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Top 5 Things to See And Do In Tobermory Ontario

My family left our home in Toronto and took a 2,100 kilometre road trip in the summer of 2017. Our first stop when we left the Toronto area was Tobermory, Ontario. The drive to Tobermory from our house is approximately 4 hours, however with the rate at which my children (and husband) need to exit the vehicle for pee, hunger and leg stretching, it honestly took closer to 6, yes SIX hours.

We spent two nights in Tobermory that summer and decided that we liked it so much we would return in the summer of 2018 as well. And you know what? It is safe to say, we will return. I am a really outdoorsy person and my children are slowly warming up to the idea of non-urban adventure. For us, in Tobermory, there is an abundance of things to do!

#TOP5THINGS TO SEE AND DO IN #TOBERMORY, #ONTARIO #brucepeninsula #flowerpotisland #thegrotto #bigtubharbour #littletubharbour #tobermory #discoverontario #parkscanada #grotto #brucepeninsulagrotto #tobermorygrotto #hikingthebruce #brucetrail #dangerousplaces #rockyterrain #bestfamilytraveltravelblogger #ontariofamilyadventures

Here are our Top 5 things To See And Do In Tobermory, Ontario!

 

1.) Take a Boat Tour to see the two Shipwrecks in Big Tub Harbour

Sweepstakes, shipwreck in Tobermory - Top 5 Things To Do In Tobermory, Ontario #topfivelist #tobermory #singingsandsbeach #provincialpark #brucepeninsula #flowerpotisland #thegrotto #brucepeninsulagrotto #parkscanada #smalltownsinontario #familytravelvlogger #familytravelblogger #ontariobloggers #ontarioroadtrips #thingstodoinontario #thingstodointobermory #shipwrecks

Really and truly, nothing beats scuba diving shipwrecks if you are a certified diver. If are not a diver or a snorkeler or you are traveling with your children and do not have other care for them while you are on a dive, then a viewing from a boat is the next best thing here. The two wrecks you can see in Big Tub Harbour in Tobermory are called Sweepstakes and City of Grand Rapids.

The Sweepstakes went down in 1885, spoiler alert – no treasures left and currently lies in roughly 6 metres of water. It is one of the best preserved shipwrecks of it’s time in the Great Lakes. The City of Grand Rapids wreck is from 1907, it was a double decker steamer that caught fire wile mooring. It was released from the dock and left it burn in the harbour. It sank where it lies.

Totally worth seeing – see if you can get on one of the glass bottom boats to do this!

 

2. Take a boat to Flowerpot Island

Take one of the boats to Flowerpot Island and spend the day – at least an afternoon, please don’t short change yourself on time here. Flowerpot Island is only accessible by boat from Tobermory and is one of the best experiences in Fathom Five National Marine Park! The island is famous for its natural “flowerpot” rock pillars, caves, historic light station and rare plants. This is a great spot for easy to moderate level hikers – my kids had no problem. Here you will find great swimming and snorkeling, picnic areas and overnight camping if you are adventurous. Be sure to bring your bathing suit in a day bag with you and have sturdy shoes, don’t come in flip flops and try to do the hiking – I don’t recommend it.

Flowerpot Island 3 - Top 5 Things To Do In Tobermory, Ontario #topfivelist #tobermory #singingsandsbeach #provincialpark #brucepeninsula #flowerpotisland #thegrotto #brucepeninsulagrotto #parkscanada #smalltownsinontario #familytravelvlogger #familytravelblogger #ontariobloggers #ontarioroadtrips #thingstodoinontario #thingstodointobermory

We were not prepared for the beauty here – it is so awe inspiring! The water really is the colour of these photos – no filter, I swear! And we shortchanged ourselves on time, hence I recommend spending more than a couple hours. The rookie mistake we made when we went was not packing a cooler.  To swim, explore the flowerpots, hike the terrain and really take in the whole experience, requires a half day at least.

Word of wisdom to the Instagram Models of the world – please do not try to climb the Flower Pots. It’s dangerous to you if you fall, but it’s also disruptive to nature. Imagine being the asshole who damages one of these natural structures so terribly that it changes the appearance?

Flowerpot Island 1 - Top 5 Things To Do In Tobermory, Ontario #topfivelist #tobermory #singingsandsbeach #provincialpark #brucepeninsula #flowerpotisland #thegrotto #brucepeninsulagrotto #parkscanada #smalltownsinontario #familytravelvlogger #familytravelblogger #ontariobloggers #ontarioroadtrips #thingstodoinontario #thingstodointobermory

There are a couple boat charter companies to get you here from Tobermory, Ontario. You can combine a shipwreck viewing tour or simply take an express boat direct and they have ticketed return times when they drop you off. According to the Parks Canada website, they recommend that you spend 4-5 hours to hike and see it all.

Side note, there is really nothing to purchase here, bring your own food and water! Also there are not a whole lot of places to dispose of garbage here, so please plan to take back with you what you bring. worth noting, you have to pay for the boat ride here, but since it’s a national park and it’s Canada’s 150th birthday, admission this year to the island is free.

Flowerpot Island 2 - Top 5 Things To Do In Tobermory, Ontario #topfivelist #tobermory #singingsandsbeach #provincialpark #brucepeninsula #flowerpotisland #thegrotto #brucepeninsulagrotto #parkscanada #smalltownsinontario #familytravelvlogger #familytravelblogger #ontariobloggers #ontarioroadtrips #thingstodoinontario #thingstodointobermory

 

3.) Visit The Grotto in Bruce Peninsula National Park

The Grotto, found in Bruce Peninsula National Park, just outside of Tobermory, is a place that is so popular, we couldn’t get in the first year we tried. I severely underestimated that it is one of the top attractions in the province and that just showing up would be suffice. It turns out it requires a little more planning to be able to see and experience this magical place.

feet over ledge at grotto - Top 5 Things To Do In Tobermory, Ontario #topfivelist #tobermory #singingsandsbeach #provincialpark #brucepeninsula #flowerpotisland #thegrotto #brucepeninsulagrotto #parkscanada #smalltownsinontario #familytravelvlogger #familytravelblogger #ontariobloggers #ontarioroadtrips #thingstodoinontario #thingstodointobermory

We did our planning and did get into the Grotto in the summer of 2018. During the peak season of July and August, there are a couple ways to make sure you are in Bruce Peninsula National Park and can access the Grotto:

1.) Be there already as a camper at one of the backcountry sites along Georgian Bay or in Cyprus Lake Campground.

2.) Reserve parking in advance if coming from outside the park. Parking is assigned by time blocks and only a certain amount of cars are permitted per time slot.

3.) Head up there in the off or shoulder seasons of April/May/June or September/October when the demand to visit is much less.

There’s a twitter hashtag you can follow for more information – #GrottoParking

 

4.) Have ice cream at The Sweet Shop on Bay Street

There’s this sweet little ice cream shop with a lot of brilliant Canadian flavours of yummy ice cream. Located at 18 Bay Street, overlooking Little Tub Harbour, the locally owned Sweet Shop makes candy, fudge, chocolate and brittle onsite. Come after dinner, sit and relax! Walk around and see the boats in the harbour with ice cream in hand, you won’t be sorry!

mariner's monument on Bay Street in Tobermory, Ontario

5.) Visit Singing Sands Beach

Singing Sands Beach is located off of Dorcas Bay Road south of Tobermory. This large sand beach with shallow waters is part of Bruce Peninsula National Park. I admit, when my family rolled up to this beach, we were not impressed. It looked like it was full of weeds, there were not a lot of people there and it was windy. My family is a little spoiled. The kids are used to Prince Edward County and Caribbean beaches.

