Must See Places in Ontario

Updated on Apr 28, 2024 | Canada eTA

Ontario, along with Quebec, is located in Central Canada, and is the most populous and second largest province in Canada, larger than the state of Texas in the United States. It is an important province in Canada owing to the fact that in it are located two of the most important metropolitan cities of Canada, Ottawa, the capital city of Canada, and Toronto. From metropolises to the cottage country, Ontario has got it all.

Other than urban centres and rural regions, the province is also home to lakes and waterfalls, trails and hills for skiing and other winter sports, and the wilderness in the provincial and national parks in Ontario where apart from witnessing the mighty nature you can also participate in many recreational activities. In the urban centres, of course, there are also such places to explore as regional and cultural landmarks and other tourist attractions. So, if you are planning on visiting Ontario, make sure you visit not just the most famous place in Ontario, which is Niagara Falls, but also these diverse places in the province.

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Ottawa has an interesting and important history. It emerged from a canal project started in the 1820s by Colonel John By after whom the city was originally known as Bytown. Its Parliament Buildings were the site of the first meeting of the Canadian Parliament in 1867. And now apart from its historical significance Ottawa also has to offer its cultural richness as well as the many tourist attractions here. You can visit such places as Rideau Canal and the majestic Château Laurier on its banks; the Canadian War Museum where the history of Canadian military activities dating as far back as the 16th century is showcased; the National Gallery of Canada, whose glass towers shaped like a prism are an architectural marvel and whose galleries contain everything from European art to aboriginal art; Diefenbunker, a Cold War museum built in an underground facility; and the Notre Dame Basilica, the beautiful Catholic Basilica built in 1846.


The capital of Ontario, Toronto is one of the largest and most diverse cities in Canada. There are many things to do and places to see here, such as the CN Tower, which is one of the most famous landmarks of Toronto, and which towers over the city’s downtown; Royal Ontario Museum, one of the best museums of art, history, and culture worldwide; Ripley’s Aquarium, displaying fascinating marine life, especially through an underwater tunnel with a sidewalk for visitors; Rogers Centre, a huge sports arena that is also used for concerts and other events; the Art Gallery of Ontario, which is one of North America’s largest museums; and Entertainment District, which is like Canada’s own Broadway. While in Toronto you should also take a trip to the Niagara Falls nearby as well as Toronto Islands which lie just offshore from the city.

National and Provincial Parks

Ontario’s many national and provincial parks are the best way to explore the province’s outdoors. Such parks as Algonquin Provincial Park and Killarney Provincial Park are great for hiking, camping, and canoeing. Bruce Peninsula National Park, Georgian Bay Islands National Park, and the Fathom Five National Marine Park, near the Lake Huron and Georgian Bay, are good for boaters, divers, etc. Petroglyphs Provincial Park is full of aboriginal petroglyphs or rock carvings, and the cliff walls of Lake Superior Provincial Park are also full of historical pictograms. Quetico Provincial Park is more remote and secluded and visitors can go for backcountry canoeing and fishing in its lakes.

Thousand Islands

Thousand Islands Thousand Islands Bridge over St Lawrence River

An island chain in the Saint Lawrence River, consisting of some 20 islands, many small islets, and two mainland areas, the Thousand Islands National Park is Canada’s smallest national park. The terrain is made up of marshland, pine forests, pristine waterways, and it is home to some of Canada’s richest wildlife. You can go on a hiking trail on the mainland but other than that the rest of the island is accessible by boat and the most popular recreational activities for tourists here are kayaking and power boating in the waters in between the islands. You will get to see secluded and solitary bays as well as some of the most unique coastal life including rare species of turtles and birds. Other than such adventurous activities, the mainland known as Mallorytown Landing is where you would find other touristy places to visit such as aquariums, picnic and camping sites, theatres, etc.

Ottawa Ottawa in Ontario, capital city of Canada

Cottage Country

Also known as Muskoka, this is a famous summer retreat in Canada that is located near Lake Muskoka, a little distance north of Toronto. During the summers tourists, including residents of Toronto, make their way to this place which is full of luxury cottages and summer homes. You can spend your time here by participating in many recreational activities, such as going to the beach, boating, taking a boat cruise for sightseeing or dining while cruising water skiing, tubing, canoeing, kayaking, paddle boarding, etc. And the lakes and the beaches are not the only places where you can have adventure. You can also go zip lining, aerial parking, cycling, mountain biking, hiking, etc. As it’s a more urban, high ended place, you can also be guaranteed a good shopping experience with all of the trendy stuff, fine dining, as well as visiting such culturally significant places as art galleries and museums. If you are going to be in Ontario, you absolutely cannot miss a weekend getaway to Muskoka.

You may also be interested in reading Must See Places in Toronto.

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