8 Historic Canadian Forts That Still Exist Today

Canadian forts offer a glimpse into the past, built over the last two centuries to defend the young country. Nowadays they stand as a testament to the history of Canada and offer visitors a chance to go back in time. Many of these historic forts have been rebuilt time and time again, in order to give visitors access to them. Beautiful views, fun activities and a great lesson in Canadian history await visitors to these eight historic Canadian forts.

8. Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site, Victoria, British Columbia

This coastal artillery fort was built in the 1890’s, intended to defend Victoria and the Esquimalt Naval Base. The site is adjacent to Fisgard Lighthouse, the first lighthouse on the west coast of Canada. Visitors here have the chance to tour secret bunkers, military command posts, and original 19th-century buildings.

Hear personal stories of soldiers and their families, explore the nearby tide pools and bring a picnic and spend the whole day here. Known for its breathtaking views, the fort overlooks the beautiful coastline and out into the mountains. Open every day except Christmas, most visitors choose to visit the fort and the lighthouse in the same visit.

7. The Citadel National Historic Park, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Fort George is the fortified summit of Citadel Hill, first fortified in 1749, the year when Halifax was founded. A series of four different defensive fortifications have occupied the summit of Citadel Hill. While it was never attacked, the Citadel played an important part in the defense of the Halifax Harbor and its Royal Navy Dockyard. The star-shaped structure offers an incredible view of the city and the harbor.

Visitors should plan on taking a guided tour to learn more about the fort’s history from 1749 through WWII. Make sure to visit the Army Museum while you are here to view over 70,000 artifacts chronicling Atlantic Canada’s military history. Visit in July and be a part of the Great Canadian Backyard Campout where you can set up camp inside the walls of the citadel.

6. Fort Chambly National Historic Site, Chambly, Quebec

This imposing stone structure has been guarding part of one of the largest navigable waterways in North America for more than two centuries. It was first constructed in 1711 to defend the colony and three wooden forts preceded the stone fortification. For many years this fort was the main footing of the defensive chain of fortifications along the Richelieu River, which was the easiest route into New France.

The fort was lost to the British in 1760 in The Conquest of New France, captured by American forces in 1775 and finally restored in 1882 by a citizen of Chambly. Today visitors can see a fully reconstructed version of the fort where they can learn more about New France history and culture.

5. Fort St. James National Historic Site, Fort St. James, British Columbia

It was one of the first permanent fur trading posts in the West, built in 1805-1806 and has been rebuilt a total of four times. Visitors here will get a good look at life in 1896 that includes a fur warehouse, storage facility, trade store, and gardens. It displays the largest group of original wooden buildings representing the fur trade in Canada and the story here revolves around the relationships and interactions between the fur traders and Native Peoples of the region.

Its location on Stuart Lake offers fun for outdoor enthusiasts including hiking, sailing, fishing and mountain biking. Special event days happen throughout the year including Salmon Day with its ‘iron chef’ cook-off and Harvest Day.

Via Salmon Trails | Northwest BC Culture

4. Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site, St. Andrews, Manitoba

The original Fort Garry was destroyed in 1826 by a devastating flood, leading the Hudson’s Bay Company to search for a higher ground to build the next fort. Thus Lower Fort Garry was built, 32km north of the original in 1830. What makes this fort so significant is the fact that Treaty 1 was signed here.

Visit here from May to September when costumed interpreters recreate like at Lower Fort Garry in the early 1850’s. Original buildings and walls, hands-on activities and original-to-era furnishings are all a part of the experiment. Around Halloween, candlelight tours are offered through the fort, along with hot chocolate around a campfire.

Via National Post

3. Fort Malden National Historic Site of Canada, Amherstburg, Ontario

It was formally known as Fort Amherstburg, built in 1795 by Britain in order to ensure the security of British North America against any potential threat of American Invasion. It here where Sir Isaac Brock and Tecumseh met during the War of 1812 to plan the siege of Detroit. Unfortunately, this border fortification was torn down after the War of 1812. The fort was rebuilt and it’s the second structure that survives today.

Ideally located along the Detroit River, visitors here are privy to some true Canadian flora and fauna including sugar maples, swans, and geese. Throughout the year there are special events such as the haunted fort tours during October and Christmas celebrations that show visitors how soldiers over two hundred years ago celebrated the holiday.

Via Ontario’s Southwest

2. Fortress Louisburg, Louisburg, Nova Scotia

The original settlement was made in 1713 by the French and developed over several decades into a thriving center for fishing and trade. Fortified against the threat of British Invasion during the time of empire building, Louisburg was besieged twice before finally being destroyed in the 1760’s. Luckily for visitors, archeologists have reconstructed the fortress as it was in the 18th century.

Today the site features more than a dozen buildings to explore as well as daily demonstrations recreating life at the fort that includes cooking, dancing, music and military drills. This is more than just a fort to explore, with its three 18th-century restaurants as well as a delicious bakery to explore. One of best things about visiting this fortress is the help you are giving the local economy, which has struggled economically with the decline of the North Atlantic fishery.

1. Old Fort Erie, Niagara Falls, Ontario

It is known as Canada’s bloodiest field of battle, due to more than 3,000 troops who lost their lives during the Siege of Fort Erie from August 3rd to September 21st in 1814. The original fort was built in 1764 and was the first British fort to be constructed as part of a network developed after the Treaty of Paris concluded the Seven Years’ War. The fort was first a supply base for British troops, before the War of 1812, a base for troops during the American Revolution and later an important crossing point for the Underground Railroad.

The annual Siege of Fort Erie takes place on the second week of August each year and is most definitely the favorite time to check out this historical fort. It is then that re-enactors from all over North America descend on the fort to re-create the historic battles, complete with plenty of firepower.

10 Canadian Attractions Every Kid Should Experience

Canada is loaded with both adult and kid-friendly attractions from coast to coast and whether you live in this beautiful country or are just here for a visit, there are a few key ones not to miss. From the highest point in Toronto to the red sands in Prince Edward Island to the frozen city of Quebec, here are 10 Canadian attraction that every kid should experience in their lifetime.

10. The Carnaval, Quebec City, Quebec

If there is a winter experience that every kid should have in Canada it would be the Carnaval that takes place every year in Quebec City. Every year thousands of visitors flock to this cold weather event which plays host to a slew of activities including snow sculptures, human foosball, snow slides, night parades, outdoor dance parties, sleigh rides, skating and more.

Kids love to meet the mascot of the Carnaval, Bonhomme-the giant real-life snowman who loves to meet with the kids. Make sure to visit him in his epic Ice Palace that is created especially for him and serves as a focal point for several of the activities. Visit a traditional sugar shack, watch as brave men and women frolic in the snow in only their bathing suits at the snow bath and take in one of the family-friendly shows. Whatever you do, make sure you bundle up!

9. Green Gables, Cavendish, P.E.I

Every year hundreds of thousands of people come to the tiny island of Prince Edward Island to visit the site that inspired L.M. Montgomery’s famous Anne of Green Gables novel. This is the perfect place to take the kids and one of the most famed attractions across the country. Located in the popular town of Cavendish visitors to the site will have the opportunity to tour the house and take part in interpretation programs, as well as a stroll through the Haunted Woods and Balsam Hollow trails as found in the book.

Head down to Avonlea Village, a recreated rural community based on the village where Anne lived. Here you can enjoy a children’s music show, browse electric shops and join an authentic PEI kitchen dance party with the kids. Don’t miss the chance to let the kids dress up as Anne at Gateway Village where they can get a replica photo taken, memories that will certainly last a lifetime.

8. Santa’s Village, Bracebridge, Ontario

This 60-acre family entertainment park is nestled in a beautiful setting on the Muskoka River in Bracebridge, Ontario, just a couple short hours from Toronto. It was established in 1955 and this particular location was chosen, as it is exactly halfway between the equator and the north pole, a place where Santa chooses to spend his warm months. This park is only open in the summer and plan on getting there early in the morning to enjoy breakfast with Santa, every day between 9:30-10:30.

Younger ones will love the rides such as swan paddleboats, air bouncers, a miniature Santa roller coaster and more. The splash pad feature giant water buckets that tip and towering candy cane fountains. Come decorate your Christmas cookies at the bake shop, head to Santa’s cabin to grab a photo or visit the farm where there are plenty of deer, sheep, and goat. It is truly Christmas in July here at this unique Canadian attraction.

Via Groupon

7. Algonquin Park, Ontario

If you are looking to get outdoors in the summer and hit the campgrounds there is no better place than Algonquin Park in Ontario. Let’s face it, as much work as it is for parents to take their kids camping, kids absolutely love being able to explore the outdoors. A canoe ride in this park should be on anyone’s bucket list, slicing over the still water with an expanse of water, rock and pine trees in the distance.

Although this park offers a ton of backcountry experiences, they have also made it extremely family friendly with kid-friendly camping areas, rentals on-site and recommended short canoe trips. There is no shortage of beaches to explore, hiking trails, wildlife and enough room for any kid to run around until they can run no more. Hey, maybe they might even sleep in past 7 am.

6. Canadian National Exhibition, Toronto, Ontario

With a name like that, it’s hard to write this list without recommending that this Canadian attraction is visited. The CNE, also known as The Ex is an annual event that takes place for 18 days leading up to an including Canadian Labour Day. Activities here range from an incredible air show, rides, and games, a farm, special kids world, talent shows, special demonstrations and foods that kids will go crazy for.

