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Ontario

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Travel Guide North America Canada Ontario

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Introduction

Unforgettable Sky

Unforgettable Sky

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Ontario is Canada's most populous province and boasts some of the country's most popular attractions. Its capital city, Toronto, is Canada's largest city, while Ottawa is the Canadian capital. On the southern border with the United States, thousands of visitors annually visit the stunning Niagara Falls. Ontario is also home to Algonquin Provincial Park - Canada's oldest provincial park.

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Geography

A large province, most of the population lives in the fertile southern area of the province surrounded by Lake Ontario, Lake Erie and Lake Huron in the Great Lakes-Saint Lawrence Valley where agriculture and industry are concentrated, and the cities of Ottawa, Toronto and Niagara Falls.

The thinly populated Canadian Shield in the northwestern and the central portions which covers over half the land area in the province, though mostly infertile land, it is rich in minerals and studded with lakes and rivers. The virtually unpopulated Hudson Bay Lowlands in the extreme north and northeast are mainly swampy and sparsely forested.

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Cities

Toronto skyline

Toronto skyline

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  • Toronto - Capital of Ontario, Toronto is Canada's largest city and a likely starting point for many trips to Canada. Cosmopolitan and very urban, Toronto offers big city sights and sounds.
  • Ottawa - The capital of Canada provides the opportunity to see the government of Canada in action, and makes an excellent starting point into the natural wonder of the nearby Ottawa river valley for kayaking and white water rafting, or up into the Gatineau park in Quebec.
  • Niagara Falls & Niagara on the Lake - In addition to the world-famous waterfalls and away from the tourist kitsch and theme parks, there are opportunities to see some historic buildings and forts, natural wonders and some excellent wineries.
  • Kingston - An historic town on the shores of Lake Ontario, Kingston was once Canada's capital.
  • London - Halfway between Toronto and Detroit, London is a college town.
  • Windsor - Across the river from Detroit, the southernmost city in Canada.
  • North Bay - Northern Ontario city located near the western edge of Algonquin Park on the trans-Canada highway.
  • Sudbury - Northern Ontario city famous for its Nickel mining. It is home to Science North, a vast science museum.
  • Thunder Bay - Northern Ontario city near the top of Lake Superior that borders on the USA.
  • Hamilton - This city between Toronto and Niagara Falls is best known within the country for its steel mills but also boasts a surprising collection of cultural activities, and is the Waterfall Capital of the World. The Royal Botanical Gardens straddles the border of Hamilton and nearby Burlington.
  • Burlington - Nestled on the shore of beautiful Lake Ontario in the shadow of the Niagara Escarpment between Toronto and Hamilton.
  • Kitchener is home to many museums and the biggest Oktoberfest party outside of Germany.
  • Sarnia - along the shores of Lake Huron
  • Mississauga - along the shores of Lake Ontario
  • Oshawa - along the shores of Lake Ontario
  • Sault Ste. Marie - along the shores of Lake Superior
  • Owen Sound
  • Saint Catharines

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Sights and Activities

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls

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  • The Niagara Falls are one of the most impressive waterfalls in the world. And although the Canadian side has been developed into a big tourist attraction, the falls haven't lost any of their appeal. The falls consist of the Horseshoe Falls on the Canadian side, which are almost 800 metres wide and have a direct vertical drop of over 50 metres, and the American Falls, which are about 320 metres wide and just over 20 metres tall. The small Bridal Veils are on the American side as well, separated from the American Falls with a single drop of almost 20 metres as well. The total drop of these falls is over 50 metres. The Canadian and American side are separated by Goat Island. One of the best ways to experience the impact of the falls is to take a boat ride on the Maid of the Mist, which brings you very close and you can view the falls from beneath. If you would rather walk, the Cave of the Winds (on the American side) takes you to the base of the Bridal Veils Falls.

Bruce Trail

The Bruce Trail is a hiking trail that follows the edge of the Niagara Escarpment, one of only twelve UNESCO World Biosphere Reserves in Canada, for more than 800 kilometres. Day hikes are available from many spots within Southern Ontario.

Algonquin Provincial Park

Algonquin Provincial Park is Canada's oldest provincial park, located between Georgian Bay and the Ottawa River in central Ontario, provides many opportunities for camping, canoeing and generally getting away from it all.

Point Pelee National Park

Point Pelee National Park is located in the extreme south of Ontario. It has includes both the peninsula and Lake Erie's Pelee Island in southwestern Ontario near Windsor that extends into Lake Erie and is the southernmost extent of Canada's mainland, south of 42°N, south of the northern border of California.

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Events and Festivals

Toronto International Film Festival

The Toronto International Film Festival is one of the world's top film festivals held annually in Toronto, drawing the biggest stars and films from around the world. It is the world's largest film festival open to the general public.[1] The festival commences on the Thursday after Labour Day (which is on the first Monday in September in Canada). It lasts for eleven days, although closing night is celebrated on the tenth evening (the second Saturday).

