Ontario Tourist has put together a list of events and tips that are often unique to Ontario Tourists, which relate to a certain region, local resort, lodge or time of year in our beautiful province of Ontario.

From visually spectacular meteor showers to local farmers markets and festivals, to province-wide "Kids golf free days" to "Free Fishing Week", you can always come to Ontario-Tourist.com to see interesting and sometimes unusual tourist venues and attractions for great getaway vacations.

Nancy Bell has detailed a list of unique and often historic places to stay that will impress even the most worldly traveler, like The Caboose Bed and Breakfast near Stratford and Bruce Bay Cottages & Lighthouse up Georgian Bay's North Channel, to name just two. And don't miss guest articles written by knowledgeable local experts that detail some fascinating and visually stunning scenic regions and events in Ontario.

Ontario Tourist's Travelers Tips page is more than just tips, it's places to stay and things to see and do.

Winter Road Trips in Ontario to Have Some Fun!

Many people in the GTA hibernate in the winter, stay indoors and wait for it to be over and Spring to arrive.  Some are afraid to drive outside of the city for fear of being stuck in the snow.
 
For the people that wish to get outside to enjoy winter and have some fun, there are a lot of tools you can use to make the most of your time away.
 
The Winter, Snowmobile, Ice Fishing and Skiing pages of www.Cottage-Resort.com  lists places to stay that are open in the Winter. 
 
There are webcams all over Ontario to show you what it looks like "on the ground".  Blue Spruce Inn near Algonquin Park www.bluespruce.ca and Beauview Cottage Resort, Huntsville, Muskoka www.beauview.com  are examples of places to stay that have webcams so that you can "see out their window". 
 
You can get Winter Road reports from the Ontario Ministry of Transportation to ensure safe travel.
You can access weather radar for Ontario by going to www.farmzone.com
 
And then you can access all the Fun reports: Here you will find out if the conditions are suitable for skiing, snowboarding, snow shoeing, dog sledding, snowmobiling or hiking.
 
The Downhill ski and Cross country Ski reports at http://www.skiontario.ca/snow-reports
Ontario Provincial Parks Ski Reports: http://www.parkreports.com/skireport/
Then you can go to the park or area's website you wish to visit, for all the details.
 
Snowmobile Trail conditions vary throughout Ontario. It's all natural snow and ice maintained and groomed by club volunteers. To see the latest trail conditions in Central Ontario map, go to
 

Where in Ontario can you stay with your Pet?

Pets Welcome isn't a sign you see at most Ontario accommodation ... but times are changing. The baby boomers are the largest group of travelers and they want to travel with their pets.  Pets are just like family to them. Innkeepers and hotel owners are starting to change their approach. 
 
It's not just the cottage resorts that allow pets.  Some of the larger upscale resorts do too. 

For example: Deerhurst Resort www.deerhurstresort.com in Huntsville, Muskoka now allows pets in some of their rooms as does the Sherwood Inn www.sherwoodinn.ca  and the Rocky Crest Golf Resort www.rockycrest.ca in Muskoka Lakes.

Lake Edge Cottages, Lakefield, Ontario www.lakeedge.com has a 5 out of 5 Trip Advisor Rating, won many awards and isn't just pet friendly - they are "Ontario's Most Pet Friendly Resort"

 

Each place is a bit different.  Some allow pets all year long.  In others, pets are not allowed in the Summer. Some charge extra for pets while there is a growing trend not to charge.  Some set aside certain buildings, while others you can take your pick.

Here's some of their new Pets Welcome policies: 
- No extra charge for Pets.
- Well behaved dogs welcome.
- We know how hard it is to leave a pet behind. Now, you don’t have to.  We are pleased to welcome you and your pet.  *some buildings are kept pet free for those with allergies.
- Small pets are welcome
- Welcome singles, couples, families, seniors and precious pets.
- Pet Friendly Resort
- Pets Welcome
- Award-Winning, 4-Season, Most Pet-Friendly Resort
- Dogs welcome in the lake & the boats.
- Dogs accepted in a few cabins.
- Leashed Pets Welcome, Pet Swim area
- Pets Welcome - September to June
- well behaved pets are welcome, and free
- friendly pets are welcome
 

For a list of Pet Friendly accommodation, please visit
http://www.cottage-resort.com/pets.htm

 

What is there to do in Ontario's "Off Season" ?

