Going to a local hiking spot is always nice but exploring a new trail or area always makes me the happiest. Finding new and unusual places to immerse myself in that are not packed with people is always a bit tricker but when you find a spot, it always feels like a major success. Luckily, there are still numerous natural treasures all over Ontario that haven’t been over-saturated by crowds. Hopefully, you only know a few of these spots and I can introduce you to places you’ve never heard of.
Here are 10 unusual sights to visit in Ontario:
1. Flowerpot Island
Location: Tobermory, Ontario
From the stunning grottos and crystal clear waters, you will feel like you’re on vacation in the south of Spain or Portugal. Drive to the tip of the Northwest coast of Ontario towards Tobermory, and take the ferry to visit Flower Pot Island, which is located in Fathom Five National Park. The island is known for its natural “flowerpot” rock formations, caves, unusual plants and the historic light station. Most people spend a half or full day exploring the island’s trails, swimming holes, and beautiful lookout points. Popular areas off the island are known for their scuba diving and snorkelling, where you can swim over amazing shipwrecks.
2. The Lake On The Mountain
Location: Prince Edward County, Ontario
Stop by this unique lake and have a picnic by the water. You might not believe it until you see it. Lake on the Mountain is one of Price Edward County’s hidden treasures. This place is exactly how it sounds, but has views over the Bay of Quinte on one side and then towards the lakeside, on the other. The strangest part about this is, the lake happens to have a constant flow of water with no visible source, with Lake Ontario located 60 metres below.
3. The Toronto Islands
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Take the 10 minute ferry ride across to one of the three major islands (Ward’s Island is my favourite), and check out stunning views of the Toronto skyline along your journey. The entire experience is worth the hassle, with the islands boasting walking trails, cute colourful houses, restaurants, beaches, a theme park and more. There are paths and bridges that connect the islands, so if you have the time you can spend the whole day. Most enjoyable during the spring or summer, it’s a great place to go whether it be with your significant other, friends or the whole family.
Location: Brockville, Ontario
The Brockville Tunnel is Canada’s very first railway tunnel, completed in 1860, and exists under the downtown core of Brockville. The tunnel opens for the season Sunday, April 7, 2019. There will be lots of installations and recreational activities taking place in the spring and summer. With an amazing light show and good tunes, it’s definietly a must-see if you’re nearby.
5. The Peaks Of La Cloche Mountains
Location: Massey, Ontario
Situated in Northern Ontario, La Cloche Provincial Park features a range of mountains located along the shores of Lake Huron, right near Manitoulin Island. The mountains extend across Killarney and southwest of Sudbury. More than your average park, there are tons of trails to explore with views like the one above. It’s hard to believe this is even in Ontario.
6. The Grand Canyon Of Canada
Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario
Known as Ontario’s version of the Grand Canyon, Ouimet Canyon gives you panoramic views of this huge gorge and steep cliffs that drop far to the ground. Arctic plants can survive at the bottom of the canyon. There’s a trail and boardwalk that connect you to two lookout points which are insanely stunning.
7. Crawford Lake
Location: Milton, Ontario
The pristine waters of Crawford Lake are only an hour drive from Toronto. The conservation area is open all year long and offers 19km of hiking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing trails. It’s distinctive boardwalk wraps around the entire lake, making it a 360 view of beauty on your hike.
8. The Badlands
Location: Caledon, Ontario
The Cheltenham Badlands are a historical feature in Caledon, now protected due to extreme damage and erosion. Its red colouring is from iron oxide deposits. It’s truly an incredible sight to see. There is a long boardwalk and viewing platform, along with pathways that lead you through the Bruce Trail.
9. Sand Hill Park
Location: Port Burwell, Ontario
Sometimes known as the “Sandbanks of the west”, this incredible park has dunes that will make you feel like you were transported to a new country. Towering around 450 feet above the shores of Lake Erie, the huge sandy mountains give a stunning view over the clear turquoise waters, and displays some of the most beautiful sunsets. It’s a great park to spend the day or go camping in the spring, summer or fall.
10. Marmora Mine
Location: Marmora, Ontario
Tucked only a few hundred meters from the highway is the historical electric blue body of water. This giant hole might be Ontario’s biggest pool at over 700 feet deep, though I strongly encourage you not to swim there. Make sure to stop by and check it out if you happen to be in the area or need a pitstop.