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Best Hiking Trails For Families in Southern Ontario

Ontario is a mecca for outdoor activities. I have always been an avid hiker, camper and nature lover, making me well-positioned living in Southern Ontario. And as my children have gotten older, we’ve been out more and more and more. And I am constantly searching out the best hiking trails for families in Southern Ontario.

Travel is not recommended right now, but it does not mean that you have to stay inside. In a time of social distancing, we are being told to avoid contact with others. It’s safe to still enjoy nature and remain a safe distance from others. We can be outside and safe. We can stay a couple of metres away from other people, we can wash our hands frequently. It’s become prudent to carry hand sanitizer and we do. Lucky for us, there are a few less frequented hiking areas you can go to and I’ll tell you about them.

Best Hiking Trails For Families In Southern Ontario

Here are the best hiking trails for families in Ontario to practise social distancing. The list is completely unofficial and purely based on my personal experience over the years and that of fellow bloggers.

Skinner’s Bluff Loop Lookout on the Bruce Peninsula Trail

This section of the trail is on the Bruce Trail and it’s hard to find. Kind of for good reason because it’s a secret. Safe to say, it’s extremely safe for social distancing! To find the trailhead, you need to get yourself on a dirt road called Colpoy’s Range Road outside of Wiarton, Ontario. Look for the Bruce Trail markers. It’s well worth the hunt to see the amazing views of Georgian Bay.

Fairly safe and easy for kids on the trail sections. You’ll want to exercise an abundance of caution at the lookout points though. They are not protected by barriers. The view would be ruined if there were barriers, so please hold your children’s hands and keep pets on a leash. It can be quite buggy in the summer, you’ll want to pack bug repellent. Bring snacks and your camera.

My and my kids on Skinner's Bluff look out #brucetrail #skinnersbluff #wiartonontario #epichikes #hikewithkids #takeyourkidseverywhere

Barron Canyon Trail in Algonquin Park

The Barron Canyon Trail in Algonquin Provincial Park can be accessed most easily from the Sand Lake Gates. That’s the eastern section, closest to Petawawa, Ontario. Normal provincial park fees apply.

The canyon trail is only 1.5 kilometres and is a loop. The loop takes you up to the amazing north rim of the Barron Canyon. And the view is outstanding. This is what you’re here for. Like Skinner’s Bluff, you have to exercise caution and common sense, don’t play around on the edges.

It’s an uphill hike for about 200-300 metres, but not difficult at all. Once you reach the canyon, it’s fairly level, few ups and downs. This trail is moderately trafficked in the summer under normal conditions. My four-year-old son basically ran up this hill, so it’s manageable for all family members. You can read all about it in more detail here: Epic Hikes With Kids – Barron Canyon Trail

Hiking in Algonquin Provincial Park, one of the best trails for families in Ontario

Hilton Falls Trail in Hilton Falls Conservation Area

A 10-metre spectacular waterfall view is a reward for this easy hike. To get to the falls from the parking lot, it’s a two-kilometre walk. Same distance going back, with kids, budget about two hours for this. It’s a great place to go on a hot day to cool off, to feel the mist from the water and get amazing Instagram shots. Seriously. This trail can be REALLY busy on nice days, so plan to go on a less sunny day for fewer crowds.

BUT – There is more to Hilton Falls than the actual waterfalls. Take a detour out onto the trails and see the best-kept secret out there – the reservoir.

This conservation area is closest to Milton, Ontario. There are entrance fees there for parking. Also, ice cream is sold at the visitor centre.

Hilton Falls at Hilton Falls Conservation Area in Halton, easy family hike

Mount Nemo Loop Trail in Mount Nemo Conservation Area

If you want to avoid crowds and have a nice hike in the Greater Toronto Area, this is the place to go. Mount Nemo is gorgeous, has caves and you can spot vultures circling in the air. Here, you can go rock climbing or find a lookout where the CN Tower can be spotted on a clear day. There’s a loop you can hike that’s approximately 5.3 kilometres and will likely take you 3 hours to do with kids.

Just north of Burlington, there are entrance fees, same as Hilton Falls. PRO TIP – visit Hilton Falls and Mount Nemo in the same day. Pay for parking in one location in the morning and your daily entrance fee receipt provides access to all Halton Parks for the same day. Same goes for Rattlesnake Point (below).

Buffalo Crag Lookout – Rattlesnake Point Conservation Area

Just a six-kilometre bike ride or quick car ride from the Hilton Falls Conservation Area parking lot is Rattlesnake Point Conservation Area. An easy 3.2-kilometre trail to the Buffalo Crag lookout for one of the best views of the escarpment. If you are a fan of the Canadian TV show, Schitt’s Creek on CBC, this is the conservation area and trail where Patrick proposed to David on the episode called “The Hike”.

In full disclosure, these trails have just been given the green light to re-open and are only permitting people in for two-hour windows. You have to reserve online ahead of time. It’s a bit difficult to run your kids through here within two hours, to be honest, but if you move at a brisk pace, it’s doable.

Bennett Heritage Trail – Silvercreek Conservation Area

For all-season hiking, Silvercreek Conservation area boasts some of the best hiking for families in Ontario. Only an hour from Toronto, and part of the Bruce Trail, this is where you can get away from it all, including in the dead of winter.

When this trail is muddy, it can be very slippery. If you are here in the winter, be sure to bring your cleats (snow picks) for your hiking boots as it can be icy. This trail can be challenging, so if you’re looking for adventure, this is it. You’ll find some diverse terrain here and it will be a memorable day for the kids.

