Luxury holidays in Ontario

One of Canada’s heftier provinces, Ontario stretches from the St Lawrence River to the frozen shores of Hudson Bay. Niagara Falls may be the province’s most visited site, but we prefer to make tracks for the on-trend restaurants and bars of capital city Ottawa or the historic Distillery District of lakeside Toronto instead. Beyond the major cities you’ll find wildlife-filled national parks and the thousands of eponymous lakes – ‘Ontario’ meant ‘glittering waters’ to its early Iroquois inhabitants. Hike through forested parks, paddle down Algonquin Provincial Park’s network of canoe routes, or get cosy up in ‘cottage country’ – central Ontario’s cabin-dotted stretch of the Canadian Shield. Remember to bring along a bottle of locally made whisky, authentic maple syrup (we hear you can’t travel without it) and your best manners.

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Areas in Ontario

When to go

During spring (May through June), keep an eye out for moose, loons and the occasional black bear in Ontario’s national parks. July is the rainiest month, but it also marks the start of Toronto’s festival season, which stretches into September. Autumn leaves are at their most vibrant in October and November, and you’ll need to pack your parka for frigid winter visits from December through March.

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Getting there

  • Planes

    Flights from across Canada and the US land at Toronto Pearson International Airport; you can catch direct international flights from London, Paris, Amsterdam and Rome. Toronto’s smaller Billy Bishop airport is the regional hub and welcomes flights from New York, Chicago, Boston and 20 Canadian cities. Direct flights from London, Frankfurt and New York land at Ottawa’s Macdonald–Cartier International Airport.
  • Trains

    Via Rail operates an east-west service between Toronto and Vancouver, with stops including Winnipeg, Edmonton and Jasper: it’s the scenic-route option, and will take four days all in. There’s also a service that runs between Toronto and Ottawa’s main station, then on again to Montréal in neighbouring Québec. Via Rail also connects Toronto with the Amtrak system via Niagara Falls.
  • Automobiles

    The roads are easy to navigate (if, at times, long); hire a four-wheel drive if you’re visiting during snow-filled Canadian winters.