Every year there is one day during the event that has super discounted prices for kids with the purchase of adult admission. It is here where you will find sing-along with Dora, meet and greets with your kid’s favorite characters, art studios, toy workshops and enough activities to keep you busy for days. Bring a stroller for the wee ones though as it does require a lot of walking.

5. West Edmonton Mall, Edmonton, Alberta

It is the largest shopping mall in North America and absolutely littered with things to see and do, from amusement parks to theatres to an indoor water park. Galaxyland, the indoor amusement park features 24 rides and attractions including roller coasters and thrilling launch rides. World Waterpark is the second largest indoor waterpark and features the world’s largest indoor wave pool and towering twisting waterslides.

The Ice Palace invites skaters of all levels to skate on this scaled down version of an NHL ice rink in the center of the mall. Other exciting things to do here with the kids is indoor mini-golf, an arcade, bowling alley, indoor skate park and explore the theme areas throughout. We promise you could spend 5 days here and still not run out of things to do.

4. CN Tower, Toronto, Ontario

It is Toronto’s most famous landmark and going to the top as a kid is absolutely one of the most memorable moments. For a long time this city attraction was the tallest free-standing structure in the world, and although it lost that title in 2010 it still remains a popular tourist attraction. Kids will love riding in the glass-fronted and glass-floored elevator up to the SkyPod for fantastic views over the city, especially if the kids are a little older to appreciate just how high up they actually are.

The lookout level offers the chance for kids to step out onto the glass floor and really feel like they are floating. If you have kids under the age you will want to make your way to the KidZone, a recent addition to the CN tower which features over 1,500 square feet of space for kids to play. Kids also happen to love the short 14-minute film that features streetcars and propels the audience through the city. Fun for both kids and adults, visit this iconic landmark next time you are in Toronto.

3. Calgary Stampede, Calgary, Alberta

This annual rodeo, exhibition and festival is held every July in Calgary, Alberta and calls itself the greatest outdoor show on earth. Kids love the chance to get up close and personal with the animals at the Stampede including cows, horses, donkeys, sheep, dogs and more. Captivating shows such as superdogs, acrodunk, Thomas and friends, Dora the Explorer and more happen throughout the festival.

Fun interactive activities and rides are located throughout the park, along with enough deep-fried chocolate treats to keep them going all day long. With a midway, market, one epic parade, the rodeo and plenty of parties; the time is now to put on those cowboy boots and hit this epic Canadian attraction with the kids.

2. Canada’s Wonderland, Toronto, Ontario

It is one of the best theme parks in Canada and the largest, opened in 19981 and improving each year that passes. Located in the north of Toronto, it is the perfect day trip for families with kids of all ages. Open daily from May to September and then weekends only until November your best bet to avoid lines is to go during the week before school is out for the summer. Featuring 16 roller coasters, a waterpark, many thrill rides and a special kids-only zone; this park has something for everyone.

Planet Snoopy and Kidzville is perfect the wee ones in your life and features character meet and greets, miniature roller coasters, live entertainment, bumper cars, train rides, swings and more. If you have older kids you won’t want to miss the Halloween Haunt where the park transforms into one giant spooktacular experience complete with rides, mazes and scare zones with live actors throughout the park.

1. Niagara Falls, Niagara Falls, Ontario

It is well known that the Canadian side of Niagara Falls is far prettier than the American, but truth be told how many kids really care about that. Sure they love to see the gushing waterfalls but what makes this attraction really awesome in Canada is the amount of kid-friendly attractions near the falls.

The best-known attraction has to be the Maid of the Mist boat cruise which takes passengers into the rapids immediately below the falls, an exciting experience for all ages. Lundy’s Lane is where the kids will want to head in this town as it offers activities such as bowling, arcades, mini-putt, haunted houses, laser tag and an indoor waterpark. Watch the fireworks over the falls during the summer, grab a bite to eat and wander alongside the impressive thundering falls.

North America’s Coolest Indoor Waterparks

Indoor water parks promise endless summer, a perfect getaway as the winter months are quickly coming. These water parks are only getting bigger and better, featuring huge wave pools, wild water slides, ziplines, arcades and even spas inside. From Niagara Falls, Canada all the way to Galveston, Texas we have rounded up 15 incredible indoor water parks across North America.

15. Splash Lagoon Indoor Water Park -Erie, PA

This park is loaded with a ton of water slides and rides, along with a tropical colorful atmosphere that sets the stage for the perfect getaway during the long cold winter months. At just over 100,000 square feet, Splash Lagoon is full of exciting thrill rides for the adventurer. Among the unique features here are two bowl rides, The Cyclone which accommodates one and two rider tubes and Hurricane Hole, which sends you flying down at over 40 mph. Watch out for the tipping bucket on top of Tiki Tree House which dumps on unsuspecting riders on the The Cyclone. If you are looking for something a little more relaxing head on over to the Frog Pond Whirlpool where giant lily pads, tall amphibians and splashing fountains set the stage. A large arcade, mini-free fall ride and onsite restaurant compliment this awesome water park.

Photo by: Splash Lagoon Indoor Water Park Resort
Photo by: Splash Lagoon Indoor Water Park Resort

14. Schlitterbahn Indoor Water Park -Galveston, TX

Although this water park is an outdoor park most of the year, it actually transforms into an indoor park during the colder months and with over 70,000 feet of indoor play, it is one of the best in North America. With four tube slides, three speed slides, a heated pool, a man-made wave and a tidal wave river, there is no shortage of things to do here. The Torrent River is a favorite among visitors as it sends inner tubers along a quarter mile long, 20 foot wide wave filled river, twisting and turning riders throughout. Kids will love their own beach section that is full of tipping buckets, a beached boat, smaller slides and spraying jets. Although this indoor water park is one of the smaller on the list, it deserves recognition for the ability to change from an outdoor park to indoor park, and still offer amazing fun.

Photo by: Schlitterbahn Galveston
Photo by: Schlitterbahn Galveston

13. Palmetto and Palm Water Parks at Dunes Village Resort -Myrtle Beach, SC

There are actually two water parks located at the Dunes Village Resort in Myrtle Beach and guests to this resort get access to both. Palmetto caters to the younger guests with a 250-foot lazy river, a Kiddie Adventure pool with tons of spray features and a lagoon pool with basketball nets. Adults will also enjoy this park with two water slides and two hot tubs. Over at Palm Water Park there is something for everyone to enjoy including a lap pool, teen pool, three hot tubs and more. The Wild Winding Slide and Speed Slide are there for the more adventurous riders. Little ones will love the Silly Submarine, a water play structure that is loaded with spraying water features. The parks are open from 9am-11pm and while there are no lifeguards on duty, there are attendants at the top of each slide to ensure each rider descends safely.

Photo by: Dunes Village Resort
Photo by: Dunes Village Resort

12. Fallsview Indoor Waterpark -Niagara Falls, Canada

It boasts itself as the largest indoor water park in Niagara Falls and visitors will delight in the sheer number of thrilling water slides here. A total of 16 water slides make up this water park, along with a massive wave pool, adult-only whirlpools and a massive beach house play area. From extreme racing slides where riders will shoot down on mats to four different tube slides and one gigantic super bowl; there are enough slides to keep any adrenaline junkie happy. Planet Hollywood Beach Club is the perfect place to grab a bite to eat and is located on the main floor of the water park. Little ones can head to the Tiny Tots Splash Park where they can swim, splash and slide down kid-sized water slides. Don’t forget about the year-round outdoor sun deck which is heated in the winter and operates an outdoor pool in the warm months.

Photo by: Fallsview Indoor Waterpark
Photo by: Fallsview Indoor Waterpark

11. Avalanche Bay Indoor Waterpark -Boyne Falls, MI

Michigan’s largest indoor water park resort offers plenty of thrills and excitement for the whole family. Always at 84 degrees and open all year around it is easy to make your way here any time of the year, especially in the cold winter months when you are looking to escape the cold. One of the latest additions to this park is The Big Couloir, a water slide which begins in a capsule and shoots riders down a narrow tunnel into a super loop, with powerful g-forces keeping them glued to the sides the entire time. The lazy river on the other hand will lead riders throughout the park, while flowing water features hide around corners. The amazing 800-gallon water avalanche though is perhaps the highlight of this park and when the horn blows you will want to look out below! This climbing structure with its bridges, buckets, slides and climbing wall provides hours of endless fun.

Photo by: Avalanche Bay Indoor Waterpark
Photo by: Avalanche Bay Indoor Waterpark

10. Klondike Kavern at Wilderness Resort -Wisconsin Dells, WI

This indoor waterpark offers over 65,000 square feet of water fun for all ages. Guests to this water park rave about the famous Hurricane, a ride that sees riders whip down a 45-degree angle in a four person raft, scoot across a funnel at 20 mph, experience weightlessness and then drop into a splash pool. This ride is made even better with sound effects, fog and strobe lights. For those wanting a little less excitement, head over to the lazy river or the indoor hot spa. Little ones will love Bonanza Bluff, a huge structure that features over 50 squirt features and smaller slides, all situated in a shallow pool. A new ride is currently under construction here and promises to combine exciting water sliding with video game technology.

