Ontario tailor-made holidays
As with the rest of Canada, everything in Ontario is on a grand scale. Indeed, this vast central province covers an area larger than that of France and Spain combined, while its lakes – all 250,000 of them – contain a staggering one fifth of the planet’s fresh water.
Most of Ontario’s 13.5-million inhabitants live in its cities, with the Gothic-revival architecture and pretty tree-lined canals of Ottawa – the Canadian capital – providing a pleasing counterpoint with the multicultural sprawl of fashion-conscious Toronto and its trendy bars and boutiques.
History and culture
Visit Canada's capital, Ottawa, to admire the Parliament Buildings and Fairmont Château Hotel on opposite sides of the Rideau Canal. You'll find the National Gallery of Canada displaying works of art, including paintings from Group of Seven artist Tom Thompson. Enjoy a greater variety of specialist museums in Toronto and visit Niagara on the Lake to discover more about the War of 1812.
Enjoy the bustling city life and brilliant nightlife of Toronto. Look down on the city from the CN Tower and take advantage of a theatre scene that rivals both New York and London, watch a ball game at the Rogers Centre or meander through this multicultural city for excellent sightseeing opportunities. Over in Ottawa, British and French influences abound in the charming capital, a seamless blend of old and new and home to seriously impressive Gothic architecture along with some of Canada's best museums.
But, in many ways, these cities are mere launchpads for the adventures that lie beyond. In the north, the provincial parks of Algonquin and Killarney are all forested mountains, peaceful lakes and secluded trails, seductive in summer, resplendent in spring and autumn, and fun-packed in winter when the snows arrive. The Killarney Provincial Park is one of the worlds finest kayaking destinations and a haven for hikers, with mile upon mile of pristine trails taking inn shimmering lakes and forested mountains, home to wildlife including wolves and black bears. Algonquin Provincial Park, with its trickling streams, cragged cliffs and thousands of pretty lakes, is arguably Ontario's most beautiful park – visit in autumn to watch as sprawling maple forests take on deep shades of red, amber and gold. In turn, at the border-straddling Great Lakes, idyllic bays shelter remote communities that look out to a horizon stretching all the way to the American Midwest. Made up partly of Lake Ontario, Lake Superior and Lake Huron, they're home to picturesque Georgian Bay and Manitoulin Island. Then, lastly, at headline-grabbing Niagara Falls, it’s possible to join the hordes on a cruise before slipping away to discover vineyards far off the tourist trail. Niagara-on-the-Lake is a delightful alternative to touristy Niagara Falls, a picturesque town and the ideal base from which to explore North America's most famous waterfall and a host of nearby wineries.
Top itineraries in Ontario
Explore the very best of Canada's vibrant and varied eastern provinces, driving from Toronto to Montréal via Niagara Falls, Algonquin's national-park wonders and UNESCO-listed Québec City.
Explore the famous floe edge in May and June in Arctic Canada, where migratory animals come in their thousands alongside looming icebergs and glaciers in the Arctic Ocean. You'll stay in a tented base camp, skiing, hiking, kayaking, and enjoying wonderful photo opportunities.
From the bright lights of Toronto in eastern Canada, you'll step off the beaten track to explore regions of Ontario often overlooked. Hike the trails of Bruce Peninsula National Park and dive amongst the shipwrecks in the Fathom Five National Marine Park, and lose yourself in the Canadian wilds.
Top places to stay in Ontario
Everything about the Hazelton is stylish, from the exclusive leafy neighbourhood to the 77 generously sized rooms and suites.
Enjoy a stay in one of Toronto’s finest hotels boasting stunning views and central location just steps from the harbour
Discover the world-class wines of Niagara-on-the-Lake in style with your own private tour guide. Your experience also includes two fully guided tours with tastings at Chateau des Charmes and Inniskillin wineries; Inniskillin in particular is famed for its ice wine.
Where to go in Ontario
Ottawa harmoniously mixes the old with the new, the British with the French and remains the political centre after being named capital of Canada in 1855. Its secret charms lie in its Gothic buildings and verdant parks, explored with winter festivals, canalside bike rides and forest trail hikes.
Niagara on the Lake used to be called Newark and was capital of Upper Canada for a short period of time. Being close to the border it was overtaken by America in the War of 1812. The British regained it and rebuilt the town after the peace treaty of 1814.
Horseshoe Falls is separated from American Falls by Goat Island. Admire the rainbows breaking through the mist from the green viewing areas in Niagara. Or cross the border on Rainbow Bridge to explore the island.
When to go to Ontario
With so many outdoor pursuits available, summer in Ontario is an absolute joy, although crowds are at their peak and prices can be high. If you'd prefer to avoid the rush, consider travelling in spring of autumn, where the 'fall' colours make for some exceptional photo opportunities. Winters can be very cold, especially in the north. Wrap up warm and it's possible to enjoy skiing, ice skating, snowmobiling and husky safaris.
Wine is big business. We take a look at how the wines of Australia, Canada, Slovenia, New Zealand and more fare against Old World wine.
In an airline first, British Airways has announced a new route between London Gatwick and Toronto, Canada's largest city. It comes amid a raft of a new transatlantic services announced by the airline.
Canada’s most populous and cosmopolitan city, sprawling across the northern shore of Lake Ontario, is known as a gateway to Niagara Falls, and a jumping-off point for the lakes and forests of Muskoka and the Kawarthas and the capital Ottawa. But Toronto is also a destination in itself.
Whether it’s a helicopter ride over a natural wonder or a stay in a converted lighthouse, we’ll guide you between Canada’s finest attractions.
Meet our Ontario experts
Speak to a tailor-made specialist on 020 7590 0635