Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Ontario's Best Fall Colour Destinations

Here are 9 of the best Ontario destinations to experience Fall colour. 

Have we missed any? Let us know in the comments.

1. Blue Mountain Village

Enjoy changing foliage as you whisk up Blue Mountain in Ontario’s only open air gondola and return to the Village Plaza to take in some live music. Pack your hiking shoes and be sure to take a trip along the Apple Pie Trail to discover culinary and artisan treasures along the way including local wine and cider tastings. After a day of taking in the stunning Fall colours be sure to take part in the most delicious Fall experience, FalliciousOne of the seasons most popular features is back! It’s Fallicious at Blue Mountain Village and that means beautiful autumn days filled with adventure and cool crisp evenings perfect for sitting by the fire or enjoying an evening of dining and entertainment.

2. Haliburton Highlands

The Haliburton Highlands include a unique topography of rolling hills, rock cuts, crystal clear waterways and exceptional woodlands.  You will not want to miss all of excitement between amazing outdoor adventures, arts & culture experiences and spectacular delights for foodies. For a unique Fall experience check out the Hike Haliburton Festival September 21-24, 2017. Canada’s largest hiking festival, the Hike Haliburton Festival welcomes over 2,000 people participate in 90 guided hikes throughout the beautiful Haliburton Highlands. Hikers of all ages and abilities come from all over Ontario – and beyond – to take in the wonder of our the Haliburton Highlands. The Festival goes beyond just ‘traditional hiking‘; heavily integrating the arts, culture, heritage and foodie experiences to truly showcase the area.

3. Mattawa Voyageur Country

Mattawa Voyageur Country is recognized as one of Canada’s leading sustainable outdoor recreation regions. It is the “gateway community” of choice for people looking to visit an area with exceptional natural beauty, rich culture and heritage attributes, high-quality trail-based experiences and outdoor adventures, a clean environment and a friendly, small-town atmosphere. Get the best out of Autumn with an outdoor adventure or follow the paths of the voyageurs.

4. Muskoka

Fall in Love with the best Fall getaways in Ontario.  Famed for our spectacular Fall foliage, spending Fall in Muskoka is an experience that goes unmatched. Fall colours usually last for a month, splitting the time between September and October. 
Come up for an extended stay or find a Fall weekend getaway package that suits you. Take a scenic hike through the colourful Muskoka forests and venture up to one of our lookouts for a spectacular view. Or try one of our recommended driving tours and see how the colours of the trees change before your eyes. Get out on horseback or hit the golf course to see the beautiful colours up close and personal. See for yourself why Muskoka is a favourite fall getaway in Ontario.

5. Ontario's Highlands

Throw away the itinerary and let curiosity guide you in Ontario’s Highlands. Explore the diverse geology of the region and foster your sense of adventure by challenging the natural environment or climbing high above the trees. Follow your authentic sense of discovery through museums and natural heritage sites or feel your imagination come to life during quirky festivals and theatre shows. See smiles light your loved ones faces as you take in the breathtaking scenery or satisfy your search for indulgence at unique spas and lakeside retreats. Ontario’s Highlands is just 2.5 hours east of Toronto and a half hour west of Ottawa, but a world removed from it all. Step out of the city and into our world to reconnect, experience something new, and to wander.

6. Ontario's Lake Country

Ontario’s Lake Country is located just one hour north of the GTA, a perfect location to enjoy the peacefulness away from the busy city life and take in the breathtaking fall colours. Escape and book one of many distinctive fall getaways. Enjoy this beautiful and picturesque region on your choice of driving tours, cycling routes, scenic tours by boat or hiking the stunning trails along our waterways and scenic landscapes. There is something for everyone to Fall in love with Ontario's Lake Country.  

While enjoying the scenic Autumn landscape be sure to experience Ontario's Lake Country Fall Flavours, with local flavours through delicious 2-3 course set meals created by participating Flavours of Ontario’s Lake Country Chefs!  Enjoy a 2-3 course set lunch and/or dinner menu at participating restaurants around Ontario’s Lake Country.