After Thanksgiving weekend in October, Ontario resorts, lodges start what is called the shoulder or off season.  Many close their businesses for the winter but there still are about 1/3 of the properties open year round. Off season refers to the in between time between Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Years. The premise is that there's not a lot to do. Not True! The off season is the time when we travel the most as this is the time of year we can take some holidays. Many of us can't get summer holidays and tend to take multiple breaks throughout the year. A friend of ours works long hours each day but then takes a holiday every 3 months to relax and recharge.
What can you see or do in Ontario? I have got my best moose photos in Algonquin park.  The males are out with a full rack of antlers.  The leaves on the trees have fallen so you can see them easier. You don't have to leave your car but you should go for a hike or a bike ride in the forest.  Dining experiences after the harvest are wonderful. Many places have indoor pools or hot tubs available to their guests so you can still go for a swim.  Towns throughout Ontario have special events planned for the off season .  An example is the Girlfriends Getaway weekend that happens in November each year in the town of Huntsville.  We take the time to reconnect with family and friends. We visit our daughter and husband.  Have dinner with friends, and go to concerts and events.  I saw the Red Green show at Casino Rama in Orillia and my wife went with a girlfriend to see the Battle of the Blades TV show live at the Toronto arena.

 

Perseids Meteor Shower 2013

The peak nights to view the Perseids Meteor Shower is Sunday August 11 and Monday August 12, 2013. Best viewing times for the "shooting stars" are after midnight and before dawn. After the moon sets at around 1:30am is the very best time if you are still awake. Outside of the city where there isn't any light pollution, is the best place to go.  Consider an overnight stay at an Ontario resort, inn or lodge to enjoy the show!

 

Collingwood Elvis Festival 2013

The 2013 Elvis Festival takes place in Collingwood Ontario from Thursday July 25 to Sunday July 28
Everything Elvis takes over the Town of Collingwood and the Town of the Blue Mountains, Ontario for four days in July. There are Las Vegas style shows, Tribute artist competitions, Elvis tribute artist performances each day featuring Champions Roy LeBlanc and Drake Milligan. Spend an Evening with Elvis performances.
Street party and Elvis Tribute Artist Showcase. A Salute to Elvis' Vegas Years, Memory Lane Street Dance, Gospel Music Favourites, Inspirational Elvis Gospel Music Competition
Old fashioned midway carnival rides, food and games for the whole family.
Elvis Tribute Artist Car parade and Car Show
There's a number of different venues including the Blue Mountain Resort Village, Cranberry Village, Curling Club and town arenas.
And a shuttle service that takes you around to all the venues.
 
Thank you  - Thank you, very much!

 

Ontario Farmers' Markets

The first Farmers' Market in Ontario began in Kingston in 1780, there are over 100 today.  Each one is unique, with a blend of fresh produce, preserves, honey, baking, crafts and more.

 

Enjoy visiting a Farmers' Market in the area that you are staying. 

 

 

In Muskoka:

 

Bala Farmers’ Market
Mondays, 9am-2pm
June 24 to September 2, 2013
705-762-5663
Precambrian Shield Parking Lot

Baysville Farmers’ Market
Fridays, 2pm-6pm
June 28 to August 30, 2013
Baysville Country Store
Highway 117

Bracebridge Farmers' Market
Saturdays, 8:30am-1pm
May 18 – October 12, 2013
Victoria Day Weekend to Canadian Thanksgiving Weekend
Memorial Park, Manitoba Street, Bracebridge (beside Norwood Theatre)

Dwight Farmers’ Market
Tuesdays, 9am-1pm
Starting June 25 to Sept 10th, 2013
Dwight, beside Post Office

Gravenhurst Farmers’ Market
Wednesdays, 9am-2pm
May 22 – October 9, 2013
Muskoka Wharf (across the road from Boston Pizza)
705-684-8731