It became an opportunity to push my kids into experiences  to and take us all out of our comfort zones.

Tobermory Beach, singing sands beach - Top 5 Things To Do In Tobermory, Ontario #topfivelist #tobermory #singingsandsbeach #provincialpark #brucepeninsula #flowerpotisland #thegrotto #brucepeninsulagrotto #parkscanada #smalltownsinontario #familytravelvlogger #familytravelblogger #ontariobloggers #ontarioroadtrips #thingstodoinontario #thingstodointobermory

The water was warm and you could walk really far out before the kids lower bodies became submerged. The kids even had a good time. For those who are squeamish about things touching their feet in the water, I recommend wearing a pair of water shoes. It’s not really so bad once you walk out in the water for a bit. Admission here is free.

And as a bonus for you history buffs – there are historical walking tours available in town.

For those you you looking for the video blog – here you go!

 

 

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#TOP5THINGS TO SEE AND DO IN #TOBERMORY, #ONTARIO #brucepeninsula #flowerpotisland #thegrotto #bigtubharbour #littletubharbour #tobermory #discoverontario #parkscanada #grotto #brucepeninsulagrotto #tobermorygrotto #hikingthebruce #brucetrail #dangerousplaces #rockyterrain #bestfamilytraveltravelblogger #ontariofamilyadventures #yourstodiscover

Looking For Exciting and Unique Places To Explore In Ontario? We Have You Covered!

For those of you who have been reading my blog for awhile, you will know that I made it my mission to explore and take in as much of my home province of Ontario as I could. And take my kids along of course! I was born and raised here and I had come to the realization that as of a couple years ago, I had explored less than 10% of it. Most of my travel had been confined to the 401 corridor.

Granted, land mass wise, Ontario is huge! Bigger than almost all European countries! Parts of Ontario are even uninhabited, so it’s not likely we will be hanging at a winery in Polar Beer Provincial Park anytime soon! One because it doesn’t exist and two because that provincial park is so far remote that the website warns you to pack an extra week’s worth of provisions incase the plane can’t come back and get you. However, there are a lot of towns with charm, beautiful trails, an abundant outdoor lifestyle and exciting places to explore in Ontario that are full of adventure and won’t leave you stranded.

If someone was travelling to Ontario for the first time to explore and take in an unusual or unique (only to) Ontario experience, I have a list of places to send them that I have been to. I’d tell them to head up the Bruce Peninsula to Tobermory to stay for a couple days and to hike the the Grotto! Send them yurt camping at any time of the year at either Algonquin Provincial Park or MacGregor Point Provincial Park. If they were looking to go glamping right across the street from a winery, they’d be going direct to Long Point Eco Adventures in Norfolk County. If they were looking for some epic scenery while hiking, the Barron Canyon Trail, Dundas Peak and Skinner’s Bluff is where it’s at.

My Personal Favourite Places To Explore In Ontario

One of my favourite places to see a sunset? It would be the Scarborough Bluffs pictured above and right below. Especially in autumn.

View from Scarborough Bluffs, Toronto Ontario. Unique places to explore in Ontario #autumncolours #fallfoliage #curiocitytoronto #visualizetoronto #scarboroughbluffs #scarborough #scarboroughontario #torontoviews #canadiancreatives #imagesofcanada #viewsfordays #cliffside #exploreontario #kathrynanywhere

Some of my favourite hiking trails fall within the jurisdiction of Ontario Parks. Check out Mono Cliffs Provincial Park, Sleeping Giant Provincial Park and Lake Superior Provincial Park.

Favourite Beaches? Sandbanks in Prince Edward County is top of everyone’s mind when you think of Ontario beaches, but consider Coburg Beach in Coburg or Pancake Bay Beach, just outside Batchawana Bay as well.

I know for a fact that I am not the be all and end of of Ontario knowledge. And I’m on the hunt for new places to explore in Ontario for this year and next. I thought it would be smart to hit up some of my fellow Torontonians, travel bloggers for their favourite places in Ontario to explore and why.

Here are their secrets they have let me in on!

SAINTS AND SINNERS TRAIL

Just a few hours north of Toronto lies the province’s biggest secret. Grey County is a foodie haven, with gorgeous views, reasonable prices and none of the traffic you’ll see if you travel east or west of the city.

It’s home to the Saints and Sinners Trail, which features local beer, wine and cider. This region is family friendly so don’t feel like you need to leave the kiddos at home. Accommodations range from traditional to quirky, you can stay in a treehouse or a yurt!

It’s called this because of the region’s fascinating history. Owen Sound was Canada’s last dry city. Well technically, prohibition lasted here much longer than the rest of Canada and so there’s a history of bootlegging and all the salacious stories that go along with it.

Today you can tour the Saints and Sinners Trail independently or take the Corkscrew Town tour, which partners with the Beer Bus. Local historian (and city council member) shows you the city’s sights and shares hilarious local stories of bootlegging in the time of prohibition.

Contributed by Ayngelina Brogan – Bacon Is Magic

DEVIL’S PUNCHBOWL

The fact that Hamilton, a city more commonly known for steel and Tim Horton’s, has also been dubbed “The Waterfall Capital Of The World”, may come as a surprise to you. Of the more than 100 waterfalls located in the city’s limits, the one with the most unusual story is found in the Devil’s Punchbowl Conservation Area.

The Devil’s Punchbowl is a huge, horseshoe- shaped gorge. There is a larger, upper falls and a smaller, lower falls in it. With numerous trails around the area, it’s a perfect for hiking and scenic photo opportunities, especially if you are nimble enough to make it to the bottom near the waterfalls.

Beneath the beauty of the Punchbowl, though, lies a history shrouded in mystery. Where exactly did the name come from? Urban legends (unverified ghost and paranormal activity stories), and even tragedies (numerous deaths have happened there).  Adding to the unusual factor is the 10 metre high metal cross on the observational platform.  It was made to “bring light to the community”, but the idea of a giant cross planted in an area named after the devil is bizarre, to say the least. However, the views from the platform are admittedly spectacular (dare I say, heavenly), as you can see the waterfalls, Stoney Creek, Hamilton, and on clear days, even Toronto.

The Devil’s Punchbowl Conservation Area is definitely unique, but also a place that you won’t soon forget!

Contributed by Mike Armstrong – Daddy Realness

devils punchbowl, contributed by Mike Armstrong #daddyrealness #yourstodiscover #exploreontario #devilspunchbowl #hamiltonontario #hamont

PORT HOPE SALMON RUN

Watching the salmon run is often something associated with rural travel in remote destinations such as like Alaska. But Ontario actually has some pretty incredible salmon runs of its own. And surprisingly, one of the best places to see the Salmon run in Ontario is in the small town of Port Hope off the shores of Lake Ontario.

Port Hope, which is just an hour east of Toronto, is a quaint town with a vibrant history. But in the fall, it becomes home to one of the coolest wildlife spectacles in Central Ontario. Between late August and early October, thousands of Chinook salmon, some weighing up to 40 lbs make their way up the Ganaraska River.

The best place to view this spectacle is Corbett’s Dam, otherwise known as the Port Hope Fish Ladder. Just head to Jocelyn St. Turn right and continue on till you meet the river. There is a rocky shore that is easy to walk up and down. Just don’t step in the fish. Not all of them make it to the spawning grounds. The Port Hope Fish Ladder was put in place to help the struggling salmon make it up the river once the dam was put in place. Without it, these bright fish would have no way to continue up the “Ganny” to their spawning grounds.