If you finish hiking around this conservation area, you can continue on an eight-kilometre trail to Terra Cotta Conservation Area. With the Bruce Trail, the possibilities are truly endless!

I ventured out to Silvercreek Conservation area on the Bruce Trail yesterday with members of Women Who Explore Ontario. #silvercreekconservationarea #brucetrail #womenwhoexplore #womenwhoexploreontario #discoveron #ontarioforyou  #girloutdoor #girlsthatwander #hikingculture #gogalavanting #girlswhohike

Cliff Top Side Trail via Carriage Trail and Spillway Trail – Mono Cliffs Provincial Park

If you have a day to spend hiking, Mono Cliffs Provincial Park is the park to take the kids too. It’s a day-use park, so there is no camping here. However, there are a lot of areas here to toss out a blanket and hang out for a while. While I am recommending one trail and path, there are many here that wind around and intersect.

Getting to the Cliff Top Side Trail at Mono Cliffs takes a bit of time. It’s approximately an 8-kilometre trail from the parking lot and back. With kids, it could take you four to five hours, but it’s worth it. Some trails in this park are classified as moderate hikes, some are easy. Some trails are surrounded by forest while others are more of an open field setting. They range from well-worn, sandy paths to rocky trails to wooden boardwalks. That said, my kids basically ran through here like they were in their playroom.

If you’d like to know more details about this park and the trails there, I did an entire post on it here: Mono Cliffs Provincial Park – Best Place For Mother’s Day Hike

boardwalk at mono cliffs provincial park - best hiking trails for families in Ontario

Cataract Falls via Trans Canada Trail and Kettle Trail Loop – Forks of the Credit Provincial Park

The 6.6-kilometre hike to Cataract Falls and back to the parking lot looks like it’s going to be really easy, but has a lot of ups and downs. That said, you will find places along the way to take a moment to sit by the pond on a bench. I would also recommend that you could have a picnic once it is safe to do so (when restrictions are lifted) as it will be one of the best soul-refreshing moments of your day.

This trail is a great place for active kids to let them run and wear them out. Classified as a moderate trail in this provincial park which is only for day use. No camping is permitted here. Honestly though, you will forget you are anywhere near a city when you’re in Forks of the Credit Provincial Park. Only an hour from downtown Toronto in Caledon, you will need to obtain a valid Ontario Parks day permit at the parking lot.

kids at Forks of The Credit Provincial Park best hiking trails for families in Southern Ontario

Oak Ridges Trail at Seneca College

As beginner family hikers, and kids ages 3 – 11 years old, we chose the Oak Ridges Trail at Seneca College in King, ON for one of our first Winter treks. It’s a mostly flat provincial recreational trail running the full length of the protected Oak Ridges moraine. It was a level “easy” according to AllTrails (which is an app) and even with a bit of elevation very manageable for kids and all skill levels.
We entered from the Dufferin side and bypassed $2.50 parking at Seneca’s King Campus by parking along the road by the trail entrance (which is legal & many do). Lots of little streams and small bridges and a neat little stone-built fire hut the kids had fun chasing each other around.
Stumbling upon Eaton Hall overlooking Seneca Lake (former residence of Lady Eaton, gathering place for many Eaton Family celebrations & backdrop for several movies) made for a great history lesson and photo opp around the 1.5 km mark. Dogs are allowed on the trail but must be on a leash. The 9km trail is well marked, and since we only conquered under 3 km of it our first go, we’ll be back this summer to explore some more!
Said to be best hiked April – October, we really enjoyed a less busy experience in January.   With lots of little wetlands throughout, bring your bug spray if visiting in the warmer months.
Oak Ridges Trail; House of Kerrs

Spirit Rock Conservation Area

If you’re looking for a great place to go hiking with your family in Ontario then consider Spirit Rock Conservation Area. Spirit Rock is located just north of Wiarton, approximately two and a half hours north of Toronto. Spirit Rock Conservation Area is one of the best places to hike on the Bruce Peninsula. It offers picturesque hiking trails, incredible views of Georgian Bay and some amazing historic ruins. So clearly, this is one of the best places to hike with kids in Southern Ontario.

Spirit Rock is set over 87 hectares and is home to the ruins of the Corran. The Corran was once a lavish estate in the late 19th century. Now all that is left are a scattering of stone ruins that have been taken over by nature. There is also an old spiral staircase that you can carefully descend down to the water’s edge below. The main trail through the conservation area is the Bruce Trail. You can enjoy the loop trail that is approximately 2 kilometres and takes from an hour to an hour and a half. The trail takes you through the forest, past a few great lookouts and over the rocky and rugged Niagara Escarpment. And it’s a perfect place for a family hike with shaded trails that are manageable for children and kids will love exploring and climbing over the ruins.

Spirit Rock Conservation Area trail - the world as i see it travel blog

Old Ausable River Channel, Pinery Provincial Park

Located on the shores Lake Huron, just outside of Grand Bend, Pinery Provincial Park is a hidden gem in the Ontario Parks’ system. The 21 square kilometres of rare forests and rolling dunes offer excellent year-round outdoor recreation, including 10 walking trails, a 14 km bike trail, 38 kms of groomed ski trails and the Old Ausable River Channel (OARC), which runs the length of the park.

While we love to take a traditional hike during our summer family camping trips to the Pinery, we also like to “hike outside of the trail” and canoe or kayak the OARC.

Originally named “La Riviere aux Sables” by early French voyageurs, this river has a rich cultural history and, since its creation, has always been full of life. It provides habitat for more than 35 species of freshwater fish, several endangered freshwater mussel species and many reptiles and amphibians, including the threatened Eastern spiny softshell turtle. The surface of the river is covered in pond and water lilies, and if you’re lucky, you may even spot one of the resident beavers or river otters going about their day. Don’t forget to look for white-tailed deer along the banks, and bring your binoculars to view the many species of birds that call the park home.

