Expert Insight: Opening Ontario

IMG_0913Our in house experts have travelled all over the globe to make sure that they’re providing the best quality hotels, tours and airlines to make your holiday dreams come true. Our USA & Canada Product Manager, Tom Dale, travelled to Ontario, Canada in June and provides his account below:

image1Climbing aboard City Sightseeing Toronto’s big red bus is undoubtedly the best way to discover Canada’s largest city: you see the sights, enjoy commentary from a local plus someone else does the driving! Renowned landmark the CN Tower dominates the skyline but it isn’t long until you are discovering the plethora of bars and eateries that the locals are so proud of. Organic produce and amazing seafood at St. Lawrence Market, locally brewed beer at Steam Whistle and the lively, pedestrianised Distillery District.

image5After a few days of eating my way around the city it is time to climb aboard the Via Rail train from Union Station, journeying along the shores of Lake Ontario to the town of Niagara Falls. I am generally a fan of paying a little bit extra to upgrade to a room with a view, but nowhere is this more recommended than when staying at one of the wonders of the world. It is simply astounding to sit on your bed and witness such huge volumes of water cascading down 165ft from the higher Lake Eerie to the lower Lake Ontario.

image4Tearing myself away from the view, it was time to get up close to this natural wonder. Head down to the banks of the river for the Journey Behind the Falls where a network of tunnels take you into the rock to see the torrent from the other side. Next it’s all aboard the Hornblower catamaran that takes you into the mist and as close to the thundering Niagara as it is possible to get.

By late morning I had captured the falls from every angle and it was time for some local refreshment. I had heard about the nearby town of Niagara-on-the-Lake so jumped in a cab for the 20 minute journey. This pretty and historic town is where affluent Toronto-ites spend their weekends, drawn by its British colonial buildings, beautiful flower displays and independent cafés and shops.

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The other big draw is the local ‘garden-to-glass’ movement. Just outside town is vineyard after vineyard, interspersed by microbreweries, creating some of North America’s most highly prized refreshments. Join a local wine tour or take yourself into one of the tasting rooms to find out what all the fuss is about. We dropped into the picturesque Trius Vineyard to sample their selection of reds as well as the local speciality: ice wine. Next was the fun and friendly Oast House Brewery, where you can watch the brewers in action, before we finished at Silversmith Brewery – housed in a converted church.

Whether it’s a long weekend or part of a bigger trip, it is pretty hard to beat a few days getting a real taste of Ontario.

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