North by Northeast

North by Northeast is Canada’s #1 showcase for new independent music, where fans can catch great local and international performers about to break out as well as super-cool veteran acts at intimate venues. A film festival where music is the star, featuring music-related features, documentaries, and shorts. An industry conference for those just starting and those who have seen it all, featuring celebrity interviews as well as panels and information exchanges for artists and music-biz professionals. Catch it for three days in mid June.

Ohter Events and Festivals

  • Winterlude in Ottawa is a large festival held in February of outdoor activities including public skating and skating displays, snow and ice sculpture competitions, musical concerts at the Winterlude Snowbowl, children's play areas, an 'ice lounge', bed and waiter races and numerous off-site events.
  • The Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto runs the last 3 weeks of August, finishing on Labour Day in September. There is rides, games, various agricultural and other exhibits and an air show.
  • Friday the 13th in Port Dover - Since 1981, there has been a tradition of motorcycle enthusiasts gathering in the town of Port Dover (famous, mostly, for its lake Perch) on Friday the 13th. Depending on the weather, up to 75,000 bikers and spectators can be found in the small town.
  • The Niagara Wine Festival is actually three festivals now -- one in January (the ice wine festival), one in June (New Vintage) and one in September (Niagara Wine Festival).
  • Canada Day on July 1 is celebrated all across the province with parties, fireworks, parades and big outdoor concerts.
  • Harbourfront in Toronto, a recreational area, hosts festivals all year long, especially during the summer, with outdoor concerts, theatre, arts shows, etc.
  • The Toronto Outdoor Art Show is the biggest of its kind in the province. This is a juried show featuring the top artists in the country.

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Weather

Lake Ontario

Lake Ontario

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As a large province, the weather ranges from a "humid continential" climate in the southern area of Ontario with hot, humid summers and cold winters to the "subartic" conditions in the northern part of the province, with short relatively warm summers and longer dark and cold winters from October to April. Temperatures frequently hit 30 °C or more during the summer in the south, though the north is mostly around 20 °C from June to August. Temperatures in winter are mostly around or just under zero in the south, though temperatures plummit to possibly -40 °C in the north during some colder nights. Most of the snow in the north falls from October to early December before it gets too cold for precipitation. In the south, snowfalls is likely from December to February, early March.

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Getting There

By Plane

Most flights will fly into Toronto's Lester B. Pearson International Airport. Pearson airport is located in Mississauga, 27 kilometres to the north-west of Toronto's downtown. There are two terminals handling both domestic and international flights. There are dozens of destinations, but throughout Canada as well as further beyond, for example to Europe and Asia and closer by to the Caribbean Islands, Mexico and the US. Toronto also has an island airport used by Porter Airlines with flights to points in the United States and Canada.

Ottawa International Airport has some international flights as well and a decent amount of domestic flights to add.

By Train

Via Rail Canada provides services between Ontario and both the west to Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia and east towards Quebec. It takes around 4 to 5 hours for example from Toronto to Montreal.

Amtrak provides service to the United States. Trains to New York depart daily at 8:30 AM, arriving at 7:40 PM in New York City.

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Getting Around

By Train

Ontario Northland operates the Polar Bear Express train service from Cochrane to Moosonee.

By Car

Some of the options to rent a car include the following companies:

By Bus

Ontario Northland provides bus service from Toronto to northern Ontario, stopping in several times a day at Orillia, North Bay, Sudbury, Cochrane and up to Hearst.

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Eat

Because of the multicultural nature of many of the large metropolises such as Toronto and Ottawa, you will easily find food from all over the world in Ontario cities. Many international restaurants (The Keg, Starbucks, etc.) and fast food chains (McDonald's, Burger King, etc.) are also present.

Supermarkets and local groceries are also plentiful. Ontario produces much of its own dairy, fruits and vegetables, so you will find many farmers markets during the summer months. There are also year-round farmers markets in Toronto, Ottawa, Kitchener, Hamilton and other cities, which offer imported produce nd specialty foods during the winter months.

The Niagara Region is the "fruit belt" of Ontario, with its vineyards and other fruit and vegetable fields and orchards. You can drive through the Niagara countryside and stop at roadside booths and buy produce direct from the farmer.

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Drink

Beer
Many breweries exist in southern Ontario. They include the following:

Every mid-October the twin cities of Kitchener-Waterloo host Bavarian style Oktoberfest celebrations.
All beer are sold through licensed fascilities such as restaurants, bars, Beerstore locations and LCBO stores.

Wine
Many award winning wineries exist in southern Ontario. Many are located around the Niagara falls area where a micro-climate exists that allows growing of many types of wines including many famous ice wines. Other wineries exist along the coast of Lake Ontario.
All wine and linquor are sold in (Liquor Control Board of Ontario) LCBO stores, bars and restaurants displaying the (Liquor Licence Board of Ontario) LLBO sign.

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References

  1. 1 Water opens Toronto Film Festival(9 September 2005). BBC News. Retrieved on 2007–05–25.

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This is version 43. Last edited at 11:57 on Jul 18, 13 by Utrecht. 50 articles link to this page.

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