7. Ottawa Valley

Cradled between the Ottawa River and Algonquin Park, the Ottawa Valley is famous for its stunning outdoors and cultural and heritage riches. Known as Ontario’s Adventure Playground and Whitewater Capital of Canada, the area is surrounded by woodlands, over 900 pristine lakes and four major river systems making it the perfect destination to view the beauty of Ontario's Fall foliage. One of only two regions in the world with the unique combination of climate and topography that results in brilliant fall foliage, the Valley is a magnificent place to enjoy throughout the autumn months. Glorious colours and crisp, cool weather make it an excellent season for exploring the countryside. Go on a Fall Rural Ramble and experience Studio ToursTaste of the Valleyunderground diningfossil hunts, self-guided hikes and giant pumpkin weigh-offs. Many Ottawa Valley accommodations have special Rural Ramble packages, making it the perfect time to plan a weekend getaway.

8. Town of Midland

Nestled on the shores of Georgian Bay, Midland makes for the perfect day trip or weekend getaway to experience the beauty of Autumn. Whether by foot, bike, boat or car there are ample opportunities to get to and around Midland. Enjoy the Fall colours from scenic Little Lake Park, just minutes from downtown Midland or explore some of the trails and attractions that surround Midland.

9. Township of Algonquin Highlands

Known for spectacular Fall foliage, the Algonquin Highlands is one of Ontario's must visit places for Autumn. Home to many of the best water trails and hiking trails in Ontario there are endless opportunities to experience the best of Fall in Ontario. Be sure to visit the Dorset lookout tower for the best view of Fall colors in the highlands! With a breathtaking 360 degree view, the observation deck of this historic tower stands 142 metres (465 feet) above Lake of Bays.

Find out when and where the peak of Fall colour is with our Fall Progression Report.  Plan an Autumn Getaway in Central and Northern Ontario in one Ontario's finest resorts and travel destinations.  Find the best Fall Fairs, Studio Tours and Fall Events and Activities North of Toronto.

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Must-See Holiday and Christmas Season Events in Ontario Cottage Country

The holiday season is here and we know you are busy. There are trees to cut, gifts to buy, holiday parties to attend and lists to check ... twice.  That is why we've rounded up our very own favorite and MUST-SEE Holiday & Christmas Season events taking place in Ontario's cottage country and central and northern Ontario .

In between the hustle and bustle of holiday cheer experience a new, or continue a long standing holiday tradition with loved ones. Discover the glow of the holiday season north of Toronto.

1. First Light at Sainte Marie among the Hurons

Evenings November 24-26, December 1-3 & 8-10, 2016
5:30 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

Now in its 17th year, Sainte-Marie’s “First Light” is a must-see event with a great line-up of family activities and performers, all amidst the spectacular glow of over 5,000 candles.

The magic begins when visitors approach the candlelit historic site, as a beautiful amber glow illuminates the famous 17th-century mission. A colourful historic encampment will greet visitors, set up by the popular “Survival In The Bush” group. Visitors can then stroll the candlelit paths which lead to a variety of fun family activities.

Find more info: First Light
Find more info: Midland Tourism

2. Sugar Plum Fairy Craft Show at Nottawasaga Inn Resort

The highly anticipated 33rd Annual Sugar Plum Fair is taking place on Saturday, November 12, 2016 (9am-5pm) and Sunday, November 13, 2016 (10am-4pm)

Whether you’re a return or first time visitor you will experience a treat at this year’s show. We’re excited to welcome back some incredible vendors and introduce a line-up of new and talented crafters and artisans who will be displaying their creations during the two day show. The show features over 120 vendors from across Ontario selling a variety of items including chocolate, jam, fudge, sauces, quilts, candles, ceramics, stained glass, wreaths, folk art, woodwork, sewing, knitting, body care products and more! Santa will also be stopping by for a visit.

Once again this year we will be raffling off gingerbread houses, which have been decorated by the resort staff, in support of a local charity.

Find more info: Sugar Plum Fair Craft Show

3. Santa Claus Parades and other Santa/Christmas Events

Santa! I know him! We all love him. Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, Santa Claus parades are the perfect family outing in November and early December. Excitement, joy and holiday spirit will have your family creating memories and having a wonderful time this season.

Find more info: Santa Claus Parades

4. Midtown Med Holiday Show (18+ venue) at Casino Rama Resort

Casino Rama Resort, December 1 & 2, 2016

The 4 stars from the original cast of the Broadway smash Jersey Boys, have blended iconic rock ‘n roll hits of the 1960’s with the all-time greatest Holiday classics adding their trademark sound to the mix. Favorites such as “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts),”“Baby, Please Come Home,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “California Dreamin” and “All I Want For Christmas Is You” will be performed with the group’s dynamic choreography, electrifying rock ‘n roll arrangements, and of course, signature four-part harmony.