Huntsville Farmers' Market
Thursdays, 9am -2pm
May 23 - October 31, 2012
Canadian Tire Parking Lot, 77 King William St
Celebrating 25th Anniversary - Free gifts every Thursday!
705-788-4400

Port Carling Farmers’ Market
Thursdays, 9am-2 pm
June 27 to August 29, 2013
Hanna Park on Bailey Street
705-762-5663

Rosseau Farmers’ Market
Fridays, 9am - 2pm
June 28 to August 30, 2013
Waterfront on Lake Rosseau at the end of Short Street

 

 

 

 

In Haliburton:

 

Carnarvon Farmers' Market

Fridays, 1pm - 5pm

June to October

North east corner of Hwy 35 and 115

beside That Place In Carnarvon restaurant

 

Haliburton Farmers' Market

Tuesdays, 1pm - 5pm

June to August

Rotary Park adjacent to Rails End Gallery

 

Minden Farmers' Market

Saturdays, 8:30am - 12:30pm

May to September

On the Village Green, Downtown Minden

 

 

 

In Peterborough/Kawarthas:

 

Peterborough Downtown Farmers' Market

Wednesdays, 8:30am - 2pm

May to October

Louis Street Parking lot, east of Charlotte & Aylmer

 

Peterborough Farmers' Market

Saturdays, 7am - 1pm

Year Round

Morrow Building, George and Lansdowne St.

 

Buckhorn Farmers' and Craft Market

Tuesdays, 8am - 1pm

June - August

Buckhorn Community Centre, Lakehurst Rd.

 

Campbellford Farmers' Market

Wednesdays, 8am - 1pm

May - October

Corner of Front St. & River St.

 

Lakefield Farmers' Market

Thursdays, 10am - 3pm

May - October

Lakefield-Smith Community Centre on Concession St.

 

Lindsay Farmers' Market

Saturdays, 7am - 1pm

Opens in May

Victoria Ave. between Kent St. & Peel St.

 

Bobcaygeon Farmers' Market

Saturdays, 8am - 1pm

May - October

Bobcaygeon Fairgrounds, Mansfield St.

 

 

Kids can Golf for Free July 8-14, 2013

Ontario Kids can Golf For FREE July 8 - 14, 2013
Click on the link for participating golf courses in Canada. Courses will offer FREE golf to children under the age of 16, who are accompanied by a paying adult. A great way to introduce the game of golf to your children.
www.kidsgolffree.ca

Free Fishing Week - No License required in Ontario

 Ontario Free Fishing Week starts July 6, 2013 - July 14, 2013. Adults living in Ontario, don't need a license to fish. Up to 18 years old, children don't need a license anytime of the year.  All the catch limits still apply. A great opportunity to try out a new sport or do something you haven't done in years. Some Ontario resorts offer free fishing tackle to their guests.  Some resorts, camps and lodges offer guide services and shore lunches to cook what you catch.

Carp Fishing by Mike Williams, Lakeside Cottages, Lakefield, Kawartha Lakes

carp fish

Carp Fishing starts mid May in Ontario, Canada.

The Trent Severn in Ontario is where the vast interconnecting lakes and rivers of the system flow through the scenically stunning Kawartha Lakeland. Here are wonderful still waters and rivers where carp fishing is
at its best. Just 90 minutes North East of Toronto  and only 3 hours from Ottawa and the U.S.A - Canada - Borders is where you will find Carp Canada fishing at Lakeside Cottages considered one of the finest Award Winning Cottage Resorts to catch Canadian Carp offering the best quality Carp fishing you can ever image to experience in Ontario.
 
On Beautiful Katchewanooka Lake in the heart of the famous Kawarthas where you can relax and enjoy natures wildlife while fishing watching ospreys dive for fish the blue heron standing proud and turtles swimming this truly is a superb quiet family resort with 5 cottages all facing the lake scenery making this an ideal destination for the serious fisherman to combine fishing and a wonderful family vacation. If you are looking to keep busy there are many activities at Lakeside Cottages as the resort is ideal for the entire family with many other attractions to explore the wonderful area of the Kawarthas and much more. If you are a couple wanting to enjoy a get away re-treat and or looking to fish then you can combine both as the resort would be just perfect for you.
 