Photo by: Wilderness Hotel & Golf Resort
Photo by: Wilderness Hotel & Golf Resort

9. Chula Vista Resort -Wisconsin Dells, WI

Wisconsin Dells is known as the water park capital of the world and Chula Vista is among one of the best indoor water parks in all of North America, and perhaps even the world. The most loved attraction at this park is the Fly’n Mayan; an uphill water coaster that is designed to take riders throughout the park on an exhilarating ride. It prides itself on being on the longest and fastest uphill water coasters in the world! The Jungle Adventure complete with lights and sounds is also one of the famous rides here, a bowl ride that will leave you breathless. The never-ending tropical lazy river is great for relaxing while the oversize wading pool is perfect for little ones to splash around in.

Photo by: Chula Vista Resort
Photo by: Chula Vista Resort

8. Kahuna Laguna at the Red Jacket Mountain View Resort -North Conway, NH

It is New Hampshire’s largest indoor water park and features over 40,000 square feet of fun and excitement. This water park has gone all out to bring the tropics indoor and comes off more like a large tiki hut with its colorful decorations and faux palm leaves. There are only four water slides here, two tube slides and two body slides, totaling 900 feet in length, which means you will want to try them all out. The 67,000 gallon wave pool is one of the highlights of this water park, with three patterns of powerful three foot waves, perfect for those who want to body surf. The pool also features two waterfalls and is no more than five feet in depth. The Adventure Tower teems with slides, sprayers, rope bridges and one huge tipping bucket, which anyone of any age can enjoy. At the end of the day make sure to head over to the adult and kid 25-person hot tub that overlooks the entire water park.

Photo by: Kahuna Laguna Water Park
Photo by: Kahuna Laguna Water Park

7. Big Splash Adventure Indoor Waterpark -French Lick, IN

A retractable roof covers this awesome 40,000 square foot indoor water park, which means whether it is hot or cold outdoors, visitors here can enjoy this space any time of the year. With an abundance of pools, tube slides, body slides and over 50 interactive features; there won’t be any time to be bored. Favorite activities here include the Treasure Lagoon Vortex, a round pool with fun whirling water, as well as the Jolly Roger Jetty, a tube ride that takes riders through seven curves and can accommodate both single and double inner tubes. The Splish Splash Pool has been designed for the youngest of visitors, and they can choose to sit in the swings and bounce until their feet hit the water, or slide down the mini slide.

Photo by: Big Splash Adventure
Photo by: Big Splash Adventure

6. Wings & Waves at Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum -McMinnville, OR

This ultra-cool water park is both a water park and an educational experience, but don’t fear, kids won’t even know that they are actually learning because they will be having so much fun. The water park includes 10 water slides, 91,000 gallon wave pool and a Boeing 747 plane on the roof. Kids are encouraged to learn about water by building tsunami-proof models in the classrooms and then test them in the wave pool. A favorite of visitors here is climbing the 111 stairs up to the plane and then sliding down one of the four water slides, one of which drops a total of six stories. Aquaplay is a favorite among young visitors as the structure is loaded with smaller slides, water guns, spouts, valves and a 300 gallon firefighter bucket that drops on you. Trained and certified lifeguards are on duty at all times at this incredible and educational water park.

Photo by: Hydro Logic
Photo by: Hydro Logic

5. Water Park of America -Bloomington, MN

It is one of the biggest and the best water parks in all of North America, hence the name and it certainly doesn’t disappoint in terms of activities. It houses the tallest indoor water slide in all of America, stretching 100 feet into the air, along with a scenic and relaxing lazy river, indoor arcade and the Lake Superior Wave Pool. The 7th Floor Body Slides are among the favorites here as riders can race each other as they travel down twin body slides that actually go outside the building before a final splash. Friends and families should check out the Family Raft Ride, at over a mile long and 10 stories high, this ride offers tight turns, big splashes and lot of laughs. Learn how to body board, shoot a game of hoops in the pool or take the little ones to the zero depth activity pool where they can safely splash and slide.

Photo by: Water Park of America
Photo by: Water Park of America

4. World Waterpark, -West Edmonton Mall, Alberta

It is home to the world’s largest indoor wave pool and more than 17 unique water slides and play features. World Water park is also home to two high water slides, both 83 feet high, and favorites of all visitors. The Cyclone is perhaps the most well known water slide here as it is one of the most extreme slides in all of Canada, where riders enter into a capsule and fall straight down, into a gravity defying loop and ending up in a splashdown chute. The world’s largest permanent indoor zipline is also found here and riders will zip across the water park, over the wave pool and end up near the children’s play area. Speaking of the little ones, World Water park is home to an awesome kid’s area with plenty of water cannons, buckets, rope bridges, slides and pipes to play with.

Photo by: Pinterest
Photo by: Pinterest

3. Great Wolf Lodge -Niagara Falls, Canada

The fun never stops at Great Wolf Lodge in Niagara Falls, especially at the indoor water park that offers thousands of square feet of non-stop fun. From tube rides that can fit the whole family to body slides to an uphill water coaster; the whole family will enjoy this park. The Rapids Run tows tube riders up and sends you plunging down a 15.8 meter vertical drop, along with zipping you through enclosed tunnels and around thrilling curves. An indoor wave pool, lazy river, a multitude of slides and specially designed play areas for the little ones makes this one awesome indoor water park.

Photo by: Great Wolf Lodge
Photo by: Great Wolf Lodge

2. Wild West at Wilderness Resort -Wisconsin Dells, WI

It is the largest indoor water park of four that is located at Wilderness Resort, spanning over 70,000 square feet. Thrill rides are the highlight of this water park, with The Black Hole being at the forefront. This thrilling slide has a huge descent followed by spins and turns, before dumping riders into the unknown. A 4-person raging raft ride provides plenty of laughs and thrills. The four-storey interactive play feature is loaded with body slides, water blasters, cannons and one gigantic tipping bucket! The indoor bumper boats are fun for the whole family where you can battle it out against both family members and other visitors. For a more relaxing activity, make sure to visit the indoor and outdoor hot springs.

Photo by: Wilderness Resort
Photo by: Wilderness Resort

1. Kalahari Water Park at Kalahari Resort -Sandusky, OH

It hails itself as being the largest indoor water park in all of America and at 173,000 square feet, we don’t doubt it is. Kalahari Resort is an African themed resort and throughout the water park this theme stays true with ride names such as Zig Zag Zebra, Cheetah Race and Crocodile Cove. A 920 feet lazy river runs throughout the park crossing through waterfalls and rapids while thrill seekers can head over to Zimbabwe Zipper where they can reach 40mph. A 12,000 square foot wave pool, kids only play area, tons of exhilarating water slides and indoor whirlpools all make up this awesome water park. An uphill water coaster ride and the two FlowRiders are among the most loved activities here. No matter what the weather outside is like; you can certainly play all day here.

Photo by: Kalahari Resorts
Photo by: Kalahari Resorts

Top Places to Celebrate New Years Eve in Canada

It is one of the most awaited festivals all over the world, where people come from all nooks and crannies to indulge themselves in one epic partying spree. In fact, planning your New Years Eve can be downright stressful and overwhelming. From free outdoor music concerts to dazzling displays of fireworks to black tie galas, the choices are endless. And that’s not even the hard part. Deciding where to ring in the new year can be tough, do you stay in your hometown and attend a local party or make your way into a different city to see how they do it? If you want options, you got them. Here are our favorite places to ring in the New Year in Canada:

6. Toronto, Ontario

Whether you are looking for family fun, adults only, a retro party or an intimate pub, the lively city of Toronto has the right celebration for you. The Mod Club in Toronto is the place to head if you are looking for retro, it is wonderfully designed with the famous event “From Britain with Love”. The Britain inspired theme of this event has made a landmark in the city of Toronto, making numerous visitors coming to the city on the New Year’s Eve. However, that’s not the only party in the city. Head to Nathan Phillips Square on New Years to skate on the famous outdoor rink, enjoy a local DJ and local live music and take in the spectacular fireworks display at night.

Canadapanda / Shutterstock.com
Canadapanda / Shutterstock.com

5. Ottawa, Ontario

It is the capital of Canada and one can expect that they go big when it comes to ringing in the new year, and boy oh boy do they ever. Head to Ottawa City Hall where the celebration is known as the TD Hogmanay Scottish New Years Party. Visitors here will have the chance to skate to Celtic music, ice sculpt, scotch taste, listen to live music and more. And when midnight strike, prepare for an amazing display of fireworks off the roof of city hall. Or head to the family event, Rick Chiarelli’s New Year Eve where there are plenty of alcohol free events and includes countless entertainers, from magicians to dancers to face painters, and of course some pretty awesome fireworks. Or head to Metcalfe Square and Sparks Street where a free outdoor concert will help you bring in the new year, along with one giant flare and dazzling lights in the sky.

Photo by: Maclaine
Photo by: Maclaine

4. Vancouver, British Columbia

One unique way to ring in the new year is to celebrate on the water. The city of Vancouver offers a variety of choices when it comes to NYE cruises and most come complete with drinks, dancing and complimentary champagne when the clock strikes midnight. Pride of Vancouver Charters and its Luxurious Pride vessel is one of the best ways to celebrate. This cruise provides entertainment, dancing and a delicious buffet, all in the luxury cruise ship tradition. If you are single and looking to meet someone to help bring in the new year snap a spot on the queen of Diamonds cruise where a great party brings up to 400 other singles who are also looking to meet someone. Countdown parties, midnight fireworks and plenty of fun is to be had on this New Years Eve experience.