Contributed by Kevin Wagar – Wandering Wagars

BATHTUB ISLAND

Located about 10 hours north of Toronto you can find Lake Superior Provincial Park. At over 1550 square kilometers it’s one of the biggest provincial parks in Ontario. The park is known for very unique things like the pictographs at Agawa Rock, the Burnt Rock Pool, Old Woman Bay and of course the most unique of them all, Bathtub Island.

Bathtub Island is located about a 15 minute walk from Katherine Cove and just like the name suggests, it’s a natural forming bathtub! The bathtub is refilled by the waves crashing over the rocks and because of the shallow rocks the water gets heated up really quickly so you can splash around and enjoy yourselves! It can be slightly challenging to get into the island because of the rocks and the water so do take care to walk carefully but as long as you’re paying attention to the walk you’ll be fine!

While there may be other natural bathtubs around, the one in Lake Superior Provincial Park is the only one I’m aware of in Ontario and it makes it such a unique place to explore! It doesn’t hurt that it’s located in such a stunning piece of nature. It’s a great reason to head further north than most visitors to Ontario do and you get to enjoy something super cool that nature itself formed!

Contributed by Liliane Fawzy – My Toronto, My World

ENJOY MUSKOKA DURING THE WINTER SEASON

In just four years, the Ice Skating Trail at Arrowhead Provincial Park has become one of Muskoka Tourism ‘s most popular winter attractions, as thousands of winter-loving Ontarians flock north to glide along this breathtaking skate through the forest. Named one of 19 Stunning Natural Ice Skating Rinks Around the World by Travel + Leisure, the deep-woods ice path is nightly lit with torches as skaters slide through the dark winter woods to an icy, fiery glow. The Trail’s season-opening is always subject to weather but typically the trail opens the beginning of January until roughly the second week in March. The best ice conditions tend to be during the week, so if you can arrive midweek, you will be rewarded with no crazy line-ups as you visit one of the province’s most popular winter ‘bucket list’ items.

Bonus night activity? While in Muskoka, take the kids to look up at the night sky to experience the vastness of space, view the universe and marvel at the icy air viewing at the Torrance Barren’s Dark-Sky Preserve.

Contributed by Gregory George – followsummer

Skating Trail at Arrowhead Provincial Park #ONTARIOPARKS #exploreontario #followsummer

VOYAGEUR CANOE TO TORONTO ISLANDS

Have you ever seen Toronto from the water?  One of the most unique experiences that I’ve ever had in Toronto was to paddle across the harbour in a Voyageur Canoe to the Toronto Islands.  You can do this as a group or rent a kayak.  The view is spectacular and being on the other side of the islands take you from urban setting to natural oasis in the time it takes you to paddle across.  There is no shortage of interesting things to see from the flights taking off and landing from Billy Bishop Airport to the spectacular skyline.

Contributed by Margarita Ibbott – DownshiftingPRO

EXPLORE ONTARIO

NIAGARA JET BOAT

In June 2017, Hubs and I splashed out for a Whirlpool Jet Tour from Niagara-on-the-Lake. The tour took us up the Niagara River to the Niagara Devil’s Hole Rapids – which boasts up 4.5-6m waves and currents with speeds approaching 32 kph. Operating since 1992, the company’s Niagara fleet has 8 custom-built vessels operating from three locations on both sides of the border – Niagara-on-the-Lake, Lewiston and Niagara Falls. There are two types of boats, an open boat, for fast and wet, and a closed boat, which will keep you (mostly) dry.

Our youngest was three (almost four) when we took our tour, but still a little under the height requirement for the uncovered boat (safety first!!) We rode one of the covered boats – which kept us dry, but was still quite thrilling. The windows on the boat open for the parts of the tour that aren’t wet.

The expert navigation of our boat’s team had us feeling very safe despite tackling Class 5 rapids which “approach the limits of navigability” and “should only be attempted by white-water experts.”

The best part of the approximately one-hour trip – we learned about the history of the gorge, the falls, and various sites we passed along the way including historic Fort George, the hydro-electric plants on both sides of the border. The tour guides were very engaging, and more than willing to answer any questions we had.

As far as family fun goes, you can’t miss the thrills, chills (and the education) of a Niagara Whirlpool Jet Tour. In fact, our youngest is big enough for the outside boat – and we have plans to make another trip this year!

Contributed by Amanda Knapper – SillyMummyFT

Niagara Jet Boat, Amanda Knapper, SillyMummyFT

 

SOARING OVER NIAGARA FALLS IN A HELICOPTER

Visiting the majestic Niagara Falls is on everyone’s bucket list but not many have thought about flying over the falls. If you’re looking for unusual and breathtaking things to do in Ontario, soaring above Niagara Falls in a helicopter should be on your list!

This bird’s eye view will bring on all of the feels and while the ride is only about 12 minutes long, you’ll see it all. Our pilot did a great job of showing us the various angles of both, the American and Canadian Falls and we also saw the Niagara Parks Commission School of Horticulture, followed the Niagara River from the Whirlpool area and rounded up near the Rainbow Bridge. It was like getting the best and fastest tour of the area. We had our infant and toddler with us for this Niagara helicopter ride and the kids were mesmerized from the moment we took off. Kids were given noise cancelling headsets and the adults ones had the option to listen to an audio tour that informed us about the history of the area.

This splurge worthy Ontario attraction is definitely worth every dollar and should be on your list of things to do in Niagara Falls Canada with kids or without!

Contributed by Yashy Murphy – Baby And Life

Soaring over Niagara Falls in a Helicopter with Yashy Murphy, Baby And Life

DINING IN THE DARK AT O NOIR

If you want a unique place to go to in Toronto that is indoors and involves food, you have come to the right spot to find out exactly where to go. The award for the coolest restaurant in downtown Toronto has to go to O Noir. You’re not just paying for food, but an experience of a lifetime!

The concept of the very well known restaurant, O Noir, is for people to try and understand what life is like for the visually impaired for a short amount of time.

When you entire O Noir, you are presented with the menu before you go into the darkness. There is even a “surprise” option to make your time there more exciting! The waiters you will be interacting with are blind, just as you will be when you enter the dining area.  When it is your turn to go inside, you will be asked to make a train with several other guests and your party while someone will lead you to a seat (a seat that you cannot see AT ALL). There, they will explain where your fork, knife, and napkins are before returning shortly with your ordered food.

This is where things get really tricky; try coordinating with a table full of people who cannot see ANYTHING. Your other senses are heightened to the max as you try to communicate with your company, guess the food in front of you, or simply eat without making a mess! Your imagination runs wild as you try and figure out which part of the restaurant you are seated in, how big the place might be, where the waiters are coming in/ out from and predicting how much of your food is left!

This experience will give you a feel of what it is like for the blind to do simple tasks every day. It is amazing to see the discipline that the staff have, working quickly and efficiently to ensure great customer service, which can require a lot of patience when you are dealing with people who are experiencing something for the first time.

Lucky for everyone, the paying process happens outside of the darkness, or that would be a whole other level of challenging. This is something I believe everyone should try at least once in their lives! Imagine being able to say that you have had the experience to dine in the complete dark.

Contributed by Akanksha Pandya – Akanksha.ca

 

PORT DOVER, EVERY FRIDAY THE 13TH

In 1981, a strange tradition was born in the relatively sleepy Ontario town of Port Dover. It was decided that every Friday the 13th a motorcycle rally would happen, and that riders from all across North America should come. Seems reasonable enough, right?