The season starts from mid May though to June late September and even October fishing at Lakeside Cottages has its benefits of Mike Williams the owner ex of the U.K. a keen and knowledgeable angler who has been fishing for over 45 yrs knows the lake and rivers well is on hand at the resort to advise tactics, bait spots and will rent you carp fishing tackle at very reasonable rates always finding carp for his guests with many achieving their personal best fish as Mike is well known for giving top advice!
 
Carp fishing at Lakeside Cottages: Carp to over forty have been landed and the bigger fish are present if the fishing is quiet on a slow day you might only catch half a dozen teens and twenties, but on a good day expect to catch into double figures or more with a good possibility to catch thirties and even forties among them.
 
Carp can eat vast quantities of bait when feeding confidently, these fish fight really hard and the fishing is very exciting and truly fabulous you will catch more fish in a week or two weeks than you'll probably catch in a season, with hard fighting quality carp, commons and mirrors the scenic waters of Lake Katchewanooka make this the finest wild natural carp fishing in the world right here in Ontario.. You will find wild hard - fighting carp that will take your fishing tackle to the limits! Mike Williams the owner and guide of Lakeside Cottages who knows the Carp Fishing better than anyone in the whole of Ontario!

 For more information 

 

Unique Places To Stay in Ontario by Nancy Bell

lighthouse Are you looking for unique accommodation in Ontario? From trains, lighthouses, jails and more, Ontario has many places to offer.

The Ottawa Jail Hostel is located in downtown Ottawa and is close to the Byward Market and Parliament Hill.  It offers private and shared jail cells, hostel style rooms and a private warden's room. It was originally the Carelton County Gaol, when the jail closed in 1972 it was converted to a hostel. The jail was the location of the hanging of Patrick J. Whelan in 1869, for the assassination of Thomas D'Arcy McGee. Whelan's spirit haunts the hostel and has been seen at the end of guest's beds or in his death-row cell.
www.hihostels.ca

Spirit Island Adventures on Manitoulin Island offers a number of packages with tee-pee accommodation; horseback riding, hiking and powwow with meals or tee-pee only without meals.
www.spiritislandadventures.com

Gordon's Park Eco Resort on Manitoulin Island offers a number of types of accommodations including tipi tenting. It also offers hiking trails, a nature interpretive centre and a dark sky preserve plus many other activities.
www.gordonspark.com

For train accommodations you can choose from:

The Caboose Bed and Breakfast, Tavistock has a 1910 CNR caboose.
www.rudyville.ca

The Station Inn, Cochrane offers rooms in the same building as the train station.

The Clearview Station Bed and Breakfast, Creemore offers an Ontario Northland Caboose and 2 rooms in the Station House - the Station Master's Suite and the Conductor's Room
www.creemorecaboose.ca

If you are interested in staying in a lighthouse these locations would be happy to help you:

Bruce Bay Cottages & Lighthouse, Bruce Mines
www.brucebaycottages.com



Fishing in the Kawartha Lakes by William Wittman

William has been a guest at Scotsman Point Resort for many years. Submitted by Andrea Childs, Scotsman Point Resort, Buckhorn, Kawartha Lakes Ontario www.scotsmanpoint.com

muskie A sportsperson's paradise lies at the heart of the historic Trent-Severn Waterway and it is the Kawartha Lakes (Kawarthas). This tranquil setting affords anglers of all ages and skill levels the opportunity to pursue a wide variety of fish species. Some of the most popular species include perch, pickerel (walleye), black crappie, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and muskellunge. Whether it's relaxing on a dock while watching a bouncing bobber, casting and retrieving a bucktail over weed beds, or trolling a deep-diving crankbait through rocky narrows, the generous waters of the Kawartha Lakes offer exciting fishing action.