Old Ausable River Channel - To & Fro

Marla Ward: www.toandfroblog.com 

Niagara Glen

Niagara Glen is a great activity for families visiting the Niagara Falls area because it gets you away from the almost carnival atmosphere of the falls and into pristine Carolinian Forest. It’s also one of the rare free-activities in Niagara Falls.

Located right next to the Niagara River near the whirlpool, Niagara Glen is only a 10-minute drive from the falls. Before starting your hike, there is a grassy picnic area and bathrooms above the gorge.

The 4km of trails are in a gorge so you have to descend down a spiral metal staircase. The terrain of the glen can be hilly or include staircases in some areas so it isn’t suitable for strollers. There are multiple looping trails here among the boulders to explore. My favourite is the River Trail as it gives you views of the turquoise water and the American side of the gorge as well.

Niagara Glen is a bouldering destination so you may spot some rock climbers on your hike. These huge boulders that dot the park are leftovers from when the river eroded the area thousands of years ago. Kids may enjoy exploring around the boulders as some of them have small caves and may even include ice of you are there in late spring.

It’s a great destination for families as you can spend as little as 30 minutes doing a short hike or as much as an afternoon exploring the whole glen.

Brianna – Website: https://curioustravelbug.com/

 

The Durham Regional Forest Trail

The Durham Regional Forest Trail is 35 km from Oshawa. Take the Lake Ridge Rd exit on the 401 W onto Goodwood. On Concession Road 7 you make a left to your destination. The trail is close to Uxbridge.

The reason I like it because it is a 12km loop, with moderate difficulty, an elevation gain of 400 meters and takes about 3 hrs to complete. Novices are going to love the fact that it is clean, neat, consistent and marked all along. It is accessible all year. If you take your dog with you it has to be kept on a leash. The trail has very few ruts, roots or rocks. If you want a nice, moderate work out this is the trail for you.

On the weekend it is an amazing escape with the scenery being luscious and robust. The plantation forests were set up more than 70 years ago and are constantly maintained. Even on a hot humid day you can be sure of lots of shade.

The forest is about 405 hectares and is famous for hiking, horseback riding, cross-country skiing, bird watching and mountain biking.

The parking is free, it is never crowded, quiet, peaceful and an easy trail to follow.

Jerry Godinho from https://fourcolumnsofabalancedlife.com/

 

Swan Lake Trail

We’ve always been an active family, but typically that’s skiing and zip lining and swimming, or learning a new sport. We’ve never done a lot of hiking together, but that changed when we were invited to do an RV trip with Ontario Parks last fall. We started with Grundy Lake Provincial Park and in the morning went for a quick walk before heading straight over to The Swan Lake Trail.

Swan Lake Trail is a moderate hiking trail that’s about 1.5 kms long and will take roughly an hour. It runs through the Swan Lake nature reserve and is ideal for families just starting to hike or families with young kids. The Swan Lake views through a boggy marsh and up over stunning rock formations will leave you wanting more. My kids loved that there’s an interactive research portion too. So, if you spy wildlife in a particular spot you can text a number and help researchers to document it. Gnarly trees and walkways through swampy bogs appealed to my young teens. This was the start of a new passion for our family and is definitely a place to find the best hiking for families in Ontario.

Swan Lake Trail, Grundy Lake Provincial Park

 

I hope this list inspires you and your family to get out and enjoy some of the many beautiful hiking trails this province has to offer. This post is meant to be a work in progress as we explore more. Have no fear, I’m always on the lookout for the best hiking for families in Ontario. The more trails I find, the more I will report back!

The best hiking for families in Southern Ontario, from Algonquin Provincial Park to Halton Conservation Areas to the Bruce Peninsula, know where to find the best hiking trails in Southern Ontario for families

Where To Find The Best Southern Ontario Sunsets

Being a professional sunset chaser means that I have seen some of the most beautiful and stunning sunsets around the world. I have said it before, and I will say it again – Ontario is a jewel. Ontario boasts some of the most alluring landscapes and scenery you can find. Some of the most bewitching sunsets I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing have been right here in Ontario. In our new world order, I’ve come to accept that Mediterranian sunsets are a pipe dream for the next couple of years. Who knows when I’ll be in the Caribbean again? Domestic travel only is going to be on the docket for most people. I personally foresee a lot of road trips and explorations closer to home this year.

If you’re going to be hanging around home, why not know where to go to see the best sunsets in Ontario?

Where To Find The Best Southern Ontario Sunsets

I have a slight bias in some of these locations. Each of these places holds a special memory, which likely makes the sunsets all the more special. That said, feel free to make your own memories during magic hour and dusk. Here are some of my favourite places to find the best sunsets in Southern Ontario. As I explore more and more I will have more to share, but for now, here’s my shortlist. I hope you are inspired to search some out as well:

Scarborough Bluffs Park, Ontario

The Scarborough Bluffs are an escarpment range in the east end of the amalgamated limits of Toronto. Not technically in Toronto, but they can claim themselves geographically that they are. In all honesty, the Bluffs are in Scarborough. As an old score Torontonian, I’ll never accept them as Toronto, but I digress…

The views of Lake Ontario and Bluffers Park from the escarpment are brilliant and there are a few lookout points to explore. In the interest of safety, do not cross barriers for photos. Unfortunately, people unfamiliar with the terrain and area have crossed the line and have put themselves in a position where they have required emergency extraction from the area. The Scarborough Bluffs are an eroded and environmentally sensitive area and you do have to take care when on the escarpment.

