Triggs Winery

Jackson-Triggs Winery

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3 Tours and Activities
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Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG)

Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG)

1 Tour and Activity

Located 47 miles (75 kilometers) southwest of Toronto, the Royal Botanical Gardens unfolds with color, especially during the spring, summer, and autumn months. With in its 3,000 acres (1,200 hectares), the Gardens are a stunning nature sanctuary, with more than 1,100 species of plants thriving within its boundaries. The Royal Botanical Garden’s Rock Garden blazes with chrysanthemums in October, while the Laking Garden flourishes in summer with peonies, irises, and lilies. The Centennial Rose Garden is a must-see during late June through early September. Other attractions at RBG include the Arboretum, the Nature Interpretive Centre, and a network of trails and outdoor floral arrangements. The Royal Botanical Gardens hosts many festivals throughout the year, including the Ontario Garden Show (the second-largest garden show in Canada) and the Mediterranean Food & Wine Festival.

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Algonquin Provincial Park

Algonquin Provincial Park

11 Tours and Activities

Widely recognized as the oldest land preserve in Canada, Algonquin Provincial Park is home to numerous lakes, thousands of kilometers of winding streams and rivers, 1,200 campsites and dozens of opportunities to explore the outdoors.

Travelers can stop by the popular Algonquin Visitor Center, which showcases the park’s extensive history and offers travelers a perfect starting point for any adventure. Visitors can map out their adventures on the massive relief map and pick up expert tips and travel guides to help navigate this scenic spot. Whether it’s canoeing to one of the Algonquin’s interior camping sites, mountain biking its network of extensive trails, horseback riding through thick forests or fishing in one of the pristine bodies of water, there’s something for every outdoorsman, regardless of the season.

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1000 Islands Tower

1000 Islands Tower

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LEGOLAND® Discovery Centre Toronto

LEGOLAND® Discovery Centre Toronto

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1 Tour and Activity

LEGOLAND Discovery Centre is an interactive and fun filled activity for the whole family, where visitors can delve into the colorful and creative brick world of Lego. The first stop upon entering the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre is the Lego Factory. A tour takes visitors through different stations showing how Legos are designed, manufactured and tested. And, just in case you were ever wondering, you can find out your weight and height in Lego bricks. Afterwards, the Miniland, a perfect replica of the Toronto skyline and waterfront in miniature awaits, including many well-known landmarks and attractions such as the CN Tower, City Hall and the Rogers Centre. The attention to detail is incredible and includes little Lego pedestrians and spectators, moving vehicles as well as daylight and nighttime adjustments.

The LEGOLAND Discovery Centre is mostly geared towards children between the ages of 2 and 10.

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St. Catharines

St. Catharines

1 Tour and Activity

Although frequently overlooked by visitors in a rush to get to Niagara Falls, St Catharines is Ontario’s sixth largest city. First settled by Loyalists in the 1780s, it played a major role in abolitionist activity in 1850 thanks to William Hamilton Merritt, who granted land to refugee slaves from the United States. In fact, St Catharines was one of the final Canadian stops on the infamous “Underground Railroad” (a series of secret routes and safe houses used by slaves) for refugee African-American slaves, and therefore remains an important place in Black Canadian history to this day. By the mid-1850s the town's population was about 6000, 800 of whom were of African descent. St Catharines has since evolved into a thriving community based on trade, commerce, manufacturing and telecommunications.

In terms of attractions, St Catharines is often nicknamed "The Garden City" due to the 1,000 acres (4 square kilometers) of parks, gardens and trails scattered around the city.

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Gatineau Park

Gatineau Park

1 Tour and Activity

Sprawling across the Ottawa River from downtown Ottaway, Gatineau Park is an amazingly huge stretch of parklands, circling 179 km (110 miles) of summertime hiking trails and wintertime cross-country snowfields.

Locals head here in droves to breathe in the fresh air and, most importantly, get active. Mountain-bike and hiking trails wind their way through the different landscapes to beaches, campgrounds and picnic grounds.

Hire a canoe, go swimming, strap on a pair of skis or, for something gentler, gasp at the seasonal colors during the annual Fall Rhapsody. Make your way to Champlain Lookout for views over the Ottawa Valley, or visit the tearooms at Mackenzie King Estate, a former prime ministerial home.

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Georgian Bay Islands National Park

Georgian Bay Islands National Park

3 Tours and Activities

With its dense carpet of white pines and red oak, hemmed in by rocky shores and punctuated by vibrant pockets of wild orchids and white trilliums, it’s easy to be swept away by the beauty of the Georgian Bay Islands National Park. Made up of 63 small islands and isles clustered along the southeastern shore of the great Lake Huron, it’s set within the world’s largest freshwater archipelago and makes a popular holiday destination.

The island is reachable only by boat and regular shuttle ferries run from Honey Bay on the mainland, to Beausoleil Island, the largest of the park’s islands. Here, there’s a vast network of hiking and cycling trails, ample opportunities for sailing, kayaking and canoeing, and a number of tranquil waterfront cabins and campsites. Along with its striking landscapes, the most compelling asset of the Georgian Bay Islands is its surprising diversity of wildlife, with a large variety of reptiles, including the rare eastern massasauga rattlesnake.

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