Although it’s colder, snowier, and further away from the big cities, Northern Ontario is grossly underrated. You won’t find the same beauty anywhere else in the world, so be brave, and try a northern adventure to one of the following places!
Located right along the TransCanada Highway between Lake Nipissing and Trout Lake, North Bay has tons of outdoor adventure, lakefront scenery, and natural Northern beauty to offer. North Bay sits on the Canadian Shield and is bordered by the boreal forest. There are over 1,000 km of hiking trails throughout the city that boast some incredible views. Duchesnay Falls Trail, for example, offers an easier hike on a well-maintained path to beautiful waterfalls. North Bay’s downtown is a thriving and exciting place filled with great small businesses and restaurants. The Heritage Railway and Carousel are popular tourist attractions that can be found at the Community Waterfront Park.
Surrounded by Lake Huron and Georgian Bay, Manitoulin Island is a Northern Ontarian hotspot for fishing, hiking, hunting, boating, and outdoor adventure. If you’re driving, just take Highway 6 across the famous swing bridge. Manitoulin Island is the largest freshwater island in the world and has more than a hundred lakes within the island (like Windfall Lake and Lake Manitou). There are several small settlements and towns spread across over 160 kilometres of lakes, rivers, forest, beaches, bluffs, and Northern heaven. Make sure to check out Bridal Veil Falls for a 1 to 2-hour hike that follows the gorgeous falls from top to base. Feel free to take a dip at the bottom!
Located along the TransCanada Highway, Sudbury is the perfect mix of country and city. Like other Northern Ontario cities, Sudbury offers amazing outdoor adventure. However, it also offers big(ish)-city attractions as well like Science North, Northern Exotics zoo, mini-golf, museums, and festivals. There are several provincial parks and conservation areas in Sudbury to explore like Maley Conservation Area, Fielding Bird Sanctuary, and Lake Laurentian Conservation Area. Sudbury’s diverse attractions make it the perfect destination. You can go on a canoe trip on Lake Laurentian if it’s sunny, or head to the IMAX theatre in Science North if it’s rainy. It’s things like these that make us happy to call Sudbury home!
Head North to chase the gorgeous aurora borealis and witness one of the most beautiful spectacles Mother Nature has to offer. To get the best view, try Killarney, North Bay, Timmins, Thunder Bay, and many other places in Northern Ontario. The best time of year is the winter months where nights are darker and longer – but you can still catch a glimpse of them at the end of summer or fall. The fall offers dramatic views of the northern lights, as well as the nightly light show, is complemented by the colour show of changing leaves by day. The key is to get away from the city and off to somewhere where there is little to no light pollution, like a dark sky preserve. Gordon’s Park Dark Sky Preserve in Manitoulin Island is a great place for stargazing and possible aurora viewing. You can track the odds of seeing the lights at http://www.spaceweather.com/.
The most famous pictograph site in Canada is in Agawa Bay in Lake Superior Provincial Park. Agawa Bay is located along the TransCanada Highway about 140 kilometres north of Sault Ste. Marie. When you’re there, hike for about an hour along the well-marked trail that follows Lake Superior’s shore. The trail is absolutely beautiful with tree-lined mosses, flowers, boulders, and trees, but can be steep at times. The pictographs are at the edge of a rock cliff on Lake Superior. Use caution when viewing the paintings, as they’re close to the edge so it can be dangerous. Make sure the lake is calm, you have good footwear, and the rocks aren’t wet and slippery. The pictographs were painted using ochre and predominantly feature the image of Mishipeshu (a reptilian-like animal). The pictographs were discovered in 1958 but are thought to date back to the 17th century.
The “Soo” is a wonderful place to explore everything Northern Ontario has to offer. On top of great outdoor activities like treetop trekking, biking, driving, hiking, and canoeing, there are also a ton of attractions to choose from. Visit Northern Superior Brewing Company for the beer museum of your dreams, take a walk along the gorgeous Sault Ste. Marie Canal or hike around Hiawatha Highlands and Kinsmen Park. There are also lots of festivals and special events. Notably, Russell Peters is making his way up north for the WTF Festival on June 7th to 9th, and the Hilton Beach Car Show, happening on July 28th, which will feature more than 85 restored, original, and/or unique cars.
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