Top 13 Places to Visit in Canada: Ontario

Top 13 Places to Visit in Canada: Ontario

Top 13 Places to Visit in Canada: Ontario

The Blue Mountains & Grey County, Ontario 

Author/Editor : Jennifer J. Lacelle 

Date : July 14, 2021 

Ontario, Canada: 1.076 million square kilometers of beauty, business, luxury, history, arts and travel. Over 14.57 million people live in Ontario but that wasn’t always the case. The former residents were woolly mammoths and mastodons… about 10,000 years ago anyway.


Before settlers, namely Étienne Brûlé or Henry Hudson, began filling lands with forts, settlements and communities, the primary population were the Algonquin (migrant hunters) and Iroquois (farmers of squash, corn and beans). 

Furthermore, are the Oji-Cree, Ojibwa, Odawa, Mississauga, Cree, Neutral, Haudenosaunee, Wendat, Potawatomi, and Métis. 

 There have been archeological sites showing that their trading system ranged all the way to what is now the Gulf of Mexico (dated about 1,000 BCE). Sault Ste. Marie became the first permanent European settlement in Ontario (1668) but it wasn’t until 1791 that Upper-Canada was named (currently Ontario). 

Lower Canada is what we now know as Quebec. To escape the potato famine, over 100,000 Irish immigrants settled in Ontario (1840s), helping increase the population to 952,000 by the year 1851. 

 Currently, one-quarter of Ontario’s population are immigrants whose primary language is not English — though it is the official language of the province. In fact, immigrants make up half of new settlers coming to Canada and over 12 Indigenous groups. In and around the Toronto area are a multitude of neighbourhoods that embrace different cultures, such as; Chinatown, Little Italy, Koreatown, or Greek Town.


How many lakes are there in Ontario? Over 250,000 and over one fifth of the entire world’s freshwater. 

 Ontario also happens to have the most varied landscape in Canada, with the Canadian Shield and Niagara Escarpment. 

There are also plains and rolling hills strewn across the province. In Southern Ontario resides The Blue Mountains, it’s a 2.5-hour drive from Toronto, one hour drive from Barrie, two hours from Tobermory, and 3.5 from Sudbury.

 What will you find in the Blue Mountains that’s worth the drive, you may ask? The Blue Mountains is a small town in Grey County, which has a total population of a little over 7,000. It sits along the Nottawasaga Bay, making for not only mountains to entertain tourists but beaches as well. There are no less than a dozen activities to participate in with The Blue Mountains resorts.


The Ridge Runner Mountain Coaster is basically a 1-kilometer rollercoaster that takes you through the forest for a panoramic view of the woods at a maximum of 42 kilometers an hour. 

There’s no experience required and those with disabilities (mobility issues, wheelchair, hard of hearing or deaf) are all welcome on the ride with a support person. Ages go all the way from three years old to adult, with minimum height and maximum weight requirements. Timber Challenge High Ropes gives you 1.5 hours of exhilarating fun and challenges on high ropes, ziplines, climb ladders, and cross bridges. 

Like an obstacle course, participants must complete the first round to get to the next, more difficult, section. For safety issues, participants must be at least 13 years old, able to reach their marker with feet firmly planted to the ground, a max of 250 pounds, and have some level of physical dexterity. Scenic Caves Nature Adventure has caves and caverns you can explore, that extend 70 kilometers into the earth, which were once home to the Putan First Nations people. 

Of course, there more to discover with a suspension bridge that’s 420 feet long and 82 feet above ground; 2,550 feet zipline with a 287 foot drop off that spirals you downward over the forest at speeds of up to 70 kilometers an hour; trails and lookouts that total 15km (and 370 acres of nature) to explore, to name a few. That’s just during the summer, there’s a slew of other activities for the winter months: you can still do the suspension bridge, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing. 

 Bruce’s Caves, inside looking out. Photo by Jennifer Lacelle.   For those seeking more caves to visit, be sure to head over to Bruce’s Caves or Greig’s Caves for an exhilarating time “spelunking” and hiking the fairy-tale pathways. Bruce’s Caves Conservation has a great history in Grey County. 

It was named after Scotsman, Robert Bruce, who purchased land from the Crown and settled in the Georgian Bluffs (Keppel Township). The house he erected, and property, were purchased Grey Sauble and have become the pavilion, parking lot and washrooms. The caves themselves are left over from Lake Algonquin (receded) during the Ice Age. Greig’s Caves is a privately owned area, but the property owners allow visitors to explore for a small fee. It’s a self-guided tour that’s like walking along something from a story book with the bright green vegetation, chirping birds and aromatic winds. The caves themselves can be explored to an extent and with caution — always ensure you follow the rules implemented by the owners.


Monterra Golf is a stop for those who need to spend some time on the green getting fresh air and practicing your swing. 

There are 86 bunkers on the field along with rolling hills, creeks, ravines and lakes, while the background is the illustrious and relaxing Blue Mountains. Feel restored and refreshed at the Scandinave Spa just outside Collingwood, in the middle of the Blue Mountains. 

Here you will relax in both outdoor bathing areas, indoor saunas and pools, and receive a massage while surrounded by 25 acres of UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, Niagara Escarpment. Reservations are required and members must be over the age of 18.


Beaches populate the entire area from Collingwood through the Blue Mountains areas, there are approximately ten if you include the parks and preserves that touch the bay. Sunset Beach Point in Collingwood is about a 20-30 minutes drive and is described as an iconic landmark for the small community. It spans 30.77 acres, 7 volleyball courts, 15 gardens, 5 parking lots and a place to purchase refreshments. 

The breeze coming off the water is a mix of cool and warm as you take a breather on the grass and soak up the sun. Northwinds Beach is another popular destination for people trying to escape the heat. Resting just outside the heart of The Blue Mountains is a sandy and rocky beach with water that’s enticing for kayakers, surfers and swimmers. Plunge! Aquatic Centre is a great stop for the family to fly with rope swings, docks, and water slides. If you want to avoid the sun, there are indoor pools available as well. 

 If you want something a little outside of the water, try your hand at Cascade Putting Course. Suitable for ages four and up, there is an 18-hole putting course with small ponds and bunkers — just like a real course. Because it sits along the Niagara Escarpment, there is stunning backdrops during every round. 

Don’t forget the waterfalls. This hardly covers everything you’ll find in the area. A great place to stay during your trip is The Blue Mountain Village where there’s a hotel, mystical streets filled with vendors and restaurants, which are all surrounded by mountain. Just getting to it will feel like driving to the unknown wild… until you’ve opened the fantasy book and walked its streets. It would take a lifetime to explore the entire area, and that’s just one of the reasons it’s definitely a visit and return location.

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