Vancouver new years eve

3. Montreal, Quebec

Montreal is really known for its one famous party at the L’Olympia de Montreal, where 2500 people gather to drink, dance and ring in the New Year in one crazy insane party. But that’s not the only big party in town. Clubs such as Roxbury, Rouge Nightclub and La Boom can see crowds between 800-2000. Some of these parties even include an open bar and all your drink tips. If you are after more dinner and dancing and less club hopping the choices are endless from the Hyatt Regency Gala New Years Eve party to the La Finale New Year’s Eve at Jargo. No matter where you go or what you want to do, Montreal is one of the hottest places to be.

Photo by: Tourisme Montreal
Photo by: Tourisme Montreal

2. Calgary, Alberta

The city of Calgary certainly knows how to include the whole family when it comes to New Years Eve celebrations, but don’t let that fool you, there is still plenty of adult only parties too. If you do have the kids in tow though, why not head to Calgary Olympic Park where you can bundle up and enjoy skating, music and family fun, ending with a spectacular display of fireworks at midnight. The zoo offers fireworks a little earlier in the evening for those who want to get their kids in bed earlier, along with zoolight displays, fire pits, wild entertainment and plenty of hot chocolate. For the adults who are looking for a good time head to one of many events including the Mystique Ball, the Black and White Ball at the Casino or the Beatmatrix Gala where you will feel as though you have transported right into Atlantic City. Surely this city is one of the best places to be to ring in the new year.

Photo by: City of Calgary
Photo by: City of Calgary

1. Niagara Falls, Ontario

It is Canada’s largest free New Years eve concert and fireworks, making it this the number one place to be to ring in the new year. In fact, this concert actually draws about 40,000 people to Queen Victoria Park and along with an epic line up of musical guests, there are two awesome fireworks displays (one at 8:45 for the wee ones and midnight). To help welcome in 2016 Demi Lovato will be the headliner along with other guests such as Sam Roberts Band and Serena Rider. With an abundance of awesome places to eat and stay, this is one Canadian tradition you should do once in your life. Did we mention the falls are also lit up in beautiful colors?

new years eve niagara falls

Canada’s Top 15 Best Value Cities to Visit in 2015

A recent study by the popular hotel booking site Trivago, released the top 15 best value cities in all of Canada to visit in 2015. The study took the average price of a hotel room, combined it with the satisfaction of hotel guests and looked at everything there was to do in that city. What they found was 15 cities that boasted incredible value, amazing hotels and plenty of things to do whether you are looking for romance, family vacation or just an escape to a new city.

15. Toronto, ON

With the Pam Am games making its way to Toronto this summer, we were actually surprised to see this city still end up on the list as hotel prices in the city jumped. Luckily it seems that Toronto is home to enough hotels, rentals and other accommodations that the prices don’t seem as astronomical as one might think. With access to professional sports fields, the CN Tower, the new Ripley’s Aquarium, the five-star restaurants and festivals throughout the city; there is certainly no shortage of things to do. Public transportation got a facelift for the Pan Am games and getting around the city is cheap and easy. The average accommodation price per night in the city is $179 with lots of deals to be found online, making Toronto a perfect place to visit this year.

Toronto

14. Vancouver, BC

Vancouver is one of the most expensive places to live in Canada, but quite affordable if you just want to visit for a few days. With an average hotel price of $179, this city is a prime spot for tourists from all over the world. Summertime brings visitors who walk along the seawall, dine on delicious seafood and explore the nearby towns. One of the best times to head here is in the fall, when the hotel prices drop significantly, the leaves start changing color and the weather is still nice enough to enjoy the outdoors. Vancouver transit makes it easy to get around the city at a reasonable price and there are plenty of free activities for everyone to enjoy, including Stanley Park, walking the beaches, visiting the many art galleries and visiting Granville Island.

Vancouver from the Water

13. Ottawa, ON

The capital of Canada makes this list with an average price of accommodation being just $155 a night, a bargain considering more than 80% of travelers are happy with their hotel stays. Visiting Canada’s capital is something everyone should do as the city of Ottawa is full of history, excitement and spectacular architecture. The summer is the absolute best time to head here as the warm weather and festivities make the city feel alive and buzzing with excitement. It also happens to be when hotel prices are at its highest though. It is a good thing then that the city offers incredible value. Tour the parliament buildings for free, head over to the RCMP stables for a chance to look around and perhaps a musical performance if you are lucky or spend an afternoon at one of the city’s beaches. Ottawa is teeming with markets, bike paths, picturesque picnic areas and outdoor art throughout the city for you to enjoy.

Ottawa, Ontario

12. Calgary, AB

It is one of the most expensive places to live on this list but visiting here gets you good bang for your buck and promises an unforgettable vacation, minutes from the beautiful mountains. A hotel room in this city goes for an average of $172 a night and many travelers choose to make Calgary their home base while they explore the city and the surrounding mountains. Plan your vacation around one of the many free summer festivals and you won’t have to reach deep into your pockets to explore all this city has to offer. Besides festivals, visiting the numerous attractions here cost little to nothing, including one of the world’s largest indoor botanical gardens, the plethora of art galleries, shops and the free entertainment during the stampede. Ride a portion of the CTrain for free, grab an inflatable tube and float down the Bow River or simply explore the downtown area and all its charm.

Calgary, AB

11. Niagara Falls, ON

Niagara Falls is home to the most inexpensive average hotel room on this list, coming in at $112 a night. If you have never been to the Canadian side of the falls, there is no better time to visit than 2015. Besides getting an incredible deal on hotels, Niagara Falls is packed full of activities, many of which can be done at little cost. Cruise the streets down by the falls which are packed with wacky fun houses, arcades and rides that are lit up with flashing lights and sounds. Visit one of the casinos and try your luck at one of the many games or slots. Walking along the falls and watching the spectacular firework show that happens in the summer won’t cost you anything either. Surrounding this area also happens to be a large number of wineries that you can tour for free, with tastings only costing a few dollars.

Niagara Falls 1

10. Montréal, QC

The city of Montreal is a perfect getaway, whether you are looking for a romantic escape or heading there for the slew of incredible music festivals and culture. With an average nightly price for accommodation being $172, one can enjoy this city while not breaking the bank. Exploring the city is best done on foot, whether you are traversing the streets of Old Montreal, taking the Golden Square Mile tour or curbing your hunger in many of the city’s most appetizing attractions. Montreal is also loaded with opportunities to try something new for free, including outdoor yoga classes and ballroom dancing. The city teems with rooftop patios and sidewalk cafes; perfect for people watching and relaxing. Take in one of the many free concerts and performances that happen throughout the city year round and enjoy one of the finest cities in all of Canada.

Montreal Canada

9. Edmonton, AB

It may not be the first place you think of when you think vacation in Canada, but Edmonton has a lot to offer and at the average price of just $151 a night, you can’t go wrong heading to this city. If you are looking to explore the outdoors, Edmonton might be just right for you. The city is famous for its North Saskatchewan River Valley, which offers over 100 kilometers of recreational trails, wildlife viewing, city views and Canada’s largest historical park, Fort Edmonton Park. One thing to splurge on when visiting here is the West Edmonton Mall. It is the largest shopping and entertainment complex in North America complete with amusement park, artificial beach, indoor wave pool, casino, movie theatres and an indoor lake. If you happen to visit here in the winter, head outside the city away from the lights and look for the Northern Lights. They are often visible from December to March.

Ronnie Chua / Shutterstock.com
Ronnie Chua / Shutterstock.com

8. Québec-City, QC

It is one of the most romantic cities to visit in all of Canada and with an average room price of $161 a night; many couples choose to visit Quebec City anytime of the year. In the winter the city comes alive with Christmas lights, turning the historic part of the city into a true winter wonderland. In the summer, the cobblestone streets are full of tourists, outdoor cafes and festivals. There are many historic churches that boast incredible architecture, an impressive number of parks and green space and a plethora of boutiques and shops to discover. The cuisine in the city is incredible, the people are friendly and strolling through the walled city of Old Quebec anytime of the year promises to be absolutely charming. For free entertainment, one should head down to the boardwalk along the St. Lawrence that is always full of buskers and entertainers during the summers.

Quebec City

7. Victoria, BC

It is one of the most beautiful cities on this list if you are into stunning mountain views, ocean harbors, colorful houses and natural beauty. It also happens to be a bargain when you look at the average nightly price of accommodations only being $143. The city is full of things to do and see, whether you want to splurge and visit the famous Butchart Garden or the Royal BC Museum, or whether you are looking to stick within a budget. Strolling the causeway, home to breathtaking views of the water, parliament and skyline is a popular activity for both locals and tourists. It is here when you can snag a seat on the Harbour Ferry and discover floating restaurants, historic homes, classic yachts and shipyards during the 45-minute narrated tour. Between the parks, mountains, beaches and art; there is no shortage of things to discover in this city.

Victoria coast line

6. Mississauga, ON

If you want to be close to the city of Toronto but don’t want to shell out the money, Mississauga is the absolute perfect place to stay. With an average room price of just $123 a night, spending less on a hotel means more spending money in your pockets. Many vacationers choose to make Mississauga their home base and travel into the city to explore the many activities and sights that Toronto offers. If you are looking for things to do in Mississauga though; why not head to the parks in Port Credit or feel like a kid again at Playdium Arcade. Mississauga is also home to a wealth of restaurants featuring cuisine from all over the world and it pays to check them out heading into Toronto for a great meal. Whether you are staying here for the city itself or looking to spread your budget by staying outside of Toronto, Mississauga is a great value city.