It is worth it to stroll or hike along the top of the bluffs where you are permitted to be. The best time of year to be up there, in my opinion, is summer and early fall. If you’re feeling adventurous, bring a bathing suit and towel and hit the beach while it’s still daylight.

Sherman Falls, Ancaster, Ontario

Sherman Falls, on the Bruce Trail just outside of Ancaster, Ontario is a 17-metre-high curtain falls, often nicknamed Angel Falls or Fairy Falls. Being there in any season is like being in a fairy tale. These waterfalls are one of the most Instagrammable waterfalls in the area and it’s rare to be there without other people around unless you go early in the morning or hang around in the late afternoon into dusk. From here, there are other waterfalls you can hike too. The area of the province is known as the City of Waterfalls (Hamilton). It’s a bit odd when you see Hamilton from the QEW highway to envision all the splendour of the area, yet here it is.

Summer is a very busy time at Sherman Falls, so if you are inclined, I recommend winter for a visit. These waterfalls are on private property, please respect the area. The owners graciously allow people to enjoy them but please do not climb the sides of the ravine or the waterfall

Sherman Falls, Ancaster, Ontario, magic hour pre-sunset

Windsor, Ontario

Before going to Windsor, Ontario in the fall of 2019, I had no idea of its beauty. The sunset I witnessed from the Best Western Plus Waterfront Hotel on Riverside Drive solidified my new found love for The Motor City. From the window of the “Justin Trudeau” suite, I spent good, quality time mesmerized by the sky. In the distance, the Ambassador Bridge.  This is a view I would want again and again and again.

Want this view on your next stay in Windsor? Be sure to book your stay at The Best Western Plus Waterfront Hotel here (this is an affiliate link meaning I make a small percentage of commission when you book)

Windsor, Ontario sunset of the Ambassador Bridge

Long Point National Wildlife Area

You have to know a guy who has a boat to get to the secret beaches and sandbanks at Long Point. And once you’ve played around on the sandbanks, that boat has to bring you back under the setting sun. And there is no finer person to know than Captain Graham with Long Point Island Huggers.

It’s worth the drive to Long Point towards the sand and pit formation to see one of Canada’s UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. 

Captain Graham is so knowledgable about the area that you’ll leave the cruise with a whole new appreciation of the wetlands. He takes his pontoon boat that accommodates groups and people of all ages for wonderful cruises from sunrise to sunset.

sunset at long point national wildlife area

Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park

I never knew that mother nature could paint us this palette just 2 1/2 hours outside of Toronto. This cotton candy sky view on the lake is only accessible by canoe. Everything about this moment was perfect, stillness in the water, spending time with good friends. Once the sun was down, we were treated to one of the best star shows I’ve seen in a long time! If you’ve never considered Peterborough and the Kawarthas (@thekawarthas) for your summer adventures in Ontario, then I definitely think you should.

Cotton candy skies - That's out food in barrels in the canoe so bears cannot get to them

Presquile Provincial Park, Ontario

Skipping rocks at sunset! Well, at least he’s trying hard too… My son and I camped in a Minka Tent at Presqui’ile Provincial Park in the autumn of 2019. We were treated to another amazing Ontario sunset. This stunning view is just outside of Brighton! Right on Lake Ontario.

This little slice of heaven is at the far west end of the High Bluff Campground area. There’s a small beach and a lot of flat rocks. Enjoy!

Skipping rocks at sunset at Presqu'ile Provincial Park

Frankford, Ontario

Sunsets in Frankford, Ontario are best viewed from the east bank of the Trent River. Full disclosure, this picture is from a private residence. Yep, this is where my Mom lives and I can have this view anytime I go visit.

Unless you know someone who lives along the river, you’re not going to get THIS view. I happen to have it on good authority that you can drive to one of the canal locks on the Trent Severn Waterway, park and witness a similar sunset from a private area.

Sunset from the west banks of the Trent River in Frankford, Ontario

I hope these sunsets have inspired you to seek out sunsets close to home. While this list is only a handful, I will be sure to update this post as I witness more. Make no mistake there are many more exceptional sunsets to be seen in many other areas of the province.

Looking for unique and memorable activities in Ontario to enjoy while sticking close to home? Be sure to check out Looking For Exciting and Unique Places To Explore In Ontario? We Have You Covered!

 

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Want to know where to go to find the best sunsets in southern Ontario? I'll tell you where here! From Windsor to Presqui'ile Provincial Park and places in between

Stay Home Canada – TravelZoo Canada and Peace Collective Collaboration

This above picture in the Kawarthas isn’t me today. Just like the vast majority of Canadians, ⁠I’m staying home except for essentials. In a time like this, you can almost envision staring off into the future and dreaming about travel in a post-COVID world. Where will we go and what will travel be like? Although we can’t be there in person, we can dream about time well spent on any one of the lakes in Peterborough and the Kawarthas region of Ontario. Many parts of Ontario provide ample amounts of space.

If we close our eyes, maybe we can hear the water slapping against the rocks. Maybe we can smell the trees. Maybe we can see the cotton candy sunsets…

Although we are feeling grounded and it’s not fun, I’ve pledged to stay #HomeTodayTravelTomorrow. The hope is that staying home now means we can travel sooner in the future. The goal is that we will have helped halt the spread of Covid-19. If we all do our part now, we can all enjoy time together on the lake one day!

