Québec may be bigger, British Columbia may have more mountains, and Alberta is certainly flexing its economic biceps at the moment, but when it comes to culture, cuisine and sophistication, Ontario wins hands down. Sure, there are just as many empty, cold acres here as anywhere else, but when you’re in Ontario, you can’t help but feel a palpable connection with the rest of the planet. Forget ice fishing, conifers and bear for a minute – this is global Canada, big-city Canada, sexy, progressive, urbane Canada.
Most Ontarians live in the south within a few hundred kilometers of the US border, where winters are bearable and steamy summers lure folks outside. Toronto, Canada’s largest city, is here – a blazing metropolis overflowing with multicultural arts, entertainment and eating opportunities. Ottawa, Canada’s capital, is changing too. No longer a steadfast political filing cabinet, contemporary Ottawa is as hip as you want it to be.
Year-round, Ontario celebrates its diversity with a cavalcade of festivals. Thespians rejoice over Stratford’s Shakespeare Festival and the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Connoisseurs of a more hedonistic activity – beer drinking – immerse themselves in Kitchener’s Oktoberfest and the London Beer Festival, while a festival-free weekend in Toronto is an event unto itself.
Cities and festivities don’t float your boat? Not far from the madding crowds, low-key agricultural towns and historic settlements define Ontario’s country civility. And if you must seek out wildlife, there are some excellent national parks here too. From arctic Hudson Bay in the north to the temperate Great Lakes in the south you’ll find more than enough boreal forests, undulating hills and vineyards to keep you feeling green. And don’t forget Niagara Falls – if you’ve found a natural wonder more deserving of the adjective ‘spectacular, ’ drop us a line.
Hold tight: the world's best rafting rivers
Zip up your wetsuit, cinch your helmet: we bring you the biggest, baddest and raddest rivers for rafting the world over – and all guided commercially for your convenience. Sun Kosi River, Nepal Raft negotiating the 'Meatgrinder' rapid on Sun Kosi River. Image by Anders Blomqvist / Lonely Planet Images / Getty Images.
Ontario destination guides
Tolerant, multicultural metropolis with great festivals, food, shopping and sports.
10 best boat journeys
Boats are often overlooked as a way to see the world; we invariably have limited time to get from A to Z so we fly, missing B to Y. In a lot of cases, though, boats are the best, and frequently the only way, to properly see a destination. Here are ten of the best boat journeys the world has to offer. 1.
Niagara Falls Day Trip from New York by Air
Discover the beauty and awesome power of Niagara Falls on a day trip from New York. You'll fly to Upstate New York, tour the falls on both the US and Canadian sides (don't forget your passport!), see all the sights, including a ride on the historic "Maid of the Mist" boat or the Journey Behind the Falls.
6-Day Ultimate East Coast Tour by Private Plane: New York City, Washington DC, Niagara Falls, Toronto & Pennsylvania Amish Country
Looking to explore the best of the East Coast in affordable luxury? Fly on a private plane? Stay in four-star hotels? There’s no cheaper or more convenient way to tour America's East Coast highlights than on this six-day, five-night small-group tour by private plane.
Sights in Ontario
Activities in Ontario
Tours in Ontario
Restaurants in Ontario
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Descriptions of Ottawa read like an appealing personal ad: young, vibrant, clean, bilingual, likes kids, long walks on the river.