Atomazul / Shutterstock.com
Atomazul / Shutterstock.com

5. Kelowna, BC

Kelowna’s location along the eastern shoreline of Okanagan Lake creates a diverse landscape where outdoor recreation thrives and people from all over the world flock to this incredibly beautiful city. The lake itself draws many tourists interested in boating, kayaking and swimming while the rolling terrain is great for hikers, golfers and bikers. In the wintertime skiers and snowboarders head to Big White Mountain. The plethora of outdoor sports is what makes this city so affordable to visit. Pack a picnic, grab your kayak rental and head out for the day. Perhaps strap on a pair of snowshoes and explore the region. Head out and visit the wineries where they offer free tours and cheap tastings. With an average nightly room price of just $140, Kelowna is the perfect natural outdoor getaway.

Kelowna BC

4. Winnipeg, MB

Winnipeg is a diverse city that combines breathtaking architecture with ample green space to create this unique backdrop for a vibrant city. Visitors here will find warehouses that have been converted to restaurants and shops, outdoor festivals and concerts and an abundance of art and culture. The city is home to over 1,100 restaurants and is known for its top notch food scene that is well-priced. One of the most popular things to do in this city is head to The Forks, a downtown area where the two rivers meet that is home to the market, artisan shops and interactive fun. With an average room price of $141 a night, this cultural melting pot beckons visitors from all over the globe. It is recommended you head here in the summertime because the winter here can be downright freezing cold!

Winnipeg, MB

3. Mont-Tremblant, QC

This city located in the Laurentian Mountains is most famously known for its ski resort located at the foot of Mont Tremblant Mountains. Winter sports enthusiasts flock here to downhill ski, snowboard, snowshoe, dog-sled and cross-country ski in some of the best snow in the country. But winter isn’t the only season that flourishes here. Summertime brings eco-adventures, hiking, canoeing, cycling and fishing with Lac Tremblant at the centre of most of these. An average room price in this city will run you $189 a night, keeping in mind that winters are the most expensive. Many of the hotels offer discounts if you book early in the season and work with the ski resort to combine lift tickets with hotel prices. Book early, pay once and enjoy this awesome destination, summer or winter.

Mount Tremblant

2. Kamloops, BC

Kamloops is a hidden treasure amongst the West coast of Canada and with a highly affordable average nightly room rate of just $119; it won’t stay hidden for long. Home to the 5th best golf course in Canada, one of BC’s biggest ski hills and an abundance of outdoors to explore; visiting Kamloops and sticking on budget is easy. Many of the activities and restaurants are lower priced than the surrounding areas such as Vancouver or Kelowna, making this city incredibly budget friendly. Popular activities include a visit to the BC Wildlife Park, a hike to the waterfall, a visit to the farmers market and taking in the largest cowboy festival in Canada. There are endless possibilities for winter or summer, making this the number two valued city in all of Canada.

Kamloops
Philip Bird LRPS CPAGB / Shutterstock.com

1. Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON

It is the city with the most expensive average accommodation on this list at $203 a night, but seeing as Niagara-on-the-Lake is known as one of the prettiest towns in all of Canada; it comes as no surprise that it can be pricey. You won’t find high rise hotels here either; instead you will find historic homes, charming B&B’s and beautiful cottages that offer luxury amenities. This 19th-century village is home to award-winning restaurants and wineries and world-class theatre. Strolling the charming streets, touring the wineries and walking along the river won’t set you back anything. This romantic getaway is often visited by those looking for an intimate experience, complete with fine dining, great wines and cozy accommodations; which are exactly what they will find in the charming town.

Niagara On The Lake

The 8 Most Romantic Cottage Destinations in Canada

From coast to coast, the country of Canada is packed with magnificent scenery, charming small towns, snow-capped mountains, rolling hills, and thick, lush nature. If you are looking for a romantic getaway there is no need to look further than this country packed with hospitality and romance. Choosing to stay at a cottage rather than a hotel doesn’t mean sacrificing comfort and amenities. What it does mean is more privacy, seclusion and opportunity to rekindle that romantic spirit. From Newfoundland to Ontario to British Columbia, these eight romantic cottage destinations are sure to make you swoon.

8. Heart’s Delight, Newfoundland

With a name like Heart’s Delight it would be hard to expect anything but romance from this destination. Located on the Atlantic Coast in rural Newfoundland, it is truly a getaway from everything and everyone. Visitors looking for romance coupled with nature should put this small town on the top of their list. With views of Shag Rock, icebergs outside your window and visiting whales that you can see from your porch; the conditions are ideal for a whole lot of snuggling, candlelight and romance. There are many choices to choose from in terms of cabins and cottages along Trinity Bay and if you fancy a road trip, make sure to check out the two neighboring towns, Heart’s Content and Heart’s Desire. Take a sunset hike, watch the fisherman gather their catch and enjoy the tranquil and peaceful nature of beautiful Newfoundland.

Heart's Delight

7. Cape Breton, Nova Scotia

Whatever season you choose to visit Cape Breton, one thing remains the same. The slow paced laid-back lifestyle is perfect for a romantic getaway. Choose a cottage located along the Cabot Trail and awake to the sound of the waves crashing against the cliffs. The beauty of the landscape here is almost poetic and it’s as if you have stepped into another world once you cross over to the island from the mainland. Delicious seafood dinners in cozy pubs with fiddlers playing a quiet jig are ideal for reconnecting with your partner. There are plenty of opportunities to explore the landscape by hiking or cycling in the summer and snowshoeing in the winter. If you are looking for the ultimate relaxation getaway to rekindle the romance, where cell phones are turned off and the only sounds are the waves crashing and the birds chirping, Cape Breton should be at the top of your list.

Cape breton highlands

6. Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario

It is known as one of the prettiest small towns in all of Canada, with its historic houses and theatres, garden boxes lining the streets and boutique shops. With every season come new surprises in terms of landscape and scenery, making it a year-round romantic destination. The cottages here are more than likely houses that are hundreds of years old, adorned with original features and charm. In a region full of world-renowned wineries, it isn’t hard to find romantic experiences here. Winery tours and dinners are a must for anyone visiting Niagara-on-the-Lake and prepare to open your senses to an exhilarating culinary experience. Get around town by horse-drawn carriage or rent a bicycle and tour the historic downtown. The Niagara River meets Lake Ontario here and days are passed by sitting on the sandy shores, or walking the trails along the river. One of Ontario’s best kept secrets; this town was made for the romantic couple.

Niagara On The Lake
LesPalenik / Shutterstock.com

5. Algonquin Park, Ontario

The pristine wilderness setting of Algonquin Park sets the stage for romance for the true nature lovers. Thousands of lakes, rocky ridges and forests are yours to explore on one of many romantic getaways that await visitors. Most of the romantic cottages you will find around Algonquin Park feature luxury accommodations and fine dining. Think wood burning fireplaces, handcrafted furniture and private hot tubs on the deck. This region of Ontario is full of upscale, high profile cottage owners and for the right price; you could have the romantic getaway of a lifetime. Paddle your way through one of the thousands of lakes without seeing another soul, hike through the wilderness to watch bears and moose in their homes and return to your cottage retreat for a 5 star dining experience. It is one of the most breathtaking natural scenic experiences in Ontario and begs to be explored, made better only by the company you are with.

Algonquin

4. Quebec City, Quebec

Quebec City remains one of Canada’s top romantic getaway destinations year after year. The Rue du Petit Champlain has been called one of the prettiest streets in all of North America and while taking in the sights from the top of the stairs, it is easy to see why. Visiting in the wintertime is actually when Quebec City is at its most romantic. The charming shops and boutiques are decorated with twinkling lights, horse-drawn carriages clop along the cobblestone streets and fires crackle in the confines of your cottage. Choose to stay in a cottage outside of the city where you can escape from it all and take in the breathtaking landscape. Many have beautiful views of the Saint-Lawrence River or are placed on the banks of the many surrounding lakes. Cozy up in a quaint café, stroll hand in hand through the historic city and dine in luxury at one of the award-winning restaurants.

quebec city

3. Whitehorse, Yukon

The choice is yours, the Northern Lights or the Midnight Sun. Whichever one you choose, visiting the Yukon is like visiting another planet all together, and although it may not be your first thought when you think romance; this cottage destination has it all. The luxury log cabins that are located outside of Whitehorse offer everything from outdoor hot tubs to saunas to luxury linens to satellite TV. Combine that with the endless opportunities to explore one of the most uninhabited regions in the world and this promises to be a trip of a lifetime. Couples can hike, canoe, mountain bike, horseback ride, ice fish, ski, snowboard and more through the Yukon’s epic landscapes. The Yukon also happens to provide incredible views of the breathtaking natural phenomenon referred to as the Northern Lights. What’s more romantic than witnessing this incredible natural light show that occurs in the sky?

Yukon, Northern Lights

2. Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia

Peggy’s Cove is full of cozy cottages, romantic B&B’s and picturesque landscapes that will create unforgettable memories. The small fishing village is famous for its lighthouse and the story of Peggy, which can be romantic or practical, depending on who you ask. Nestled amongst glacier rock formations and surrounded by nature, this romantic getaway is best spent relaxing and exploring the landscape. Long walks on the beach, sunset picnics with a nice bottle of wine and ocean views as far as the eye can see are just a few of the activities that romantic couples do here. Bask in the sun, feel the ocean salt as it hits your cheek and dine in one of the intimate seafood restaurants nearby. Above all, Peggy’s Cove gives couples the chance to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and experience the sounds of nature around them.

