Ontario Attractions:
5 Stars!

Looking for major Ontario attractions? Make the most of your precious vacation time by getting the scoop about all the biggies: Niagara Falls, CN Tower, Arts & Cultural Offerings, Outdoor Adventures and more.

Even if you’ve never been to Ontario or Canada before, you’ve probably heard of the world-famous Niagara Falls and Toronto's CN Tower. These wonders rate as the top two Ontario attractions.

On this page, I'll give you an overview of the Top Hits and point you to more in-depth articles about them on this site.

The BIGGIES

NIAGARA FALLS

About 12 million visitors are drawn to the majestic Niagara Falls every year, to gaze in wonder at its awesome power.They're one of the main Ontario attractions.

Niagara Falls

Located along the Niagara River which runs between Lake Ontario and Lake Erie, the Falls straddle the border between Canada and the United States. The site actually consists of three separate cataracts, the most spectacular being the Horseshoe Falls on the Ontario side.

TORONTO LANDMARKS

The CN Tower is the icon of big city life and all that entails: skyscrapers, brassy architecture, top-notch engineering and a million dollar view, especially at night with the lights of the metropolis dancing below.

Toronto CN Tower

The Tower isn’t the only architecture worthy of notice in Toronto, though. The downtown core strikes visitors from abroad as very new and modern-looking; the forest of skyscrapers (mostly bank office towers) surrounding the foot of Yonge and Front Streets is largely responsible for this almost space-age effect. But height isn’t the only feature of Toronto architecture. The city seems to go for weird shapes, like the futuristic Rogers Centre, the New City Hall, the Sharp Centre for Design at the Ontario College of Art and Design, and the latest in radical attention-seeking building, the controversial Michael Lee-Chin Crystal wing of the Royal Ontario Museum.

I don’t want to give the impression, though, that Toronto was just built yesterday. Many jewels from earlier eras remain: Fort York, The Royal York Hotel, Old City Hall, the Ontario Legislature, the University of Toronto campus, the Distillery District, and Casa Loma among them.

OTTAWA THINGS TO DO

As the nation's capital, Ottawa is a huge draw for tourists from around the country and even across the world. The beautiful and historic Canadian Parliament Buildings naturally attract millions of camera-toting tourists each year, followed closely by the National Art Gallery and the other major Ottawa Museums. Ottawa also enjoys some wonderful festivals, and for nature-lovers and outdoorsy types, Canada's capital is a surprisingly "green" city with plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities like hiking, skating and skiing.


Ontario attractions by theme

FAMILY FUN

Looking for something the kids will enjoy? If you have young children in tow, a trip to the Toronto Zoo is a must. Next on your list? The Ontario Science Centre. And don't forget that massive amusement park, Canada's Wonderland.

ONTARIO PARKS & GARDENS

Vacation to many residents of Ontario means a week or two at the cottage – perhaps up in the Muskokas -- or some time camping in one of the many beautiful parks in the province.

Algonquin Park

Nature is one of the most popular Ontario attractions. We love our lakes and luckily we have lots of them. Visitors are often amazed at the massive size of Lake Ontario. To get a feel for the mighty St. Lawrence River, take a Thousand Islands cruise out of Kingston; it's an Ontario tradition, as iconic as a camping trip to Algonquin Park.

But you don't have to wander far from the city to experience the natural beauty of Ontario and enjoy outdoor adventures; every town and city has nearby parks and conservation areas where you can savour the great outdoors, one of the best-loved Ontario attractions. Check out my page on Ontario Gardens.

ONTARIO CULTURE & THE ARTS

Are you a culture vulture like me? What are the main Ontario attractions for art and entertainment lovers? Don't miss the biggies: the Royal Ontario Museum and the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto, the National Gallery of Art in Ottawa, and the McMichael Canadian Art Collection in the small town of Kleinburg.

If you can, time your trip to coincide with the International Film Festival or the International Festival of Authors, depending on your interests.

Theatre lovers rejoice. If you're looking for live entertainment, Toronto theatre is a magnet for theatre lovers, but you'll find excellent professional performances elsewhere too, in Ottawa, Stratford, and Niagara-on-the-Lake, just to name a few. See more here: Ontario theatre.

Click on the Ontario Culture link above for more details.

ONTARIO HISTORY AND HERITAGE SITES

Do you enjoy seeing how our ancestors lived? Discover life hundreds of years ago at reconstructed Aboriginal sites like Crawford Lake, where you can listen to tales from long ago while sitting around the campfire in a longhouse. Or visit Old Fort Erie with a ghost-guide and shiver at stories of soldiers who still haunt their old battlegrounds.

SEASONAL ONTARIO ATTRACTIONS

It doesn't really matter when you come to Ontario because this is a four-season destination. Come in the spring for the tulip festival in Ottawa and blossoms in the Niagara fields, in summer for beaches and camping in Algonquin, in fall for the vineyards, autumn leaves and studio tours, and in winter for the Christmas lights, skating and skiing and snowmobiling, craft fairs and performing arts.


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MAJOR Ontario Attractions:

Algonquin Park

Art Gallery of Ontario

Canada's Wonderland

Royal Botanical Gardens

Ontario Travel Secrets > Attractions