Stay Home Canada shirt
Stay Home Canada shirt on Peace Collective. Shop here: https://bit.ly/3d1TPFA

If you’re home and you want to show it off, make sure you check out the brand new apparel collab by Travelzoo Canada and Peace Collective showing off a powerful message we can all get behind: Stay Home Canada, along with city-specific versions tailored to show love for Toronto, and other cities across Canada (you too Calgary!). Not only can you get a super hip shirt or mask, but 𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗿𝘆 𝗶𝘁𝗲𝗺 𝗽𝘂𝗿𝗰𝗵𝗮𝘀𝗲𝗱 𝘄𝗶𝗹𝗹 𝗽𝗿𝗼𝘃𝗶𝗱𝗲 𝟯 𝗺𝗲𝗮𝗹𝘀 𝘁𝗼 𝗮 𝗖𝗮𝗻𝗮𝗱𝗶𝗮𝗻 𝗶𝗻 𝗻𝗲𝗲𝗱 𝘁𝗵𝗿𝗼𝘂𝗴𝗵 𝗮 𝗹𝗼𝗰𝗮𝗹 𝗳𝗼𝗼𝗱 𝗯𝗮𝗻𝗸, 𝗼𝗿 𝗽𝗿𝗼𝘃𝗶𝗱𝗲 𝗮 𝗺𝗮𝘀𝗸 𝘁𝗼 𝗮 𝗳𝗿𝗼𝗻𝘁𝗹𝗶𝗻𝗲 𝘄𝗼𝗿𝗸𝗲𝗿.

Stay Home Canada mask on Peace Collective. Shop here: https://bit.ly/3d1TPFA
Stay Home Canada mask on Peace Collective. Shop here: https://bit.ly/3d1TPFA

To reward travellers for staying at home, Travelzoo Canada is also providing these goodies:⁠
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If you got this far, answer me this: Who will you hug first when you get the chance to do so? I haven’t seen my mom since February. Her house is the first place I’m going to head once it’s safe.

 

Please note, clicking on the links to shop Peace Collective are affiliate links.

I may earn a small commission in exchange for Travelzoo memberships.

 

Youngest Countries In The World

Spending time at home with my kids during this time of self-isolation, I’ve had to answer some weird questions from my kids. Things like “what colour is the coronavirus” and “can you fart, sneeze and cough at the same time”. There have been annoying questions like “can I have another snack”. However, there have also been some cool questions like “how old is the sun”. In discussing the age of our country, Canada and our neighbours to the south, the kids wanted to know what are the youngest countries in the world. I had to do some research to answer this for them, but I’ve now come up with a list of what’s considered to be the newest countries in the history of the world.

The Youngest Countries In The World

 

Palau – Independent since 1994

“In Palau, women play a very important role in issues of policy. Women traditionally own and devise land. We control the clan money. We traditionally select our chiefs; women place and remove them. Having observed their upbringing closely, we are able to decide which men have the talent to represent our interests. From birth, Palauan women are responsible for the men. When men marry, the women arrange for the settlement, and when they die, women bury them. Women are caretakers of the environment” -Mirair Gabriela Ngirmang in the book, 1000 Women for the Nobel Peace Prize 2005.

I could not help but lead with this quote about Palau as it’s the first thing that jumped out at me – a nation that honours women first and foremost. Independent since 1994 from the United States, this peaceful South Pacific country observes a matrilineal tradition. Heavily influenced by Phillipine’s cuisine, a delicacy in Palau is actually fruit bat soup. However, fish, pork, yam and potatoes are the local foods.

This tiny county of only 459 km2 and a population of approximately 18,000 people are mainly Roman Catholic in religious observance. Tourism and fishing are the main industries in Palau with tourism focusing on scuba diving around the barrier reef and over wrecks well below the surface of the water left over from the second world war.

 

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There’s no time like now to #visitpalau Photo Courtesy- @buntumdiewelt.de

A post shared by Pristine Paradise Palau (@visitpalau) on

 

East Timor – Independent since 2002

For a small South Pacific nation, the country of East Timor is mighty in art and sport. Used by many Australian productions as a setting for films, televisions shows and documentaries, the island landmass of 15,007 km2 is said to be shaped like a crocodile and carries heavy lore surrounding that. The legend is that inhabitants of East Timor are descendants of the crocodile. Presently, there are estimated to be 1,200,000 citizens there.

Before European colonialism, East Timor was an exporter and trader of sandalwood, honey and wax to the Indian, Chinese and Malaysian nations. It is one of the oldest sites of human activity in all of southeast Asia. The current culture of East Timor reflects numerous influences, including Portuguese, Indonesian and the religious observances of Catholicism. Gaining independence from Portugal in 1975, it was subsequently invaded by Indonesia only 9 days later. In 2002, it was finally granted sovereign state status after decades of bloodshed.

While half of the population lives in abject poverty, East Timor is one of the most oil-dependent countries in the world. East Timor earns revenue from offshore oil and gas and exports of coffee, cinnamon, marble, petroleum and sandalwood. Starbucks is a major purchaser of coffee from the nation. Tourism is big, upwards of 75,000 visitors per year are welcomed here.

 

Montenegro – Independent since 2006

The next three countries have all come out of the fall of Yugoslavia. Like many border formations in Europe, wars and battles were fought and pieces of land changed hands through Kingdoms and in political deals many times. Without sounding ignorant to the history of the country and the conflict throughout the past hundreds of years, I’m only going to mention the split from the Yugoslavia, the Belgrade Agreement, which saw Montenegro’s transformation into a more decentralized state union named Serbia and Montenegro in 2003, and then gaining full independence in June 2006.