1. Banff, Alberta

The West Coast of Canada is truly breathtaking with its awe-inspiring mountains, colorful lakes and romantic hot springs. Lake Louise in Banff has been named as one of the top honeymoon destinations in Canada year after year for its romance factor. Secluded, pristine, cozy and unbelievably beautiful; this area of the country offers hidden cottages in the mountains and a setting for romance unlike any other. Vacation goers can choose from luxury cabins on the shores of the lakes or secluded cottages hidden in the mountains reached only by hiking. Winter brings wood fires, snowshoeing and the experience of a  winter wonderland while summer lets visitors canoe, swim and hike through the beautiful land. Whichever season you prefer, we promise this won’t be your last romantic cottage getaway here.

Banff National Park

Best Ways to Spend a Long Weekend in Ontario

The many different options for spending a long weekend in Ontario can be dizzying. Throughout the mammoth province there are vibrant capitals, white sand beaches, back country adventures, charming small towns, and over 250,000 lakes creating an ideal backdrop for cottage getaways, camping trips, scenic road trips, and so much more. Arts and entertainment, cultural attractions, world class shopping and some of the country’s best festivals and fairs are all found throughout Ontario. When a long weekend finally arrives, scores of choices are available for almost any mood and lifestyle. Here are six ways to spend a long weekend in Ontario:

6. Niagara Region

The Niagara region of Ontario is a scenic summer destination that doesn’t disappoint. There are scores of attractions for families with kids of all ages and a ton of things to do for adults both day and night. During official Canadian holidays and long weekends, Clifton Hill entertainment district is ripe with deals, offering up deep discounts on attractions like the Niagara Skywheel, indoor water park, Wild West Coaster, and countless other kid-friendly and adult-focused stops. The many popular Niagara restaurants and bars also contribute to the overall savings with some great bargains on dining and cocktails, wine tours and tastings, and exciting helicopter rides over the falls. Pair the attractions with some great hotel and B&B deals (and an incredible fireworks show above the falls) and you’ve got one fantastic long weekend adventure. Journey beyond the falls to hot spots like the escarpment, Queenston Heights historic park, and Crystal Beach.

Niagara Falls 1

5. Haliburton Tour de Forest

The county of Haliburton, called Haliburton Highlands, is an important part of Ontario’s popular cottage country area with Haliburton village holding the central spot. Brimming with more than two dozen lakes and rivers, Haliburton boasts swimming, fishing canoeing, kayaking, and beach combing. The incredibly scenic backdrop lures and inspires artisans, the catalysts for Haliburton Tour de Forest which happens annually over the August civic holiday long weekend. This tour of local work is a big deal and a terrific way to meet talented local artists; anyone appreciating art and culture will love it. Works from 20 artists throughout eight fine studios are displayed and include intricately formed pottery, extraordinary glass works, fine jewelry, textile arts, woodworking, an array of paintings, photography, and much more. For those road-trip adventurers, the area beyond Haliburton is home to many impressive tourist towns including Huntsville, Dorset, Bracebridge, and Gravenhurst, each within easy driving distance.

Haliburton

4. Ottawa

As Canada’s capital, Ottawa is one of the most interesting and entertaining places. Located picturesquely along the Ottawa River inside southern Ontario’s east side, the city presents a remarkable number of things to do and see. Ottawa presents big-city with a small-town feel; locals are friendly and unhurried, the streets are wide and clean, and the diversity of experiences on hand is incomparable. Every Canadian long weekend in Ottawa features a host of events happening all around the area. There’s always a long weekend festival to check out—Ottawa knows how to make things happen! Kid’s attractions, live music events, carnival games, midway rides, and more are usually on the long weekend celebration roster and coincide with a fun festival and exhibition along with special outdoor markets and theater shows. Outside of planned celebrations, there are museums and galleries, country drives, neighborhood tours, and tons of outdoor excursions in the vicinity.

Ottawa, Ontario

3. Blue Mountain Village Beach Party

Each year, Blue Mountain Village throws a long weekend bash filled with special events, activities, and attractions during the August civic holiday. The village is the heart of the resort area and where you’ll find shops and restaurants lining cobblestone streets brimming with buskers, outdoor music, and an evening fire pit. The cool beats of Calypso and Reggae music spill from the Blue Mountain Village Beach Party while interactive drumming lessons, face painting booths, lively dance parties, scavenger hunts, and more are hosted. There’s live music all weekend long and a flashy fireworks show too. The most enterprising souls might want to check out the triple zip line, a boat rental, a segway tour, or some local rock climbing. For a completely action-packed weekend, there are also gondola rides, an aquatic center, and a putting course available. Enjoy it for a day or stay overnight to experience all the festivities.

Elena Elisseeva / Shutterstock.com
Elena Elisseeva / Shutterstock.com

2. Algonquin Provincial Park

The vast, seemingly endless interior of Ontario’s gorgeous Algonquin Park offers an incredible number of things to do during a long weekend. Historically home to some of Canada’s Aboriginal groups, the park is the largest in Ontario (almost ¼ of the size of Switzerland). Picture Algonquin and imagery leans to the great outdoors, but that doesn’t have to mean roughing it in the least. The park accommodates every option imaginable: rustic interior campsites or those with convenient utilities, unique historic cabins, cheap motels, and even five-star luxury lodges. From most points, visitors can fish, swim, canoe, kayak, and hike. Incredible trails, scenic boardwalk paths, a host of museums, panoramic picnic grounds, visitors’ centers, and a smattering of gift shops are available. The number of different campgrounds is staggering; some in-depth research does wonders for finding the area best suited to particular interests—and be sure to book well in advance.

Algonquin Park, Canada

1. Prince Edward County

Famous for award winning wineries and beautiful beaches, Prince Edward County boasts beauty, adventure, and an ideal climate. Spending a long weekend exploring back road scenery, visiting wineries, and willing hours away on the beach is a little slice of heaven. A trip to this lovely county is just two easy hours from Toronto but it feels more like a million miles from everything. On the southern side is Sandbanks Provincial Park and it looks just as it sounds. This is where to ditch the daily grind, bask on one of Ontario’s finest stretches of sand, stroll along the dunes, pick up local roadside produce, and rest your head in a charming bed and breakfast. The artist community has jammed the area full of quirky browsing galleries and studios, adding to the already-charismatic landscape. Sure, top-notch wineries are a definite attraction here, but the area features far more than just wine.

Sandbanks Park

10 Things to See and Do in Niagara Falls

The city of Niagara Falls, ON, is well-known as being a romantic and beautiful place to honeymoon with many honeymoon packages available through a travel agent or once you arrive there wherever you are staying. Make sure to take advantage to the discounts and passes available; once you see the savings, you won’t regret it. It’s also a great place to bring the family with all the museums, parks, natural wonders, rides and more. Every day, you can do something new on foot, on transit, by tour bus or other mode of transportation available. The sights, smells, sounds and tastes in Niagara Falls are thrilling. There is so much to see and do, you’ll have to take a break and make a plan if you don’t want to miss out on something wonderful.

10. Fallsview Indoor Waterpark

Opened in May 2006, Fallsview Indoor Waterpark features 16 high-speed water slides and other fun-filled water related attractions. Using over 200,000 US gallons (760,000 L) of water, the water park spans 125,000 square feet (2.9 acres). The waterpark is located on the top level of Casino Niagara’s parking garage and has a reputation for being one of cleanest and most spacious waterparks in North America.

There is an interactive Atlantis-themed aquatic play area, an indoor wave pool, six swimming pools, and multiple play areas for water-related sports activities. The hot springs and outdoor sundeck are great for relaxing those tired muscles after a long day of activity.  There is also a year-round outdoor activity pool area, a jungle-style beach, restaurant and bar. Planet Hollywood Beach Club, located on the main floor of the waterpark, is the perfect place to grab a bite to eat after all that water fun. The Planet Bar is a fully licensed bar serving fresh drinks and cocktails so when you’re in the mood for an adult beverage, make this your destination. With or without children, Fallsview Indoor Waterpark is a great destination for unbridled fun.

Photo by: Fallsview Indoor Waterpark
Photo by: Fallsview Indoor Waterpark

9. Old Fort Erie

Old Fort Erie is one of Niagara’s fascinating heritage sites. It was built in 1764 and was the first fort built in Ontario by the British. It was used as a base for British troops, Loyalist Rangers and Iroquois Warriors during the American Revolution. Sadly, it was Canada’s bloodiest battlefield having over 3,000 soldiers killed and wounded during the Siege of Fort Erie. It was also the major crossing point for the Underground Railroad from 1793 to 1865.

With re-enactments of the War of 1812, you will get to experience all the sights and sounds associated with the times. The fort houses over 200 years of history with soldiers getting ready for the battle. During the summer of 2015, Friday nights will serve as movie night at the fort with flicks like award-winning classic movies and recent releases with cultural significance presented in the grand and storied venue so you can experience it as well as watch it. Who says history can’t be interesting and fun?