What started as a pipe dream turned into a reality, and nowadays any Friday the 13th in Port Dover can fetch as many as 100,000 riders from around North America and the world. It is, however, somewhat weather dependent as when the Friday the 13th falls in the winter it, sadly, attracts many fewer riders. However, the opposite phenomena is also true, with some summer events reportedly attractions 150 to 200,000 riders.

When I spoke to townspeople there, I expected people to scold the behaviour of the different motorcycle groups, but the response was quite the opposite. Many said that groups like the Hell’s Angels had even sold clothing and the like and donated some of the proceeds back to the community. Naturally, there was some mild trouble here and there but they said, for the most part, it was a really welcomed event in the community at large.

It doesn’t get much more unusual than that, and tourists and Ontarians come from far and wide to take it all in. Take note of the next Friday the 13th, and head to Port Dover!

Contributed by Chris Mitchell – travelingmitch

port dover, every friday the 13th

I hope this list from some of my favourite Toronto based travel bloggers has helped to inspire you on your next trip to Ontario! And if you already live or work in Ontario, hopefully you have some inspiration to go looking for exciting and unique places in Ontario to explore!

Looking for exciting and unique places to explore in Ontario? I asked a bunch of local travel bloggers and here is where they recommend #greycounty #salmonrun #porthope #portdover #devilspunchbowl #exploreontario #discoverontario #bathtubisland #niagarafalls #jetboat #helicopter #onoir #Kathrynanywhere #torontobloggersco #Torontotravelbloggers

 

Epic Hikes With Kids – Dundas Peak and Tews Falls Trail, Ontario

The Bruce Trail is a hiking trail in southern and central Ontario, stretching 890 kilometres. The Bruce extends from the Niagara River in the south, to the tip of Tobermory on the Bruce Peninsula in the north. As far as epic hikes with kids, the entire Bruce Trail is great. But, there are parts here and there that are so worth seeking out to show your kids. For information purposes and to highlight a really worthwhile area, especially to see the fall colours – I’m going to focus just on Dundas Peak Trail and Tews Falls in Dundas, Ontario.

Epic Hikes With Kids - Dundas Peak and Tew's Falls Trail, Ontario #discoverON #exploremore #DUNDASPEAK #MANONT #DUNDASONTARIO #TEWSFALLS #getoutside #liveoutdoors #ontarioparks #welivetoexplore #familytravelblogger #hikingwithkids #kidswhohike #hikingmom

Dundas Peak and Tews Falls Trail

This has been the year of hiking for my children and much of it has taken place on the Bruce Trail. The Dundas Peak Trail and Tews Waterfalls is the third amazingly epic hike Miss M and Z Man had in 2018. To be fair, we’ve been on quite a few great hikes this year. The Cyprus Lake Trail to the Grotto, just outside Tobermory comes to mind, but it didn’t reach “epic” status. The Grotto itself is magnificent and there is a separate post on that found here. To reach epic status for me, there has to be magnificent waterfalls and spectacular look outs with an element of danger and a life learning lesson.

Epic Hikes With Kids - Dundas Peak and Tew's Falls Trail, Ontario #discoverON #exploremore #DUNDASPEAK #MANONT #DUNDASONTARIO #TEWSFALLS #getoutside #liveoutdoors #ontarioparks #welivetoexplore #familytravelblogger #hikingwithkids #kidswhohike #hikingmom

The day we visited the Dundas Peak Trail was a really busy and popular day. We attempted to do things by the book and park in the designated parking lot. If we had done that, we could enter through the proper entrance. However, the parking lot was full, cars were parking up and down the highway, people were making the pilgrimage on foot and there were line ups of people just to enter. Me being me, I always look for alternative locations or alternative ways to get to where we want to be. We drove all the way from downtown Toronto, so I wanted to see something! Since Webster’s Falls parking lot and entrance was the exact same situation, we drove into the town of Dundas and parked in a residential neighbourhood. We entered the conservatory from a trail in the south end. Please note that increased parking in the residential neighbourhoods is dangerous and can impede emergency vehicles. This should not be your go-to parking destination.

Epic Hikes With Kids - Dundas Peak and Tew's Falls Trail, Ontario #discoverON #exploremore #DUNDASPEAK #MANONT #DUNDASONTARIO #TEWSFALLS #getoutside #liveoutdoors #ontarioparks #welivetoexplore #familytravelblogger #hikingwithkids #kidswhohike #hikingmom

The draw for us and for everyone else coming was the changing of the leaves colour wise. We went on Thanksgiving Monday and the leaves were still quite green, but they were definitely on their way to being changed into a gorgeous autumn hues of red, orange and yellow.

Epic Hikes With Kids - Dundas Peak and Tew's Falls Trail, Ontario #discoverON #exploremore #DUNDASPEAK #MANONT #DUNDASONTARIO #TEWSFALLS #getoutside #liveoutdoors #ontarioparks #welivetoexplore #familytravelblogger #hikingwithkids #kidswhohike #hikingmom

The Dundas Peak and Tews Falls Trail is a 3.9 kilometre total hike

The milage is according to information I got from the All Trails app I use on my iPhone when hiking. Much of the route we did was uphill and the Miss M and Z Man handled it like champions. I like getting the hard part out of the way right off the bat. For an idea on the height, Dundas Peak is twice as high as the American side of Niagara Falls. Tews Falls are 41 metres high.

 

Epic Hikes With Kids - Dundas Peak and Tew's Falls Trail, Ontario #discoverON #exploremore #DUNDASPEAK #MANONT #DUNDASONTARIO #TEWSFALLS #getoutside #liveoutdoors #ontarioparks #welivetoexplore #familytravelblogger #hikingwithkids #kidswhohike #hikingmom

First, we headed towards the peak lookout, which has become one of the most popular and coveted – must have – Instagram photos of this year. I got the other insta-worthy destinations, Barron Canyon Trail and Skinner’s Bluff earlier this year. Selfishly, I wanted one or two of those Instagram photos too. I wasn’t alone in my desire that day and I guess at that time – it was early afternoon. There were more people there than I could have imagined, but I still got what I wanted.

 

Epic Hikes With Kids - Dundas Peak and Tew's Falls Trail, Ontario #discoverON #exploremore #DUNDASPEAK #MANONT #DUNDASONTARIO #TEWSFALLS #getoutside #liveoutdoors #ontarioparks #welivetoexplore #familytravelblogger #hikingwithkids #kidswhohike #hikingmom

Total side note, yes I take my kids to cliffs and grottos and caves. If this is your first time checking out my stuff, please don’t send me a note about my irresponsible parenting. I do not and will not put my kids in a bubble. They are learning about nature and boundaries and consequences, which in my eyes are great life lessons. 

This was not a strenuous hike for the kids, nor was there any point that they wanted to quit. As per usual, I carried Z Man on my back for the majority of the distance between Tews Falls and the look out point on Dundas Peak Trail.

There are some area where railings/barriers are in place so that visitors do not fall.

Epic Hikes With Kids - Dundas Peak and Tew's Falls Trail, Ontario #discoverON #exploremore #DUNDASPEAK #MANONT #DUNDASONTARIO #TEWSFALLS #getoutside #liveoutdoors #ontarioparks #welivetoexplore #familytravelblogger #hikingwithkids #kidswhohike #hikingmom

Due to the popularity of the location on the day we visited, instead of taking the main trail to Tews Falls from the look out, we took a side trail for 0.8km. Then, we joined up with the main trail for the remainder of the hike to Tews Falls.

Epic Hikes With Kids - Dundas Peak and Tew's Falls Trail, Ontario #discoverON #exploremore #DUNDASPEAK #MANONT #DUNDASONTARIO #TEWSFALLS #getoutside #liveoutdoors #ontarioparks #welivetoexplore #familytravelblogger #hikingwithkids #kidswhohike #hikingmom

Tews Falls are stunning!