Montenegro is a country in Southeast Europe on the coast of the Balkans. the population here is just over 600,000 and the landmass is just 13,812 km2. The road structure of Montenegro is not yet up to Western European standards and the railway is the method to keep things moving. The economy depends on the service industry, meaning “intangible goods” that include attention, advice, access, experience, and affective labour.  Tourism was a bug industry for coastal Montenegro in the 1980s, but the Yugoslav wars in the 1990s crippled it, only just seeing a rebound now. The Adriatic coast is 295 km (183 mi) long in Montenegro, with 72 km of beaches and many well-preserved ancient old towns to explore. Montenegro is home to significant cultural and heritage sites from the pre-Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque periods.

A multi-lingual and ethnic state, the cuisine the country feasts on is a mix of oriental and Mediterranean. Sports play a huge role in the lives of citizens with football, water polo, basketball and handball being known as the ones they dominate in.

Serbia – Independent since 2006

Like Montenegro, Serbia’s official date of independence is June 2006. And to date, disputes around defined borders still go on, with Kosovo declaring independence from Serbia in February of 2008.

Located at the crossroads between Central and Southern Europe, Serbia is located in the Balkan peninsula and the Pannonian Plain. The landmass is a total of  77,474 km2, and almost 30% of it is covered by forest.

Serbia’s economy is fairly stable and is considered to be upper-middle for income although unemployment figures put them at around 12%. There is a lot of foreign investment from companies such as  Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Siemens, Bosch, Philip Morris, Panasonic, Michelin, Coca-Cola and Carlsberg. Agriculture yields plums, raspberries, maize, wheat, sunflower, sugar beet, soybean, potato, apple, pork meat, beef, poultry and dairy.

Serbia produces about 230 million litres of wine annually. I’m in!

Kosovo – Independent since 2013

Kosovo is a beautiful, majestic country. Full of gorgeous national parks, forests cover 39% of the area. Hiking trails infused with waterfalls, charming towns to appease the eye and chaotic recent history that makes your scratch your head and say what?

Landlocked between Serbia, North Macedonia, Albania and Montenegro, this Balkan Country in Europe has less than 2 million inhabitants and a landmass of 10,887 km2. Independence was fully gained in 2013 from Serbia after a torrid history of ethnic cleansing and war crimes. The history of this area is disputed by all sides and is still claimed by Serbia as part of their country. Only some UN countries officially recognize Kosovo as its own country. As a potential candidate for the European Union, the climate boasts a Mediterranean feel and is prime for international tourists to arrive and explore the mountains, canyons and rivers. 

Today, while 95% of the population identifies as Muslim and has the highest percentage of Muslims in Europe behind Turkey. Kosovo identifies as a secular state. Kosovo boasts ranking ninth in the world for having free and equal tolerance towards not just religion, but also atheism.

 

South Sudan – Independent since 2011

South Sudan became an independent state from Sudan in July of 2011 as a result of a peace deal that was brokered in 2005. With a population of approximately 11 million inhabitants and a land size of more than 600,000 km2, this young country suffers from a severe humanitarian crisis in terms of water and food. South Sudan has an extremely violent past. The most recent civil war ended only in February of 2020. Many inhabitants identify as Christian and female literacy is amongst the lowest in the world.

According to Wikipedia, as of 2019, South Sudan ranks lowest in the latest UN World Happiness Report, second lowest on the Global Peace Index, and has the third-highest score on the American Fund for Peace’s Fragile States Index

This is not a hot spot for tourism and generally is not considered safe for female travellers. South Sudan’s underdeveloped economy boasts natural resources such as oil and agriculture to drive it’s future forward.

 

Bougainville – Voted for Independence in 2019

The final country on the list is the largest of the atolls in the Solomon Sea. Here lies an island that voted to leave Papua New Guinea at the end of 2019. The referendum that its citizens voted on with a majority of 97% is not yet binding. It has to be passed by the government of Papa New Guinea.

An island named after a French navigator, this is a country that has changed hands numerous times between Germany, Australia, Japan, America and Papa New Guinea. This doesn’t even begin to explain the civil wars the people here have endured. With a population of under 300,000, the island measures at 9,384 km2. The economy of this newest country has been centred on mining and agriculture. In the post COVID-19 world, Bougainville is looking to tourism to help bolster the economy.

Voting began on November 23 and officially ended on December 7, 2019. The results of which were announced on December 11, making Bougainville the newest country of the world.

Hope you have enjoyed this little tour of some of the youngest countries in the history of our world. As time goes on, people and nations evolve and politics fracture agreements. Perhaps there will be new countries on the horizons of 2021 or 2022. Hopefully, any future transitions are peaceful. When it is safe to travel again, we can look forward to collecting new passport stamps along the way.

Ever wondered what are the newest nations in the world? And how did they form? Check out this list of the youngest countries in the world that includes Palau, Bougainville, Kosovo, Serbia, South Sudan, Montenegro, East Timor. Interestingly these countries are in the South Pacific, Europe and Africa.

A Grounded Extrovert Travel Writer’s COVID-19 Self-Isolation Diaries From Toronto

The Self-Isolation Diaries From Toronto by A Grounded Extrovert Travel Writer is not a sponsored post in any way. It’s been a while since I’ve done something from the heart for zero pay or compensation, so enjoy.

Hey, how you doing? Well, I’m doing just fine on this day 28 of self-isolation for the sake of our health.

Truth? I just lied. It’s day 28 since the city of Toronto started to shut everything down and I feel like I am dying inside. In my normal life, I am an extrovert, I thrive on the company of others. While I do know how to be and function as a regular person alone, it’s not my preferred way of life. Mainly, I earn an income working in television and documentaries, but my passion is creating content as a travel writer. Ironically, due to how ordinary people travel and the spread of a virus, my wings are clipped.