Old Fort Erie

8. Niagara Garden Trail

All along the Niagara Parkway are floral features and gardens for nature lovers to enjoy. Old Fort Erie features a War of 1812 recreation of a heritage flower and herb garden. The floral showcase displays eight floral exhibits per year and exotic tropical plants. Niagara Park’s Botanical Gardens is home to the Butterfly Conservatory and serves as an outdoor classroom for the Niagara Parks School of Horticulture. These beautiful gardens contain over 2,400 roses in the rose garden area, many perennials, a formal parterre garden along with herbs and vegetables.

The Floral Clock located in Queenston, is one of the most photographed sites after the falls. It is made up of 16,000 carpet bedding plants and is an actual working clock with Westminster chimes that sound every quarter hour. The Centennial Lilac Garden is home to dozens of lilac varieties in bloom from mid-May to mid-June. There are many other floral features to be absorbed during your trek down the Garden Trail. It’s definitely worth planning this as part of your visit during garden season.

Flowerclock Niagara

7. Maid of the Mist/Hornblower Niagara Cruises

The Maid of the Mist Boat Tours and Hornblower Niagara Cruises are ferries that give you a view of the American and Horseshoe Falls like no other form of transportation or lookout spot. The Maid of the Mist operates exclusively out of Niagara Falls, New York whereas the Hornblower Niagara Cruises is operated out of Niagara Falls, Ontario. The Maid of the Mist is North America’s oldest tourist attraction running since 1846.

Both are an approximate 30 minute cruise around the base of the falls. They supply you with a recyclable rain poncho to keep your clothes dry while on your excursion. There have been some very notable people ride on the ferry cruise under the falls such as Marilyn Monroe and Princess Diana, to name a couple. The cruises run from April to October each year weather permitting and can be boarded from either the American or Canadian side every 15 minutes during peak season. The roar of the water around and the sheer power of the falls will amaze you.

rmnoa357 / Shutterstock.com
rmnoa357 / Shutterstock.com

6. Marineland

Marineland is an amusement park and animal exhibition park located in Niagara Falls and is one of the main attractions in the area. With its blend of animals and rides, it is guaranteed fun for the whole family. The park is open from Victoria Day weekend in May until Thanksgiving in October with rides open until sunset each day.

The park consists of Arctic Cove which serves as home to Beluga Whales where people can feed and touch them or take in a wonderful show of their talents and intelligence, Friendship Cove; home of the Killer Whales with above-ground observation decks as well as under-ground viewing areas, amusement rides like the Sky Screamer and a place to interact with, touch, and feed deer, elk and bison. There are also shows going on all day featuring different marine animals that are full of fun for the whole family. There are numerous rides that rival any large amusement park that you can ride over and over again, such as Ocean Odyssey, Space Avenger, Orca Screamer and more. Spend a day or a weekend at Marineland and you’ll never be bored with so much to see and do.

Belugas Marineland

5. Niagara Parks Butterfly Conservatory

Located about 10 minutes north of Niagara Falls, the Niagara Parks Butterfly Conservatory is a butterfly zoo operated by the Niagara Parks Commission. It sits on the approximately 49 hectares (99 acres) of the Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens & School of Horticulture. Opened in 1996, the conservatory has a 200-seat theater/auditorium, gift shop and climate-controlled greenhouse. It’s home to over 2,000 butterflies consisting of over 60 different species.

When walking through the museum where the butterflies are housed, make sure to wear bright clothing, perfume or cologne and walk slowly to look and smell more attractive to the butterflies if you’d like to have them land on you. Also housed with the butterflies to keep the insect population in balance, are Eurasian quails, turtles, goldfish, toads and beetles. You also have the opportunity to view the butterfly lifecycle in the Emergence area where over 45,000 butterflies are produced each year. The entire conservatory looks and feels like a rainforest with ponds, waterfalls, lush greenery and colorful exotic flowers. With over 180 meters of pathways, it is great fun and a pleasurable experience for all ages.

Niagara Parks Butterfly Conservatory

4. Museums Galore

There is no shortage of museums to explore in Niagara Falls. From wax museums, to history museums and everything in between, the city supplies a unique and exciting venue for education and culture. Young or old, you can’t help but be mesmerized, startled, educated and excited on your museum tour.

One of the most popular museums is the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! which features their Odditorium with all kinds of oddities supplied by Mother Nature like two-headed animals, the Moving Theater where you get to be part of the movie with a moving seat and Louis Tussaid’s Wax Works with over 100 realistic wax figures. You can continue your journey by visiting Movieland Wax Museum of the Stars where the lifelike figures will make you feel like you are walking into the scene of the show. Niagara Falls History Museum lets you be interactive and focuses on the preservation of the history of Niagara Falls and the region. Guinness Book of World Records Museum will amaze, frighten and maybe gross you out but will never bore or disappoint you. If this doesn’t give you your fill of museums, there are even more for you to see than are listed here.

alexsvirid / Shutterstock.com
alexsvirid / Shutterstock.com

3. Oh Canada Eh? Dinner Show

Nobody enjoys parodying themselves more than Canadians. So keeping in that spirit, you can enjoy a great meal with the family and have some laughs at the Oh Canada Eh? Dinner Show on Lundy’s Lane. Now in its 21st year, it is the longest running musical dinner show in Canada and a must-see whether you are Canadian or not. The show has won Niagara Falls Attraction of the Year seven times featuring its all-Canadian music and flag-waving finale.

It is a musical show that invites you to sing along while laughing and enjoying a 5-course meal served family style by the performers. Where else can you go to see and hear all things Canadian, while you eat Canadian cuisine served by Canadian performers acting as Canadian stereotypes. You’ll see a Mountie, hockey player, and Anne of Green Gables, to name some of the characters, all while you eat wonderful Canadian food like French Canadian Pea Soup, Alberta Grade Eh? Roast Beef and more. You can’t help but get caught up in the show and leave there feeling like you had a TRULY Canadian experience.

Photo by: Oh Canada Eh Productions
Photo by: Oh Canada Eh Productions

2. Clifton Hill

Clifton Hill was named after Clifton on the gorge of the River Avon in England, by Captain Ogden Creighton, who acquired most of the hill around 1830.  It is the hub of activity and attractions in Niagara Falls. It has become renowned as the place to be with its many museums, amusement centers, restaurants, luxurious hotels and beautiful view of the falls.

When visiting the hill, you can take a ride in one of the gondolas on the gigantic Niagara Skywheel which towers 175 feet over the falls for an incredible view like no other, play some miniature golf inside a life-sized dinosaur at Dinosaur Adventure Golf, have some unbridled fun at The Great Canadian Midway, Canada’s largest entertainment complex or tour Movieland – Wax Museum of the Stars, or for adult fun, visit Niagara Casino. The Hill offers something for everyone day or night. During the day, it’s a family playground full of adventure and transformed in the evening to a beautiful wonderland of lights, luxury and enjoyment.

CristinaMuraca / Shutterstock.com
CristinaMuraca / Shutterstock.com

1. Visit the Falls

Going to Niagara Falls and not taking the time to go see the falls would be a huge loss. There is a group of three waterfalls located between the twin cities of Niagara Falls, New York in the United States and Niagara Falls, Ontario in Canada and form the southern end of the Niagara Gorge. The largest and most well-known of the group are the Horseshoe Falls which lie mostly on the Canadian side of the border. The American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls are found entirely on the American side. The falls combine to create the largest water flow rate of any waterfall in the world. Because of its height and flow rate, the Horseshoe Falls is deemed the most powerful waterfall in North America.

The roar of the water is mesmerizing as are the continuous rainbows created by the mist rising from the falls. You can walk to the top of the Horseshoe Falls, enter one of the passageways leading under the falls, or ride in a ferry under the falls.  At night, a spectacular light show illuminates the falls giving them a surreal appearance making it a very hypnotic and beautiful attraction.

Niagara Falls

 

The Best Cities to Travel with Kids in North America

With so many amusement parks, zoos, beaches, water parks, and museums; it has never been harder to choose where to travel with your kids in North America.  From the beautiful Islands of Hawaii to traveling back in time to Williamsburg, VA; we have dug deep to find the top ten cities in North America that offer the best for family vacations. Kid-friendly hotels, ease of access to destinations, entertainment factor for both parents and kids and maybe even some learning opportunities were all taken into account (but don’t tell the kids about the learning one). North America is a wonderful place for all ages to explore and we have just touched the tip of the iceberg with our suggestions on activities in these destinations. We invite you to dive in, explore more and discover what makes these ten cities the most kid-friendly vacations in North America.

10. Kauai, Hawaii

Anywhere you go in Hawaii is a great place to travel with kids, and frankly we could have made a whole other list of places to go just in Hawaii but we chose Kauai for a few reasons. Fewer crowds, beautiful weather and affordability pushed this island to the top of our list. Condo rentals are in abundance on this island while still having resorts to choose from if you wish. With lifeguarded beaches, short driving distances between destinations and activities for the whole family to enjoy; you will never want to leave. Stay all day on the beach with a picnic, zip line through the jungle or bike along the coastal path; the possibilities are endless.

Kilauea Point lighthouse

9. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Smack in the middle of a 60-mile stretch of beach is the budget-friendly, family-friendly, city of Myrtle Beach. Known to have some of the best body surfing waters around, you can spend all day watching the kids play in the ocean. Don’t miss out on walking the boardwalk and promenade that stretch a mile along the sand with the carnival like atmosphere. Family-friendly hotels with on-site pools, waterslides and so much more make this city one hot spot. Kids will love the bigger amusement and water parks just a short trip away. Be sure to check the average annual temperatures before you book your trip as this destination is best enjoyed in the summer months.