If I wasn’t with my kids I would have traversed down into the crevice to get a ground or a POV shot. Safety first! It is advised that visitors stay on the marked trail at all times. The shots from the top of the falls level are still pretty good!

Epic Hikes With Kids - Dundas Peak and Tew's Falls Trail, Ontario #discoverON #exploremore #DUNDASPEAK #MANONT #DUNDASONTARIO #TEWSFALLS #getoutside #liveoutdoors #ontarioparks #welivetoexplore #familytravelblogger #hikingwithkids #kidswhohike #hikingmom

Worth noting, there are no washrooms or garbage receptacles along the trail. What you hike in with, you leave with. Please don’t leave garbage behind, stuffed into a tree or discarded into the bushes, it’s not nice to nature.

Tews Falls Trail, Ontario #discoverON #exploremore #DUNDASPEAK #MANONT #DUNDASONTARIO #TEWSFALLS #getoutside #liveoutdoors #ontarioparks #welivetoexplore #familytravelblogger #hikingwithkids #kidswhohike #hikingmom

The parking lot for the Spencer Gorge Conservation Area is open from the end of May until the end of October. The parking fee for each vehicle is $10. There is also a per person admission fee of $5 for each visitor aged 5 and up.

If you are looking to get to Webster Falls, be aware that there is not a hiking trail between Tews Falls and Webster’s Falls. Access from the parking lots and highway only.

Epic Hikes With Kids - Dundas Peak and Tew's Falls Trail, Ontario #discoverON #exploremore #DUNDASPEAK #MANONT #DUNDASONTARIO #TEWSFALLS #getoutside #liveoutdoors #ontarioparks #welivetoexplore #familytravelblogger #hikingwithkids #kidswhohike #hikingmom

Family Friendly Fun in Norfolk County, Ontario

I had realized awhile ago that there was so much of Ontario I had not yet seen or experienced. And that was a shame, because it’s my own backyard, literally. So, I looked at the parts I was not yet familiar with and started to plan new routes for us to explore. It’s worth noting that I pretty much accept any challenge that involves exploration, right? Right. I don’t like to sit still and with my kids in tow, I need to be sure we’re hitting the most family friendly places out there. We’ve been to so many new places in the province now! 

Norfolk County might not appear to be Ontario’s great, premiere vacation destination on the surface. It’s not exciting or cosmopolitan like Toronto or full of history and decorum like Ottawa… Or so you think. Once you look at the charm that’s there, you find Ontario’s South Coast and a flourishing wine, craft beer and agri-tourism industry. Aside from that, it’s a quiet, green place to spend a weekend or take a mid-week trip, only two hours from downtown Toronto. And you find a relatively unknown area – or unknown to us not from the area – for family friendly fun in Norfolk County.

toronto kids on a bridge in waterford, norfolk county

Anyway, this summer, I kept my kids quite busy between our experiences at Bonnechere Provincial Park, venturing into the Grotto on the Bruce Peninsula and hiking. They were ready to slow it down a bit. Norfolk County provided for them a stark contrast to the hustle and bustle they are used to living in the city of Toronto and I wasn’t able to drag them out on to cliffs this time. And it’s just what we needed to enjoy the last week of summer before school started and I head back to the all too familiar grind of working in reality TV. 

 

Where Is Norfolk County?

Norfolk County is made of quite a few small towns in the southwestern part of Ontario. Head southwest from Hamilton or west from St. Catharines/Niagara Falls and you’ll be there in under an hour. It’s important to mention that due to the size of Norfolk County and how spread out everything is from each other, a vehicle is required for touring around.

norfolk county map
from Google maps – map of Norfolk County and surrounding area in Ontario

What Exactly Does Norfolk County Consist Of?

Turkey Point Beach on the South Coast

Turkey Point Provincial Park has a wonderful beach on Lake Erie in the village of Turkey Point. It’s shallow and sandy, which makes it great for kids. Expect to make plenty of sand castles here. The swimming area at the main parking lot in the village is marked by a buoy line and the Ontario Parks website says there is no undertow here. It’s approximately 2 kilometres long and easily accessed by car with a large parking lot. It’s a day use area and if you are just a day visitor opposed to a camper in the camp ground, there is a fee for your car.

The day we were there was not overly busy, we carved out our own space fairly close to the water. I happen to drive around naturally with a pirate ship, sand pails and shovels in the trunk of our Ford Escape, so for Z Man, he was set for fun.

toronto kids at turkey point beach

 

Long Point National Wildlife Area

It’s definitely worth the drive down Long Point towards the sand and pit formation to see one of Canada’s officially designated World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. This is an incredibly important area for wildlife in Norfolk County. There is a diversity of habitats such as marshes, dunes and beaches that are home to more than 75% of migratory birds in Canada. Over 80 bird species nest there!

Long point sunset cruise wetlands

You can see the marshes from the water and find a secret beach if you know someone who knows how to get you there. For that, you need to look up Captain Graham with Long Point Island Huggers. Graham Ferguson is a really jovial, comical, warm man with a great personal backstory of how he came to chartering boats through the marshes. He takes his pontoon boat that accommodates groups and people of all ages for wonderful cruises from sunrise to sunset. Captain Graham is so knowledgable about the area that you’ll leave the cruise with a whole new appreciation of the wetlands.

sunset at long point

Words cannot describe how beautiful the sunset from the water is or how excited my son was to “feed the fish”, so you’ll just have to see for yourself:

 

Night Time Star Gazing

Z Man is space obsessed and what I did not realize is that Norfolk County is pretty spectacular for star gazing. When the skies are clear, there is an observatory at Long Point Eco Adventures that offers stargazing tours. It is quite prudent to point out that for an amateur like me, a star gazing app on a smart phone is enough to impress a four year old boy.

With the app and the naked eye, we were able to find Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and numerous constellations. We were unable to find Uranus or Neptune, so it looks like we will have to go back and try again.

The last time I saw stars like that was in November 2006 in Namibia, close to Sossusvlei.

 

Apple Hill Lavender Farm and Raging Bull Pottery

An absolute must-go-to experience in first half of the summertime in Norfolk County is lavender farms. The photos and the scent are just to die for. In late August, around the time we visited, most of the lavender had been harvested. However, you can still find some purple in the fields.

lavender at ground level

But here, despite the lack of the deep purple fields I expected, lies the beauty in childhood wonder. My kids had no preconceived notions of what a lavender field should look like. All they knew is that they were in a field and they could run up and down the rows. It’s moments like that, I sometimes take for granted. Miss M and Z Man don’t have freedom like that in the city. So, I let them run. I just let that opportunity be exactly that. No one else was there in the way, no one else dictating rules to them. They just got to explore.

apple hill lavender farm girl in background

lavender farm boy running

The Apple Hill Lavender farm consists of more than just lavender fields. There are sunflowers, a small bee apiary and lots of apple trees. In the old farm house, you will find a shop to purchase lavender products, hand crafted body care products and Ragging Bull Pottery. Ragging Bull Pottery sells handmade, award winning porcelain by artist Melissa Schooley. If you’re looking for an amazing local artisan for house wares, this is it.

lots of apple trees

There is no admission fee for a self-guided tour. There is a fee for a group tour with live demonstrations and professional photo shoots. Located in Windham Centre, Ontario.