In addition to holding such a wide variety of fish species, the Kawartha Lakes has a diversity of habitat in which one can choose to pursue these fish. During the spring, weed beds begin to define most of the Kawartha Lakes. Large volumes of fish rely on this vegetation for food, oxygen, and shelter. As a result, fishing inside weed pockets and along weed edges can be a very productive method for catching any species throughout the fishing season. The Kawarthas also contain countless bays that are punctuated by lilly pads, wild rice, and fallen timber. Fishing this shoreline structure during mornings and evenings has been a proven strategy for catching largemouth bass. Being situated along the southern boundary of the Canadian Shield, the Kawartha Lakes have numerous boulder points, rocky outcroppings, and deep narrows. It is here where concentrations of smallmouth bass, walleye, and muskellunge can be found. Finally, since the Kawartha Lakes are a chain of lakes connected by both natural and man-made channels, anglers have easy access to several unique fishing opportunities.

In short, the Kawartha Lakes offer a scenic, safe, and satisfying recreational getaway for the entire family. From the casual observer to the avid angler, everyone will find a reason to come back to the Kawarthas.


The Young Man and the Kawartha Lakes

Written by Shannon Fernandes who is a regular guest at Scotsman Point Resort. Submitted by Andrea Childs, Scotsman Point Resort, Buckhorn, Kawartha Lakes Ontario www.scotsmanpoint.com

fishing It was the opening weekend of the Walleye season. The sun was just rising and the mist of the cool spring morning lingered over the water. The lake was calm, and the only waves were those created by the loon who fished close to the boat. His echoing wail traveled across the lake as an early morning wake up call to anglers and the fish below. I cast my white grub, tipped with a little dew worm for extra scent. I could feel it, that the fish would be biting. I bounced the jig over the weed bed, as I worked the weed edge. I knew that those early morning walleyes would be hunting for their breakfast. Every now and then I got a tug on the end of my line, probably a bluegill or yellow perch trying to swipe my dew worm. I cast towards the shore and with a steady retrieve made the 4" tail on my grub shimmer under the surface. I looked up at the shoreline as the rising sun warmed the air and noticed the silhouette of a grey heron as it stood at the edge of a dock, looking into the shallows to snack on the minnows that scurried by. Then I felt a tap at the end of my line, and the line became heavy. "Am I caught up on weeds" I stopped reeling to see if I could feel anything. I saw my rod tip bounce up and down and I felt the head shake of something, something big. Did my bait pass over the nest of a spawning bass and in its defense of its un-hatched eggs, strike out at my bait.

When fishing for walleye early in the season, I have often had some large bass attack my bait. But this fish is not fighting like a bass, which would dive down and then suddenly in hopes for throwing the hook, rise to the surface and jump out of the water shaking its head back and forth. No, this fish was staying down. I adjusted my drag so that when it realized it was hooked and did its first run, I would be ready. I called out to my cousin who was on the boat. "Grab the net" I said, "we are going to need it". He put down his rod, opened the net and came towards me. I could see his eyes light up when he saw the bend in my rod, his excitement made me even more nervous. The first run and the shrill of my drag seemed amplified as the line emptied out of my spool. It was going to be a fight. In my head I kept thinking "will my 8lb test be strong enough, did I tie the swivel on tight, oh NO, I don't have a leader on!" I wondered, what if it was one of those many muskies I have caught that have on occasion decided to mutilate my perch imitating Repela's, confusing them for smaller fish in our Ontario lakes.

Again I thought, "Ok keep calm, relax, don't tense up." The fish cruised back and forth, trying to get away seeking cover under some thick cattails. I worked her closer, then, with a sudden burst of energy, she pulled away. Now I knew how Santiago from "The Old Man and the Sea" must have felt. This was my Marlin! The fight went on for a good 5 minutes, which felt more like 15 minutes, but I could feel that she was tiring. The fish rose to the surface and we caught a glimpse of her side as she rolled her huge belly over. "Whow" yelled my cousin; I myself was too shocked to mutter anything. All of my focus was on fighting the fish. I used every trick I had learnt and my experience from years fishing the Kawarthas to keep her on. I got her close to the boat, now about 8 minutes into it, and then with one swish of the net, my cousin landed her. I plopped down into boat seat, my hands were shaking as I reached into the net, my jig fell out of the fish's mouth as she gasped for air. I put my hand under her gill plate and lifted her up like I was lifting a trophy. I was finally smiling, a smile that remained on my face the rest of the weekend. We weighed her 8lb body and took a few pictures to show all the non-believers back at home. I put the fish back into the lake so she could return to the peaceful place where she lives, eats, spawns and continues the cycle of life. She will likely fight again and allow other anglers like myself to enjoy the marvels of our Ontario lakes and give them a memory that will last a life time.