The Midtown Men is not a performance of and not affiliated with the show Jersey Boys.

Find more info: Ontario's Lake Country

5. Holiday Shopping - Artisan Craft Shows & Christmas Markets

A farmers' market or a small town holiday fair bazaar are truly the best spots to find that perfect unique hand made gift. Whether you like food, art, decor or clothing you'll find thoughtful gifts that no big box store can match.

Find more info: Holiday Markets and Bazaars

6. Santafest at Santa's Village

Santa's Village, Bracebridge

SantaFest Winter Edition 2016  - December 10, 11, 17, 18 and 23
Our annual Thank You Santa days will be held on December 28 and 29.

Join us for a fun filled Winter Edition of SantaFest - with some of Santa's favourite winter activities like Gingerbread cookie decorating, a petting farm, colouring and crafts, marshmallow roasting and who could forget - a visit with Santa!! 

New in 2016 - a spectacular light display highlighting the natural beauty of our park! 

Find more info: SantaFest
Find more info: Muskoka Tourism

7. Jingles & Joy at Blue Mountain Village

December 2, 2016 - Januray 8, 2017 at Blue Mountain Village
Creating lasting memories at Blue Mountain this holiday season as the Village comes alive with Jingles & Joy. Thousands of twinkling lights, festive decorations, and family-friendly entertainment make the perfect backdrop to shop, dine, and play.

Find more info: Jingles & Joy
Find more info: Blue Mountain Village
Find more holiday fun on our website, particularly:

More Events
Christmas & New Years Eve Getaway Packages
Winter Activity Getaways

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Fall-oween Family Fun in Ontario

Face paint and pumpkin guts. No wonder kids love Fall. Let’s not forget leaf piles and candy! Yes the pinnacle of Fall for all the young ones, getting that pillow case filled with the most sugary treats. Well kiddos, let us tell us you that there is  A LOT more fun to be had in the Fall-oween season.  There's pumpkin tossing, haunted houses, wagon ridges, zombie walks, costume parties and more.  Get out there and take advantage of some of Central and Northern Ontario's most unique and undiscovered Fall and Halloween Family events.

Discovery Harbour, Penetanguishene
October Thursdays-Saturdays, 7pm to 10pm
It’s Pumpkinferno and Discovery Harbour is haunted! Amazing carved pumpkins, scary scenes and evil creatures await you around every corner if you dare! Zombies and ghouls lurk in the darkness!
Learn more

Marsh Monster
Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre, Midland
October 29, 2016
See what awaits you when darkness takes over the Marsh. Prepare yourself for a naturally frightening night with zombie walks, scavenger hunts, a haunted house with games and crafts, and the always spooky Marsh Monster mystery tours. Visitors are encouraged to come in costume and bring a flash light.
Learn more

Youth Halloween Coffee House
MacLaren Art Centre, Barrie        
October 28, 2016
This is the seventh annual Halloween Coffeehouse organized by the MacLaren’s Youth Advisory Council. Attend in your Halloween-costumed best and enjoy music and spoken word performances by local Simcoe County youth. Activities include our very popular button-maker, Halloween-inspired crafts and much more. This is an all-ages event, parents are welcome. Prizes will be awarded for the best ghoul and gal!
Learn more

Pumpkin Mania

Rounds Ranch, Elmvale
September 24 – October 30, 2016
Weekends in October
Pick your own perfect pumpkin! Wagon rides, animals, fun rides and toys and every kind of pumpkin activity you can dream of!
Learn more

Pumpkin Festival
McLean Berry Farm, Lakefield
Oct 8-9, 15-16 & 22-23, 2016
Live entertainment, barnyard animals, mazes (a straw bale maze and 2 corn mazes, one of them is haunted), pumpkin bowling, junior spook barn, bonesville cemetery, pumpkin patch wagon rides and the famous pumpkin cannon.
Learn more

The Haunted Hill
Blue Mountain Village
October 28-30, 2016
Halloween comes early at Blue Mountain Resort! For three days only, Blue will transform into The Haunted Hill where ghosts and goblins run free through Enchanted Forests, Haunted Putting Courses and Hikes on Haunted Hill. Face your frights in a weekend full of Halloween-themed fun for the whole family, if you dare!
Learn more