 

Bonnieheath Estate Lavender and Winery

Still on the lavender fields, but this one is different. Not only is Bonnieheath known for the lavender, it’s a beautiful winery too. Pulling up in your car here is an experience, it feels like an “estate”, like a French Chateau.

the french chateau exterior of bonnieheath lavender and winery

This is the kind of place where you can order a glass of wine, then take a walk outside and wander through the lavender fields. Oh and wander through the vineyard too. At the very back of the vineyard you find a wetland. And it’s intentional. The wetland is an environmental project growing native grasses and windflowers to promote biodiversity and attract wildlife back to the area.

wide shot of lavender farm from abocewide shot of lavender farm from above

In addition to selling wine and ciders, you can also purchase lavender infused food products, like salt and pepper, tea and chocolate. My kids consumed that chocolate faster than anything.

Try and/or buy the Folkin’ Hard Cider. You won’t be sorry.

Bonnieheath wine grapes

Toronto kids looking for frogs in wetland

Again, no admission fee. Located in Waterford, Ontario.

toronto kids enjoying time outside eating lavender infused chocolate

Burning Kiln Winery

When it comes to Ontario Wines, I’m really picky. There have been quite a few that have not sat right in my stomach. I went through the tasting menu here and tried all the wines expect one. I liked all of them. So much so, that I bought quite a few bottles of wine to take home. I’m normally not a Riesling fan, but guess what? Loved their Riesling!

white, rose and red wine tasting list

While I was doing the tastings, the kids were welcome to play with balls and skipping ropes outside, no problem. There is a restaurant and we ate dinner there. While there is not a kid’s menu, Miss M and Z Man really enjoyed splitting the lamb and I had fish tacos.

winery building in norfolk countyHere’s where I am going to give a really interesting piece of agriculture fact and history to you. Norfolk County was once renown for tobacco farms in Canada. It’s part of “Ontario’s Tobacco Belt” and was very prosperous here until the early 2000’s when Ontario started to implement smoking bans. Many farmers have turned their fields into growing ginseng, asparagus, pumpkins, squash and now there are vineyards. Why am I telling you this? On the site of Burning Kiln, was once a tobacco tract.

Vineyard at burning kiln winery

The original barn has been reconfigured and pays homage to it’s history. The bulk tobacco kilns were repurposed to implement the grape drying art of “appassimento”, which is a technique that started in Italy to really enhance the flavours. And let me tell you, one taste of their Kiln Hanger cabernet franc and you’ll know what I mean about how good they are.

red wine making process

Burning Kiln Winery is located right across the street from where I was staying at Long Point Eco Adventures with the kids. Located approximately 3km from Turkey Point Beach.

street between where i stayed and the winery

 

Ramblin’ Road Brewery

What happens when kids go to a brewery and they get to eat a bowl ice cream? Mom gets to try craft beer in peace. The idea of serving ice cream at the brewery is pure genius!

When you hang out socially with me, you learn a couple things fairly quickly. I am a cream ale and an IPA fan. And for hangover breakfasts, I will drink a stout. Long story short, I know my beers. Ramblin’ Road Brewery did not disappoint me in that department and I was presented with something new – Ontario’s first potato beer, it’s called Dakota Pearl Ale. I was able to taste the Country Pilsner, Country Cream Ale, Country Lager, Dakota Pearl Ale and 3D Triple Chocolate stout. While the Dakota Pearl Ale was smooth, had a great golden-straw colour with a white head and a nice floral aroma, it is one touch too hoppy for me.

Brewery Farm owned by picard

I purchased the 3D Triple Chocolate Stout and the IPA Unleashed. First, I’m a real sucker for chocolate and stouts. The IPA has a bitterness of 48 BU’s, making it a little sweet. The brewery has lots of other products by the parent company for sale such as kettle chips, peanuts and cute t-shirts.

picard property

Located just north of Delhi, Ontario.

 

Vanessa’s Bees and Apiary Tour

The highlight of the week for Miss M was the Apiary Tour. Interestingly enough, she was really hesitant about donning a protective suit and going anywhere near the bees. My somewhat sheltered, urban, Toronto kids in an apiary. Who would have thought?

apiary at long point eco adventures

Let’s be real, kids bring a certain element of the unknown to any situation. Taking them into the apiary, putting on the protective suits and bringing them close to the bees was a calculated risk. As in risk for the bees! I wondering if one of them was going to scream or freak out or knock something over or scare the bees and ruin the work that Vanessa and Cam had lovingly put into the apiary. Turns out my hesitations were unfounded. Again, my kids impressed me. They put on the suit without question and excitedly went towards where the bees were kept. Not only that, Miss M had a drone bee in her hand.

my daughter with a drone bee on her hand

The kids got to experience the whole inner working of the hive. Learn about how drone and worker bees come to be. Learn about the Queen Bee and what happens to the Queen when a new one comes along – spoiler – it doesn’t always end well. It was beyond educational and exciting.

kid holding a honeycomb

My kids went willingly out of their comfort zone. Maybe it was the promise of honey tasting after all that would be over. Maybe it was knowing we were going to make a candle out of beeswax that they went through with it. All I know if they did and would do it again.

Check out their little video here:

 

What Else?

These are the places we went and experienced personally, but that doesn’t mean that’s all of it! What else is there to see or do for family friendly fun in Norfolk County?

  • The Waterford Heritage and Agricultural Museum in Waterford
  • Port Dover Harbour Museum
  • Zipline at Long Point Eco Adventures
  • Kayak Tours through Big Creek National Wildlife Area
  • Fishing Tours
  • Zodiac Boat Tours

summer flowers close up

What’s great about this region, especially if you are from the Toronto area, is that you can come for a weekend or two or three and not even fit in everything I’ve listed above. You could just focus on one area like Long Point and Turkey Point in one weekend.

Long Point Eco Adventures zipline platform

Go and check out Norfolk County is my advice. Do it before it turns into the next Prince Edward County and you can’t book accommodations anywhere. You can impress your friends with your knowledge of this wine region long before they’ve even heard of it.

BOOK YOUR GLAMPING EXPERIENCE HERE:



Booking.com


FAMILY FRIEDNLY FUN IN NORFOLK COUNTY, ONTARIO #longpoint #norfolkcounty #familytravelblog #bestfamilytravelblog #kidsfriendlyactivites #ontariotravel #roadtrips #discoverON #kathrynanywhere #torontofamily

The kids are I were guests of Norfolk County Tourism in August, 2018. We were given accommodation and experiences in exchange for an honest review. Our opinion has not been swayed in anyway. 

Happy Birthday Ontario Resident, Renew Your License

I try so hard to be organized and get on top of things. I make lists and check them off as I go. Gives me purpose.

I double check emails, messages, paperwork. But, sometimes I forget to open mail. Even worse… I open mail, make a mental note of it and then forget to take care of what I need to do. 

Every year in Ontario, your birthday is a blessing and a curse. If you own a car, your license plate sticker needs to be renewed yearly or bi-yearly on your birthday. Your drivers license? Every 5 years. This shouldn’t be a shock to any Ontario resident turning 39 years old. Except to me. Today. The day before my birthday. 

I vaguely remembered about renewing the sticker on my license plate. So this morning I went on the hunt on the disgusting mess of my desk for the form that I had received in the mail, opened and left on the valley of might as well be dead and gone (AKA – my desk). I eventually found it, below my super neglected planner and a stale cracker my son must have left lying around, opened it and realized there was two pieces of paper. What was the other? A drivers license renewal form. Effective tomorrow, both my drivers license and my license plate would be expired. No problem I think. I’ll move around my work day and take care of this early afternoon. Easy peasy. 