After returning from Latvia (read all about those adventures here) and Poland in November, and countless other travels in the fall of 2019, my kids asked me to stay home for a while to be with them. Fair request and I had some personal matters to attend too. I gladly did all that and had an upcoming calendar with new destinations and exciting plans filling up for April, May and June. I’m not even going to list what they were and where because those are all cancelled now.

Hello, depression my old friend.

The Extrovert Travel Writer Is Forced To Become A Homebody Recluse

What happens when a travel writer is not travelling? I can’t say it’s fair for me to speak for anyone else, but I feel sluggish. Directionless. Confused. I am searching for a purpose. Unmotivated. Grieving. Some have pivoted and have been able to make some other types of content. I see you pounding out posts like there’s a pandemic on our hands and… oh wait… There is. I’m still all baffled about being inside and home for this amount of time. I can barely edit together scenes. Everything used to take me four times less time to do.

We have to stay home and hide from the coronanananana virus. For the sake of livening up the situation, my children and I will refer to anything COVID-19 related now as the coronanananana.

My accountability tweet. The first time I am writing in a month.

Anyone else dreaming of the days of yore when we could freely walk down the street with friends? It’s spring, patio season at all the bars and restaurants would be ramping up right now. I’d be excited to put on a spring dress, a fun pair of shoes and head out. Instead, every single bar and restaurant is closed except for take out service. Parks have been condemned to be empty. Barely a soul walking the streets or sidewalks unless it’s sunny outside. If the sun’s rays are sneaking out, all the runners appear. Hefty financial fines to be issued though to those not belonging in the same household standing or socializing too close to each other. House parties are forbidden. Some stores around Yonge and Dundas Square have used plywood to board up their windows and doors.

It’s almost feeling apocalyptic. Everyone who was on assignment or on vacation was forced to struggle to return home. Toilet paper, ground beef and wifi have become the new currency (it’s a joke, but almost real). Add in some zombies wandering around searching for brains and we’re suddenly cast members in The Walking Dead. I wish I knew who to credit for this meme of Rick Grimes with his shopping list.

meme of Rick Grimes from the Walking Dead with his grocery list

 

Listen, I still do not understand why normal citizens of this country flooded all the grocery stores and bought out six-month supplies of toilet paper for a virus that affects your lungs and symptoms do not include constant shitting and frequent butt wiping, but I digress…

The Month Of March Became A Year Of Hell

 

Do you remember life before the lockdown? The last swimming lesson the kids had was on Wednesday, March 11. Little Man passed his salamander level, ready for sunfish. Miss M is swim team training, she hopefully will move into competition or lifeguarding. On Thursday, March 12, the premier of Ontario, Dough Ford and Education Minister Steven Lecce announced that the schools would not be reopening after March break and the children needed to stay home until April 5th. They predicted that on Monday, the 6th of April the kids would be back to school and the closure was a precaution. Friday, March 13th, I enjoyed an evening at the gym where no one bothered me and the equipment I wanted to use was all mine. My last evening out to dinner at Banu on Queen Street West was on Saturday, March 14. The city of Toronto announced that at as of midnight on Monday, March 16th, it was closing down all the restaurants and bars in the city to flatten the curve.

It was during this week that we learned what social distancing was. That the virus was now in Ontario and spreading. Coronanananana is coming to get us, but it really didn’t seem like the hype was worth it just yet. We had seen what was going on in China for the past couple of months, that it had spread heavily to Iran and Italy, but Canada is untouchable.

It’s all we are entrenched in now and all we know for the foreseeable future. Climbing numbers of new cases every day. Now I know people who have and have had the virus. There are reports that people are actually dying.

Sunday, April 12, Covid-19 Ontario Update
Sunday, April 12, Covid-19 Ontario Update

 

Climbing The Walls

Our former lives seem so far away. Walking outside and greeting a neighbour with a hug or a high five is not something we can do. Prior to March of this year, I had never heard of the phrases social distancing and self-isolation. Today is April 12th. Our children did not return to school this past Monday. The province of Ontario has extended our emergency orders and subsequent home lives until April 24th or something like that.

Provincial parks and conservation areas are all closed. There is no possible way I could have utilized my Ontario Parks annual pass to go and take a hike or toss a canoe into the water. I haven’t seen my mother aside from on Facetime since the middle of February. There are news reports of people being fined for not following the rules. Despite closures and being told to stay home, some have taken it upon themselves to head out to the trails and waterfalls anyway because they think they are entitled to do so. Allow me to be crystal clear here, the longer entitled assholes continue to pull this shit, the longer we’re potentially exposed to the virus, the longer we are all under quarantine in our homes #STAYTHEFUCKHOME

I’ve even chosen a theme song for this period of history.

Social visits in my world now consist of either yelling hello from the sidewalk or on Facetime and video conference calling on Zoom. Saturday nights are for virtual happy hours. Society today is all seemingly observing the Finnish tradition of getting tipsy at home in our underwear called “pants drunk”. Kippis!

To all the single parents trying to work from home because we need to get paid to keep the roof over our heads as it’s better money than the CERB from our government and assist their children through their TCDSB virtual learning lessons for the foreseeable future, we will get through this, somehow. There is hope that the kids will go back to school before the end of the school year, but there is no guarantee.