Halloween Hustle Trail Running Race
Hardwood Ski & Bike, Oro-Medonte

October 23, 2016
Run your way through the haunting trails of Oro Medonte in this 5km or 10km Halloween themed race. It’s sure to be a spooktacular event with a 1.5km kids race as well as a costume contest.
Learn more

Harvest Adventures
Horseshoe Resort & Slopeside Adventures, Barrie
September 10 - October 10, 2016
Celebrate autumn at Horseshoe and the changing of the season. Grab your family and friends and get ready to harvest new memories, laughter and outdoor fall fun. So throw on your coziest sweater, fuzzy socks and take a breath in some crisp, country air – because at Horseshoe, we’ve hand-picked the best fall experiences just for you.  Scarecrows, Music, Bonfires & Cocoa, Hay Rides, Sunsets & Pumpkins.
Learn more

More fun ideas to get your Family out this Fall 

See more Halloween events held across Ontario's Cottage Country, Central and Northern Ontario.  

Celebrate the Fall harvest and explore one of Ontario's Fall Fairs.

Find out when and where the peak of Fall colour will be across Central and Northern Ontario with the Fall Colour Report.

Thursday, June 09, 2016

A Day in the Life of a Historical Interpreter

Blog Writer & Historical Interpreter,
Larry Ford
Ah, summer jobs! For those hardworking students who need seasonal employment what could be more enjoyable than working in front of a grill or filling up someone’s SUV. I’m not knocking either of the two jobs noted, but where I work you can dress up like someone from the past and be a doctor, a cook, a blacksmith, even a Jesuit priest! Such is the summer life of a historical interpreter at Sainte-Marie among the Hurons, the reconstructed 17th century French Jesuit community just east of Midland, Ontario.  

While you have to wear heavy clothing in 30 degree weather, and you may be stuck in front of a fire, the biggest plus of the job are the people you meet from all over the world, who are interested in you and what you have to say. The majority of our audience are absolutely fascinated in hearing the story of two very different cultures, the French and the Wendat/Huron, how they interacted and what happened, both good and bad. We don’t pick sides. We try to balance the story and allow our visitors to draw conclusions, and most importantly learn about one of the most dramatic periods in Canadian history. 

Historical Interpreters are
chosen from all over Ontario
Oh, we may struggle making sagamité (a thick corn, porridge like soup that one historical Jesuit said looked like wallpaper paste), or making a twisted piece of metal we call a nail, or wearing a long black robe in the sun, our hands-on third person interpretation and story-telling have been very popular for nearly 50 years.

It’s time to go. I have a Grade 5 group from Pickering and the bus has just pulled up. Time for me to put on my beaver felt hat and lead my tour on a visit to the 17th century.

Whether you are with a school group, just dropping in, or if you are one of the lucky few who have the chance to work at Ontario’s first European community, get ready for an experience that is truly historical…a summer job second to none!

Friday, May 06, 2016

The Best New and Undiscovered Festivals in Ontario

Festival season is around the corner and we have your go to list of the best new and upcoming festivals North of Toronto for 2016.   From the much beloved Butter Tart to the treasured kayak, there are endless opportunities that will get you out discovering the best of Ontario's cottage country and beyond.

Ontario’s Best Buttertart Festival

June 10, 2017
Are you ready for the sweetest showdown of the year?  Ontario’s Best Butter Tart Festival and Contest is the province’s premier event celebrating everyone’s favourite ooey-gooey pastry—the butter tart! 
Learn more

See more at Midland Tourism | Downtown Midland

Salsa at Blue

Blue Mountains
June 17-19, 2016
Muy Caliente!   Latino fever hits Blue Mountain with the return of the much anticpated 8th annual Salsa at Blue Mountain.  A FREE family street party transforming the entire Village into a fiesta of fun with mucho music and dancing capped off with FIREWORKS! 
See more at Blue Mountain Village

SantaFest - Summer Edition

July 9, 2016
Lying on the 45th parallel, Bracebridge is halfway between the equator and the North Pole. SantaFest – Summer Edition is a “Christmas in July” event celebrating Bracebridge as Santa’s Summer Home! There will be live music, a Town Crier competition, vendors, games and activities for all ages, and a parade featuring Santa Claus himself!  Celebrate Santa, family, fun and summertime!
Learn more
See more at Muskoka Tourism

Festival du loup

July 14-17, 2016
French Canadian Heritage and Cultural Festival celebrating the roots and the "alive and well" French community. It is a family event with music blending professionals and locals. A taste of the past and present through music, exhibits, arts, food and laughter! The theme of the Festival originates from the legend of the wolf of Lafontaine.