Just after noon, I race off across downtown Toronto to Service Ontario to get in the long queue of citizens renewing the same as well as other Ontarian bureaucracy that requires this office. When it was my turn at the wicket, the woman asks me for my emissions test results. What? But I bought this vehicle new… it’s in good shape… it’s oh. It’s seven years old now. 

Crap. I now have to find a place this afternoon for an e-test. Of course, I went over on my data plan this past weekend on my cell phone for the rest of the month, so now this search is going to cost me money. After a couple phone calls, I found a place that I could drive right into this afternoon! Great! I drove back across downtown and got in line. Two cars ahead of me. I wait… Both cars pass… my turn… HUZZAH! I passed too! Now to fly home, go online and renew the sticker for my license plate.

Ontario drive clean test result

But not before I forget to grab the copy of the ownership out of the glovebox, the current insurance policy, and make note of the odometer reading.

I’m trying to cut myself some slack, I’ve had a long couple weeks of getting major things done while balancing being a decent parent, delivering completed projects to clients and being surprised by the variables that have popped up and have diverted my attention.

All told, the cost of having a birthday and owning a car in the province of Ontario for today:

  • driver’s license renewal: $90
  • e-test: free
  • license plate sticker renewal for two years: $240
  • GRAND TOTAL: $330.00

Now, I have to grocery shop because there is no food for the kid’s lunches. Maybe I’ll actually get to do some work way later tonight. So happy birthday to me. I’ll be 39 years old tomorrow, working late tonight and still figuring life skills out.

Happy Birthday Ontario Resident, Renew Your License #ontariodriver #drivingontario #fordescape #cardriver, #growingup #toomuchpaperwork

Sudbury Rocks For Families In Winter

My time discovering the things that makes Sudbury Rocks For Families In Winter was courtesy of Sudbury TourismThey foot the bill for all of my exciting experiences and delicious food. My opinions, however, are always mine and my children’s.

Ever since I made it my mission to explore as much of Ontario as possible with my kids, I’ve covered a lot of ground. A vast majority of that geography has been southern Ontario however. When the opportunity came up to head a little bit north, I agreed without hesitation! I mean, Sudbury, on the surface does not seem to be a destination for families. My previous experience with visiting Sudbury was a drive past with my parents when I was 15 or 16 when we were driving back to Belleville from Alberta. Then, a couple of years ago with my own children as we were returning to Toronto from a road trip around Lake Superior. We pretty much stopped to eat at The Keg, have a good sleep at the hotel across the street and carry on home. Not exactly getting any flavour of the city. Big mistake.

I’ve come to realize that many towns and cities in Ontario really are a destination and Sudbury is no different. What makes Sudbury stand out is the topography which is rocky, to say the least. While Sudbury is famous for being a mining town and having a lot of vegetation washed away due to acid rain, that’s not all it is. What makes Sudbury great is the science museums, outdoor activities, abundance of lakes, safe atmosphere and never-ending things to do with your kids there. And in all honestly, Sudbury rocks for families in winter. Yep, this coming from a Toronto family. Here’s what you need to know about Sudbury and why you should consider it as a destination with your family in the winter.

Sudbury Rocks For Families In Winter

Sudbury rocks! Hahahaha, get it? If you don’t, you will soon.

Population wise, Sudbury is the largest city in Northern Ontario. The city was built on the traditional Ojibwe grounds of the Algonquin indigenous group. Once nickel was discovered, the city was built up by European settlers. The “Nickel City”, as it has lovingly been nicknamed, is spread over 330 lakes. The entire region of Greater Sudbury contains more lakes than any other city in Canada. If that doesn’t scream that there is a big outdoor scene here, I don’t know what will.

As Sudbury is roughly four hours north of Toronto, it does drop in temperature in winter. For Torontonians who can’t stand the cold, that could be bad news. The good news is that the cold feels different. The cold we feel in Toronto is wet, gets in your bones and aches cold. Sudbury’s cold air is a little dryer and to the kids and me, it was more tolerable. I’m good in pretty much all weather except for that sweat your face off humidity, making Sudbury a fairly temperate location for us to visit.

However, even if you are there in the winter and you find it chilly, you don’t particularly need to spend much time outside. We had a great mix of inside and outside activities on our weekend trip there and there is an abundance of things to do.

The old St Joseph's hospital site on Paris Street in Sudbury, is home of the largest mural in Canadian history.

Make Sure You Get Out And Do The Following With Your Kids in Sudbury

 

Cross-Country Skiing at Kivi Park

We had an absolutely beautiful morning at Kivi Park! The kids learned how to cross county, equipped with gear rentals from Adventure365 at Kivi Park.

I grew up cross country skiing out of our front door and garage from our home in Belleville. We lived on the edge of town and had the ability to head out into the woods at the end of our street. It was something my parents, my sister and I did and our dog, Sarge ran along beside us. Growing up in downtown Toronto, my children aren’t afforded that same opportunity. It’s a totally different life.

Little Man cross country skiing in Kivi Park, Sudbury

Little Man has taken downhill skiing lessons before and loved it. Miss M has only been on downhill skis once before in her life and it didn’t go over well. I mean here’s the thing, when I’m chasing after two kids on a sport that I barely have mastered myself… it almost begs for another adult or an actual instructor to assist or one kid isn’t going to get the attention they need. That happened.

My kids cross country skiing in Kivi Park in Sudbury

Our time XC skiing in Kivi Park was a winter activity redeemer for Miss M. Both kids had an excellent time and by the end of the morning, we were all sweaty and sad it was over. I am so glad we could all cross country ski together. They want to do it again! Actually they want to go back to Kivi Park again so that’s worth a trip back to Sudbury.

My kids heading up a small hill while cross country skiing in Kivi Park in Sudbury

Side note – Kivi Park is an all-season, multi-sport recreation area set on over 450 acres of Cambrian Shield.  Other activities you can do there include hiking, snowshoe, fat bike, skating in the winter or canoe, kayak or paddleboard on Crowley Lake in the summertime.  

Family selfie while cross country skiing in Kivi Park in Sudbury

Science North 

Want a fun-filled afternoon? Spend it at Science North with the kids. So many intriguing and interactive exhibits over four floors for the kids to get their hands and imaginations into. The first floor has an IMAX theatre, planetarium, cavern and a toddler treehouse.

The kids and I in the entrance to Science North in Sudbury

The second floor is the nature exchange, lapidary and the butterfly gallery. There’s a lot to see and do on floor number three, but here’s the condensed version – a section on animals in northern forests, a nocturnal room, northern lakes and rivers section along with its inhabitants, a wetlands section and a theatre. The fourth floor holds the object theatres, the body zone where you learn about the body and DNA, a racetrack to build your own cars at, the space place and a tech lab.

Faille Creighton Fault line in science north, Sudbury. This is why Sudbury rocks for families

The highlight for me? There’s a bed of nails you can lie on. It’s a lesson in physics!

The biggest highlight for Little Man? The fin whale skeleton! It’s 20 metres long and came from Quebec. It’s quite a sight and can easily be mistaken for a dinosaur. As the circular staircase winds up, it’s hard to miss this species in the middle. No joke, as he spotted it, he ran to see it.

Fin Whale skeleton in Science North

For Miss M, her highlight was petting a fox snake on the third floor. That or building her race car and seeing it move on the fourth floor.

Petting a fox snake at science north

The oddity of Science North? Drifter and Kash the beavers and also animal ambassadors refused to pose for photos for me. The nerve!

Racing the cars the kids made on the fourth floor of Science North

Skate the Ramsey Lake Skate Path

Skate the Ramsey Lake Skate Path? OKAY, I’LL DO IT!

