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Ontario, the centre and heart of Canada

 

Ontario is the heartland of Canada, home to its largest city—Toronto - and the national capital—Ottawa. Ontario is a huge province covering an area the size of Western Europe. The vast majority of this land is covered by forest and over 250,000 lakes, and home to luxurious resorts where people play in the water in summer and ski and snowmobile in the winter.

 

To the south—around the major centre of Toronto and the shores of Lake Ontario—the land is flat and very fertile filled with agriculture and wineries. Niagara Falls is close to the main wine growing region and is a must-see destination in its own right. On the northern edge of this fertile land is the ’near north’, the playground for millions of visitors and residents of Ontario. Stay at a cottage and wake to the sound of a loon call or a wolf howling, paddle or sail on the crystal clear waters of Georgian Bay or simply relax at one of the award winning spa retreats in Cottage Country.

 

Ottawa is the nation’s capital city, but feels more like a small town than the capital city of the world’s second largest country. Bike paths meander along the river and the Rideau Canal, and the Parliament buildings, government offices and chateau like structures make this city a wonderful family destination. To the south of Ottawa, Kingston nestles on the shore of Lake Ontario, where visitors can relive a battle from the mid 1800’s at Old Fort Henry and visit Queen’s University.


Not only is Ontario the physical heart of Canada, it is also the economic engine of the country. From manufacturing to banking, Toronto is the centre of economic activity in Canada and this has made it into the most multicultural city in the world. Toronto has a vibrant shopping scene, an active arts scene and here is where the head offices of some of the world’s biggest hotel groups are located—Four Seasons and Fairmont are both headquartered here. The CN Tower was for a long time the tallest structure in the world, and even if it is not number one anymore, it is still an impressive spire which needs to be visited. Looking out from the top of the tower the entire city is spread out below.

 

For travellers one of the most fascinating features of Toronto in particular and Ontario in general is the incredible variety of cultures that are flourishing here. From the world’s biggest festival of Caribbean music and culture, Caribana, to native festivals like the Canadian Aboriginal festival, from the Toronto International Film Festival to the different neighbourhoods around the city—Greek, Italian, Japanese etc.—Toronto is a place where you can find any culture, any cuisine and almost any newspaper from anywhere in the world. Come to Toronto to visit the world!

 

Ontario can be hot (plus 35 in the summer) or cold (minus 40 in the winter) and this province celebrates all the seasons. No matter what the weather is like, the welcome will always be warm.