 

Craft Breweries in Ontario by Nancy Bell

A craft brewery is a small, usually independent brewery that produces limited quantities of specialized beers, often sold for consumption on the premises.

Ontario's early beer history began with small brewers who applied their skills to brewing unique types of beers.  During the early 20th century many of these brewers were forced to close down or consolidate due to prohibition, the depression and two world wars.  Advanced technology gave rise to large breweries and mass production. 

In the 1980's independent brewing was renewed and an interest in beer among a new generation of consumers was created.  In 1984 Jim Brickman became the first craft brewer to start up in Ontario.  Soon after, several other independent breweries followed, with a focus on handcrafted beers.  These breweries brew handcrafted, premium beers, in a wide range of traditional styles as well as personal recipes.

Currently there are about 50 licensed craft brewers in Ontario. Many beers made here are available throughout the world.

Ontario Craft Breweries include:
Amsterdam Brewing Company, Toronto, 416-504-6882
Barley Days Brewery, Picton, 613-476-7468
Beau's All Natural Brewing Co., Vankleek Hill, 866-585-BEER
Black Creek Historic Brewery, Toronto, 416-736-1733
Black Oak Brewing Company, Etobicoke, 416-252-2739
Cameron's Brewing Company, Oakville, 905-849-8282
Clocktower Brewpubs, Ottawa, 613-233-7849
County Durham Brewing Company, Pickering, 905-686-3022
F&M Brewery, Guelph, 877-316-BEER
Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery, Barrie, 866-393-4443
Grand River Brewing, Cambridge, 519-620-3233
Granite Brewery, Toronto, 877-884-4645
Great Lakes Brewery, Toronto, 800-463-5435
Highlander Brew Co., South River, 705-792-0808
HogsBack Brewing Company, Kanata, 613-986-2337
Kichesippi Beer Co., Ottawa, 866-361-4477
King Brewery, Nobleton, 877-965-0995
Lake of Bays Brewing Company, Baysville, 705-767-2313
MacLeans Ales, West Grey, 519-369-5061
Mill Street Brewery, Toronto, 416-681-0338
Muskoka Brewery, Bracebridge, 800-881-4229
Neustadt Springs Brewery, Neustadt, 519-799-5790
Niagara College Teaching Brewery, Niagara-on-the-Lake, 905-641-2252 x4099
Nickel Brook Brewing Co., Burlington, 905-681-2739
Old Credit Brewing Co. Ltd., Port Credit, 905-271-9888
Railway City Brewing, St. Thomas, 519-631-1881
Skeena Brewing Company, Perth, 613-267-4044
Steam Whistle Brewing, Toronto, 416-362-2337
Trafalgar Brewery, Oakville, 905-337-0133
Wellington Brewery, Guelph, 800-576-3853

Snowshoes For All Ages By Gord Bell

snowshoe Snowshoeing has become a sport for young and old in Ontario.

Thirty years ago there were just 2 or 3 types of snowshoes like the Algonquin (big tennis racket) and the Bear Paw (round). They were made of wood with leather straps. They were hard to use especially if you had short legs. You had to walk like a zombie on snow.

Today the traditional wood snowshoes hang on the wall or over a fireplace. Lightweight aluminum snowshoes are now in fashion. There are a variety of styles, sizes and even colours of snowshoes to choose from.  Little bear snowshoes are popular with the children. The bindings are easy to work with gloves on. There are ratchet tighteners built in to the bindings with a pushbutton quick release. The newer snowshoes have teeth to grip on ice or hard snow.

You can find snowshoe trails at the Ontario Provincial Parks, community parks, some golf courses and many Ontario resorts.

You don't have to buy snowshoes, you can try them out by renting at an outfitter like Algonquin outfitters.

If you like the experience of trekking through the bush without going up to your knees in snow, snowshoes can be purchased at most sports stores and Canadian Tire. A great selection of used or nearly new snowshoes, are available on classified websites like Kijiji.ca.