Accessible from Science North parking lot lies a popular skate path on Ramsey Lake in the middle of Sudbury. The skate path runs from Science North to the Sudbury Canoe Club and features unique structures built by students of the Laurentian University School of Architecture.

Ramsay Lake skate trail

Now, my kids and I didn’t make it end to end like I wanted to do. It was windy and there were some tears (not mine). But we still got to enjoy some of it.

And best of all, this activity is FREE. Bring your own skates and helmets because they do not have rentals on site.

My daughter skating on Ramsey Lake with Science North in the background

Dynamic Earth

Want to know where to find the Big Nickel? It’s on Big Nickel Mine Dr.!

The Big Nickel is a replica of the 1951 Canadian five-cent coin, built in 1964 by local Sudburian Ted Szilva. Open to the public at no cost, visitors are invited to walk around the Big Nickel and explore the site of the Centennial Numismatic Park. The big nickel weighs approximately 13,000 kilograms so that’s about as much as a school bus. The entire outer core is made of stainless steel which is why it hasn’t rusted after 55 years. Last random and amazing fact about the big nickel? It’s approximately the same size as a Tyrannosaurus Rex.

Dynamic Earth and The Big Nickel in Sudbury, Ontario

The Big Nickel isn’t all to this attraction! Head into Dynamic Earth – an earth sciences museum with a focus on geology that builds on the city’s mining heritage. 

Do not miss the opportunity to pan for gold on the simulated stream table, take an actual mine tour that shows you how things were done in the past, what a mine looked and felt like as well as the equipment they used.

Inside Dynamic Earth mine tour, in the Sudbury Rocks... for families this is a long tour, but worth doing.

And the new exhibit – Digging into Permafrost. Enter the world of the Western Hemisphere’s only permafrost research tunnel and take in sights and sounds that are usually hidden underground.

I would recommend this as a half-day activity for the kids. The mine tour is approx 90 minutes long and towards the end, the kids could get bored. 

Digging into Permafrost at Dynamic Earth. Enter the world of the Western Hemisphere’s only permafrost research tunnel and take in sights and sounds that are usually hidden underground. More of why Sudbury Rocks For Families

Urban Air

I’m just going to say it, it’s hard to get a decent picture of the kids inside of Urban Air Adventure Park.  The reason being is they’re so busy running and jumping and making merry inside of this ultimate indoor adventure park!

Opened in Sudbury in March 2019, this is way more than a trampoline park! There are obstacle courses, rock climbing walls and a place to practice your own freestyle tricks. And if you think I’m just going to let the kids play? Well no, I jumped too and I rode the Skyrider, like a big kid HA!

Definitely, a place we could have spent way more than 3 hours at! I wish there was one in Toronto, but until then, we’ll always have Sudbury.

Little Man on one of the climbing walls at Urban Air

Where to Eat in Sudbury With The Family:

Stack Brewhouse tour and dinner – Shockingly, but perhaps not, I find myself at a craft brewery, Stack Brewing for dinner. It’s Sudbury’s award-winning craft brewery and restaurant.

Brewmaster Brenden is new at the helm here, having recently graduated from Niagara College, but is already is putting his stamp on the process and taste. Now I have nothing former to compare too, but I can tell you that the four brews I tasted (Nickel City Lager, Expansion Sour IPA, Saturday Night Cream Ale and Impact Altbier) were all smooth, district in flavour that was done with the right amount of hops.

Brewmaster Brenden at Stack Brewhouse in Sudbury

You can bet I made a purchase of a few cans to take home to Toronto on our way out! Food was good, there was no kids menu presented to us and that’s not surprising seeing as though it was a brewhouse, but my kids ordered tacos and a burger and were very happily eaten.

Flight of beer at Stack Brewhouse in Sudbury

P&Ms Kouzzina

1463 Lasalle Boulevard

Miss M and Little Man love pizza, they’re kind of becoming experts about taste and quality of it around the world. They loved having it for lunch at P&Ms Kouzzina.

I had the turkey, bacon and brie sandwich. Divine! Bonus for us? It’s right around the other side of the plaza from Urban Air!

P&Ms Kouzzina kid's pizza P&Ms Kouzzina turkey bacon and brie

Respect is Burning Kitchen & Bar

82 Durham St

Who takes their kids out to an awesome restaurant, downtown Sudbury on a Saturday night? I did! What lovely dates they are. I mean I did open up Tinder while I was there, but I was with my kids, so no sampling of the gentleman inventory.

Little Man ate more pizza, surprise! Miss M indulged me though, we split arancini balls and a steak. Highly recommend a night out here!

Respect Is Burning arancini balls

Tucos Taco Lounge

582 Kathleen St

I never really thought I would enjoy vegan food very much. I mean, I feel like it’s not in my DNA. However, restaurants like Tucos Taco Lounge change my mind. Check out the Bành Mì’ Taco at Tucos Taco Lounge, Sudbury. Delicious!

Bành Mì' Taco at Tucos Taco Lounge, Sudbury

Full disclosure, I did not tell the kids it was a vegan restaurant when we went in, nor when we sat down or before we ordered. I waited until after they ate. Remarkably, they were unbothered by that fact. I guess we will do it more often!

Miss M having tacos at Tucos Taco Lounger, Sudbury

Where to Stay in Sudbury With The Family:

We stayed at the Travelway Inn in Sudbury. This is a locally owned establishment so if you are looking to reinvest in communities with your tourism dollars, try doing it here.

Location wise, everything is pretty much a ten to fifteen-minute drive away in Sudbury, but this accommodation is literally right across the street from Science North and the Ramsay Lake skate trail. There is also a hospital across the street and plenty of parking for hotel guests.

Exterior front doors of the Travelway Inn, Sudbury Ontario

For families, the rooms are a large size, the beds are comfortable, there is a mini-fridge for leftovers, a coffee maker in the room for mornings, free wifi and coin-operated laundry facilities because travelling with kids means always having to wash something. Our room was on the first floor and we could pretty much park in front of our window, so if I wanted to look out at my vehicle early in the morning to ensure it was there, I could.

Travelway Inn room interior - two double beds. Sudbury Rocks For Families when staying at the Travelway Inn across from Science North

A continental breakfast is always included in the room rate. Plenty of toast, muffin, oatmeal options as well as juice, tea and coffee. We were there for 2 mornings. The first morning options included bacon and mini pancakes as well as hard-boiled eggs. The second morning, the options were sausages and egg patties.

Hot tip for parents – if you rise before your kids and can’t wait to eat any longer, head down there and ask the service staff for paper plates to take some food away with. Some days my kids could sleep well beyond the cut off time of breakfast service, so I have to be constantly mindful of that.

Travelway Inn, Sudbury Ontario lobby. Refreshment and comfortable seating area await

Worth The Drive

Our winter experience in Sudbury was pretty amazing for one weekend! The drive was only four hours to Sudbury and it can easily take that long to leave Toronto and arrive in cottage country. I hope this illustrates how Sudbury rocks for families in winter. As a solo parent, this was an easy escape from Toronto and all the activities with the kids I could easily handle. Knowing full well that we only scratched the surface of the city, I cannot wait to head back in June (without kids this time) and explore during the Travel Media Association of Canada conference.

Want to see where else I have explored in Ontario? Take a walk through these past posts and find out.

Interested in heading north to find out why Sudbury rocks for families with your crew? Check out accommodation listings in the area here:



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Sudbury Rocks For Families In Winter. What to see and do in Sudbury. Big Nickel at Dynamic Earth in Sudbury, Ontario with my kids