Great places to visit in Canada

 photo of sandbanks provincial park      photo of canoe at sandbanks provincial park

Sandbanks Provincial Park, Prince Edward County, ON

www.ontarioparks.com

Located about 2 1/4 hours from Toronto.  Sandbanks has a huge natural sand beach, sand dunes (pictured above on the left) and an area for canoeing (canoe rentals are available).  There are many washrooms in the area and even a restaurant with delicious food (great for those like me, who are too lazy to pack food!).

photo of rattlesnake point, milton

Rattlesnake Point, Milton, ON

www.conservationhalton.ca

I was talking to a friend about my love of hiking. But I didn't want to drive too far since my four-year-old may not last on a long hike and I wanted to see rocks (like the Georgian Bay rocks). He recommended Rattlesnake Point to me. Located about 45 minutes from Toronto.  Rattlesnake Point is part of the Niagara Escarpment.  You can hike, rock climb and discover many beautiful trails, including the Nassagaweya Canyon Trail.

Winter Moose at Awenda Provincial Park, Ontario

Awenda Provincial Park, ON

www.ontarioparks.com

The park itself seems a bit disorganized.  For example, you can canoe on Kettle Lake and there are canoes right at the lakeside, but you have to drive to the other end of the park to rent the canoes.  And although the website shows that you can rent a canoe, it does not specify that you must have reserved a campsite in order to rent them. Of course, since we drove about 2 hours from Toronto, my family was very disappointed that we could not canoe.

Aside from this, there is just something special about this park. I have already taken my family there twice this summer.  It could be the density of the looming beech tree forest, the serenity of Kettle Lake, or the four beach areas along the  Georgian Bay (one is designated for pet use - yet the rest of the park is not designated for pets - let me know if you figure this out!). Next year, I plan to reserve a campsite, canoe and take the time to enjoy all the trails. 

BTW - Winter Moose was there as well.

photo of blue mountain, ontario

Blue Mountain Resort, Collingwood, ON

www.bluemountain.ca

Blue Mountain is a located about two to 2 1/2 hours from Toronto.  It is an extremely popular spot for skiing in the wintertime and chilling in the summertime. You have to book way in advance to get a hotel there. To maximize the experience (and relaxation), my family booked a beautiful hotel in the village itself.  We went in the summertime. It was great fun climbing straight up the steep mountain, albeit dangerous if you fall backward! I should have taken a gravol because I was worried about motion sickness if I took the gondola down the mountain.

This is one of my favourite stories to tell...since I decided not to take the gondola down - me, my hubby and my two-year-old (who by the way, I had to carry) took the "long" route mostly in the dark and in knee-high grass.  So, we kept on looking for the least sloped part of the mountain - hahaha, not possible on a ski hill! We were almost like Jack and Jill tumbling down. Taking all the 'least sloped' routes ended up taking us all the way to the other end of the mountain in about 1  1/2 hours.

Thank goodness for my iPhone light to guide the way.  While we found our way down the mountain, our two older kids (who took the gondola down) had plenty of time to enjoy ice cream!

photo of baby with big paper glasses on

Haha - got your attention!  Sometimes, just hanging out at home is great too! 

photo of Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls, ON

www.niagarafalls.ca

I have been to Niagara Falls so many times in my life. But only on my most recent visit, did I go on the Maid of the Mist boat ride at the bottom of the falls. I took my two younger kids. It was so exhilarating being at the base of the falls, with the speed of the boat and the water whipping at us. To this very day, I don't think I have ever seen my daughter so excited about anything else. I don't get paid for advertising, but this experience was definitely worth the money (though pricey). 

photo of point pelee

Point Pelee National Park, ON

www.pc.gc.ca

Point Pelee is featured under P in My Great Canadian Adventures. It was really cool standing at the tip of the southern most part of Canada, looking into Lake Erie.  You can only access the tip by taking a shuttle bus from a parking area, then hike a couple of kilometres to the tip. The tide is extremely strong at the tip and you cannot safely go into the water.  There are many stories of tragic deaths arising from people ignoring the "DANGER!" sign and being pulled under the tide.  In My Great Canadian Adventures book, you will see an illustration of a red canoe - this is because we had an awesome canoe ride in Point Pelee's marsh.
photo of brockville railway tunnel

Brockville Railway Tunnel

www.brockvillerailwaytunnel.com

Located about 2 hours from Toronto. It is rather cool what they did with Canada's first railway tunnel.  They illuminated the tunnel with lights (that change colour) and play music inside.  If you went recently, you may have seen a lady dancing inside - me!

photo of heritage train     photo of heritage train

York-Durham Heritage Railway

www.ydhr.ca

You can hop aboard this heritage train from Main St., Stouffville, or get on in Uxbridge, Ontario.  Check out "U" in My Great Canadian Adventures and see what you find!  I have enjoyed a couple of Halloween-themed rides with my kids over the past couple of years.  There is nothing more fun than dressing up in costume, riding an old-style train and taking in the beautiful fall scenery.


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