Best Things to Do in Ontario, Canada

Niagara Falls is a popular bucket-list destination
Niagara Falls is a popular bucket-list destination | © Ilene MacDonald / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Emma Gibbins
28 July 2020

Ontario’s mix of urban life and vast wilderness means there’s never a bad time to visit. With Hudson Bay to the north and the US to the south, the province is home to world-class attractions and a thriving entertainment scene, especially in multicultural Toronto. We pick the best outings in Ontario.

Ontario also offers plenty of opportunities to reconnect with nature and adventures outdoors. See an abundance of wildlife while exploring the province’s country roads, forest trails and 250,000 lakes.

Explore Niagara Falls

Natural Feature
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Niagara Falls, aerial view, Canada
© Vlad Ghiea / Alamy Stock Photo
Canada’s most famous tourist attraction, and one of the great wonders of the world, Niagara Falls should be on everyone’s travel bucket list. Look up at the towering falls while taking an exhilarating boat ride, or see them from above in a helicopter. Alternatively, visit the Fallsview Restaurant for spectacular views while dining. Niagara Falls sits along the banks of the Niagara River, making this a great day trip from Toronto. It’s also possible to take a private day tour, where you can spend time exploring Niagara-on-the-Lake, too.

Go to a sugar shack

Museum, Shop
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Springtime in Canada brings with it the chance to satisfy your sweet tooth, as maple trees are tapped for their sap. This fascinating seasonal process can be witnessed at a range of sugar shacks, including Wheeler Maple – the largest producer of maple in Ontario. There are nature trails, two museums and a pancake house, and you can taste maple syrup in a variety of forms – from maple butter spread over fresh bread to chewy maple taffy.

Step inside the Royal Ontario Museum

Building, Museum, Park
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The Royal Ontario Museum and the Michael Lee Chin Crystal Modern addition.
© John Zada / Alamy Stock Photo
The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) is among the world’s leading museums of natural history, art and culture. First opened in 1914, it serves as a national landmark and houses 40 galleries and a permanent collection of 13m items. Skip the line, and discover the museum’s collections of dinosaurs, ancient Egyptian treasures and South Asian art and culture, as well as a range of temporary exhibits. The ROM is Canada’s largest museum and is located in the University of Toronto district.

Take a trip to the Toronto Islands

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Visitors leaving the ferry at Toronto's Centre Island park
© Steven Chadwick / Alamy Stock Photo
For those looking to escape from the city, the Toronto Islands, dotted around Lake Ontario, are just a 10-minute ferry ride from Toronto. Don’t miss Gibraltar Point Beach and Lighthouse, or the scenic views from Centre Island Pier. Hire a paddleboard and admire the Toronto skyline, or experience all this destination has to offer on a morning or evening bike tour. The islands are great for families, with numerous picnic spots and kids’ attractions, including a maze and petting zoo.

Visit Algonquin Provincial Park

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For the ultimate taste of Canadian wilderness, Ontario’s oldest and largest provincial park is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, including hiking, fishing and canoeing – you can even see the Northern Lights here. Situated in south-central Ontario, between the Ottawa River and Georgian Bay, Algonquin stretches across 2,946sqmi (7,630sqkm) and is home to more than 1,500 lakes. Highway 60 runs through the park, making it easily accessible if you’re hiring a car. Those not driving can take a day trip from Toronto.

Discover the Hockey Hall of Fame

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Locker room of the Montreal Canadiens hockey team at the Toronto Hockey Hall of Fame
© Danita Delimont / Alamy Stock Photo
Experience the game that defines Canada at this interactive celebration of ice hockey. You’ll have the chance to learn about the achievements of the sport’s greatest stars through a range of artefacts, themed exhibits and games – one even lets you shoot against life-size, animated players in a replica ice rink. You’ll also get a behind-the-scenes look at an NHL dressing room and have hands-on-access to the Stanley Cup. Find the Hockey Hall of Fame in the heart of Toronto; it’s open year-round.
These recommendations were updated on July 28, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.