Cupcake Festival

July 22-23, 2016
Cupcakes galore! Street vendors, live music, cupcake contest, charily silent auction, sidewalk sales, fabulous restaurant offerings. Come be a part of Ontario’s first and only Cupcake Festival!

Mattawa Voyageur Days

Mattawa Voyageur CountyJuly 21-24, 2016Mattawa’s population triples when it hosts its fun filled four day festival the last full weekend of July annually with events and activities for all. Professional concerts are held each evening at beautiful Explorer’s Point. The Mattawa River Canoe Race starts in North Bay with the finishing line in Mattawa. Come experience the Timbersport competition. Children can join in the Mattawa Lions kids fishing derby. Youth day events are held on Mattawa Island. This year’s performers include Chad Brownlee, Doc Walker, Vince Neil, Alan Doyle and more!Learn more

See more at Mattawa Voyageur County

Summer in the Park Festival

North Bay
July 29-31, 2016
Civic long weekend is going to rock with headliners Hedley, Tim Hicks, and Cory Marquardt. Plus more artists to be added soon.  
Learn more

Steampunk Festival
August 6, 2016
Steampunk Festival Theme:Circus Sideshow. Vintage Car Show on August 4.  Artists Flea Market on August 5. Heritage Performers, Artisan market, Costume Contest and more August 6.
Learn more

Blue Mountain Village
August 6-7, 2016
Celebrating families with entertainment to delight all ages including Mega Magic Show, Isabella Hoops, The Tom Show, Hands on Exotic animals, The Balloon Tree theatrical performance, Groove Dancing, guided family hikes and live music by The Next Generation Leahy.
Learn more

See more at Blue Mountain Village

Get Outdoors Festival

Wye Marsh, Midland
August 6 & 7, 2016
Explore one of Ontario’s largest wetlands by foot, boat or bike. There are over 25km of forested trails, floating boardwalks and canoe channels that let you escape into the Marsh. Experience hummingbird banding and monarch tagging demonstrations. See birds of prey soar and learn how to i.d. turtles and snakes in a live demo.
Learn more

Rama First Nation Pow Wow

August 20-21, 2016
The 30th annual Rama First Nation Pow Wow!  Competition powwow featuring some of Turtle Island\’s best singers and dancers.  Dozens of food, arts, craft, and educational vendors onsite.
Learn more

See more at Ontario's Lake Country

The Great Canadian Kayak Challenge & Festival

August 26-28, 2016
A showcase of kayak & stand up paddleboard challenges, seminars & workshops, arts & culture exhibitors & vendors, live performing arts which include free admission to live concerts both Friday & Saturday night, an interactive  Aboriginal village, fireworks, and children’s activities.

Learn more

Hike Haliburton Festival

September 22-25, 2016
Canada's largest hiking festival.  The Hike Haliburton Festival welcomes over 1,500 people participate in 75 guided hikes throughout the beautiful Haliburton Highlands. Hikers of all ages and abilities come from all over Ontario - and beyond - to take in the wonder of our the Haliburton Highlands. The Festival goes beyond just ‘traditional hiking‘; heavily integrating the arts, culture, heritage and foodie experiences to truly showcase the area.

Discovery Harbour, Penetanguishene
October 1-2, 6-9, 13-16, 20-23 & 27-30, 2016
On a cold rainy night in October of 1815, a ship from ports far away glided effortlessly into the Penetanguishene Naval Establishment blown by an eerie wind from the East. Little did the people of Penetanguishene know but this ship was bringing with it a curse that would haunt these lands… forever!
Learn more

First Light

Sainte-Marie among the Hurons, Midland
November 24-26, December 1-3 & 8-10, 2016
“First Light” is a must-see event with a great line-up of family activities and performers, all amidst the spectacular glow of over 5,000 candles.
Learn more

Buckhorn Maplefest

MacLean Berry Farm, Buckhorn
March 18-19 & 25-26, 2017
At Maplefest, there are a tons of fun activities for the entire family. Whether it’s going for a wagon ride, eating pancakes with fresh maple syrup or seeing how the sweet stuff is made, there is something to do for everyone! Whatever it is you’re looking for this spring, McLean’s Maplefest is a great way for everyone to shake off a long winter and enjoy the celebration of springs arrival.
Learn more