Ontario is the fourth largest province in Canada and is home to countless breathtaking scenes of the majestic Canadian wilderness. Whether you prefer beaches, mountains or waterfalls - Ontario has something for every visitor that will leave them in awe of Earth’s natural beauty.
1) Agate Island Beach
Photo by Sara Fraser 2014.
Named one of 2013’s top seven natural wonder beaches in the world by Travel and Escape Network, Agate Island Beach is located near Thunder Bay. You won’t find sandy shores here, but instead, metres of agates - stones similar to quartz or amethyst that have naturally occurring ornamental bands. In addition to the steep stony shores, Agate Island is also home to the mysterious Pukaskwa Pits that are considered sacred to the First Nations people.
2) Bonnechere Caves
Photo by Paul De Graaf 2013.
Deep underground the Bonnechere Caves are a marvel to behold. Regarded as one of the best examples of limestone cave formation, which occurs by acidic waters slowly eating away at the rock, these caves stay cool year round and will amaze visitors of all ages. Quirky tours lead visitors through narrow passages that were once located on a tropical sea floor 500 million years ago. Journey into the underbelly of Ontario to see fossils of coral, octopus and other sea life as well as a sinkhole that is (luckily) off to the side of the trail.
3) Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls is Ontario’s largest and most well-known waterfall. Straddling the border of Canada and the United States, Niagara is actually made up of three waterfalls that combine together to create the awe-inspiring view that has attracted destination weddings, honeymoons and sight-seeing vacations alike. Be sure to hop aboard the Maid of Mist to get up close to the roaring falls.
4) Kakabeka Falls
The Kakabeka Falls are spectacular sight to behold - especially in the spring after the river first thaws or after a heavy rain. Watch from elevated viewing platforms along gorge as the water of the Kaministiquia River rushes over the edge of the cliffs and plummets 40 kilometres to the bottom before continuing along. The features of this landscape are steeped in local legend and were carved out by the melting of the glaciers and many fossils dating back 1.6 billions years.
5) Scarborough Bluffs
Named for the English Scarborough, these bluffs offer a quiet escape to nature on the eastern shores of Toronto. This secluded park offers an amazing retreat to nature that is not typically associated with urban areas. View the geologically wondrous rock formations either from the walking trail or while sailing on Lake Ontario for the afternoon. Standing over 65 metres and spanning 14 kilometres along the shoreline, Scarborough Bluffs are the perfect quick retreat from the noise and rush of city life.
6) Bon Echo Provincial Park
Photo by H. Otani2015.
Called the “crown jewel of the region” by Lonely Planet, Bon Echo Provincial Park offers a pristine expanse of wilderness in eastern Ontario. The most prominent feature of Bon Echo is the Mazinaw Rock - a 1.5 sheer granite rock face that towers 100 metres over one of Ontario’s deepest lakes, Lake Mazinaw. Long before painters and photographers began frequenting the park, aboriginal artists used Mazinaw Rock as their canvas, creating more than 260 pictographs that are still visible.
7) Ouimet Canyon
Photo by Ryan Riopel2012.
This stunning canyon is located in Dorion, Ontario - just an hour heading northeast on the Trans-Canada Highway. The canyon is about three kilometres long and 152 metres wide with a kilometre-long trail that leads to two overlooks. Take a moment away from taking in the vistas across the canyon to peer down into its depths where you will see a habitat of rare arctic plants that are reminiscent of the ice age era, including sub-arctic thickets, fir-club moss, alpine woods and arctic pyrola.
8) Bruce Peninsula National Park
Towering cedars have been dwelling on the peninsulas massive cliffs for centuries and still appear to stand as a part of a wild and untouched Canadian gem. From the Georgian Bay’s crystalline waters to the limestone barrens and deep forests, the Bruce offers visitors the chance to delve into nature’s breathtaking beauty.
9) Long Point Beach
South of Toronto lies Long Point Beach, an internationally recognized biosphere. This world-renowned beach is an important refuge and resting destination for avians as they embark on their migratory routes every spring and fall. Visitors to Long Point can try to spot some of the nearly 400 species of birds known to pass through by obtaining a checklist from the Long Point Bird Observatory.
10) Algonquin Provincial Park
As the first provincial park in Ontario, Algonquin is a haven for water enthusiasts. Explore the natural landscape that has inspired books, scientific research, films, symphonies and artwork. With 12 percent of the park covered in water, canoeing and kayaking in Algonquin is a must in order to discover the true wonder and beauty of this popular Ontario destination.