@kathrynanywhereSend HELP! ##marchbreak2020 ##3weekmarchbreak ##marchbreak2020 ##coronalockdown ##corona_lockdown ##fyoupage ##momsbelike

♬ original sound – haileybeiberofficial


I have decided to entertain my son and help him get his energy out by propping up his old bike in the living room and turned it into a stationary bike so he can “ride” and watch YouTube at the same time. There’s a tent in my living room and my daughter is taking zoom calls with her Girl Guide pack. She’s mastered Tiktok and Facetiming with friends along with enjoying worthwhile games as Roblox, Adopt Me and Flee The Facility. 

My daughter taking zoom calls in a tent in the living roomMy daughter taking zoom calls in a tent in the living room during the covid-19 pandemic

 

Fucking and bonding over Jason Bateman in a world pandemic

This is a hard time to be dating. The province of Quebec has gone so far as to promote monogamy, so there it is, multiple partners is off the table for the time being. We have to hang out at home. All the time. We’re forced to have conversations and get to know each other. Or not converse and watch Ozarks. Season 3 is pretty stellar so far by the way.

Guess you get to know who you would want by your side in the midst of an annihilation of society. The solid standard of a job, sense of humour and kind of cute is completely out the window now. You start to look for basic skills such as the ability to siphon gas, know how to break into a pharmacy, a natural penchant for shit disturbing and some bushcraft. If they have the aforementioned survival skills, a nice smile and a six-pack, that’s the jackpot. 

Dating during covid-19

 

Everything Is Out Of Focus

How are we all doing for real? I admit that I don’t do well without other people around. No lying here, I’ve had mood swings. My kids are still spending a couple of nights a week at their Dads and it’s good because parenting during quarantine is like normal parenting except you’re now homeschooling your children weeks after they were supposed to return to school but they aren’t and you’re drowning in virtual schooling on top of working from home, keeping the house clean, laundry done, keeping up personal appearances like eyebrows, and my bikini line. Which by the way, since all the spas and hair salons are closed so we can social distance and self-isolate, is difficult. No doubt some women are celebrating the freedom of not caring because the option fails to exist.

Straight up, I have problems focusing to begin with. With everything that’s been going on, with the kids off school, in my workspace all day long and the news in our faces and the rules constantly changing, it’s been a tough go for me. I am accepting that everything is taking me four times as long to do and I’m making lunches and dinners during my workday. I’m refereeing disputes between the kids, monitoring screentime and what they are consuming on their devices and homeschooling with assignments that the teachers are sending and navigating Google classroom. It’s becoming more increasingly difficult to settle into thought processes and feel creative, at least in this house.
Again, I wish I knew who to credit for this graphic, but it sums it up right now. It’s okay to not be your most productive during a fucking global pandemic.
It's okay to not be your most productive during a fucking global pandemic

Can This Really Go On For The Next 12-18 Months?

Realistically, this way of life could last for the next 12-18 months. There are scientists working on a vaccine, but guarantees of having it sooner rather than later aren’t likely. There are a lot of folks who are not on board with the social distancing and still think this is mass hysteria being spread by the media. To them I say, I’m so glad this has yet to touch your lives, but when it does be ready.

I can’t go on like this forever, but for right now, I’m okay not being my most productive. I’m still going to try though. What I need though is exercise, badly. First for my mental health and because I have so much energy to burn through. Second, I have a thyroid condition and if I don’t exercise, I become 300 lbs. My home doesn’t have the space for a home gym. Sadly, I am lacking a backyard that I can walk out my patio door to head out to enjoy. The common area courtyard in the complex I live in is closed for our safety. I’m getting so mad at people not following the rules, it’s going to make it that much longer for the rest of us. I can’t say I will ever take going to the gym or to the pool for granted after this.

At this point, I cannot handle another person telling me to stay home. I am doing my part. My kids are doing their part. I need to know everyone else has done their part so we can all move on quicker. This sedentary home life with no in-person interaction is not something I’m cut out for in the long run. I’m glad some people are made for it. Good for them. Stinking introverts. I’m not and as much as it seems appealing to sit on my couch, I can’t much longer. What I want to do is to run sprints in the park. Head out to a patio with friends, order chicken wings and cheers our pints together. To take my kids over for playdates at a friend’s house.

Foodie Adventures

What good is coming out of this? Personally, I’m reading books again for the first time in ages. Due to my lack of motivation to work, I’ve actually spent time sitting on the couch with my kids while they’re home with me. I’m more in touch with friends now, albeit online than ever. I am cooking for my kids more and they’re enjoying it. Today was bacon grease pancakes. BOOM!

In all honesty, knowing that I cannot cook the exact same thing every single day, I have had to get creative. I learned about cooking up pancakes in bacon grease from my friend, Andrea who runs the blog, Mommy Gearest. She’s been cooking and baking every day during the pandemic and has come up with some interesting recipes that I’ve seen on Facebook and Tiktok.

I got an accidental meat delivery from TruLocal. I contacted them to let them know their delivery service has dropped a box of meat at the wrong house and they came back to me a couple of hours later saying I could keep the box and enjoy. WOW! So now they’ve gained a new future customer with me and I’m trying out things I might not have ordered myself to cook like Miami Ribs are in the oven tonight. Ground turkey? It was great in spaghetti sauce! The nitrate-free pork bacon was what I cooked up and used the grease for the pancakes. The bacon was delicious, my kids enjoyed it way more than regular store-bought bacon.

pancakes cooked in bacon grease from TruLocal

As a society, this has been a huge wake-up call on how we conduct ourselves. Let’s be more kind, compassionate, help neighbours, be fearless, love unconditionally and spend more time living in the moment.

I can’t wait to hug my mom when it’s safe to do so. I hope you get to hug a loved one soon as well.

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:



Booking.com


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