Myrtle Beach South Carolina

8. Williamsburg, Virginia

Visiting Williamsburg is to step back in time to the 18th century where this living history museum is sure to thrill the little ones. Let the kids travel back through time with a costume rental and traditional chores and farm work opportunities so they can really feel the part. Free guided tours that take you through town encompass the right amount of history and interaction, and the best part is they’re led by kids for kids. When the feet grow weary from exploring, be sure to hop onto a carriage ride where the driver will delight you with stories of who once owned that very same carriage.  Once you are done living in the past; head to Busch Gardens or Water Country USA for some modern thrills.

Stephen B. Goodwin / Shutterstock.com
Stephen B. Goodwin / Shutterstock.com

7. Toronto, Ontario

Kids like nothing more than to climb to the top of things (and truth be told so do most adults) and where else can you find something as tall as the CN Tower to climb! Toronto is a vibrant buzzing city that has so many family friendly activities we can’t name them all. To start you off on your next Toronto vacation here are just a few of our favorites. The Science Centre, Canada’s Wonderland, Ripley’s Aquarium (the largest indoor Aquarium in Canada), The Toronto Zoo, Royal Ontario Museum and the list could go on forever. Don’t miss out on the chance to ferry across to Centre Island where the kids can burn off their energy in wading pools, endless green space and antique rides.

Toronto

6. Washington, D.C.

Loaded with free museums, a free national zoo and The White House; Washington is not only a great place to visit as an adult but surprisingly very kid-friendly.  While the Museum of Natural History is perfect for the dinosaur lover and the National Museum of Air and Space will get any rocket crazed kid excited; Washington’s official travel website offers a printable activity book for kids. Loaded with contests, take a “selfie” ideas and scavenger hunts; the kids won’t be bored. Washington also offers many free walking tours and make sure you watch that white house lawn; the president’s helicopter lands there several times a week. Finally, a trip to Washington wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the National Mall to ride the carousel.

Museum of Natural History Washington

5. Vancouver, British Columbia

Known for its moderately warm temperatures in the winter, Vancouver is a city you can visit any time of the year. The famous Stanley Park is made up of 1000 acres and lets families explore the seawall and jungle like sanctuary. Tired of walking through the park; pop into the Vancouver Aquarium where the indoor and outdoor exhibits let you get up close and personal with the animals.  Granville Island, located just a short ferry ride away has emerged into a family friendly oasis. Markets (including a children’s market), live entertainment, shops and the largest free water park in North America make up this unique little island. For the adventure seeker, Grouse Mountain is just a short trip away or visit one of the suspension bridges located outside the city.

Grouse Mountain Vancouver

4. Chicago, Illinois

It’s not a question of whether Chicago is a kid-friendly city but a question of where to take the kids first. Do you venture to one of the many museums that offer free admission to kids? Or do you check out the famous Millennium Park to visit the sculpture known as ‘The Bean’? For budget activities, Lincoln Park offers one of the few free zoos in the country. You’ll also want to head down to Navy Pier to visit the Children’s Museum and the famous 150 foot high Ferris wheel. If you have a little sports fan, be sure to catch a game or take a tour at Wrigley Field. With hot dogs and deep dish pizza being the top food choices, your kids will have nothing to complain about.

navy pier

3. San Diego, California

San Diego is filled with family fun activity and luckily you can enjoy the sights just as much as your kids will. The world famous San Diego Zoo is a must see on any trip to the city. As a bonus the zoo has opened a Safari Park which allows you to tour an enormous wildlife reserve with animals from Africa and Asia. Looking to relax while in San Diego?  Head on over to Point Loma and let the kids explore the trails, lighthouse and tidal pools at low tide. If you’re craving some adventure after a relaxing beach day, head on over to Belmont Park, the only beachfront amusement park in San Diego.

littleny / Shutterstock.com
littleny / Shutterstock.com

2. Niagara Falls, Ontario

Not only will the view of hundreds of thousands of gallons of water rushing down over the rocks thrill your little ones but there is so much to do in Niagara Falls. Geared towards tourists, this town is one big amusement park for kids and adults alike. Take in the neon signs, haunted houses, arcades and restaurants that line Clifton Hill. Travel as close to the falls as possible on the boat tours, take a helicopter tour to get the best view or hit up the largest indoor water park in North America. Stay up late to watch the falls illuminate and watch the spectacular firework display over the falls. If that isn’t enough; discover the zoos, aquarium and bird kingdoms nearby.

Niagara Falls

1. Orlando, Florida

What would a top ten list of cities to visit with kids be without Orlando? Besides the obvious Disney World which encompasses all four different theme parks plus two water parks, Orlando is filled with kid-friendly activities. Pay a visit to International Drive where the kids can discover an upside-down house, laser tag, Ripley’s Believe it or Not and many other family focused activities. After splurging on all of the above take a quick drive to the coast and relax on one of the many beaches or take a dip in one of Orlando’s freshwater springs. If that isn’t enough to keep your family occupied; take a trip to LEGOLAND, SeaWorld or stroll through downtown Orlando and hop into a paddleboat at Lake Eola.

Orlando downtown welcome sign with tropical scene

7 Great Niagara Wineries You Can’t Get in Stores

Exploring Niagara wine country is a great summer activity with many great restaurants, boutiques and quaint roadside stands, let alone the wine. Most of Niagara’s big producers can be found in LCBO or Vintages stores in Ontario however there are a few special vineyards you won’t be able to find on you store shelves. These wineries prove its worth making the trip and exploring this beautiful region in person.

 

7. Rancourt Winery

Rancourt is a boutique winery which lies on a 25-acre vineyard in Niagara-on-the-Lake and pride themselves on crafting small quantities of high quality wine. The family run operation uses 100% hand-harvested grapes grown right on their own cottage property. With an extensive selection including award-winning Chardonnay, Riesling, Rose, Silver medal Cabernet Franc and double gold medal Meritage, there’s something to please every palette.

 

Photo courtesy of Steven Elphick.
Photo courtesy of Steven Elphick.

Official Website: Rancourt Winery

6. Domaine Queylus

Domaine Queylus is a new comer to the Niagara wine scene and although their St. Anns location may be a little off the typical wine route, it’s worth the trip. This winery crafts small batches of premium Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay and Merlot which show the skill and finesse of winemaker Thomas Bachelder. Since this operation is still new and growing, it’s recommended to call the winery ahead of your visit to confirm availability, or you can call or email if you’re interested in having bottles shipped.

 

Photo courtesy of Steven Elphick Photography
Photo courtesy of Steven Elphick Photography

Official Website: Domaine Queylus

5. Cornerstone Estate

Cornerstone Estate is a family owned and operated vineyard in the fast growing Beamsville section of Niagara wine country. This winery is truly an ultimate experience for the oenophile with an extensive offering of reds, whites, fruit wine, Icewine and even a port style wine all created by 2012 Winemaker of the Year Andrezej Lipinski. If you can’t make it out to the vineyard yourself, Cornerstone offers an online store so your bottles can be shipped right to your door.

 cornerstone

Official Website: Cornerstone Estate

4. Marynissan Estates

Located at the base of the Escarpment in Niagara-on-the-Lake is Marynissan Estates boutique winery. Planted in 1978, its home to the oldest commercial planting of Cabernet Sauvignon in Canada. With multi-award winning winemaker Gordon Robert overseeing operations since 2013, it will be exciting to see what comes out of this vineyard in the future. With no online store, the only way to savor these flavors is to visit them in person and take some bottles home.

Marynissen

Official Website: Marynissan Estates

3. Mountain Road Wine Company

The focus at Mountain Road Wine Company is on sustainable agriculture and thoughtful aging processes. Their mindful farming practices include erosion prevention, minimal use of herbicide and the rare use of insecticides. They pride themselves on having a traditional focus creating superior wines crafted from 30 year old vines. Among their wide selection of reds, whites and Icewine, their standout offering is multi-award winning Chardonnays. If you can’t get out to the winery store the company does offer online purchases with checkout using PayPal.

 white wine

Official Website: Mountain Road Wine Company

2. Between the Lines

Pull up to this Niagara-on-the-Lake gem and you’re immediately greeted by the rustic charm of the Big Red Barn. Inside is where everything happens…cellar, tasting room and clubhouse all in one, this vineyard is anything but pretentious. Manager Greg Wertsch and Winemaker Yannick Wertsch are committed to crafting the best of 100% Niagara grown wines. Their line-up includes Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc and Merlot for the reds, and Riesling, Gewürztraminer and Vidal for the whites, plus a signature Reserve line. The only way to buy Between the Lines wines are direct, either visit the winery tasting room or you can order from their online store.

 Between the lines

Official Website: Between the Lines

1. Reimer Vineyards Winery

Reimer Vineyards in Niagara-on-the-Lake produces certified organic wines since first opening their doors in the summer of 2010.  The winery strives for sustainability which means doing as much labor as possible by hand, including planting, picking, crushing, bottling and even corking. They also use biodiesel in their tractors to reduce their carbon footprint and when spraying is required, everything used is organic. The result of these efforts are exceptional quality grapes used to produce award-winning organic wines.   Reimer’s sells its bottles at their vineyard store, at select farmer’s markets around the area, and also online with shipping in Canada as well as overseas.

 Reimer

Official Website: Reimer Vineyards