Ontario is a province teeming with captivating cities. This vast land offers much, from stunning landscapes to urban spaces. To help narrow your options, we’ve compiled a list of Ontario’s top 10 must-visit cities. Packed with landmarks, attractions, and unique local flavors – these locations will leave a mark on any traveler’s memory.
Toronto, Canada’s city with the largest population, is a fusion of cultures, fine arts, and varied foods. Each unique district unveils an inviting array of dining options alongside diverse shopping venues amidst plentiful sights worth relishing.
The iconic CN Tower provides a bird’s-eye view of the cityscape, while the Royal Ontario Museum showcases a vast collection of world art and natural history. Visit the Art Gallery of Ontario for a comprehensive look at Canadian art. Sports enthusiasts can catch a game at the Rogers Centre or Scotiabank Arena.
Located where the St. Lawrence River meets Lake Ontario, Kingston boasts a rich maritime heritage and historic architecture. As the original capital of Canada, it’s home to landmarks like Fort Henry, where reenactments transport visitors to the 19th century. Kingston’s downtown features charming limestone buildings, housing boutiques, restaurants, and cultural venues.
But apart from its historic allure, Kingston holds a unique spot in the heart of hockey enthusiasts. While it might surprise some, this city was home to the Kingston Frontenacs, a foundational team in hockey’s early days. So it will be a perfect option for any hockey fan who follows the sport, monitors NHL odds and likes to delve into the sport’s history.
As the nation’s capital, Ottawa is imbued with a rich historical and political legacy. Parliament Hill represents national ideals through its dignified architecture and daily Guard Change ceremony.
The National Gallery of Canada and the Canadian Museum of History offer glimpses into diverse art forms and remnants from past eras. During winter, Rideau Canal morphs into an immense skating rink world-renowned for size; concurrently, the Winterlude festival marks this icy season with ice sculpture exhibitions accompanied by entertaining activities.
Sudbury, the biggest Northern Ontario] city boasts a deep-rooted mining history and an array of outdoor sights. Its greatest hallmark is the Big Nickel – a colossal imitation of Canada’s five-cent coin.
Sudbury’s mining heritage is showcased at Dynamic Earth, an interactive science museum featuring underground tours and exhibits. Science North, another popular attraction, offers hands-on exhibits, an IMAX theatre, and a digital planetarium.
The twin cities of Kitchener-Waterloo offer a unique blend of German heritage and Canadian innovation. Known for hosting the largest Oktoberfest outside of Munich, the cities come alive with music, food, and festivities each fall.
This area also serves as a nexus for technology and innovation, housing both tech establishments and burgeoning startups along with the renowned Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. Adventure through Victoria Park in Kitchener or take time to visit the antiquated St Jacobs Farmers’ Market in Waterloo. Blending old-world charm and cutting-edge progress, Kitchener-Waterloo stands as an intriguing destination.
Hamilton, nestled between Lake Ontario and the Niagara Escarpment, is a diverse city. Its natural splendor boasts over 100 waterfalls along with conservation zones ideal for hiking, biking, and adventure activities.
The city is also a hub for arts and culture, featuring galleries like the Art Gallery of Hamilton and events like the annual Supercrawl music and arts festival. So explore the vibrant James Street North, with its eclectic mix of shops, restaurants, and studios.
Mississauga, neighboring Toronto, combines citywide elegance with suburban appeal. Its recognizable skyline is adorned by the Absolute World towers, known as “Marilyn Monroe” buildings due to their twisting architecture.
Mississauga is also known for its cultural events, including the annual Carassauga Festival, which celebrates its multicultural heritage. Explore the Art Gallery of Mississauga or catch a performance at the Living Arts Centre.
8. Niagara Falls
A must-see is Niagara Falls city, which is close to the famous waterfall on the border between Canada and the USA. Visitors are consistently impressed by the area’s breathtaking views and up-close boat cruises.
Beyond the natural wonder, Niagara Falls boasts attractions like Clifton Hill’s entertainment district, casinos, and a thriving culinary scene. Explore the Niagara Parks Butterfly Conservatory or visit the Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens. Just a short drive away, you’ll find the charming town of Niagara-on-the-Lake, known for its wineries and theatre.
The “Forest City” of London, Ontario, has a lovely balance of urban opulence and outdoor splendor. The lovely spots that the Thames River offers are perfect for strolls and leisurely outdoor dining.
There are many parks in London, including Victoria Park and Springbank Park, which offer outdoor events, including concerts and festivals. Sites like Fanshawe Pioneer Village, where tourists may experience 19th-century living, are evidence of the city’s rich heritage.
Barrie, on the western shore of Lake Simcoe, provides leisure opportunities all year long. Enjoy boating, fishing, or just lounging on the city’s beaches during the summer. At nearby resorts like Horseshoe Valley and Snow Valley, the winter season offers chances for skiing and snowboarding.
One of Canada’s largest outdoor arts and crafts festivals, Kempenfest, is one of the many festivals and events held in the city. Barrie is a well-liked vacation spot for travelers looking for adventure and leisure because of its waterfront, recreational possibilities, and vibrant downtown.