5 must-have experiences in Ontario

As Canada’s most populous province, Ontario has no shortage of culture and history. Whether it is the 19th-century parliamentary buildings in Ottawa or Toronto’s defining CN Tower, visitors have an extraordinary amount of choice in The Heartland Province – and that’s without considering the seemingly infinite number of natural experiences in Ontario. With over 250,000 freshwater lakes and a vibrant array of natural parks, it’s one of the best places in the world for exploring nature.

One of Ontario’s only problems (if you can call it a problem) is that there’s too much to do. You really need to plan your time in the province to make the most of it. Otherwise, you may easily end up missing out on some of the must-see highlights. We’ve taken some time to decide on five absolute must-have experiences in Ontario. Stay with us for a comprehensive guide.

Dive into the Fathom Five National Marine Park

Located in Georgian Bay, Fathom Five National Marine Park is one of the best freshwater diving destinations in North America. With 22 perfectly preserved shipwrecks, it’s a fascinating journey through history. The huge natural harbor has been a hotspot for all kinds of ships for hundreds of years. Unfortunately, a combination of giant waves, rocky shoals and difficult-to-navigate islands led to a high number of sunken ships. Freshwater diving is the best way to experience the fascinatingly preserved remains.

Fathom Five National Marine Park isn’t only popular for its shipwrecks. Divers enjoy a plethora of underwater natural rock formations, some of which were responsible for bringing down the ships we mentioned before. The dolomite cliffs are 420 million years old, injecting an unprecedented amount of natural history into the Fathom Five National Marine Park experience.

Explore the thrill of Ontario casinos

On the other end of the scale, many visitors to Ontario are captivated by the province’s colourful array of casinos. There are over 29 establishments to choose from, which puts neighbouring Quebec’s offering of just one casino to shame. Some of the top places include Shorelines Casino Thousand Islands, Caesars Windsor, Casino Rama Resort and Casino Ajax.

Don’t fret if you find the land-based casino gambling experience too much, as Ontario also has several online casinos to enjoy. Many people prefer playing casino games online, due to the superior selection of slot games and generous welcome promotions.

Take a trip down St. Lawrence River

Southern Ontario’s Thousand Islands National Park is the best way to experience the iconic St. Lawrence River. Situated on the border with New York State, it contains 20 granite islands, on which camping is allowed for the ultimate nature-based experience. With light pollution at an absolute minimum, setting up camp here opens up a night sky the likes of which you’ve never seen before.

And make sure you experience, by kayak, the Thousand Islands Paddling Trail, an extraordinary network of bays, narrow channels and open water expanses with a rich history of clandestine activity from pirates to prohibition-era bootleggers.

Climb the CN Tower

Once the tallest free-standing structure in the world, Toronto’s CN Tower is arguably the most impressive man-made attraction in Ontario. Standing at 553.3 metres, it offers unrivalled views across the whole city. Visitors can dine in the famous revolving 360 Restaurant or experience a thrilling EdgeWalk around the roof.

Check photographs of the CN Tower to see what the impressive structure looks like on the Toronto skyline. It’s visible from pretty much anywhere in the city, forming an impressive backdrop to its various districts and neighbourhoods. Visitors to the CN Tower have numerous options – if eating in the revolving restaurant or experiencing the thrill of the EdgeWalk isn’t for you, taking in the view from one of the many observation decks is still an exceptionally exciting activity.

Discover natural wonders at the Wabakimi Provincial Park

Wabakimi Provincial Park covers an incredible 2.3 million acres in northwestern Ontario. The roadless natural paradise is the perfect place for wilderness seekers looking for somewhere genuinely off the grid. Wabakimi Provincial Park is also steeped in First Nations culture, making it a perfect place for learning about the indigenous groups living in Canada before the arrival of European colonialists.

Guides take visitors on canoe treks encompassing over 1,200 potential routes. Arguably the best way to feel the raw, rugged wilderness of Ontario, Wabakimi Provincial Park is worlds away from urban centres like Toronto but is just as important to experience.




About Joel Levy 2575 Articles
Editor-In-Chief at Toronto Guardian. Photographer and Writer for Toronto Guardian and Joel Levy Photography